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Apples of Gold—September/October 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory0 Comments

We Jews have so many holidays that if we were to compete with other countries to see which nation celebrates the most holidays, Israel would win first place. I recently visited an Israeli hospital during the time surrounding Yom Kippur, an extremely important holiday on the Jewish calendar. The ultra-Orthodox men told me they were trying to help the immigrants celebrate Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. “How? With what will you teach them?” I asked. They pointed to a big stack of books and also said they might even buy them chickens to sacrifice. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the ultra-Orthodox have a custom called Kaparot (atonement). A person swings a live chicken over his head, and the chicken is killed as a substitutionary sacrifice.“Which is more important? To read the Holy Bible or to read the stories of the rabbis?”“Where does the Bible say we must sacrifice a chicken?” I asked. Surprised at my question, they became silent and stood there, looking at me. I then explained to the immigrants that these teachers were blind and were trying to make others blind. I told them sacrificing a chicken will not bring them forgiveness of sins, and I …

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Bible Museum Opens Soon in Washington

In Articles by Israel My Glory2 Comments

If you love God’s Word and Israel, you won’t want to miss the Museum of the Bible’s grand opening in November in Washington, DC. Once the digital docent has customized your tour, its indoor GPS navigational system will guide you on a personalized journey through the museum. Its inner GPS capabilities also will allow families or groups to locate one another in the museum. To guarantee the museum’s authentic representation of the Bible’s Jewish history, Museum of the Bible President Cary Summers required all exhibit designers to visit Israel before they began working. “If they are going to be designing a museum about the Bible, then they need to visit and be familiar with the land of the Bible. Nothing enhances your understanding of the Bible like actually seeing the places it describes,” said Summers. The museum features more than 40,000 ancient, biblical artifacts from the Green Collection, the private collection of Hobby Lobby President Steve Green, the museum’s visionary leader and chairman of the board. Highlights from the Green Collection include the second-largest private collection of Dead Sea Scroll fragments; the world’s largest private collection of Torah scrolls; the world’s oldest known, complete Jewish prayer book; and some of …

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Coaching the ‘Participation Trophy’ Generation

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For many millennials entering adulthood, the truth that we all compete for a prize is a shock. Painted high on the concrete wall of my elementary school gym, next to a friendly cartoon character, were the words, If you had fun, you won. It was as simple as that. We received participation trophies whether we failed or succeeded, and trying was all that mattered. Participating became the closest thing to achieving. In their zeal to teach us affirmation and fair treatment, our well-meaning baby-boomer parents and teachers nurtured us on unfounded self-esteem, squelching our natural inclination to pursue a goal and spawning a generation that dismisses both success and failure. Consequently, we have grown into young adults starving for something we can more than just take part in. We are hungry for purpose. We also want to be recognized as having individual value. The result is a recognition frenzy that has turned many into collectors, rather than victors. We collect followers on social media, for example, and measure self-worth by the amount of attention we gain. Time magazine’s Joel Stein dubs the result “the era of the quantified self.”1 Ralph Waldo Emerson’s philosophy that life is a journey, not a …

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Millennials and Israel

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Two Israeli and two American flags stood side by side on the platform in the Pacific Ballroom at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where 500 people waited for then Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren to speak. Following a glowing introduction by one of the students, Oren stepped to the microphone and began his lecture on U.S.-Israeli relations. Suddenly, a young man jumped out of his seat in the back of the room and yelled, “Propagating murder is not an expression of free speech!” This was the opening salvo from pro-Palestinian protestors who disrupted Oren’s talk multiple times on February 8, 2010. At one point, Oren had to pause for 20 minutes until order was restored. Eleven Muslim students were arrested. This was not an isolated event. Over the next seven years, AMCHA (Hebrew for “your people”) Initiative, a nonprofit organization  battling anti-Semitism at institutions of higher education in America, documented 89 instances on college campuses of Jewish or pro-Israel assemblies being disrupted or speakers being shouted down.1 Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), founded in 2001, has more than 115 chapters at American universities. SJP and American Muslims for Palestine are on the frontlines of influencing …

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Coming of Age

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Soon a generation known as the millennials (my generation) will take the reins of the evangelical church in America. Born roughly between 1982 and 2000, these individuals represent a larger, more diverse slice of the population than the baby boomer generation that sired it.1 Demographers Neil Howe and William Strauss, widely credited with coining the term millennial, view the rise of these young adults optimistically: As a group, Millennials are unlike any other youth generation in living memory. They are more numerous, more affluent, better educated, and more ethnically diverse. More important, they are beginning to manifest a wide array of positive social habits that older Americans no longer associate with youth, including a new focus on teamwork, achievement, modesty, and good conduct. . . . Over the next decade, the Millennial Generation will entirely recast the image of youth from downbeat and alienated to upbeat and engaged—with potentially seismic consequences for America.2 Not everyone shares this optimism. Millennials have been the subject of much negative attention in recent years. Writing for Time magazine, author Joel Stein cited statistics describing the generation’s systemic narcissism and fame-obsession and referred to it as the “Me Me Me Generation.”3 In 2015, The Washington …

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Meet the Millennials

In Articles by Israel My Glory0 Comments

Perhaps you’ve heard a story like this one: A teenager graduates from high school. His family thinks he has his head glued to his cellphone, and he’s never worked a day in his life. After four years of college, he earns a liberal arts degree and has accumulated the equivalent of a mortgage in student debt. Now ready to launch out into the world, the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed graduate finds himself jobless and living at home because his expectations for work are not being met. He thinks he deserves better pay and someone standing by his side, praising his work. The scenario purports to describe a generation of young adults who are accused of being lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and noncommittal. Meet the millennials. After that warm introduction, I’m somewhat hesitant (but unashamed) to admit I’m a millennial. I’m on the older end of the spectrum, with a few gray hairs to prove it (probably put there by my four children). But I fall within the time frame that defines my generation (see chart). That said, my take on millennials is based on both the stereotypes and my experience as one who bears the name. Simply put, we cannot define between 80 million …

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Apples of Gold—July/August 2017

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

After many years of working hard to transform Israel’s desert into a fruitful land, we now live in nice towns. The land’s transformation has brought many new immigrants to Israel. They speak many languages and are highly educated, but they do not know the Bible. The ultra-Orthodox organizations here take advantage of these immigrants and proselytize them. They are not persecuted for doing so. But we Jewish Christians are persecuted for sharing our faith, yet our congregation is growing. Ultra-Orthodox men go from house to house, warning newcomers to avoid contact with people who believe in Christ. Since I live among many of the immigrants and speak their languages, we have many nice, long conversations about faith and the Bible. Often, we arrive at the subject of Christ. Our conversations always remain friendly. I never approach anyone and say, “You must believe in Christ!” The ultra-Orthodox try to reach people in such a demanding way to persuade them to their way of thinking, but I merely show people what the Bible says.I told them we must know on whom the Lord has laid our iniquity, as it is written in Isaiah 53:6.Recently, I asked some of these immigrants, “Have you heard …

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What Shall We Eat?

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

Nothing aggravates people so much as lack of food. Israel’s Minister of Trade, Dr. Dov Joseph, is in charge of the country’s food supply. A tremendous responsibility. Like a housewife with a pitiful allowance, he is trying to provide a very large family not only with sufficient food, but with food that is palatable. Dr. Joseph might plead like Moses, “Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this people?” (Num. 11:13, KJV). He is the target of bitter complaints and the butt of barbed jokes. HOUSING PROBLEMS Recently thousands of inhabitants at four [Jewish] refugee camps held demonstrations to protest against the delay in the provision of permanent winter accommodations. Some 35,000 families still live in makeshift huts and tents. The government is trying hard to move them to more sheltered homes before the onset of the rainy season, with its cold and miseries. This small country was not prepared to receive such an overflow of immigrants. Consequently, many live under primitive conditions—in tents, huts, and semipermanent small houses. In the suburbs of the big cities, like Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, there is an almost feverish tempo of building. Blocks of modern apartment houses are going up. …

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The Facilitators

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In 2003, President George W. Bush surprised American troops stationed in Baghdad, Iraq, with a visit for Thanksgiving dinner. “I was just looking for a warm meal somewhere,” he joked. More than 600 soldiers from the 1st Armored and 82nd Airborne Divisions were shocked and grateful, as they enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal they would never forget. Few knew about the undercover mission. Even the president’s own family expected him home for Thanksgiving. The trip required two jumbo jets, dozens of vehicles, a network of staff, highly qualified Secret Service agents, and a security detail on the ground—all working together with one goal in mind: to protect the president of the United States and serve the military. The mission proved a total success, and the troops’ morale was strengthened by the presence of their commander-in-chief. Like the presidential staff, the Levites had a mission: to protect the holiness of God and serve the people of Israel. The book of Numbers explains how they ministered at the Tabernacle day in and day out, facilitating the relationship between God and His people, Israel. Many often typecast the Levites as priests who were in charge of Israel’s sacrificial system. Though the association is not …

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The Covert Conspiracy

In Articles by Israel My Glory1 Comment

If you think you know everything going on around you, think again. Life is not always what it seems. Sometimes circumstances are orchestrated behind our backs, and how we react can make all the difference. In the book of Numbers, a plot was hatched to hurt Israel, and Israel knew nothing about it. It came from Balak and Balaam. Balaam was a prophet for hire; and Balak, king of Moab, was the man who hired him. After the Israelites left Egypt, they traveled near Moab, making Balak and his subjects “exceedingly afraid” (Num. 22:3). No doubt Balak had heard how this unique people had defeated King Sihon and the Amorites and King Og of Bashan. Terrified, he was convinced “this company will lick up everything around us” (v. 4). Knowing he could not beat Israel militarily, Balak sent for Balaam. “Please come,” he implored. “Curse this people for me, for they are too mighty. . . . Whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed” (v. 6). What type of man was Balaam? It seems he was a well known prophet. Wrote Bible scholar Dr. Charles Ryrie, “Apparently Balaam enjoyed a considerable reputation as a successful …