Why UK Christian supporters of Israel should be wary from John Hagee & CUFI

Heard the other day that John Hagee’s Christian United for Israel was launching a UK operation and there was a grand opening.   In the past CUFI did a great job of showing the importance of Israel to a regular Christian audience.

This is sadly appeared online a few years ago.

cufi false

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zgx61czJpEQ

Friends, please steer clear of John Hagee and Christians United for Israel. *

Some really great Christian ministries will stick to social support without evangelism such as the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace and Christian friends of Israel.  This means they can get relationships with rabbis, IDF leaders, municipality leaders and members of the Israel government.

Some will do actual evangelism like Jews for Jesus, Jakob Damkani, who do great work explaining the gospel to a Jewish audience, but do not have the means to build broader relationships across communities.

I’m going to a list a run down of some of the best ministries for believers to support Israel in another blog post soon.   There’s plenty out there which do deserve your prayer and donations.

Matthew 10:32-33 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

* Note: I’ve changed this, as I think Pastor Hagee badly explained what he was planning to speak about.   I have added a link explaining why here.

Body of Christ in Israel

I was thinking about the different types of people I know in various Christian organisations in Israel, one thing we have in common is as volunteers we have put our careers in hold, often got rid of our cars and sometimes houses, are away from our families to help serve in all different types of roles.

From this, I have realised we all have gifts and talents but often our nations of origin hold significant strengths and abilities also that define us.

This isn’t meant to put any us in boxes as such, but these are some of the common abilities I have seen amongst fellow volunteers in Israel.   Sadly I have not included the UK, as there is very few Brits I see here.

1. USA

Traditionally the media have always labeled America has been the biggest supporter of Israel, and its true but as the US has more Christian organisations than anywhere else in the world, so I would say American Christians have particular talent in leadership.

American is the pioneering force behind Christian media and press, and a lot of great lot of the gospel has come up from TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, it has helped to shape the message of Jesus to spread all over the world.

At the moment America has a heck of lot of debt, I tried to work it out but I couldn’t fit all the numbers onto the LCD screen on this calculator, I can’t see a clear solution to fix this, but I hope this encourages a shake up of America’s Christians to pray and intercede for their government.

2. Japan

Believers in Jesus in Japan officially only make up less than 1% of Japan, the ones that truly know the Lord and I really admire they the most servant hearted people I have seen, especially in the food bank here at Bridges for Peace putting together bags and pallets of food that are going to the needy.  They are not recently threatened by war, but more of geology related problems can be just as destructive, and its great there is great relationships between Israel and Japan, as Israel helped out with the most recent devastating earthquake.  They also seem to be the politest people in the world too. 🙂

3. Suomi (aka Finland)

There isn’t any Finnish people at the organisation I am at the moment, but there are a lot I know in other Christian organisations here.   Interesting enough I know most of them speak Finnish and Swedish, the ones in the west of the country next to Sweden prefer to speak Swedish.

Given that Finland has only 5 million people – less than Israel, but many Finns tell me that all the churches they know support Israel.   It seems like replacement theology is a foreign concept to our friends from the chilly top corner shelf of Europe.  The Finns seem to have a knack for good sound biblical teaching I think, and there are a few dedicated Finnish Christian organisations in Israel.

Thus, Kudos and Kiitos for the dedication from the Finns. (Kiitos is the only Finnish word I remember which is thankyou)

4. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa

Our Commonwealth brothers:

These guys seem to have more of a sense of adventure than anywhere else, going traveling around other places.   For instance, I have been to a few Youth hostels in France and America and always see Aussies, Kiwis and Bokkies there, and they make good travel companions.  The seem to be attracted to the outdoors and getting their hands dirty, which is why they also excel at sport, but excelling even more at trying to be super competitive over each other.   So they seem to naturally take to doing overseas volunteer work in a Christian ministry..

And they drive on the same side of the road as us Brits too. :o)

5. Nigeria

I don’t think we have any Nigerians volunteering in any Christian organisation I know of here, but since a few years ago, when the Nigerian government told the Muslim population they can have a free paid for trip to Mecca, the Christian population complained they ought to have a free trip to Jerusalem as well, the government obliged, and now we see a lot of Nigerians here showing their support for Israel, so they bless this land by just being here touring and seeing places.

6. Canadians

They don’t seem to get too cross if you call them Americans by mistake.  They seem to not moan about cold, and they like hunting.   Canadians seem to stand out by their warmth, cheerfulness and great humour especially under pressure.

Canada probably has the best government of anywhere at the moment as PM Stephen Harper proudly makes his unwavering support for Israel as a Christian, not caring what his fellow peers think but trusting in the bible.   I can only wish we had more leaders like this.  Fer sure Eh.

7. The Netherlands

The Dutch have a talent for prayer and intercession, this is reflected by a hardcore group of Christians from Holland that go praying along the walls of the old city every day, 6 days a week, just not Shabbat or Jewish holidays.

8. Thai and Filipinos

I see a lot of people from East Asia here working with the elderly and holocaust survivors.   These people have such abundance of patience and love for the infirm.   I see a lot of people from these countries in the UK too working as nurses and carers also.

9. South Koreans

The last Asian country to mentioned here but with the largest amount of Christians in Asia I think.  I don’t see many volunteering here, but theres a lot of them on Christian tours here, the Koreans seem to excel at worship I think.   I see them playing guitar in Ben Yehuda Street every weekend and in the parks too.  Its funny seeing a small boy playing a big guitar thats the same size of him too doing a Hill Songs cover in their own language.

10. Israelis

Last but not least, Messianic Jews I have met here in Israel, seem tough and well prepared for all kinds of situations, due to training in the army as well as being people of the book, therefore having to deal with threats from neighbouring countries, inaccurate, dishonest or slanderous news in media around the world, as well from harassment from Jewish anti missionaries.  I like the fact that Israelis seem very outgoing and like travelling and going to see live music a lot too.

Lastly, this is not meant to be exhaustive, only a sample of people I have seen here, there in fact other groups of people, such musicians from Denmark and even in recent times there Arab people who have a passion for Jesus, this is something I would like to find out and write at another time.

A day in Christian IT work in the Galilee

As I have mentioned before, my job as a volunteer IT support and system administrator for the charity Bridges for Peace means I am normally based in one of two offices in Jerusalem, and on odd occasions I work up in Karmiel, which is a city in the centre of the Galilee.

This means a 180km visit by car or bus when I have to do work up there.  The food bank I work does a huge amount of service in helping the poorest people in this area especially new immigrants to Israel mostly from Russia or some of the other ex-Soviet Union nations.  Every so many months I need to do a trip probably not that different from journeys Jesus did himself.

I have learned since being here this site requires careful planning as its an awful long way if something breaks unexpectedly.

This empty room in the middle of the warehouse seems like a good place to put the server.  This server will replaced later this year as its running Windows 2000 which is very old now and we need a new more reliable system that helps us with our day to day food bank operations up here.   This room is good as it means an easier job of adding some extra wiring here as its close to the network cabinet which is in the cupboard opposite the door.

This rack full of network kit needs a good sort out.   I manage to swap cables around to enable computer network use in some offices that moved around.   We only have 5 staff up here and there will be at least 3 more and there is not enough ports on the 16 port switch here so I have to put in another switch.   The glass door on the cabinet does not shut as the wires are in the way.   I think I can rotate the brackets on the switch at the top 180 degrees so this sits flush better and should make the glass door shut properly.

There is an other switch supplied by Bezeq (Israel’s no.1 telephone company) for several VOIP phones.   Not quite sure how this works as I think they maintain it.

The black things are UPS power back up units to keep equipment running in case of power failure or spikes in the electricity supply, these are a few years old, most of the equipment was set up when this building got running in 2007 and the chances are the batteries are no good as they have a 3 year or so life span.   I want to get a new UPS that has network connectivity so I can see the status of it using my Spiceworks network management software.   These small ‘shoebox’ type UPSes should be able to be refurbished with new batteries and they could be used on regular office PCs in another part of the building.

When I was staying at one of the staff’s place over night, looking out of the balcony, I get to see an Arab bedouin house across the road, and modern (Jewish) flats in the distance.   Here in this city, these two types of communities seem to be get on well it seems.   It does mean you get woken up up by roosters at 5.30am though!

I have to speak to the rest of the IT department to get some more telephones installed, test wiring for network ports and telephones, get 3 more PCs installed and test the spare server.   This trip was mostly about planning to give extra capacity for this site for future expansion as I know the Lord will provide more resources so we can help the most needy people in this area.  I will need to do another visit up here in July I think.

The main thing I was doing, is a careful back up of the main server and applying all the latest updates and patches.   This is always a delicate thing for IT administrators to do, it puts you a big security risk if you don’t bother, and if you do it without carefully planning it can crash the server.    One of the team had their monitor suddenly stop working, so a local computer store (thanks to KSP)  I got a new Samsung 18″ wide screen TFT monitor.

I really like this job as I always have plenty of interesting and varied challenges so work is never boring and I get to know everyone in the organisation.   It also means I can combine this with a weekend seeing some friends who moved from home city of Portsmouth UK to Karmiel Israel, and later visiting the city of Tiberias which is right on the Kinneret, or the Sea of Galilee, and a few significant places of the bible, I will show soon.

A day in my work in the GalileeThe Jesus boat in GinosarThe Kinneret LakeTiberias evening light showPreaching and miracles of Jesus in CapernaumTiberias city centre and Muriels and Maimonidies

International Christian Embassy Jerusalem Feast of Tabernacles concert

Last week I want to the first event at the Feast of Tabernacles at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) at a hotel here Jerusalem.   I personally know quite a few of the volunteers from this organisation and this is their busiest time as they put on a 5 day event for Christians supporting Israel and the Jewish people.

On the thursday we got our tickets and queued up, my friend John who came to visit me and two friends who are fellow volunteers at Bridges for Peace.

There is some really good speaking followed by a translator which was in surprise, Portuguese!  There were a lot of attendees from Brazil.   Actually there were people there from all over the world, with different groups of believers who got up on stage with flags representing their countries, not unlike the Olympics or Eurovision, there were even people from Egypt and Jordan there.   In the lobby outside I got chatting to some people from Finland who were waving their white and blue flags.

For anyone often thinking that Christian supporters of Israel = Nutters, well I support Israel, but number One – I love Jesus, and this land played a part in the events of the bible, there is still an important role in what the Lord has still for this country today and in the future.    Its important that Christians reject the common but completely bogus “replacement theology” doctrine which mistakenly gives the impression that the Israel mentioned in the bible is a metaphor for today’s church.   Check out Romans 11 : 1 which clears up this confusion.

The worship consists of a band with about 20 musicians and there are many dancers and acrobats.  I particularly liked the version of Paul Baloche’s Glorious (heres a Youtube clip of a version of this song)  which has become recently one of my favourite worship tracks.

During this event, there was a man from the Israeli government who came to show his thanks for the support (I forget his name)  as the Embassy has always had good relationships with government here, and they are now celebrating their 30th year here supporting this nation.   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an appearance, but via a recording on a TV screen at the beginning.

After the event, there was a variety of stands outside you can visit and get food, falafels, hotdogs etc and drinks whilst wandering around.   One of the stands I saw was the blacksmith who recycles rockets that hits Jewish towns close to the Gaza strip into a variety of table decorations and candlesticks, I blogged on recently.

This was a nice evening, the only downside was tickets for the whole week, and even for this one event was a lot, although I got a heavy discount being a Christian volunteer here.

Sizergate and Anti-Zionism in the blogging world

Reading quite a bit online lately about quite a bit of controversy on Sizergate, a blogging centred around a Reverend Stephen Sizer an Anglican vicar who has books such as Christian Zionism: Road-map to Armageddon? His books have been both praised and condemned by Christians around the world.

Someone once told me I should get a copy of this, thinking that Christians that are interested in Israel are often labeled as nutcases, but its interesting to see that bloggers such as British Messianic Jew Seismic Shock and also Harry’s place has exposed the not so nice intentions of the seemingly polite and well spoken Rev Sizer, having the usual ‘occupation’ rhetoric typically spewed by a lot of mainstream media, and his failure to comment on why should Israel tolerate rocket attacks in Sderot from Gaza, but more disturbingly amongst involvement with senior people in the Iranian government, its hard to see how you could be more antagonistic than to cuddle up with Israel’s number 1 arch enemy and sending the police round to people criticising him on their blogs.   Sad that this man is in Iran considering there is a new fledgling church up and coming in the Islamic Republic mostly in secret that could be potentially poisoned by his questionable doctrine.  He also writes for quite a few Christian magazines, you may want to make careful choices of what publications you choice to read.   But the point of all of this drivel feeds the bogus doctrine of Replacement Theology into our churches and cloud the legitimate biblical backed claims that the founding of the modern state of Israel and the Jewish people DO play a part in God’s plan, today, whether you like it or not.

Interestingly enough Amazon also have another book inspired by Sizer’s called Defending Christian Zionism by David Pawson.  Sadly Amazon is chock full of books with ant-Israel and anti-Semitic writings, some of them very offensive sounding.

Please note I am not interested in a heated debate, so most comments here will be deleted.