Evil reincarnated from the past

Haven’t felt like doing much writing, despite much going on the middle east and my new life in London.

I honestly can’t remember when the news was more depressing than this, with war between Israel and Gaza, Iraq and Syria having their own citizens murdered, victims mostly Christian.   Meanwhile naive one-sided white middle class people who don’t know much about middle east history put on kefiyah scarfs and join pro-Palestinian rallies with Muslim people in UK and Europe, and make a nuisance of themselves outside Tescos, but choose to ignore the bigger picture of the often turbulent middle east.

“Boycott Israel”  says your average liberal, leftist, vegan for Palestine, from their iPhone which contains memory chips and 3G technology developed in the only democracy in the middle east.  During the time of the Nazis, Hitler’s Germany had a similar idea to boycott the Jews of Europe.

This got me thinking about the names of today’s enemies of decent civilisation.

HAMAS the terrorism group who run the Gaza strip, their name comprises of an acronym in Arabic.   When transliterated into Hebrew, these five letters are pronounced “חמס” the word for violence.

ISIS is the group currently wiping out the Iraqi Christians at the moment, which bizarrely also a pagan god of Egypt long before Islam.

I was reading a while back also that some churches in Norway were set of fire by members of some heavy metal bands.   Most heavy metal music I have heard has a lot of lyrics about revenge, bitterness, anger, darkness and hatred towards God.   I want to Finland about 11 years ago, the Nordic countries seem to be the metal capital of the world.  Some of the more extreme metal bands contain lyrics and culture related to Norse gods like Thor.     This got me thinking this part of the dominant religious system in this region over a thousand years ago.

Its ironic how evil can be around in society for millennia only to come back with a similar legacy that the world has forgot.

Why apostle Peter would be a really bad Pope today

Recently I read the Pope has a bit of jolly visiting the holy land, which when visiting Beth Lehem, the Palestinian authority put on a nice show for him showing how they were dedicated to peace. You know, showing Jesus’s step-father Joseph with a Keffiyah (Arab headscarf) and other assorted propaganda that make out Jesus to be a Palestinian. Sigh.

I’ve been perplexed to figure out how Catholicism is influenced from the bible.  Someone the other day told me that Peter was the first ever Pope.  Peter is a well known figure that I’ve been reading a bit recently.

In actual fact I think that Peter would be a really bad Pope, at least put into the context of modern day Catholicism.

Peter is quite a passionate sort of chap, he is someone with a temper, good at talking to people and is a pioneer and building churches for the gentile believers.   He has his qualities and faults.

Peter has faith issues! (at least early on)

He doesn’t cope well with walking on water and sinks when hes asks Jesus that this idea doesn’t quite match up with laws of physics. I can see what he means I don’t swim at all, as I’m terrified of water and the idea of drowning. I’ve never managed to swim since several bad experiences as a child.
Jesus challenges Peter, by asking him to feed my lambs. In all honesty, I’ve never figured out exactly why Jesus was being a bit cryptic here. It seems he’s just asking him to check if he really loved him.  After denying Jesus 3 times which was highlighted by the rooster that crowed, Peter realises the terrible mistake he has made.

In Matthew 10 : 32-33 Jesus says Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.  Harsh words indeed.  Peter went on to achieve a lot later.

Its interesting that St Peter’s church in Jerusalem, has a rooster on top of it.  I wrote about this three years ago.

Peter is blunt!

The Pope does a lot of meeting and greeting of heads of state and senior members of other religious groups. On the PR front, Peter would probably get into a lot of trouble.

Christians who prefer only fluffy teaching would most probably consider him ‘judging’ at lot of the time. Peter doesn’t have time for cute Christian rubber wrist bands and that kind of rubbish, he’d rather get into with prayer and fellowship, in fact he’s really quite harsh with false teachers, which is why in the brief 3 chapters of II Peter has number two devoted to the charlatans and phonies in the church.

Peter has his own transport!

I’m pretty sure Peter would not need his own chariot and someone to drive him around in a custom bullet proof automobile. Peter is a fisherman so is used to getting his hands dirty and operates and services his own boat along with his friends.   Wonder if Petey took his fish to market on a horse, or if there was another person in the distribution channel who bought from the side of the lake and sold it to the other parts of the country?

Peter is named a rock by Jesus!  

Matthew 16:13-19
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Its really interesting here that Jesus is told people mistakenly think that other biblical figures, some then and some from the OT were thought to be the Messiah.    From here, Peter meaning rock becomes his name rather than Simon.

Peter tells Jesus hes also a rock!

Peter’s own writings from 1 Peter, the metaphorical stones Jesus used in changing Simon to Peter, Peter uses from the books of Isaiah and Psalms.

See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:6 / Isaiah 28:16

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 1 Peter 2:7 / Psalm 118:22

A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” 1 Peter 2:8 / Isaiah 8:14

Peter commits violence!

When Jesus is taken away and arrested, Peter hacks off the Roman soldier’s ear! Jesus then heals the soldier of this heavily bleeding cranial trauma, and carries on with the death sentence that’s issued to him.

Peter and Paul once had a disagreement over theology!

Oh dear, and people think troubles in the church are a modern thing, and going back to Hebrew roots will give us a more pure more authentic experience right?   Not quite.  Arguments of the same issues were in the first generation believers.   Here I think this was down to someone having an idea that out of Gentile believers and Jewish believers, one was more important than the other.   Galatians 2 talks about this.

Peter has a calm balanced approach to Eschatology!

Yes, he talks about end times and the earth burning up in 2 Peter 3 but in quite relaxed way, but warns against scoffers, ie: those who are denial about how moral standards would deteriorate before Jesus’ return.  I think today Peter would encourage us today to stay firm in our faith and moral standards but no need to listen to daft conspiracies on Youtube.   I might be wrong but don’t think I’ve seen any mention of the Pope looking forward to Jesus’ return or the worldwide troubles that would be associated before hand.

Instead, The Pope could try and mimic Peter

vaticanstampMaybe the Pope could take up fishing. By getting yourself to the level of a simple occupation that provides food and income, and a still quiet place like the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) would give you ample opportunities to mentor young believers, use the quietness to reflect and seek God.   Society tends to put a big artificial layer of complexity on religion, in terms of our relationship with our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I don’t really see a need for a man in his own palace in Rome which has an authority with its own special postage stamps.

So dear readers I hope you can read and be enthralled by Jesus and his disciples and the impact they made and not see them set today as people set in a context they were not meant to be.

Having a love like a child in Jesus

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some brand new believers in Jesus. Something I love about people who have been newly saved.

Trying to remember that scripture about the angels in heaven sing and dance when someone commits the life to the Lord. I once worked in sales office with some highly commissioned salesman would get excited and would ring a little bell or press the button on a talking Gorilla cuddly toy, about a couple of times a week, when they got a sale, and the client had faxed or scanned over a signed contract for some IT equipment worth about £10,000-£1m or so. Some of the best evangelists I know have done sales work. I wasn’t great at it, some great deals I did happened when I approached the client at a coincidentally ideal time rather than me pushing the right buttons on the company’s decision maker.

Anyway, the zeal and love for the Lord is proof that scholarly background and knowledge of theology is not a substitute for a love of the Lord.

I read various blogs and news sites from various Christian groups and things going on in the middle east.  A lot of time I’m reading negative things, showing such-and-such a ministry have had a scandal or bad decision of some sort.

I’m often not good at being gracious when I’ve disagreed with. I need to get better at this. I’ve spoken to many people who have worked in ministry for sometime and it seems common to get jaded after seeing so many ugly things in the church and ministry world, in Israel the believing community is small, everyone knows each other so not so easy to keep secrets when mistakes happen.

Jesus spoke about us needing to be like a child in our humility:-

Matthew 18

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

If you’ve been a Christian for a long time I’d be interested how you have got back to a simple love for the Lord.

Post volunteer life back in Portsmouth

Long time since I’ve been blogging I know.

In November 2013 I finished up my volunteering after over 4 years of working for Bridges for Peace.

The last 7 months or so have been hard, readjusting, getting back into my original church and cell group, but getting to know new people in UK to. Don’t have many of the same friends I had 5 years ago, not by choice but just by circumstances.

I’m looking at moving to London for a new job and new adventures.

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

P1070163

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.

P1070161

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:-

P1070143

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!!

P1070146

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!!

P1070147

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

P1070144

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.

P1070150

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.