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Because the vision of JCFI is to raise a greater awareness of Israel in the churches of Johnson County, we want to connect you to some of our friends who work to bless Israel.

 

This month I want to update you on the ministry at 

Congregation Tiferet Yeshua (Glory of Jesus)


 

The Importance of a Shabbat Meal !
 

Most families all over Israel eat the Shabbat evening meal together-even non-religious families.But for young adults, who may have moved away from their homes, Friday night

can be very lonely.


 
About a year ago, a couple in our congregation, David and Victoria, began to open their home to young adults in our congregation, at least once a month, for Shabbat dinner. They had already been doing this in Jerusalem with our sister congregation, Ahavat Yeshua (Love of Jesus), when God put it on their hearts to move to Tel Aviv and reach out to young people.


 
"Our vision has been," shares Victoria, "to invite both believers and unbelievers to have a meal together. They would eat together, fellowship, get to know one another and also hear about the love of Yeshua.


 
"Secondly, we wanted to build relationships within the congregation between people that don't know each other so well."

 

Over the past year, several people have opened their hearts and visited the congregation. Last month they had over 30 young adults in their tiny Ramat Gan (suburb of Tel Aviv) apartment.

 "We had three guests who did not know Yeshua, as well as several people who are new to the congregation. It was an amazing time. No one wanted to go home!"


 
"When new people come, they feel the atmosphere, that it is warm and inviting. They can get to know believers face to face. The Orthodox spread all kinds of lies about us, so when a believer shares with someone on the street, it can be unnerving. But in our home, over dinner they can see that we don't have horns."


 
Though their example, David and Victoria have encouraged many of our young people to also reach out and to bring people to these special dinners; people who would not feel comfortable going to a congregation.


 
Please keep David and Victoria in your prayers, asking the Lord of the Harvest to continue to use them. 

 

Congregation Tiferet Yeshua & Open Door Church of Burleson, Tx are a Bridge of Hope!

 

Pray for congregations throughout Israel as they share Good News!


Aliyah Reaches 10-Year High

 

Recently, after a terrorist attack in Europe, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the Jewish people to make aliyah - return to Israel. This article by Janet Aslin deals with "aliyah" trends in 2014. The miracle foretold in Scripture concerning the rebirth of the nation of Israel continues!


 

"The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel" (Ps. 147:2). In a year that was marked by increased anti-Semitism in many parts of the world, aliyah hit a 10-year high with approximately 26,500 new immigrants coming to the Land. We are seeing biblical prophecy fulfilled before our eyes as these Jewish families and individuals made the decision to embark on new lives in the nation of Israel.


The number of immigrants from France in 2014 more than doubled when compared to the previous year. The number of Jewish people fleeing from Ukraine almost tripled-from 2,020 to 5,840 in 2014. Both countries experienced violent anti-Semitism and, in Ukraine's case, the violence of a civil war. Overall, Western Europe experienced an 88% increase and countries of the former Soviet Union saw their numbers rise by 50%.


Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, said: "2014 was a year of record-breaking aliyah. This year also saw a historic shift: for the first time in Israel's history, the number of immigrants who came to Israel from the free world is greater than that of immigrants fleeing countries in distress."


Israel's Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, said: "This year we mark a 32% increase over last year in the number of Jews who reached the conclusion that they have no other country." Landver went on to say that they have not yet reached their goal. "We expect that some 10,000 new immigrants will come from France alone next year, and we will surpass 30,000 immigrants from around the world-and even more."


This year's immigrants were young with more than half being under the age of 35. There were 5,300 children and 8,200 young adults between the ages of 18 and 35. The oldest immigrant was born in 1910, making aliyah from France at the age of 104. Just as Isaiah prophesied so many years ago, the Lord is bringing His people back from the north, the south, the east and the west (Isa. 43:5-6). 


 By Janet Aslin


 

 

(I hope you enjoy this thought-provoking article by Ron Cantor. Many words today just do not carry the same meaning, and, perhaps, we need to understand this better.)


 
The Goal: Effective Communication


 The word Christian today does not mean what it meant then. As a communicator, my goal is for my hearers/readers to understand me. When I say to a fellow Jewish person "I am a Christian," they are not hearing: I am a believer in Yeshua, the prophesied Jewish Messiah. Instead they hear: I have converted from Judaism to a foreign religion-I am no longer a Jew. And this is not true.

For 2,000 years supposed Christians have been telling Jews:

  • Convert or leave our country (Inquisitions).
  • You cannot be Jewish and believe in Jesus (throughout history).
  • You killed the Christ so we will kill you (Nazis, Crusaders).

Amazingly, while not being a Christian, Hitler loved to quote Martin Luther. He was fond of saying that he was God's servant only finishing the job that the Church had started (of killing Jews). Most of the German soldiers and many Nazis considered themselves Christians. Everyone I grew up with in Richmond, Virginia who was not Jewish, called himself or herself a Christian-no matter how unchristian they were. Some of the most anti-Jewish political parties in Europe use the word Christian in their title. It is sad and dishonest, but true. The word Christian has lost its meaning.


I am Gay!

Imagine if I announced to my congregation (although they are Hebrew-speakers, but just play along) that I am gay! It would send shockwaves throughout the body of believers in Israel. My wife would be devastated. Emails would be sent, "Can you believe it?! Ron Cantor is gay!" I would be disinvited from all future speaking events.


But after week or two, maybe as my elders are removing me from my position as congregational leader, I clarify, "I don't understand? Why all this controversy just because I announced I am gay-it is true. I am a genuinely happy person."

You see the word gay does not mean what it used to mean. Therefore in order not to devastate my wife or lose my job, I would not use that word to describe that I am happy for the simple reason that people would misunderstand me. For the same reason I do not call myself a Christian.


No New Religion

You see, New Covenant faith is Biblical Judaism, not a new religion. Yeshua did not come from a void, but was sent as part of a well thought out plan of salvation, and God used Israel/Judaism to bring it about. Yeshua said, "Salvation" is for the whole world, but "is from the Jews" (Jn. 4:22). The Jewish prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures prophesied about him. Plato and Socrates were silent. This was a Jewish movement, not a Roman/Greek one. In fact, the first disciples were so completely and utterly convinced of this, that they did not even preach the Gospel to Gentiles for nearly 10 years!


Hebraic Roots of the Word

In truth the word Christian is an exclusively Jewish word that has been hi-jacked. For reasons already stated, it isn't today. Let's dissect.

Many of our Biblical English words we use today come from Hebrew, but they take a tour through Greece on the way, and we lose their Jewishness in the process. For example:


 

Original

Greek

English through Greek

English from Hebrew

Yeshua

Iesous

Jesus

Joshua

Miriam

Marias

Mary

Miriam

Yehuda

Iudas

Jude/Judas

Judah

Mashiach

Christos

Christ

Messiah

(Note: Christ is not a name like Yeshua, Yehuda and Miriam are. It is a title, therefore there is no phonetic connection between Mashiach and Christos, as is with Miriam and Marias.)


 

When First Century Jews, like Shaul (Paul), went to Greek speaking nations to speak of Yeshua the Messiah, they would refer to Him as Iesous the Christos. To their pagan hearers this was a completely Jewish/Hebraic concept. It was merely the Greek translation for Hebrew words. When the apostles proclaimed Iesous to the Gentiles, there was no doubt these were not pagan, Greek or Roman concepts. He was presented as the prophesied Jewish Messiah-even though Christos could refer to pagan gods. Thus there was no difficulty seeing the Hebraic Roots of the faith. "The followers of Jesus became known as Christians (as in Acts11:26) because they believed Jesus to be the Messiah (Christ´┐Żs) prophesied in the Hebrew Bible."


However over the centuries the Jewish Roots were all but ethnically cleansed from "Christianity" and thus when we brought the terms to English-Christ, Mary, etc.-there was no hint of their Hebraic roots. So no longer was Jesus the Jewish Messiah but the leader/founder of a foreign religion (to Jews).


But in truth, when the believers were first called "Christians" in Antioch (Acts 11:26), it was meant to be connected to Judaism. It is unlikely that the believers came up with this name, as all throughout acts, 28 times, they refer to themselves simply as believers. It is more likely that the pagans nicknamed them Christians. It is commonly believed it was a slur, like calling politicians who defend George Bush or Barack Obama, Bushites or Obamites. But to these pagans, in their mind, they were merely saying Messianics in Greek.


Based on the table above the Hebrew for Messianic, Meshichim, would be in Greek, Christianous, and in English Christian. But going straight to English, we would say Messianic. Thus, Messianic and Christian are in theory interchangeable, but in actuality miles apart because of the history between so-called Christians and the Jewish people.


What Should we Call Ourselves?

Nowhere in Acts do believers call themselves Christians, or Messianics for that matter. Peter, writing in Greek uses it once, and again, in his Jewish mind, saying Christian is merely saying Messianic in Greek. Furthermore, it is unclear if Peter is embracing the word or using it as a pagan would.


"However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." (1 Peter 4:16) He doesn't write if you suffer for being a Christian, but, if you suffer as a Christian. It seems that he is borrowing the term that the persecutor would use.


He ends with do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. This further shows us that the term was meant as a slur. Peter is saying, "Even though they mean it as a slur, embrace it-embrace the shame of the cross and persecution." Nowhere else in Scriptures does any leader or even believer refer to believers as Christians.


Overtime it became the accepted word and this author has no problem with that, as for me, it is a Jewish term that was stolen and ethnically cleansed. But in the New Covenant, as stated above, they referred to themselves exclusively as believers. Five times in the Book of Acts the believers refer to themselves as members of a group called The Way. So it is clear that in the book of Acts, the followers of Yeshua called themselves individually believers, and corporately The Way.


In closing, let the words of Rabbi Shmuli Boteach help you further understand why I don't call myself a Christian.


"Growing up in an Orthodox Jewish household, I held great antipathy toward Jesus. The very name reminded me of the suffering Christians laid upon Jewish communities for two thousand years: persecutions, forced conversions, expulsions, inquisitions, false accusations, degradations, economic exile, taxation, pogroms, stereotyping, ghettoization, and systematic extermination. All this incomprehensible violence against us-against our friends and families-committed in the name of a Jew! In my neighborhood, we did not even mention his name."


I hope, by the grace of God, to change this perspective.


Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!


 

Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.


Apart from the US and Canada, Israel has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.


With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and start-ups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world (apart from the Silicon Valley).


Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the US.
 

  



BOH Logo with text
Bridge of Hope Update... 
We Are Growing ! 
                  
One way JCFI raises awareness of Israel's role today is through building a Bridge of Hope (BOH).  A Bridge of Hope is a "bridge" built between a Church or organization of Johnson County and a Congregation, Home Group, Faith-Based Organization, or Individual within Israel. At JCFI we currently have 22 Congregational BOH's and 5 Organizational BOHs  that are up-and-running with MANY in the process. The BOH project is blessing people both in Israel and here in Johnson County as it provides connection through fellowship, prayer support, educational exchange, and more.  (Click
HERE for more info)

We would love to hook you up!  I am Skyping almost weekly with those in the Land who are eager to link up in a "sister" relationship with a congregation or organization in Johnson County.  Be in prayer for us as we establish new connections with ministries in Israel that desperately need our support and prayer.   

If your church would like to know more about becoming a BOH to a congregation in Israel, click HERE or contact me by phone at 817-556-1061817-556-1061  / by email me at bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.

  Let's build a Bridge together as we stand For Israel!

            
              

CURRENT JCFI PRAYER REQUESTS! 

Please, join us in prayer for:
  • New Bridge of Hope connections between Johnson County & Israel
  • Consistent & productive communication for existing BOH connections
  • The safety & spiritual influence of Pastors / leaders in Israeli congregations
  • Increased travel to Israel, as tourism is a large part of the economy
  • Israel's safety amidst the current turmoil in the Middle East

Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) ! 

Hebrew Helps
As we work to build a greater awareness of Israel in Johnson County and continue to connect to Believers and Jews in the Land, we are often ask, "What does that word mean?".  So, each month at JCFI we will ad to a glossary of terms to help broaden our Hebrew vocabulary. Please, enjoy this Hebrew Help and contact us with any definitions you think we should ad.

This month's Hebrew Help definition is:

Brit Chadashah (breet kha-dah-SHAH)

The Hebrew word for "New Covenant" or "New Testament." "prayer." Brit means "covenant" and chadashah means "new."

Previous Month's Definition

Tefilah (tefi'la)

The Hebrew word for "prayer." Sometimes used to specifically refer to the Jewish prayer recitations that are part of Judaism.

Click HERE to see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!

  

RecomReading List Logomended Reading

This month at JCFI we encourage you to get a copy of:

What About Us? by Eitan Shishkoff


HOW CAN I STAND FOR ISRAEL?
 
Since the Banquet, many have ask me, "What can I do for Israel?"  While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are a few suggestions I hope you find useful:

1. Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem (Psa.122:6)
    "For Zion's Sake I Will Not Be Silent" by Rebecca Brimmer is an excellent guide on
    prayer for Israel. Click HERE for more info.

2. Learn more about Israel-related ministries
    There are wonderful Israel-related ministries doing a great work to support Israel. Click
     HERE to learn more about a few of them.

3. Learn more about the Hebraic Roots to Christianity
    The Bible often takes on deeper meaning in the context of its Hebraic Roots. The
     Ancient Hebrew Scroll project at the CHF is a testimony to this fact. There are
     numerous writings about Hebraic Roots. A good place to start is the book by
     D. Thomas Lancaster entitled Grafted In.  Click HERE for more info.

4. Take a trip to Israel     I've been blessed to travel to Israel many times.  It has
    changed my life. I baptized my daughter, Lauren, in the Sea of Galilee during my trip
    there in 2011. She had accepted Jesus as her Savior 3 days before we left. This
    should be at the top of any bucket list!

5. Be an Israel contact person for your church
    The vision at JCFI is to increase the awareness of Israel within the churches of
    Johnson County. Maybe you could support your pastor by volunteering to be the
    church's Israel contact person for JCFI. 

6. Build a Bridge of Hope
    Speak with your Pastor / Church Leaders about building a BOH.  Feel free to
    contact me for more info by phone at 817-556-1061 or by email  at                                 bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.


Kevin Bentley, JCFI Director
2 North Caddo Street, Cleburne, Tx 76031
817-556-1061