Israel Summit Ends with Praise, Pledge to Prayer
LOVELAND, Colorado -- Participants in the first gathering of FIRM, the Fellowship of Israel-Related Ministries, closed their three-day summit Friday evening with the launching of a new website and an affirmation of founder Wayne Hilsden's call to pledge 1 percent of his day -- 14 minutes daily -- to pray for Israel and the Jewish people and for God's purposes to be fulfilled on earth.
One of the youngest members of FIRM, 22 year-old Michael Mistretta, introduced the closing speaker, 80 year-old Pastor Jack Hayford, founding pastor of Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif., who told several hundred people in attendance that the future of Israel is one of the central spiritual battles of our generation.
The leaders placed special emphasis on the younger generation throughout the summit, and on the last day, hundreds of high school students heard an exhortation from Calev Myers, an Israeli human rights attorney and activist dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism around the world and spotlighting injustices against Palestinians by their own people.
Hilsden, co-founding pastor of King of Kings Community, stressed the importance of humility for Christians in approaching the global conflict over Israel. One of FIRM's central scriptures is from the apostle Paul's letter to Ephesians: "Remember that at one time, you were separated from the Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in the Messiah Jesus -- you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah." (Ephesians 2:12-13).
Hilsden says the group will expand its outreach through the website and other projects, but that the success of the collective effort to bless Israel and the other peoples of the Middle East in a time of growing persecution is prayer from individual Christians and Messianic believers on every continent.