23 March 2013

Letting the Little Ones Come – 1st for Tel Aviv!

During our ministry trip to Israel last year, we spent time with some good friends, hearing about a vision God had laid on their hearts to become involved with.  Along with a small group of pastors and other believers, they had begun the work of pioneering Tel Aviv’s first Messianic School – Tikvat Yisrael (Hope of Israel)!

Israel is a modern country, and despite the fact that the Jewish faith defines the majority of people living there today, many of the people are secular or nominal in their religious expression.  From the Government’s perspective, when it comes to education there is an effort made to balance secular and religious beliefs, so mandatory subjects such as the Old Testament can be presented as legend rather than history.  Alongside this watered down approach, there is great opposition to faith in Yeshua (Jesus) within government funded schools.  The need for a Messianic (Christian) School was sealed in one Tel Aviv pastor’s heart when his youngest daughter came home from school crying.  She had been taught that God would only listen to her prayers one day a year, on Yom Kipur (Day of Atonement)!  Within the Messianic community in Israel today, many children are not merely the only believer in their class, they are frequently the only believer in their school.  It is during these informative years of primary/elementary school that children make decisions about life, faith, and social involvement that can affect them for the rest of their lives. 
Classrooms ready to go!

09 March 2013

Celebrating Passover

Biblical Background

Exodus 12 tells us that when the Egyptian Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelite slaves to leave, the LORD sent a series of plagues on Egypt. Just before the final and most catastrophic of the plagues, the slaying of the first born, the LORD told Moses and Aaron how he wanted the community of Israel to prepare. On the 10th day of the month, each household was to take an unblemished year old male lamb and take care of it until the 14th day. On that evening, they had to slaughter the lamb and wipe some of the blood on the sides and top of the door frame of their homes. That same night they had to roast the lamb and eat it with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. Any left over meat had to be burnt up. The LORD told them to eat it in haste wearing their cloak and sandals and with their walking staffs in their hands. It was to be the LORD’s ‘Pass Over’.

‘On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn, and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt... The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.

‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD...For seven days from the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day you are to eat bread made without yeast. .. remove the yeast from your houses... On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day... Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought you out of Egypt...’

02 March 2013

HOPE for Israel

It’s not every day you meet an Arab woman who loves Israel, but while visiting the country at the end of last year, we had the privilege of spending time with Rania Sayegh, a passionate follower of Jesus and a passionate advocate of God’s plans for her precious homeland.

As an Arab child growing up in Israel, Rania was not naturally encouraged to love the Jewish people.  If anything, by the time she had grown, Rania was struggling with a crisis of identity.  She felt like a second class citizen, that the Jewish people did not like the Arabs and felt they were a burden on society.  It was not until God gave her a revelation of His heart for Israel, that Rania found a love began to grow in her own heart, for Israel, for the Jewish people, and a passion for God’s purposes in her country was born!

Nazareth today
Today, Rania is the director of HOPE – House of Prayer and Exploits, based in her home town of Nazareth.  She shared with us, “Nazareth is like a womb – it is here that the Holy Spirit conceived the plan of salvation within Mary, and once again, Nazareth has a part to play in revival being conceived for this nation.”