Sneak preview of Christian television in Bethlehem

Well, last year I was ready to fly home and see family for Christmas.   I am trying to pack in getting lots of things done before going, in particular, getting someone to check my mailbox and pay any bills, buy presents, host a party at my house with some of my other single friends for shabbat.

In addition to that, I wanted to meet up with my friend Peter Friedlander who is a photographer and video producer, he was at my church which runs a training school for students looking to enhance the work of the Christian ministry they work for by producing video content.    Once qualified, Peter has used his skills to do video work for a Arab ministry to witness to people in Bethlehem, Jesus’s birth town which today is a bustling Arabic city which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

As tourism is probably the life blood of the economy of Bethlehem, of course you will see more Christmas decorations out in the street than anywhere else in this part of the world, however just like commercialised western Christmas there maybe little in common with celebrating the birth of the Jewish Messiah, regardless of what time of the year he may of arrived, and more like a giant Woolworths in the middle east. :)

http://peterfriedlander.org/no-room-for-christ-in-bethlehem/

A few dozen reasons Christians living in Israel is great

I could of called this list 20… or 101 reasons……   I didn’t want to stick to a particular number, here is many blessings I’ve experienced in the 52 months I spent volunteering in Jerusalem:-

Things I’ve discovered:-

  • Bus drivers don’t let you sit down before the start driving off
  • Using rep training means I can better represent this country to those not aware of Israel’s background
  • The Shuk is the most fun way of shopping
  • Understanding different types of anti semitism in other ways, some more discreet, not just from the Nazis and Islamic world
  • Seeing Barry and Batya Segal play Hebrew worship music live at my church
  • Finding that cooking chicken is dead easy when you have a slow cooker.
  • Sitting in garden during lunch break observing blackbirds, green parrots, woodpeckers and jays, and also an elderly bad tempered black Persian cat known as Mr Fluffy
  • Going on a Zealous young adults group around different parts of the country
  • Visiting Nazareth and Capernaum and imagining Jesus spent 17 years of his life in mostly secular work and bible study before doing ministry at 30
  • Going hiking in the Galilee, Golan, Mount Hermon or the desert.
  • Fixing an iPhone with a smashed screen with $15 worth of parts from ebay and watching instructions on Youtube from some else who did it
  • Hebrew worship music
  • Praying at the Kotel, aka the Western Wall
  • Watching how firemen use special tools on opening the doors of a rental car in the Galilee when someone locked the keys inside
  • Having my elbow healed from a tibular break after falling over onto snow in the UK
  • Floating in the Dead Sea
  • Seeing local Israeli live bands, then they recognise you as you have been to 3 of their gigs
  • Teaching friends how not to get ripped off by crooked taxi drivers
  • Sitting by the edge of the Kinneret
  • Learning Hebrew, mostly only enough to know how to buy stuff in shops, and read the signs in the bus station
  • Hanging out with friends drinking wine on my balcony
  • Sitting on Ben Yehuda with an Arab believer friend who loves Jewish people
  • Cycling to work past famous places
  • Watching Jerusalem’s first formula F1 race
  • Independence day parties
  • Got to know an Iranian believer who loves Israel on Facebook, and now praying him for to be released from prison, his crime is being a believer
  • Learning how to build a whole email infrastructure from scratch with a free certification from Google
  • Spying on Google, yep I saw the outside of their offices in Haifa from a train
  • Seeing flowers in the ponds and waterfalls of the Golan
  • Listening to street musicians
  • Sliding down the snow at Mount Hermon
  • Falafel, nuff said
  • Giving away an old laptop computer refurbished out of bits of two broken ones, to an Ethiopian community centre
  • Playing chess in coffee shops with friends
  • Visiting a friend in Switzerland who I met at my church here in Jerusalem
  • Watching the view from the Tayelet of most of Jerusalem
  • Then also watching the view from the Mount of Olives
  • Observing Yom Kippur and then getting something to eat to break the fast
  • Crossing over into Jordan and visiting Petra with the Indiana Jones music on my ipod
  • Inviting a American Messianic Jewish friend to sleep on my couch who I only knew from his writings in the internet
  • Seeing exotic coloured fish through a glass window into the Red Sea
  • Humous, the chilli or lemon stuff is the best
  • And of course, Shabbat, hosting or being hosted by others.

Disturbing toys for Arab children – Little Tykes Jihad

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These were all taken by me in Jerusalem’s Arab quarter of the Old City, there’s often quite a few shops that sell toys and games here.  I mean Arabs and Jews have larger (5-10 kids is not unusual) families then Westerners.    This sign points towards the Al Aqsa mosque past this row of vendors of market goods.

P1070158I guess this mini laptop teaches Koran and Islamic theology to kids?

This below picture really is proof that teaching war and hatred to kids is very real problem here.   Look closely and this Chinese made toy has pictures of lots of Muslims bowed in prayer and kids dressed up in a costume consistent with Jihad terrorism.

After all many people in the west are only upset when the US, Israel and Europe take action against Islamic terror, when actually there are more people killed from Arab versus Arab wars.

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I think mostly the world will turn a blind eye and think its someone else’s problem.

As a believer in Jesus, my God loves Arab people and children, more and more people today in the middle east and elsewhere are leaving Islam and finding a saviour that loves them.

I make a habit of praying over Muslim children that I see here, that they wouldn’t be brainwashed into any kind of hatred.   Matthew 18:6 warns of harsh consequences of those who abuse children in any way.

Jerusalem Knights event 2013

I was really pleased to go to this popular event in Jerusalem’s old city:-

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This big crane was by the Jaffa Gate, this was holding two cage like structures, as you can see these three women doing this gymnastics on wires event, looks very difficult!!   On top of this, the top cage, contains a man playing the drums!!

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A short walk on, and we are entering the Armenian quarter of the old city, I am not sure if these men were Jews, Arabs, Armenians or foreigners.   These people were playing a small ukelelle, a regular guitar and bag pipes!!

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This man is playing a horn – in reverse!!  not sure what this is, it makes a flute type noise.

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These are my new (ish) friends from work.  I’ve seen some of my other really close friends who have been here for sometime have now left, but these guys are great fun to explore with from Canada, South Africa and Japan.   This was an arm extended self-shot which I didn’t get myself in, oh well.

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These people are funny, looks more like Elvis on stilts!!

P1070153This event was maybe a little bit smaller than last years event, but still really enjoyable.   Theres about three events like this a year, which turn the old city into a vibrant out-door theatre.

here’s a post I did about 2 years ago:- http://britinjerusalem.com/2010/10/22/jerusalem-knights-outdoor-holy-land-theatre/

May 2013 plans and studying

Not written much in a long time, will try and catch up with some writings of what I have been doing.

Next week I’m studying for a theology course I am doing with Bridges for Peace to be a better advocate for Israel and all things biblical.

Please pray for this to go well, its going to be hard work as its likely I will be in class from about 8am till 9pm at night.

I have all visa paper work from now until February 2014 which is a huge blessing.    Thanks for your prayers.

Jonathan

Cannibalism in Isaiah?

The civil war that’s been happening in Syria has meant 40,000 people died in 2012 alone, and tragedy continues on a big scale this year.

This was most disturbing, an act of cannibalism between one Syrian man and another.   Fortunately this link has nothing too unpleasant shown.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/05/14/video-syrian-cannibal-rebel-eating-dead-soldier-heart-surfaces-leads-to-outrage/?intcmp=trending

Normally I don’t report on this kind of thing, the reason being is that I have just read this week in Isaiah this reminded me of this:- (blue text is mine)

Isaiah 49:26
I will make your (Israel’s) oppressors eat their (Arab Muslims) own flesh;
they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine.
Then all mankind will know
that I, (Jesus) the Lord, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Syria remains a huge worry for Israel as a massively unstable neighbour which has been confirmed to have chemical weapons.   Are there recent Christians converts in Syria?  I’d like think so, but I don’t know any ministry brave enough to go there.

In a perfect world with these troubles over, I think Damascus, Homs and Aleppo would be great places to visit, the history there seems fascinating, but I’m not hopeful this will ever happen.

Jerusalem’s Old City music event

P1060612Actually those lights I mentioned wasn’t that unusual.    Its my camera which is a bit rubbish, its some coloured lights glowing from this:-

There was a musical festival in Jerusalem’s old city walls, consisting of artists who were both Jew and Arab, a nice evening for me and some friends to take a stroll around the evening.   In fact, pretty much forgot about the whole Obama visit thing.

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Outside Christ Church.

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Jordanian bikers come for the day.  Take a close look at this guy’s jacket.  Its extremely unusual to Jordanian plated vehicles here.   Not sure if these chaps were part of the entertainers.

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P1060624The Cardo, behind the stone pillars were these guys.   One of them looks like a kind of Robert Smith of the Cure.  I had visions of the Cardo becoming a sort of biblical style mosh pit.   :)

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Beautiful music and beautiful instruments from Jewish, Arab and Armenian Christian residents of the Old City.

Strange bright light from Jerusalem

In Isaiah 62:1 it says: For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.

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So whats this bright thing I saw from the Jaffa Gate entrance of the old city?    The barriers are from where much of the centre part of town was cordoned off from Obama’s visit.

I was just coming out of my bible study group and on the way to the pub when I saw this….

more tomorrow….

Bats in Jerusalem

After a day of cycling past workman set up decorations and security arrangements for the US President visit, go to work, read in a coffee shop (normally do this from 5pm to 7pm on certain days)  then go to a bible study, then head to a bar and have a beer with some friends afterwards, I grab my bike and head back past David HaMelech Street, I see a bat fly in the street in big circle, quite different from a bird.

I then saw it disappear into a small tree, thinking to myself there was no way I can ever spot this creature in the branches, I walk my bike underneath it, I quickly grab my camera and shoot directly up above me, as I am right under the tree, thinking it would probably get spooked by the flash.

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Can you see him?

There is plenty of old buildings they can roost in as well as a trees.  I have seen them hover around palm trees, not sure if they are attracted to palm dates or insects there.

bat

 

Obama’s first visit to Israel

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This week, there is a lot of buzz around Jerusalem as US President Barack Obama comes to visit.

The logistics in handling a guest like this seems mind boggling.  The above big poster was torn a short time after this was taken.

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On Monday, I go past the famous King David hotel to go to work on my bicycle.   There are rows of tents with air conditioning set up, as Obama is staying here.

Large chunks of the centre part of town are cut off as Obama and 500 of his staff are here, requiring a mammoth security set up with police and military people all over, closed roads (at one point Highway 1 – the 35 mile motorway that goes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was shut) I don’t think at any given time in modern Israel’s history has anything has to be planned quite like this.

This is what the King David normally looks like:-

On Tuesday, I go to a bible study a few hundred yards from here.

Today I heard on the news that during talks, Obama can call Netanyahu ‘Bibi’  - seems that the US Pres ought to be a bit more savvy with being formal than this.    Wonder if its ok from Binyamin Netanyahu to called Obama ‘Barry’ or ‘Bazza’ or something.  ;)  although I pray that the Lord would speak to him and reveal to him to continue to stand alongside this nation.

For me, I’m looking forward to when another great leader comes to town to visit; our Messiah Yeshua, or Jesus is more familiar to the English speaking world, Jerusalem is due for a return from the Messiah of the world one day soon.