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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 share a testimony from 
Howard & Randi Bass,
Congregation   Nachalat Yeshua (Jesus' Inheritance) about their 2016 Passover Seder experience.

Congregation Nachalat Yeshua - 2016 Passover Seder

April 24, 2016

"Hello, and Happy Passover to everyone.  I (Howard Bass) asked my dear wife (Randi Bass) to share some of her impressions from our congregational seder yesterday, after hearing how happy and thrilled she was when we arrived at home in the later afternoon.  It was so edifying to have a "happy Randi" after such an event!! So this is what she wrote:

Any congregational "seder" (Passover meal) involves a lot of steps of what-to-do, and this year was no exception.  Even though the food was pre-ordered (for about 200 people), we had various preparations still to do:  bowls of cut salad vegetables on each table (people brought their offerings of vegetables/fruit/cookies that morning), as well as cut fruit and the assembly of the Passover plates with the basic elements on it.  The list goes on to include the setting up of tables, table cloths, drinks, cups,  flowers, the forks and napkins, coffee tables, and the traditional charoset and the horseradish on each table. 

Passover is a time to remember our freedom in the Lord, and appreciate what God has done for us in parting the Sea and bringing us out of slavery at a great cost, with His promise of bringing us into the land He promised to our fathers!  And so, I appreciated the spirit in which so many in our congregation participated with various helps, and out of a sense of freedom and not slavery.  A friend and I had done the flowers a day before; some of the young men set up the 23 tables early; and when I arrived on Shabbat morning some of the ladies were already cutting vegetables in the kitchen (so thankful to have a kitchen on our rented premises!)  The area was full of people to help and always someone was available to translate to an understandable version of a request or direction for someone else!  And so, everything got done with a cheerful spirit, with understanding (for the most part!), no harsh words to anyone, and also importantly, in time, so that no one had to work in the kitchen while the service was going on. 

You know, when you can't plan every detail because there are too many variables in something like this, one is left to appeal to the Lord that it will "all work out".  It is very important to me in a personal way that the work does not fall on the few, and that a good spirit prevails, and that all helpers are freed-up  in time to enjoy the service.  But then there's after the service and feast:  the clearing of food trays, taking in the vegetables bowls, etc,, and then distributing the fruit and cookies, disposing of the grape juice bottles, trash bags, and more trash bags.   Who will do the clean up?  This is where our youth really took over without much "admonition" and just operated very smoothly.

In observing this participation I am aware that this is a product of some years of being together and being involved and caring and so knowing that you "belong".  I don't know who took the little bouquets of flowers home, but I'm glad people did, and all the vases got washed...by whom, I'm not quite sure (done in another sink outside of the kitchen).

I also must mention the worship team this time was made up of ... all guys.  (It's different every time.)  Well, actually all young men led by Anthony, the one who has helped some of them musically as well as personally.  I saw Tal for the first time lead a song   vocally without playing an instrument, and another young man lead out on another song.  They had planned dynamics for songs, the choices related to Passover and our relationship to the God who saves and brings us through to the promised inheritance.  As I observed each one of these young men -- all authentic, healthy, relational, spiritually alive -- I was so full of thankfulness to the Lord and just prayed that He would continue to guard over them and lead them, and not let them veer off the narrow path!

So these are some impressions from my perspective from this past Shabbat.  The teaching, by the way, centered on the traditional four cups, explained by 5 men, which included a personal testimony of coming to faith; our sanctification through our life of faith; God's strong judgments on His and His people's enemies; and the resurrection and inheritance.  It was a Yeshua-centered time, so clear that only the Messiah brings the complete meaning to those fearful, amazing events that happened under the same full moon that we gazed at during  these last few days!

May God bless each one of you this week; we thank you for your prayers and various responses, and value your place in the Kingdom of God.  My He continue to fill you with His Holy Spirit that refreshes and allows all burdens to be carried by Him!"

Love in Yeshua,
Randi (and Howard)

P.S.  Attached is a photo of the Passover service, which included also the Hasdei Yeshua Cong in Arad (overseen by Yo-Yakim Figueras and Joe Finkelstein), and another Russian-speaking congregation, also from Arad (pastored by Shimon Pliner).  We are Streams in the Negev!


 
Temple Mount "Trash" Yields 
Ancient Egyptian Amulet
   
Thursday, 21 April 2016 | The thrill of finding a hidden  treasure,buried thousands of years ago, is the  stuff that many a childhood-and grownup-dream is made of. 

For Neshama Spielman, a young girl from Israel, fantasy became reality when she discovered a rare Egyptian amulet while participating in an archaeological dig in one of Jerusalem's national parks in 2012. Four years later, experts this week managed to authenticate the relic as a 3,200-year-old amulet bearing the name of the Egyptian ruler, Thutmose III, Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty, who reigned from 1479-1425 BC.

The verification comes days before the start of Passover, as Israel prepares to celebrate the miraculous liberation of their forefathers from slavery under pharaoh in ancient Egypt and stands as a tangible token of the Jewish people's ancient, bitter-sweet history.

Spielman was only 8 years old when she participated in the Temple Mount Sifting Project, an initiative that invites volunteers and archaeologists to sort through tons of ancient soil removed and discarded from the contested biblical site in 1999.

"While I was sifting, I came across a piece of pottery that was different from others I had seen," Spielman explained, "and I immediately thought that maybe I had found something special."

"It's amazing to find something thousands of years old from ancient Egypt all the way here in Jerusalem!" she shared. "Celebrating Passover this year is going to be extra meaningful to me."

The amulet is in the shape of a pendent with a loop at the top to be strung and hung around the neck, says Dr. Gabriel Barkay, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University and cofounder of the Temple Mount Sifting Project. Measuring 21mm [.83 in] wide, 4mm [.16 in] thick and 16mm [.63 in] long, the amulet is missing its bottom section.

The pendant bears the name Thutmose III written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of the most influential pharaohs in Egypt's new kingdom, historians have nicknamed the ancient pharaoh the "Napoleon of Egypt" because of his ambition to conquer lands and expand his country. In fact, Thutmose III is credited with transforming Egypt into an international superpower.
Asked how the Egyptian pendent could have ended up in Jerusalem, Dr. Barkay explained, "Thutmose III referred to himself as 'the one who has subdued a thousand cities,' and it is known that for more than 300 years, during the Late Bronze Age, Canaan and the city state of Jerusalem were under Egyptian dominion."

The Temple Mount Sifting Project is the brainchild of archaeologists Barkay and Zachi Dvira, who established the program in 2004 in an attempt to salvage proof of the Jewish people's deep historic connection to the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the most sacred site for Judaism and believed to be the location of the First and Second Temples. Yet despite the holy site's importance in Jewish history, no systematic archaeological excavations have ever taken place there, the program's official website reveals.

Muslims claim the site exclusively their own. In honor of the Prophet Mohammad's supposed night time "journey" from Mecca to the contested hilltop in Jerusalem in AD 621, Muslims constructed the Al-Aqsa Mosque there in AD 637 and now hail it as the third holiest site in Islam.

Over the last century, the Muslim Waqf, a religious trust under Jordanian rule, has overseen a number of construction and renovations on the site without the necessary archaeological supervision and control, causing untold damage to ancient remains, the website explains.

The worst of these violations came in 1999, when large scale earthworks using heavy machinery was conducted on the Temple Mount. Roughly 400 truckloads of soil rich with archaeological treasures were dumped in a number of locations.
The Temple Mount Sifting Project was subsequently born with the goal to sort through all the earth from the biblical site in an attempt to salvage as many of the artifacts as possible.

Since its inception some 12 years ago, more than 170,000 people from around the world have participated in the project.  

Spielman's find is far from the only treasure uncovered while sifting through the ancient soil. In fact, it is not even the first relic with an Egyptian heritage that lay buried under the Temple Mount earth. Last year, once again just in time for Passover, archaeologists recovered a fragment of a finger from an Egyptian statue from the time of the Exodus.

God reveals hidden things in His perfect timing (Daniel 2:22). 



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 24 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 817-556-1061 / by email at bentley_kevin@sbcglobal.net.

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

            
              
Here are few brief BOH Updates & Prayer Needs

Pastor Michael Lehnhardt of Chambers Creek Baptist Church recently traveled to Israel to visit with Dr. Liron Shany, pastor of Kehilat Haderech (The Way). Michael shared this prayer request concerning his BOH partners: 
" Kevin, I had the opportunity to meet with Liron at  Kehilat Haderech. H e shared with me that they are about to lose their building and need another location to meet in by the end of May.  There has been resistance from the community in allowing the church to meet in certain locations.  As of now, they do not have a good option besides meeting in the forest.  He asked that I pass this on to you for prayer."  Michael

Please, pray for Kehilat Haderech & the Lord's direction in this serious matter.

Oded Shoshani, Pastor of  Melech Hamelachim (King of Kings) and BOH partner with Hope Church, recently shared this praise report:
"A couple of weeks ago, three teenagers  in our community were baptized . Family, friends, and many congregants came out to witness, support, and celebrate  with the three teenagers. It was a blessing to see youth so  passionate, convicted, and confident, making a public declaration of their faith."

Please, continue to pray for salvation among the younger generations in Israel.

This prayer & praise report comes from Evan Thomas, Pastor of Beit Asaph and BOH partner with The Heights Church of Cleburne:

I n mid-February, I had a nasty accident while riding my bike home from the of fice . A young woman, simultaneously listening to music and texting on her mobile phone, stepped out in front of me, totally oblivious to her  surroundings. To avoid crashing into her I jammed on  the handbrakes and ended up on the pavement, suffering multiple fractures to my left wrist, right shoulder, elbow and rib. Two surgeries later, I am still recovering, with months of intensive physiotherapy still ahead of me. We are grateful for our medical care in Israel, and the fact that this is covered by health insurance. We are also immensely grateful for your ongoing care, concern and intercession on our behalf and blessed to know we have a broad community of people who love and support us. 

Please, pray for Pastor Evan and a full recovery!

  Until we are all ONE! (Eph.2:15) !


ARCHAEOLOGISTS UNCOVER INSCRIPTIONS IN YESHUA'S LANGUAGE

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered ancient epitaphs in both Greek and Aramaic which date back to the first century. The inscriptions were found in a cemetery which is located in the ancient Galilean capital city of Zippori. "Zippori was the first capital of Galilee from the time of the Hasmonean dynasty until the establishment of Tiberias in the first century AD. The city continued to be central and important later on," researchers explained. Four words which are part of the inscriptions were thus far able to be decoded. One word, in Greek, means "Jose," a common Jewish name during the period, the three other words are Aramaic for "the Tiberian," "forever," and "rabbi." Motti Aviam of the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology stated that "the Tiberian" could refer to the hometown of the deceased, Tiberias. The word "forever" denotes that the deceased's burial place will always belong to him. Scholars are unsure precisely what the word "rabbi" meant at the time of its inscription. This discovery is important because it proves the existence of a Jewish community in the region from ancient times -something which the Palestinian Authority continually denies. (Christian Headlines)

Recom Reading List Logomended Reading

This month JCFI encourages you to get a copy of:

by Alfred Edersheim (One of the best known and important references on the life of Christ)


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:
 
Neshamah (nesh-aw-maw') 
breathe or to breathe. The breath of God, the breath of man, the breath of life. Or, the spirit of man.

Can you find this word in the May edition of JCFI News? The first person to tell me where it is receives a free copy of The Prophets Speak
 
Previous Month's Definition is

Pesach (pay' sahk) or Passover

The deliverance of the Israelites from the worst of the plagues of Egypt, and the annual festival kept afterward in memory of the event. Through Moses, God told the Israelites to prepare a special meal to be eaten in haste the evening before their escape from Egypt (see Exodus ), with a whole roasted lamb as the main dish. The blood from the lamb was to be used to mark the Israelites' houses. That night, God would send the angel of Death to kill the firstborn males of the Egyptians (this was the worst of the plagues of Egypt), but God would see the blood on the Israelites' houses, and he would command his angel to "pass over" - to kill no one there. God told Moses that the Israelites were to repeat the meal each spring on the anniversary of their departure from Egypt. The Jews keep the festival of Passover to this day.

Click  HERE  t o see the entire Hebrew Help Glossary!   

Read this month's 
FEATURED ARTICLE

Orthodox Rabbis Bring Jesus Home for Christmas
(by BOH partner  David Lazarus)


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.  

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