“Who would have believed our report? And to whom hath the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he shot up right forth as a sapling, and as a root out of a dry ground; he had no form nor comeliness, that we should look upon him, nor beauty that we should delight in him.” Isaiah 53:1-2 (The Israel Bible™)
The young pastors visiting the Western Wall. (Courtesy)
As 30 young handpicked pastors from the United States and Canada wrap up a life-changing first trip to Israel, they now prepare to renew their focus on Israel in their preaching back home.
Eagles’ Wings is a global movement comprising churches, ministries and leaders that emphasizes interfaith dialogue and humanitarian care. Reverend Robert Stearns, founder and executive director of Eagles’ Wings, led the group throughout the holy land for a trip that began on February 1 and will end this Saturday. For Stearns, introducing the land of Israel to others is “one of my most favorite things in life to do.”
“There’s something amazingly special to bring people to Israel for the very first time,” said Stearns in a YouTube address before he departed. “It’s always special to go, but the opportunity to bring people to the holy land on their first experience is just a special joy. I will always remember my first trip to Israel, my first time in the land.”
According to Adam Mesa, the Creative Culture Pastor of the Abundant Living Family Church in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Israel is already a topic that is frequently discussed at the church where his father is the head pastor.
“We talk through the scriptures about Israel,” he told Breaking Israel News. “We pray for Israel, [participate in the] national day of prayer, we pray for Jerusalem, and we just did a 21-day prayer fast one whole topic was on Jerusalem and peace in Jerusalem.”
Adam stressed that Israel will necessarily become an even greater focus in his church after this trip. Reverend Stearns for his part, also reflected on the importance of pastors having a solid foundation for preaching about Israel early on.
“It’s important that they have this experience when they are young rather than waiting until they are in their late 50s or 60s for their first tour of the holy land,” he said.
“If they wait that long, they would lose 30 years of their lives in which they could have had the opportunity to preach and inform others about that connection and experience with the land as well as that encounter with the land of Israel, the people of Israel, and many times the God of Israel for the first time.”
The young group of pastors visiting the Knesset. (Courtesy)
Likewise, for Jakob Pilz, team member of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO, the trip has had a significant impact on his connection with both Israel and the Jewish people and has “made everything come more alive.”
“I’ve always had a heart for Israel and for the Jewish people,” he told Breaking Israel News.
As with Adam, Jakob’s church already places major emphasis on the importance of Israel and Jerusalem.
“Every Tuesday, it is an encouraged fast day at my church, and a day that we specifically focus on Israel with three two-hour sessions where we pray specifically for Israel and for the peace of Jerusalem,” he continued.
For Jakob, who is originally from Austria, the trip has helped motivate him to act more on behalf of the Jewish people.
“With the Holocaust, it’s been important in schooling, but this trip has made my heart be more vigorous to get the message out and to be more pro-Israel and stand with the Jewish people.”
Reverend Stearns also reflected on having felt Israel come alive on his first trip to the holy land.
“I remember this feeling of saying, ‘Oh my goodness. So many things make sense now,’” he related. “That first trip changed my life completely.”
“I remember feeling like Israel was this missing piece of the puzzle of my life, of the bible, the puzzle of church history, and the puzzle of the global geopolitical story,” he added. “There were so many things that I understood when I came to Israel and so many things became clear and made sense.”
Such was the case for Paul Deary, senior pastor of the Hillside Church in Sellersburg, Indiana, who did not know any Jews growing up in South Africa.
“The big connection point on this trip has been the people,” he said. “Rubbing shoulders with the Jewish community on a daily basis has expanded things and given me a love for the people, a heart for the people.”
The young pastors visiting Independence Hall in Tel Aviv. (Courtesy)
For others on the trip like Jason Tourville, a third-generation Evangelical pastor serving as the senior pastor of the Shrewsbury Assembly in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, the visit solidified all that they understood from the Bible.
“From a Biblical standpoint, and certainly from a humanitarian standpoint, evil expands when those who consider themselves good people do nothing in the face of evil.”
Another senior pastor, Art Garcia of The Bridge Buena Park in Buena Park, CA, said that the trip has been “incredible.”
“As a Christian, I feel connected in Israel,” he told Breaking Israel News. “You can’t have Christianity without Judaism, and you can’t have the completion of Christianity without Israel.”
The sentiment expressed by Art is exactly why, according to Stearns, it is important for young Christian leaders and pastors to visit the holy land.
“For so many of them, they know the God of the Bible but it’s different when you encounter the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the land itself.”
Trump hails ‘big week’ for historic move; ‘Congratulations to all,’ he tweets ahead of May 14 opening
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gives a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 11, 2018, ahead of its opening on May 14 (Screenshot)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.
“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”
‘Next time in Jerusalem,’ jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; hundreds jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’
Netta Barzilai after winning the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 12, 2018. (AFP/ Francisco LEONG)
Israel won the Eurovision song contest for the first time in two decades Saturday as singer Netta Barzilai clucked and bucked her way to the top of the international song contest with women’s empowerment anthem “Toy.”
Backed up by three dancers, her trademark side buns featuring stripes of pink dyed hair to match her pink-and-black outfit, Barzilai busted her way through “Toy” on stage in Lisbon, Portugal, punctuating her singing with her trademark eye rolls and chicken dance moves
Quoted by US president one day, hosted by Russia’s president the next, PM is on a high, including in the polls. But will this encourage his more divisive tendencies?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Victory Parade marking the 73th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
JTA — On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.
The same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel seized Iran’s archive of its military nuclear program in Tehran and spirited it to Israel, a video was posted of IDF soldiers singing Soltane Ghalbha, a traditional Persian love song – in Persian.
Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.
Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.
Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.
While US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China.
The Chinese evidently see their role in Afghanistan as the “good cop” versus the U.S. role as “bad cop.” Like Pakistan, China seems to view the Taliban as the political opposition, not as a terrorist organization, and has offered itself as an intermediary to negotiate the departure of the U.S. and, thereby, be in a position to reap the economic and geopolitical benefits of Afghanistan as a client state of the China-Pakistan alliance.
Reuters/Ipsos set a new standard this week when it condemned its own polling as unreliably favorable to the president.
“This week’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political release presents something of an outlier of our trend,” stated a paragraph that appeared before the press release on its latest polling even began.
“Every series of polls has the occasional outlier, and in our opinion, this is one. So, while we are reporting the findings in the interest of transparency, we will not be announcing the start of a new trend until we have more data to validate this pattern.”
For the sixth Friday in a row, protestors from Gaza came to Israel’s border with intentions to penetrate it. They come with scissors to cut through the fence, with burning tires, Molotov cocktails, slingshots with rocks, and kites with firebombs attached to them to destroy Israeli farmlands and villages.
This is not some peaceful demonstration akin to Selma in the 1960s when blacks were simply trying to sit together with whites at a lunch counter. The usage of the word “demonstrators” is a misnomer; these are “rioters.”
What would happen if the world took Pope Francis’ advice (via a tweet)? “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war,” said the pontiff.
While on the surface, the disappearance of all weapons might suggest the inability to do violence, in reality, it would mean the certain annihilation of the West as a civilization.
When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.
Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.
“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.
“Your threshing season will last until your grape harvest, and your grape harvest will last until the time you plant. You will have your fill of food, and you will dwell securely in your land” (Vayikra 26:5).
This blessing is promised to the People of Israel on condition that, as a unified nation, they observe the laws of the Torah and live by its spirit. Its promise is quite surprising. Not only will the Israelites have plenty to eat but, as the verse clearly indicates, the Jews will experience an overflow of food. The first season, when produce is brought to the threshing floor, will last until the days of the grape harvest, which in turn will continue into the planting season.