The Father’s Hand of Protection

By Jerry Pierce • June 17, 2016

Father holding son

In this article, which first appeared in the May 2016 edition of Decision Magazine, Pastor Dale Evrist explains the unwavering protection God offers through Christ. Find hope in this message, even if you don’t have an earthly dad to celebrate this Father’s Day.

The picture of Shaun Cunningham’s outstretched arm shielding his young son’s face from an errant baseball bat at a March 5 spring training game between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates quickly went viral on social media.

If a picture is really worth a thousand words, surely none of those words were as rich in meaning as what Landon Cunningham, a 9-year-old Braves fan, said about the prospects of danger from flung bats and foul balls at baseball outings.

Shaun Cunningham deflects a flying bat to save his son, Landon, from certain injury.

“As long as I’m with my dad, I’m OK,” he told the Ocala Star-Banner in Ocala, Fla.

Dale Evrist, pastor of New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tenn., and author of a book on God’s protection of believers called The Mighty Hand of God, would agree.

When Evrist saw the photo of Shaun stretching out to shield his son—who was looking down at his dad’s phone when Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz’s bat went flying toward the stands—he almost immediately thought of theological parallels.

“If an earthly father’s instinct in protecting his child enables that father in a split second to ward off a projectile coming at his son to do him harm, and if we serve the God and the Father of the How Much More, then how much more will your heavenly Father give good things?” Evrist told Decision, quoting from Matthew 7:11. “He knows the bat’s coming. He’s the helicopter over the parade. He declares the end from the beginning.”

Evrist acknowledges that God’s plan often allows suffering, and sometimes tragic death, yet God’s economy seems to allow for more protections from natural calamities and human evils than the believer likely realizes.

Scripture is full of instances in which God protected His people—always with His divine purposes in mind.

  • In Exodus 14:21-31, God is described as fighting for Israel as He divides the Red Sea as a means of their escape from the pursuing Egyptian army. Though often stiff-necked, Israel is God’s chosen vehicle for bringing forth the Messiah.
  • In Joshua 2, God rewards a fearful and repentant prostitute, Rahab, for her faithfulness in hiding the Hebrew spies by sparing her and her family while the rest of Jericho perishes.
  • In 1 Samuel 7, the Lord observes Israel’s repentance from idol worship and blesses them with victory and protection over the Philistines for the rest of the Prophet Samuel’s life.
  • Psalm 91 waxes effusive about God’s protection, characterizing the Lord as a refuge, shelter and dwelling place, an avenger and a saving source.

In Acts 9:15, the Lord says that Paul “is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” Although Paul and all the other apostles except for John died as martyrs, Paul’s life had God’s protection amid shipwrecks, a stoning, beatings, venomous snakes and other threats until his work as a missionary was fulfilled. He suffered but was not crushed.

Evrist notes: “When the servant of God walks in faith and obedience, they are indestructible until God’s plan for them has come to completion.”

Where Prayer and Protection Meet

Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in suburban Memphis, admits he doesn’t comprehend why God allows evil in one place—he mentioned the church shooting in Charleston, S.C., last June as an example—yet stops it in another.

But he’s grateful in those times of protection, all the same.

Gaines is adamant about the role of prayer in the life of believers. He authored a book study, Pray Like It Matters, which is used in churches across the country. And he is certain prayer mattered on Easter at Bellevue.

Some 75 people gathered the Saturday before Easter to plead for the safety and spiritual condition of each person attending Easter services the next day. Such prayer over each seat in the worship center is a weekly work of a small but committed team of church members.

Prior to the final service March 27 at Bellevue, which draws more than 6,000 people each Sunday, a greeter noticed a man carrying what looked like a partially concealed pistol.

She quickly notified a security officer, who stopped the man. After a brief conversation with the man, the off-duty Memphis policeman discovered that a bag the man was carrying contained a rifle and a large amount of ammunition.

All the while, the third service was delayed in starting because a woman had fallen and was receiving medical attention near the sanctuary exit the man was attempting to enter. Her accident kept him from entering the service.

“I don’t understand it,” Gaines said. “And yet I do believe that we are to pray for protection. … In no way do I think we prayed better than some other group of people who experienced tragedy. But I do believe that all Christians ought to engage in fervent prayer for protection.”

Gaines said authorities believe the man was delusional, and it was unclear what his motives were, but Gaines is certain the potential for bloodshed was averted.

The right response to such protection, Gaines said, is thanksgiving and praise.

“The Bible says in Psalm 127, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain’ (NASB). Ultimately, the Lord is our protector.”

Right Alignment, Right Assignment

The character of God is on full display in the Psalms. In Psalm 121:1-3, the psalmist writes of Israel: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber.”

In the same way that Israel had a divinely ordained assignment to bless the nations with God’s salvation, each believer has a God-ordained assignment as an ambassador of Christ that includes promises of protection.

Second Thessalonians 3:3 says, “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.” In His model prayer, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, “deliver us from evil.”

Again, Evrist emphasizes, “When the servant of God walks in faith and obedience, is the enemy looking for ways to take us out? Certainly. But I really think in most cases he needs our cooperation, where we put ourselves in harm’s way by not being in the right place and doing the right thing.

“When you really start crunching the numbers, you find that far and away, most Christians can point to a place where God’s hand of protection was evident. You can go through World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan—so many stories of people saying ‘I shouldn’t be here today. God’s hand really protected me.’”

Ultimately, God has the prerogative over our life and death.

“And so,” Evrist says, “we can take comfort in knowing that if someone is walking with God and God’s plan for them really has come to completion, and that their life on this earth is over, I can completely live with that.”

This article first appeared in the May 2016 issue of Decision Magazine.

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With Brotherly Devotion

Seven men continue a beloved friend’s missionary work in Costa Rica

 

APRIL 25, 2019 BY JOHN VANDENOEVER

Locked inside a chain link fence in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, is a dismal pile of rubble. Seven men stare at the debris, wincing at what’s become of the skate park they built a year ago. There had been so many children, laughing and challenging each other, gliding up the ramps to do jumps and tricks. But before long, the top layer of the skating surface began to chip away, worsening until the park became unusable. Now the children stay outside the crisscrossed fence, pressing their faces into the openings for a look inside.

Seven men from South Carolina, and one from Costa Rica, pray about the next day’s cement work at the skate park in Puerto Viejo.

 

Within the fence, the seven men shuffle around to the back of a low cinder block building—First Baptist Church of Puerto Viejo—where they enter a graveyard of discarded wooden ramps. They look over the frayed pieces they labored so hard to construct, the surfaces coming undone, the layers peeling away. Joseph Hayes, whose wrists are tattooed with broken shackles, shakes his head. “It’s such a disappointment seeing them stacked like trash.”

The men are from Beaufort, South Carolina, a place of such natural beauty that this town on the Caribbean coast is hardly an upgrade. They met at church but travel as His Kids Empowering Communities, an organization formed several years earlier by two disparate forces—the diminutive, cantankerous Ken Gagne and the broad-shouldered, gregarious Michael Mackewich. While Michael was a financial services advisor with a talent for collaboration, Ken was 20 years older, a jack-of-all-trades with a particular way of doing things. Though he took some getting used to, Ken proved to be a passionate, unifying force. Today, on the one-month anniversary of his death, the team carries on. In solidarity, they wear black Costa Rica T-shirts with Ken’s name printed in memoriam on the left sleeve.

Discarded wooden ramps from the skate park project.

“Ken worked ’til the day he went to the hospital,” says Gerard Moreira in his raspy voice.

“He had an infection in his heart,” explains Josh Ward, the team’s youngest member. “He was working a week into it, describing it as flu-like symptoms.”

But Ken refused to go see a doctor.

“Yeah, that infection he had was for a minute,” says Gerard. “Maybe if we could have…” He pauses, thinking. “Maybe if he’d got checked …”

While in the hospital, Ken stopped eating. Then he had a stroke. Nobody was ready for him to go.

At Ken’s funeral, the Puerto Viejo team were his pallbearers. They wore their black Costa Rica T-shirts. And Ken did, too. “He was a servant,” says David Felver through his big, dark beard. “He had a heart for God. But the first time I met Ken, I said, ‘There’s no way in the world this grumpy old man and I are going to get along.’”

“He really didn’t deal with a whole lot of people because of how his personality was,” adds Gerard. “But once he loved you, that was it. Then he loved you.”

“He loved talking about the trip and the projects,” says Mike McCaskey, who next to Ken and Michael has traveled to Puerto Viejo the most.

Michael Mackewich, co-founder of His Kids

“Well, he was going to move here,” adds Michael. “That was his goal.”

Puerto Viejo is known for its clear water, great surf, and laid-back ambiance. Its main street runs along the beach, and on it is a cluster of shops and restaurants, with more bicycles and foot traffic than motorists. In the center of all the bustle is the church, on a corner where all day long buses hiss to a stop, their doors opening to a fresh batch of sojourners. Teenagers and younger children roll by on bikes and skateboards in a constant flow of activity.

“I don’t have the credentials to be a pastor,” says Orlando Brown, a transplanted Jamaican with a bushy goatee, now a resident of Puerto Viejo. “But I pastor the kids on the street.” It’s long been Orlando’s dream to care for these local kids and divert them from the drugs so prevalent in their community. “I was like them. They need the gospel. That’s what they lack—the gospel and love.” He removes a section of fence for the Beaufort team so the work can begin. The kids have been climbing over it anyway, anxious to get their skate park back.

 

Ken Gagne came to Christ late in his life, perhaps a decade before he started making trips to Latin America. Never married and childless, he was used to having things his way, which often made him impatient with children.

Orlando Brown, a fixture of the church in Puerto Viejo.

“There was a story told at Ken’s funeral,” Mike says. “Our pastor was brand new. He had a son who was probably 9 years old.” He goes on, explaining that there were three boys—the pastor’s son and two others—throwing a football around in the hallways of the church school. Ken had run into them earlier, making it clear they were not to throw the ball inside. But when he was out of sight, they threw it again. “And Ken steps out from around the corner and grabs it with one hand. I think he had a knife in the other, and POW! Popped it. Then he says, ‘I told ya’ll not to throw this ball around here.’”

The group roars with laughter.

“With the new pastor’s son!” says Joseph.

“Welcome to Beaufort,” adds David.

But over the years, Ken developed such a heart for kids that, the way the men tell it, you would never put the old Ken together with the new. What had changed?

“That first missions trip,” says Joseph.

During their stay in the Limón Province, the His Kids team continued their ministry to the Bribri people. Here, cement is lifted to fill a pillar for a church building.

Mike agrees. “Coming down here and working with these kids.”

 

Later in the evening, the team joins their church-planting friend Jeffrey Bejarano at a large building with steel rafters near the Panamanian border. It’s night two of the “Noches de Milagros” evangelistic services. “This is very remote,” says Michael. “The people here likely don’t have a Bible, and the church is only 7 months old.” These conditions make the In Touch Messenger invaluable to Jeffrey, who’s distributed about 150 of them over the last two years. When Michael heard about the Messenger, he knew it would be a tremendous fit for Costa Rica. “Dr. Stanley’s messages and the Bible? What else could you need? It’s even got a flashlight … and it’s solar-powered.”

Though the skate park occupies most of the team’s time and energy this week, His Kids is forming partnerships throughout the region, watchful for opportunities that will give children a safe place to play, grow, and hear about Jesus.

As the sky darkens, the band warms up inside, and Stephen and Mike mingle with the young people. They’re sharing the Messenger in one of its newest forms—a bottle-opener-shaped USB drive that flips open to reveal a micro SD card, perfect for a cellphone. Through a Spanish translator, Stephen and Mike take each recipient through the Messenger’s contents. Their supply of devices runs out quickly.

A USB drive with audio Bible and lessons from Dr. Stanley.

Mike remembers a Christmas in Beaufort when they’d promised 100 bicycles to local kids. The bikes were ordered, but only half of them arrived in time.

“Ken met me at another Walmart with his trailer and bought the other 50,” says Mike. “We submitted the receipt, but then Ken calls the church bookkeeper and says, ‘Don’t worry about paying me.’”

“That was Ken,” Gerard says, smiling. “He did a lot of things that your left hand wouldn’t see your right hand doing. That was a good dude.”

 

Throughout their stay in Puerto Viejo, the team shovels up gravel and chips away old concrete, making way for a fresh pour of concrete on their last day. They set two-by-fours in place and measure out level pour lines with string. There are complications with the delivery trucks and a deficit of tools for the job, but the men are resourceful, retrofitting ordinary garden rakes to function as spreaders and smoothers.

And they remember Ken.

Worship at the “Noches de Milagros” event

“The six months leading up to this trip, every Sunday morning I would have to fight to get into church,” says Mike. After the two men shook hands at the front door, Ken would start in on a litany of thoughts he had about pouring the concrete in Puerto Viejo: “‘We got to put it down and put it down right. We got to wet it every day for two weeks and stay off it.’ It was like that every Sunday morning for six months.”

“The man could build anything,” says Gerard.

“Or he could figure out how to do it,” adds David.

“He didn’t need plans and that kind of stuff,” Mike remembers. “He planned it out in his head. We didn’t know what was in his head—but he’d let you know if you weren’t doing it!”

And in his unorthodox way, Ken united them.

“After we went to Costa Rica, the very next time I saw him, he comes over and hugs me,” says Stephen. “And I thought, Wow, he’s never done that before.

“That’s my experience as well,” David says. “After the trip, the hugs started.”

Local youths watch expectantly as cement is poured for their new skate park.

 

When the day arrives for the new skate park surface to be poured, the men stand with their long-handled tools, watching the sun rise as they wait on the white-and-red mixer truck coming down from Limón. Then, as the truck slowly backs through the gap in the fence, its front wheel drops through the street with a loud crack. “Are you kidding me?” Mike groans, staring down at the hole. Somehow the driver maneuvers the truck out of it and with a flurry of movement, the men place three thick boards, reinforced by a sheet of steel, over the hole. The temporary repair holds through all three deliveries.

It seems all of Puerto Viejo stops to witness the work, taking snapshots on their cellphones and buzzing about the changes. And once again the children hook their fingers through the chain link, as Gerard directs the mixer and David spreads the sliding concrete along the long floor until it’s packed and smoothed.

There’s a lot left to do. Just as Ken discussed every Sunday morning, the concrete must be kept moist and left alone to dry as it should. And six months or a year in the future, the His Kids team will return to install the new skate ramps.

“We have to come back,” says a determined Joseph. “The skate park is not finished.”

Sunday morning worship with Joseph Hayes, David Felver, and Ricardo Vargas, Jr., an invaluable Costa Rican partner of the His Kids team

Mike agrees, “It’s important to get this job completed because it was important to Ken. It’s a way to honor him.”

“He would never stop,” says Gerard.

And neither will this team. They share a dream not just of a busy skate park, but of an educational center for the kids of Puerto Viejo and communities beyond it. “There’s a long-term vision and many different projects that we have,” says Michael. “The Lord has put it on our heart, and we’re committed. And there’s probably another six to ten people that wanted to go on this trip, who are already talking about the next one.”

Until then, the children of Puerto Viejo have a wide, smooth surface to skate and play on, plus a safe and welcoming space for Orlando and the church as they serve and love their community. But the skate park is not only for the children. “The parents of many of these children are kids themselves,” says Orlando. “If we do this the right way, we will have the mother and the father come to watch their kids. And we will share the gospel with them, too.”

 

Photography by Ben Rollins

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/in-focus/with-brotherly-devotion

When Father Fell off the Pedestal

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.” Daniel 9:9 (NIV)

I grew up thinking my father was the coolest guy around. Being in the insurance business, he never met a stranger. At six feet four inches, everyone remembered him. He had a repertoire of corny jokes and loved to play pranks on the family. His favorite one was yelling for us four kids to “Hurry and get out of bed, because I just saw an escaped elephant in our backyard.” As we got older his announcement was, “Oh look it snowed.” Snow was almost non-existent in Northern California, but he knew it was the best way to get us out of bed in the winter. When we did have snow, he was outside in his Bermuda shorts, messing around with snowballs that he aimed at the first person out of the front door. He never quite grew into his grown-up shoes.

He could cook and whipped up gourmet meals before it was chic for men to show up in the kitchen. He had majored in hotel administration in college and because of his major, he had to learn to cook. It opened the kitchen to my father’s creativity. We were so proud when he was featured “Cook of the Week” in our local Palo Alto Times and had an entire page with all his exotic recipes such as Swedish Meatballs and Chicken Curry. (Remember this was the ’50s and ’60s.) I have early morning memories of him getting up before anyone else, putting on coffee and reading the paper. I’m sure he cherished a few minutes of quiet in our cramped little house. By the time we kids were up, he had chocolate chip pancakes or eggs and bacon frying on the electric grill. I know my father invented chocolate chip pancakes because it was years before I saw them listed on a restaurant menu.

Even with his gourmet bent, my father would eat anything. Many a night I remember him snacking on a Velveeta cheese, mayo, and peanut butter sandwich. I shudder to think how that might have contributed to his premature death of heart failure. And I gag, thinking what a horrible combo of foods to stick between two slices of white bread.

As lighthearted as he was, he had strong feelings about politics. The one big talk I remember him sitting us down for was to explain the horrors of communism. We knew it was a serious subject as he called us all into the living room for counsel. Dad was rarely serious.

One day, the pedestal cracked and my father tumbled down. I saw my father as a mere human. Somehow he had hidden the unhappy in his marriage to my mother and decided to divorce her and marry another woman. Heartache followed all of us as we knew our family would never be the same. It took many years for our mom to move forward.

But, as I think of this verse in the book of Daniel, my memory of my father is warm. He was a flawed human and did damage to our family, but right before he died he told me he had made peace with the Lord. God is merciful and forgiving. I know I will meet Dad in heaven. I’ll find him playing practical jokes on St. Peter and inventing unusual sandwiches.

Copyright © 2013 Carol G. Stratton, used by permission.

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VIDEO A Thirteen-year-old is Threatened While Standing For Life in the Womb

By Jake MacAulay – June 15, 2019

Addison Woosley, 13, spoke out during a Raleigh, North Carolina, city council meeting Tuesday. Woosley called for an end to abortion and to make Raleigh a “sanctuary city for the unborn“.

“Abortion should be illegal because it is murder. The definition of murder is the killing of one human being by another,” Addison said. “There’s no way around it. Abortion is murder. So, why is it if an infant is destroyed before birth, there is no problem, but if killed after birth, it’s considered a brutal murder?”

The truth of Miss Woosley’s assertion can easily be seen in America’s founding documents. In the Declaration of Independence, our founders were acknowledging a “self-evident truth” wherein they stated:

“All men are created equal with certain unalienable rights.”

Did you catch that?  They were not “born equal,” but rather “created equal” by their Creator with certain unalienable rights – chiefly life.  And we all know human beings are created in the womb of their mother.

“On ultrasounds, the baby tries to move away from the disturbing instruments that try to kill the baby,” Addison said, “The baby’s mouth opens wide in a scream when being killed. These babies are alive. They feel being killed. It hurts them and there is nothing they can do about it.”

“Are you choosing to be like the plantation worker flogging the little black child,” the girl asked the council, “Or are you going to protest even if it cost your life like Martin Luther King, Jr.?”

In reaction to the middle schooler’s oration regarding the protection of the pre-born, shouting progressively became louder until her voice was drowned out altogether. Despite looking understandably frightened, Addison Woosley wrapped up her speech confidently and walked alone back to her seat where the thirteen-year-old girl was berated and jeered at by adults in the crowd.

I want to personally and publicly thank you, Addison Woosley, for your courageous, selfless stance against the abominable practice of infanticide. You have been thrust into this hostile war on your generation and you are responding like a boss.

Yet, despite that and against the odds of our morally depraved culture, you are willing to fight for the lives of the defenseless.

“You shall not murder” is as pertinent today as it was when God created us with the right to life. Our founders acknowledged that the “Supreme Lawgiver” created this law as a protection for His creation, and violation of His law results in personal and societal consequences.

When we abandon God’s Word, we abandon all rationality. Instead, we have chosen to prop up an abstract morality full of contradictions and deceit.

Addison is right; chattel slavery and infant murder have always been, and will always be, an abomination.  Justifying one over the other and maintaining “freedom for the people” is outright duplicitous and diabolical. Rather than threaten this thirteen-year-old, Americans ought to concede to her godly, constitutional wisdom.

Schedule an event or learn more about your Constitution with Jake MacAulay and the Institute on the Constitution and receive your free gift.

 

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VIDEO When Orthodox Jews Oppose Followers of Jesus

By Dr. Michael Brown – June 9, 2019

For several decades, I have drawn attention to the Church’s historic persecution of the Jews in Jesus’ name. It is one of the ugliest and longest chapters in Church history, and it cannot be downplayed, forgotten, or ignored. With God’s help, I will continue to call out “Christian” anti-Semitism wherever I see it today. But I will not ignore Jewish persecution of Christians. It too must be called out.

In the Gospels, Jesus and His followers, all of them Jews, were persecuted by hypocritical Jewish leaders, ultimately leading to the Lord’s death on the cross. And that pattern continued in the Book of Acts, where the Jewish leadership stood in opposition to the message of Jesus the Messiah, sometimes persecuting His Jewish followers to the death (see Acts 7).

Some even stirred up trouble wherever these Messianic Jewish emissaries went to share the good news (see Acts 17), and this continued in the centuries that followed, with some documented cases of Jewish leaders siding with local efforts to persecute Christians.

Of course, no amount of Jewish persecution of Christians can justify the horrors inflicted on the Jewish people by professing Christians, including torture, exile, being forced into ghettos, being burned at the stake, being offered baptism or death, and much more.

And it is an open secret that the Nazis drew on Martin Luther’s anti-Semitic writings to help enflame German hatred against the Jews.

None of this can be denied, nor should it be denied. To the contrary, we must be ever mindful of this tragic history lest we repeat it in our day.

But, to say it again, when there is Jewish persecution of followers of Jesus, that must be called out as well, especially when it takes place in Israel.

It was a radical Jew who delivered a bomb, disguised as a holiday gift, to the house of Ami Ortiz, the son of Jewish Christian parents. He miraculously survived the bomb blast, which took place in 2008.

But this act, extreme as it was, was not in isolation.

As reported by Time Magazine in 2008:

Messianic Jews, as these Jews who believe in Jesus are called, number just a few in Israel — anywhere between 6,000 and 15,000 — but they provoke hatred all out of proportion to their meager numbers. Many orthodox Jews view them as traitors for joining the Christian faith, which for centuries has persecuted Jews. One Messianic Jew, Tzvi Sadan, a teacher and editor, recalls telling his father, a Holocaust survivor, that he had accepted Jesus as his savior. ‘My dad flipped out. He said that the SS guards in the camp had ‘God Is With Us’ written on their belts. He told me, “You’ve joined the enemy.” But he calmed down a bit when he saw my prayer shawl.’” (What Sadan means is that he didn’t stop being a Jew by following Jesus.)

Over the years, Messianic Jews have suffered different levels of persecution within Israel, although none so violent as the bomb attack on Ami Ortiz.

But there have been protests and even vandalism at Messianic Jewish meeting places, attempts to get some believers deported, and various threats and harassments.

Virtually all these acts are carried out by ultra-Orthodox Jews, who view “missionary” activity as diabolical, destructive, and dishonest. As some of these protestors once chanted outside of a large Messianic Jewish gathering I was attending in Israel:

“Hitler wanted our bodies. You want our souls!”

Today, as the number of Messianic Jews in Israel has risen to about 30,000 and as the society at large is much more open to these Jewish believers in Jesus, opposition from ultra-Orthodox Jews continues to rise. (For my little run-in with some ultra-Orthodox protesters last year, see here and here.)

As my friend and colleague Ron Cantor reports from Israel (with a video link worth watching):

“Believers attending a Messianic concert last week in Jerusalem were accosted by dozens of Orthodox Jewish protestors, who held a violent and chaotic riot for hours, calling the people ‘missionaries’ and ‘Nazis,’ and telling them to get out of Israel. They held up several signs saying, ‘Beware, Missionaries!’ in Hebrew. In Hebrew the world Missionary is a slur. Of course, we are not missionaries, but citizens of Israel.”

Again, I understand how these protesters view us. As a rabbi said to me decades ago:

“Our ancestors died rather than believe what you believe. Yet, without coercion or pressure, you not only believe in Jesus, but you try to proselytize as well.”

But, to say this yet again, none of this justifies the actions of these protesters, who were held back by police.

Ron writes that:

“Jenya Lempert and his teenage daughter were accosted by swarms of young men blowing whistles at excruciating pitches and linking arms to block the entrance into the concert hall.”

As Lampert told KNI News:

“It was a pure act of hatred. They hate us, they were standing against us, they brought their minors as human shields.”

Indeed, Ron explains:

“Orthodox protesters have been known to bring teens, who have more liberties than adults to break the law.”

But his response to all this is right on:

“It is important to not get angry but pray. At the same time, understand that this is pure fanaticism and brainwashing of children. However, it only represents a tiny minority of Israelis.”

And how should Christians around the world respond to these harassing acts?

First, they should pray for the believers being persecuted, sending them a message that they are not alone.

Second, they should pray for the repentance of the persecutors, believing that there are many Sauls of Tarsus among them.

Third, as friends of Israel who appreciate the liberties that the nation affords its citizens, they should encourage the government to stand with those who are being persecuted to send a message the government will not tolerate this kind of behavior.

All that being said, my personal expectation is that the final generation – whenever that will be – will look a lot like the Gospels and Acts, except that in the end, there will be mass acceptance of Jesus by His own people, rather than mass rejection.

May the Lord turn the hearts of His people Israel!

(If you’ve never been to Israel and want to experience the tour of a lifetime, join me there next May.)

 

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VIDEO 100,000 at Bonnarro Encounter Evangelism Explosion

By Larry Tomczak – June 17, 2019

The largest camping music festival in North America had a sell out attendance this year of 80,000 alongside 20,000 staff gathering outside Nashville. Scores encountered the love of God and the transformative message of the gospel.

“I was so lonely. I thought no one cared for me. I met believers around the tent. They showed me how to receive the love of Jesus.”

“I could feel darkness all around me. Then I met the Jesus people and they led me to Christ. I could literally see the darkness cloud leave me.”

“I went to church but was religious. Then I met ‘fired up’ Christians at the outreach tent. I had never witnessed this before. I wanted what they had and I prayed and my life is so different now!”

 

Last year over 750 conversions were recorded at the event! Multitudes were baptized in water.

With our nation in one of the most turbulent times in its history similar to the Revolutionary War and Civil War periods, Christians are awakening to our sacred responsibility to evangelize the lost. Legislation and education are extremely important but only regeneration changes lives and can lead to a desperately needed Third Great Awakening.

Jesus showed us the way by His example in lifestyle evangelism. He said:

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk.19:10).

Because He directs us as leaders to “be examples to the flock” (1Pet.5:3), we who are pastors shouldn’t delegate the task to an “evangelism team” while secluding ourselves to study and prepare sermons. I count it an honor to join leaders in our city on the front line of missional living.

Enjoy these pictures from our adventure in lifestyle evangelism. Gain fresh inspiration from the video followed by a message from the born-again mayor who’s a catalyst for our being on the grounds. Note how important it is for Christians to be salt and engage in the political process to strategically put people in positions of influence.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?… How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring good news of good things!” (Rom. 10:14-15).

Original here

Unqualified verses Qualified

Feels like you have jumped the queue, uncertain that you really truly can’t meet the demand of what you’ve been called to do.

by Petula Hippolyte

Unqualified verses Qualified

Has there ever been a time in your life, when it comes to your studies, that you continued to fail? Never got past the halfway mark to qualify. Missed out on crucial points to get you to the next stage. The feeling of failure and realizing that you just ain’t that good at academia. Often basing our worth on what we feel we should  be achieving because of our comparisons to our peers, friends, and associates.

I remember being told at one point in my life, that because I did not go to University and did not obtain a proper Degree, that I was less than another person. I was being compared to somebody else and it felt awful. I was being told indirectly that I had no value and there was nothing I could do about it, quite frankly. Feeling like a nobody, I went through life, trying to achieve success and always giving up halfway and allowing their voice in my head, to keep repeating the negatives into my life.

 What your doing is not as important as what I am doing’  ‘ You don’t even have a degree ‘.

I gradually worked out understood why it was happening… I noticed when I doubted myself when attempting to do something. I felt that same feeling of worthlessness when I was struggling to learn a new thing. When it came to studies, I shied away from booking the courses that interested me, because I thought I would fail, yet again.

However, when I became a believer, a major breakthrough happened in my life, something that completely turned my life around, in terms of what I thought about myself. God not only revealed to me what I was gifted at. He brought me back to a time in my life as visions, when I would see myself writing, from as young as 13yrs.

Of course! My first thought was, I write because I enjoy it, I did not see it as something special. Though God had a different idea, he revealed he was going to use me with my writing to encourage others, to give them hope. Scripture tells us God does not call the ‘ Qualified ‘ he calls those who are not and for the first time I felt like a somebody and not a nobody, who had not achieved much. When indeed  I had been given a gift that I did not have to study for, bust my guts over revision timetables for. No sleepless nights and early morning rises.

When God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, Moses was living a life of obscurity at that time.. He knew Moses had a heart for people and had credible standing at one point in his life and so God decided to use. Moses of course lamented.

‘ I am a nobody God ‘ …’ I am not qualified God’

But God was using Moses for his credibility, not Moses’s. God was using him as an example to those, who did not believe what God could do.

 

Original here