‘Unbelief’ and ‘Comfortable’ Christianity Fueling Millennial Interest in Occult

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

‘Unbelief’ and ‘Comfortable’ Christianity Fueling Millennial Interest in Occult, Astrology, Pastors Say

(IMAGE: EDWARD HENRY CORBOULD)

millennial’s are increasingly exploring and turning to occultist spirituality and astrology, as statistics continue showing rising numbers of “nones,” those who do not identify with any particular faith. This is in part due to a mindset of fear and unbelief and comfortable Christianity, some pastors say.

Market Watch reported Monday that the psychic services industry grew 2 percent between the years of 2011 and 2016, an industry now worth approximately $2 billion. Also in recent years, according to Pew, the percentage of people ages 18-29 who “never doubt the existence of God” dropped from 81 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2012.

Pastors who spoke with The Christian Post believe the lack of spiritual power and a “comfortable” Christianity in the Church has created a vacuum of sorts, and a mindset of fear has constricted the real power of the Holy Spirit.

“Though some churches do explore the mystical realities of the spiritual realm, they are often marginalized due to misunderstandings or possible lack of biblical integrity,” said Wanda Alger, field correspondent with intercessor’s for America and a pastor at Crossroads Community Church in Winchester, Virginia, in a CP interview Thursday.

“At the same time, the devil can’t do anything new.”

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(PHOTO: RACHEL ALGER)Wanda Alger, staff writer at intercessor’s for America

She noted that Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has “put eternity into man’s heart” and because human beings are made in God’s image and God is Spirit, “our very DNA connects us to the spiritual realm.” Therefore, we have a “natural” desire to know what’s happening in that realm because we were created from it, she added, pointing to how God breathed life into Adam in the creation account and how in John 4:24 Jesus said the Father seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.

“Unfortunately, unless the church provides the proper context for this reality, unbelievers will look elsewhere to satisfy their spiritual hunger,” Alger said.

All other experiences with the spiritual realm — be they from psychics, astrological, or mediums — she continued, are counterfeits, replacing something that is very real and powerful. She mentioned that Hollywood is exploiting this realm with greater attention on the supernatural nowadays which leads unsuspecting seekers into deceptive experiences that yield more spiritual darkness.

“Rather than deeming everything that is supernatural ‘demonic,’ the church needs to wake up to the reality of this realm and begin to approach it from a Kingdom perspective which understands its place and purpose,” Alger stressed.

“The sad thing is that these millennial’s who are exploring the dark side of the supernatural have more faith and belief than most Christians. Because they are open and spiritually hungry, the spirit realm responds. The biggest hindrance to understanding the realities of the Spirit realm is unbelief,” she emphasized.

Ken Thornberg, executive director of Freedom Encounters, an interdenominational equipping and deliverance ministry in Boise, Idaho, concurs.

“By and large, the church does not operate in power,” Thornberg said, “and it actually operates with a lot of unbelief. We don’t want to rock the boat.”

Churches have gotten too comfortable, he stressed.

“We like our tithes and offerings and we can’t afford to lose them and the Enemy has convinced the leadership of the Church that if they begin to walk in signs, wonders, miracles, and healing that it is going to turn people away, when history has shown that exactly the opposite occurs.”

He has observed youth who meet people involved in the occult, witchcraft, and New Age spirituality, who hear stories of supernatural power and are intrigued. “But these are nothing but imitations of what the Holy Spirit can do in people’s lives,” he said.

“But the youth don’t know that because they have not been taught or they have not experienced it. But they want to.”

When Thornberg recounts to youth testimonies of the Holy Spirit’s power and work in the world that he has seen personally, they are wide-eyed and engaged. Many pastors, however, do not go near this out of fear, he noted.

“But my Bible says that the Enemy is the author of fear,” he said.

“When millennials see the faith and the power and the excitement of others in the occult, they don’t see fear, they see curiosity” and an invitation to do exciting things, when such language ought to be coming out of the leadership of the Body of Christ, he said.

He believes that churches cannot afford to ignore the demonic realm especially since in the last several years it has come into the observable dimension of human events.

Alger added: “In our attempt to be Biblical accurate and doctrinally guarded, the church has ended up operating in more doubt and fear than faith. That’s one reason Jesus said, ‘When I return, will I find faith on the earth?'” (Luke 18:8)

Francis Chan Urges Believers to Reject ‘Cop-Out’ Christianity

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

Francis Chan Urges Believers to Reject ‘Cop-Out’ Christianity, Lose Your Life for the Gospel

(PHOTO: PULSE)Francis Chan addresses thousands of Christians gathered at Together 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on July 16, 2016.

WASHINGTON — Francis Chan is calling on Christians to be willing to give up their lives for Jesus and not compromise the Gospel by hiding behind otherwise good causes.

Speaking on the main stage Saturday night on the National Mall before tens of thousands assembled from all 50 states at America’s Tent of Meeting sponsored by Awaken the Dawn, Chan encouraged believers to be willing to lay down their lives for Christ and to not shrink back from being bold.

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” Chan asked, citing the Words of Jesus in Mark 8:36.

“I’m promising you, if you try to save your life, you’re going to lose it, but you’re not going to regret it.”

Chan, 50, who leads We Are Church, a network of house churches based in the San Francisco Bay Area, mentioned that he has reached a point in his life where he’s getting rid of more and more stuff. And there is no point in trying to have it all, he said, and protect ones life from all possible forms of suffering.

“We live in a time when Christians are starting to change their theology because they’re ashamed of the Words of Jesus Christ, because it’s not popular,” Chan continued. “We can busy our lives with good things that aren’t the most important thing, and I feel like there’s a cop-out in Christianity today.”

Many are willing to care for the poor, fight human trafficking, and work toward racial reconciliation, he added, and he counts himself among such people. And those are all good, important, biblical causes, he said.

“But I’m just noticing that there are very few people who are spreading the Gospel,” he said impassionedly. “And I think I know why.”

“I’ve never been persecuted for feeding the poor. I’m applauded for that. No one’s persecuted me for my fighting [against] human trafficking. They applaud me for that. No one gets angry at me because I want unity in the Church, racial reconciliation or even reconciliation between denominations.”

Persecution comes, Chan said, when he shares the core truths of the Gospel that are not politically correct.

“When I tell someone that they are by nature an object of wrath, and that they have to stand before holy God and that there is no name under Heaven by which you can be saved except by the name of Jesus Christ. And when I call out sin for what it is in Scripture, I get persecuted.”

“And there are times when I am ashamed of the Gospel,” he admitted, “and I’ll cower and I’ll shrink back and I won’t say everything God calls me to say.”

Those other things are noble and godly, he reiterated, but it’s easy to hide behind them and refrain from sharing the Gospel.

“You will lose your life, you’ll lose your reputation,” he said, “And my stance on morality, in a city like San Francisco,” but I don’t want to be ashamed.

“But I don’t want to be ashamed of Jesus and His Words, because I don’t want Him ashamed of me when He comes.”

He pleaded: “All I want to do tonight is just beg you” to lay it all down for Jesus.

He urged the crowd to read the Bible for themselves, saying it’s impossible to read it cover to cover and think that there will be no judgement.

“Guys, it’s time for us to hurt again,” like the Apostle Paul who wrote of his “anguish” for those who did not know Jesus, Chan said.

“I know it’s not fun. But if we’re going to lose our lives the Bible says when you do that, that’s when you’re going to find it.”

The Americas Tent of Meeting will continue throughout the weekend and conclude on Monday.

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(Philosophy/Poem) The DACA Tragedy

The DACA Tragedy

 

 

Dream on dream on, you thought you had a life here

The only home you have ever known to be taken away

Cast you into the sands of a land you have never seen

Un-Godly these cold callous acts being put against thee

The Pope is correct when he called out evil by its name

 

Learn our language work hard stay out of jail to no avail

A Christ filled heart Trump nor Sessions have ever known

With hatred the Statue Of Limitations never does run out

Cold hearted and callous beneath your white bed sheets ye be

Tearing the Nation apart for donations and political points

 

True path to citizenship for these children is the Godly way

Hypocrites speak not of Christ’s love for the poor and the weak

With rifles stuck in the backs of the children you choose to chase away

Democrats and Republicans neither is a Party any kin to God’s love

Your like the ancestors who sent the ship of Jews back to Hitler to die

 

Dream on dream on of being citizens in the land of the free and the brave

Businesses exploit your dreams as they treat you like modern-day slaves

Learn to live in the shadows so that INS or ICE does not scurry you away

Raised here is not good enough if you don’t have Trump or Sessions skin

With kindness and compassion we should act like we love Jesus once again

 

 

Is Elon Musk A Genius An Idiot Or Maybe Both?

Is Elon Musk A Genius An Idiot Or Maybe Both?

by oldpoet56

 

I have never met the man Elon Musk but I have read quite a bit about him during this past year or two. So, I do not know him personally so the best I can do is to garner what I can from him through his quotes. Personally I have no doubt that the man is a genius as far as his IQ is concerned. I have learned during my time here on this Earth that a person can be brilliant yet still do and or believe things that are just plain stupid. I also have learned that a person with a very low IQ can sometimes come up with great ideas, sometimes things in life simply are defined by the angle or the light in which one looks at the issue in question. This article today is going to be my opinions that I have taken from an article that I read this morning in ” livescience.com “. This article is one that I reblogged earlier this morning if you wish to read it before or after you read this article. When I write articles it is always my wish and attempt to get folks to think, to stretch their minds beyond their everyday plain, this article will be no different. I am not really saying that you need to agree with me but I hope you will take a couple of moments to consider what I am laying out for you to think about. This article today is one that does concern every ones life and their Soul.

 

The Science article I mentioned to you a moment ago is concerning a company that Mr. Musk owns that is called ‘Neuralink’. Mr. Musk’s ambition with this company is to develop a “Ultrahigh-Bandwith Brain-Computer Interface.” Mr. Musk says one of the purposes is to ‘accelerate human evolution.’ He is not seeking to create pure machines like you see in the Terminator movies or even in the Will Smith movie simply called, AI. Mr. Musk says that “he sees a real danger in Artificial Intelligence” he has called AI a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.” I believe that he is correct there as science, which is often pushed by military government funding seeks to have pilot-less aircraft, not just Drones, but also big Jets, folks the Navy has a sailor-less battle ship! Of course that will then lead to commercial airlines getting rid of all of their pilots. Think about it, driver-less cars, tractor-trailer units, driver-less trains. O yes, we already have this technologies don’t we? Think about factory jobs for a moment please. When I was in my teen years my Dad worked at a Chrysler Assembly plant in northern Illinois, back then the assembly line had far more employees putting together the units than what you see these days. Now machines directed by computer brains have replaced most of those ‘human’ jobs. Machines, computers don’t have Unions, don’t ask for pay raises, paid days off, overtime pay, medical benefits and that list goes on and on. Why let a human do what a computer can do much cheaper, and in most cases, better?

 

Evidently Mr. Musk is concerned that we humans, starting with the poorest, weakest, least educated will only be a burden on society (the wealthiest people), if you are not a positive to society, why should you be allowed to live off of someone else (the rich)? What was Arnold’s phrase, ‘you have been Terminated’? Mr. Musk believes (and he is trying to accomplish this through his Neuralink Company) “that the best way to keep pace with the machines intelligence is to up grade human intelligence.” In the good ole days wasn’t that called going to school and getting the best education that you were able to get?

 

From a pure science perspective Mr. Musk is correct on a couple of different plains. I believe that he is correct about his concerns regarding AI. Do you not believe that the servant can become the master? Could the humble public servant (politicians/bureaucrats/police) ever dare to become the master over the people? We already have, and we have had for many years now the integration of computer chips for people. It started out with chips for our pets so that they don’t get lost from us. Then we went into chips for new-born babies, just in case they ever got lost or stolen. Then came the chips for employees and their convenience. We have had little ‘brain’ chips for well over a decade now. Neuralink and Mr. Musk are now simply trying to stretch the human-computer ‘interface’ as he puts it. There will soon be a day where if you are an employee or if you are an office supervisor of importance that the company will require you to have mandated chip technology in your hand or you can’t get the job or the promotion. If you don’t think that what I am saying to you is logical or true, my friend it is you who are living in a fantasy world, not me.

 

This last paragraph is going to be from my Christian Biblical viewpoint. We are told several times in the book of Revelation about the ‘Mark of the Beast’ being put into our hand or into our head, we are told that if we humans allow this that when Christ and His Angels return that we will die twice. The first death is when this body dies, the second death is when God severs His relationship with us and cast’s us into Hell for all eternity. Many will say things along the lines of ‘what has the Mark of the Beast got to do with computer chips’? I know that most folks still do not realize what ‘Armageddon’ really is. Scripture is very plain that Armageddon is when the Nations of the Earth and their Armies fight against God and His Angels at the Second Advent of Christ. We are also told that the people who are found to have the mark of the Beast in their hand or in their head will be totally crushed as if in a wine-press. Friends think about it for a moment, it is the governments which at that time will be led by Demons and Satan Himself that are going to fight against God, so yes, the governments will be even more wicked than they are now. Friends the mark of the ‘Beast’ is not the number 666, no where does Scripture say that it is. Simply there will come a time when 10 governments will control almost all of the globe and these 10 governments will sit upon the 7 Continents. Then the power will be consolidated into 3 all-powerful governments, then into one. Six is the sign of man, three is the sign of God. The world will have 3 all-powerful governments that are ruled by 3 of Satan’s top Generals. 3 Men who will try to take the place of God, as if they are God’s. Then they will give up their power to the 1 true Anti-Christ, Satan Himself. 3 Men (6’s) who would be God (3’s) if they could. Friends, all I can say to you as I close this article today is please for no reason ever allow anyone to ever put any kind of chip into you, please.

If We Are A Racists, We Are Nothing But Luke Warm Water To Jesus

Racism And Jesus

 

Racism is hate and if you believe in Jesus, in Christianity, then this hate can be no part of any of us. Jesus was a Jew folks, he would have been Mediterranean brown, not a white boy. Here in America and a few other places around the globe there are people who call themselves ‘White Supremacist’, ‘Skin Heads’, ‘Alt-Right’ and or members of the KKK. I know very well from my travels all around this country that there are people filled with racial hate of every skin color, not just these white folks. There are also many people who are hate filled that use their religion to spew their hate, violence and murder. To me one of the things that I have never figured out is hatred of others within the Christian communities such as Protestant’s killing Catholics and vise versa. There is no such thing as “in the name of Christ I kill you.”

 

Up until the moment that Jesus rose from the chains of death the only people in the world that had any chance of salvation were the Jewish folks, not the Greeks, Romans, Brits or anyone else. When Jesus rose from the grave He broke the bonds of death and He ‘grafted’ all of the non-Jewish people into the safety of His arms. Jesus made it very plain to His Apostles and Disciples that they were to go and teach the Gospel to all nations, all tongues, all people so that they also could receive Salvation that it was no longer just to the Jewish people. People whom call themselves Christians yet will not invite a person of another nationality or skin color into their home or to sit with them at their supper table are delusional in thinking that these actions, this hate is ordained by Jesus. You will not find anywhere in Scripture where racism is ordained by God.

 

Jesus died on that cross to open up Salvation to all people of the Earth. If we are filled with hate toward other people over something they nor we have any control or say over, like skin color or the country we were born in, we are condemning our own selves to Hell. Folks if we say and believe in Jesus as ‘The Christ’ and we say we are followers of Christ ‘Christians’ yet we are racist or hate filled of others then we are nothing but ‘luke warm water’ to Jesus! For those who do not understand this meaning I will try to help bring its meaning into focus for you. In the Book of Revelation Jesus said that as Christians He would rather we be hot or cold for if we are luke warm He will spew us out of His mouth. Being hot would be being a very devout follower of God’s teachings. Being cold would be someone who is a Christian in their own mind yet never acted like a Christian or even let the people around them know that they were a Christian. Being luke warm is being a ‘fake’ Christian, a person who only acts like a follower of Christ for a couple of hours on either Saturday or Sunday morning. These are the people who during the rest of their week talk filth, lie and steal and tell racists jokes or have racist hatred in their actions toward other people, yet say they are a Christian. The people who do these sort of things drive the people around them away from considering becoming a Christian because of their horrible examples. Also, people who act like this tend to ‘drive away’ new and/or weak Christians. A luke warm Christian will be found guilty of not only their own blood being condemned they will be held accountable for the blood of all of those you chased away from the Cross of Christ. We cannot serve God and the world at the same time, either we are one or the other. If our heart is filled with hate, we have already made the decision that we have chosen the Devil over God.

(Philosophy/Poem) The Beginning Of Sorrows

 

 

THE BEGINNING OF SORROWS

 

For those who seek God in all they choose to do

Fear not when you are brought before the judges

When you are beaten and jailed, do not fear them

Speak exactly what God’s Spirit gives you to speak

These words shall be a testimony against them

Your words will give Spiritual freedom to you

 

 

Brother shall for sport, kill their own brothers

Fathers filled with rage shall kill their own children

You Child, be wise, seek The Lord God in all that you do

Fear not even though you will be hated above all Earth’s people

The Lord fulfilled The Law, His rest He takes He takes from them

Do not live like a fool, await His return through love and faith

Stand fast, live your life with your heart and Soul ruled by God

 

 

Before the final Tribulation, horrors we shall all see, do not fear them

Upon the Temple Mount, the Devil has planted His Throne and feet

Upon Earth’s skies, no light shall be seen as Satan’s Evil Reign Begins

The Lord will shorten days upon the Earth, no Saints would be found

God’s Holy City, Jerusalem, not one stone shall remain upon another

These Child are the beginning of the Human Race’s greatest sorrows

Question your own mind child, are these Beginnings what you now see

Walk Toward The Light That Is Jesus

Walk the Line The Lord has given

Lord please guide me with Your Light

That my foot doth tread upon Your Rock

Please keep my toes from out the mud

Please keep the sheets clean upon my bed

When I go out deep in the night

Please keep a lit lantern in my hand

With my old eyes I stumble and fall

There’s many a bruise upon my head

Though I try to walk a path

That’s straight, dry, and lit

To every side I still do slip and fall

Sometimes I wait to pray till after I’m bit

Many a time, backwards I have fallen

Our Lord’s hand keeping me from the pit

Why is a straight line so hard to walk

Lit by The bright Light that can not be hid

Do not step to the right nor the left, my friend

Though short skirts, cocaine, and money may thrill

This same combination can be lethal to life and limb

Making ones mind like the grain beneath the wheel

Walk straight your path with lantern in hand

Walk a straight path toward the Light on the Mount

The light that is The Son Of Man!

Queen Piggy

 

Queen Piggy was a pretty little girl

We inherited her when cancer

Took her mommy from this earthly world

She was a mere six months old

When she came prancing and dancing

Into our family’s little fold

She was so cute you just had to hold and love her

For wherever she was, she always stole the show

Everyone who cast their eyes upon her

Would soon lose their heart to this hairy little girl

For 18 years she ruled our home

To her, every hand was a friend

For everyone always wanted to

Pet her or hold her,

Even with her snarly little grin

You see, Queen Piggy was a Pekingese

With smashed snout, hairy little toes

And her toothy little smile

Everyone that she met was now

Her newest best friend

We loved this little girl

As to our home, light she did bring

But now it’s the Angels turn

To smile with Queen Piggy

Tucked up underneath their wings

Here on earth we will always miss her

For all the smiles she did bring

But who am I to complain of missing her

For last night in my dreams

I saw Piggy fast asleep being petted by our Savior

There upon His knee

Christians Must Think Differently About Israel, Jews in Light of Past Atrocities

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

Christians Must Think Differently About Israel, Jews in Light of Past Atrocities: Gerald McDermott

 

Jun 22, 2017 | 10:05 AM

 The majority of Christians have been wrong about Israel for most of their history, according to a leading Anglican theologian and Israel scholar.
(Photo: Reuters) An Israeli flag flies high in Tel Aviv, December 28, 2010.

For many reasons, Christians ought to think differently about the land of Israel and the Jews as God’s covenant people, Gerald R. McDermott, Anglican chair at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, explains in a new book.

In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, McDermott explained that his latest work, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land, articulates why it’s important for believers in Jesus to engage Israel with the utmost humility. This is necessary not only because of the geopolitical complexities present there but especially because “the Jews have been horribly wronged by Christians over the millennia.”

(Photo: Courtesy of Gerald McDermott)Gerald McDermott, author of Israel Matter: Why Christians Must Think Differently About the People and the Land.

“Even before the Holocaust, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Jews were murdered over the last 1,800 years by Christians as “Christ-killers,” McDermott said, noting at the time of the Holocaust Germany was the most Christianized nation in the world.

“Jews know these things and are afraid of us,” he said.

The error in thinking that Jesus departed from Judaism and began a new religion furthers the distance between Christians and Jews and makes Jews into an “other,” he said.

Yet in the past several decades, especially in the United States, a resurgence of what is known as Christian Zionism, the view that the land of Israel and ethnic Jews remain central to God’s eternal purposes, has occurred.

McDermott did not personally subscribe to this perspective because he associated it with dispensationalism, theology that considers biblical history as divided intentionally by God into specific ages to each of which He has allotted distinctive administrative principles. This teaching was popularized in the 1800’s by Anglo-Irish preacher John Nelson Darby.

But all that began to change for him upon doing further study of the Bible and history and he found that throughout the ages a minority has believed that one day, in accordance with Scripture, a massive in gathering of Jewish people to their historic homeland would take place.

(Photo: Courtesy of Gerald McDermott)Cover of the book “Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land,” by Gerald R. McDermott.

He realized he did not have to accept a dispensationalist approach to regard the land and people of Israel as an essential component of God’s ongoing work in the world. Nor did he have to subscribe to the often wild, apocalyptic end times scenarios some Christian Zionists have espoused in the past.

In Chapter 3 of Israel Matters the author showcases “Those Who Got It Right.”

From early Church fathers like Tertullian to more recent figures like American theologian Jonathan Edwards and Swiss theologian Karl Barth, each of these men believed that a day would come when the Jews would return to their ancient homeland.

During his ministry Edwards repeatedly warned against spiritualizing biblical promises to the Jews. When the modern state of Israel was established in 1948 Barth wrote that it was a “secular parable” and that the large numbers of Jews returning to the land was a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

As is expressed throughout The New Christian Zionism, a volume of Christian scholarship on Israel released last year for which McDermott was the editor, Israel Matters argues strongly against supercessionism. This is also known as “replacement theology” which holds that the Church replaced Israel as God’s chosen people.

Today, what is known as “fulfillment theology,” which some assert is merely an updated form of replacement theology, also holds that Jews do not have a God-given destiny in their ancient land. But instead of the Church replacing Israel, its proponents contend that Jesus fulfills in his life and redemptive work all the promises that God ever made to the Jews, including the promise that the land of Canaan would be their everlasting possession.

This theology considers the land insignificant and that the only Jews who are now significant to God are Messianic Jews, those who believe Jesus is the Messiah.

But several passages in the New Testament suggest both beliefs are wrong, McDermott explained.

“Paul says in Romans 11:28 that the Jews who did not accept Jesus as Messiah were ‘enemies of the Gospel’ but nevertheless ‘are beloved’ to God, and that their ‘gifts and calling of God’ to be His special people ‘are irrevocable,'” he said.

Moreover, the Apostle Paul was writing to the Romans 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection but even then was still saying that God’s covenant with ethnic Israel remains in place. This did not mean that all Jews were saved, but that they were still special to God in a particular way.

Likewise, in his Beatitude in Matthew 5:5, Jesus was quoting Psalm 37:11 word for word when he said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the [earth.]” The Hebrew word for “earth,” which is used five times in Psalm 37, in every one of these five instances in Psalm 37 refers to the land of Israel, McDermott continued. So the Beatitude is better translated, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Land.”

And in Acts 1:6, “when Jesus’ disciples asked him just before his ascension, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ Jesus did not tell them they were wrong to think there would be a future Israel that God would establish,” he said.

“Instead, He (Jesus) said that the timing of that future was not to be known then.”

(Photo: Reuters)People walk near Damascus Gate leading into Jerusalem’s Old City, 2017.

In addition to the theological objections McDermott unpacks in the book, he explores the modern political history of the region, which is often characterized by intense and bloody conflicts.

Yet unlike some Christian Zionists who appear to think that the nation of Israel can do no wrong, McDermott is not afraid to criticize the Israeli government when it’s warranted.

He acknowledges in the book where Palestinians have been mistreated at times, how the Israeli government has broken promises, and how certain policies have been unwise. He also writes that the state of Israel should do more to protect Messianic believers. Whether an unjust action is perpetrated by a Jew or an Arab, he says, Christians need to feel free to raise their voices to criticize whoever is responsible when it is clear such an injustice has occurred.

Although imperfect, the state of Israel, “an oasis of freedom and democracy in the Middle East,” is inextricably linked with the Jews, McDermott insists.

“Even if the covenanted people of Israel and the state of Israel are not one and the same, they are intertwined in a complex way,” he writes in the book.

“The state could not exist without its people, and the covenanted people could not survive or flourish without the state. The state shelters the people, and the people — though not all are religious Jews — support the state. One without the other is unthinkable and impossible.”

For Christians who care about the Palestinians and their rights, McDermott encourages them to visit Israel since tourism helps everyone there, and to support the largely-unreported incremental steps Israel is taking to improve the lot of Palestinians.

(PHOTO: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN/FILE PHOTO) The facade of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel as seen on Jan. 20, 2017.

Written in a scholarly yet accessible tone, Israel Matters is likely to be a important resource for Christians looking to bring their faith to bear on current events unfolding in the United States and in the Middle East. Earlier this month President Donald Trump signed a waiver delaying the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, skirting a key campaign promise that he might or might not revisit.

CP asked McDermott if moving the embassy would constitute a blessing to Israel, as some scholars have argued.

Such a move would “help the cause for peace, not hurt it,” he replied.

“First of all, it would be the simple recognition of reality: Jerusalem and no other city is Israel’s capital,” McDermott said.

“Second, the Palestinian leaders are thugs who would realize by this move that they can no longer dictate as they did to Obama, whose policies hurt both Jews and Arabs.”

The only hope for improvement is for [Palestinian President] Abbas to understand that he has to talk to the Israelis and moving the U.S. diplomatic outpost to the capital would signal to him that he can no longer circumvent the Israelis and try to get what he wants from the United Nations, he added.

Aside from the fulfillment of prophetic scriptures and political considerations, Christians need to think differently about the people and land of Israel because Jesus was and is Jewish, McDermott stressed. And in order to relate to Jewish friends, getting in touch with His Jewishness is essential.

“The Jews were raised up by God as representatives of humanity,” McDermott said. “So that if the Bible shows their departures from God, it is really illustrating ours.”

“Jesus prized Jewish law, said that salvation is from the Jews, predicted that one day Jerusalem will welcome Him, and foresaw that His Apostles will one day rule over the tribes of Israel,” McDermott said.

If Christians begin to think they are somehow better because they believe in Jesus as Messiah and the Jews do not, they fail to understand God’s grace, he added.

“When we realize how profoundly Jewish Jesus was and is, we will feel greater kinship with those for whom Paul said he had ‘unceasing anguish in his heart.'”

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Why Korean Missionaries Wish They Were Still Imprisoned by the Taliban

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

CPCHURCH & MINISTRIES

Francis Chan Explains Why Korean Missionaries Wish They Were Still Imprisoned by the Taliban

Jun 4, 2017 | 5:07 PM

New York Times best-selling author and popular Christian Pastor Francis Chan was a featured speaker at an annual Christian persecution conference on Saturday, and shared details of a conversation he had with a Korean missionary imprisoned and nearly executed by the Taliban in 2007.
(PHOTO: PULSE) Francis Chan addresses thousands of Christians gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.c. for Together 2016 on July 16, 2016.

Chan, who is the author of the popular 2009 book Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God and is the co-founder and former teaching pastor at the Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, spoke for about a half hour at International Christian Concern’s The Bridge 2017 conference, which this year was hosted at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

Chan, who is also the founder and chancellor of Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, referenced Revelation 5:8 to speak about the importance of learning “obedience through suffering,” a concept that many Christians in the West may not be able to grasp by living their lives in comfort.

He also touched on how Christians are to obey the command given in Hebrews 13:3 — “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

“I believe that to remember [the persecuted] well means we care and we try to ease their pain and suffering,” Chan said. “But I think also to remember them well means we enter into their suffering and maybe some of us sacrifice our civilian affairs because we know we are living way too comfortably right now.”

Chan wondered if Christians who have never faced true suffering for their faith could be missing out on an opportunity to have an even deeper intimacy in their fellowship with Christ.

Chan then shared a conversation he had with one of the 23 Korean missionaries captured and held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2007. Chan explained that when he visited Seoul for the first time, he had dinner with the missionary who detailed the the willingness he and some of his colleagues had to suffer for and with Christ.

Chan did not name the missionary or explain when it was the dinner took place.

“He talked about how they got into this argument because they found out that they were going to be killed one at a time. This man I was having dinner with was saying to this other guy, ‘Look, I know they are going to kill us one at a time. I die first,'” Chan recalled. “The other man said, ‘No, I die first.’ [The first] guy is going, ‘No, I am your elder. I die first.’ Then, the other man says, ‘No, you have not been ordained as a pastor. I am an ordained minister. I die first.’ That man was the first one that was executed.”

Two male hostages were executed before a deal was reached for the group’s release by the South Korean government. One of the martyrs was 42-year-old Pastor Bae Hyeong-gyu and the other was 29-year-old Shim Seong-min.

Chan explained that the missionary he spoke with also told him that some of the 16 female missionaries imprisoned with him and the other six male missionaries have told him since they returned to Seoul that they wish they were still captives of the Islamic extremist group.

Chan quoted the missionary as telling him: “‘These women that were in these camps with us, they come to me and they say, ‘Pastor, don’t you wish we were still imprisoned by the Taliban?'”

“They tell me, ‘When I was surrounded by these soldiers, I felt the presence of Jesus in there with me. Now that we are back in Seoul, I am trying to experience that intimacy with Him but I can’t. I fast and I pray and I don’t feel it. I would rather be back there because of the intimacy I had with him.'”

Chan then suggested that the presence of Jesus that these Christian missionaries felt while they faced the threat of execution is probably similar to what certain martyrs in the Bible experienced before they were killed.

“How great is Jesus if there is nothing better on this Earth than that intimacy and sharing the suffering. … It totally makes sense to me biblically,” Chan explained. “That’s why Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into this pit of fire and suddenly, the king is like, ‘Wait, why are there four people in there? Who is that fourth one?'”

“That’s why Stephen, when he is about to be stoned to death, goes, ‘I can see Him,'” Chan continued. “Is there a special fellowship that we share in that suffering that we will miss out on because we just think comfort is everything and we just want to pull everyone into our comfort and into our civilian affairs rather than joining in their suffering and losing our life so that we can actually find something so much better?”

Chan then concluded by citing Revelation 2:10.

“Be faithful, even until death,” Chan said. “That is a beautiful thing in the eyes of the Lord.”

“I don’t know about you, but the Lord is working my heart. I know what it looks like here in America, but I don’t think I want to end so comfortably,” he added. “I am scared of suffering but I think I am more scared of comfort. I want to join the Apostle Paul. I want to join Jesus. It doesn’t make sense to the world but it makes sense in the world if there is a resurrection today.

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