Yeshua, the Prince of Peace, urges us to be peacemakers and to pursue peace. But what does that look like?
True peace is only found in God himself, through the Messiah. The ministry of reconciliation (reconciling people with God) is making peace in a 'vertical' direction - between us and God. But helping people resolve their disputes is another way of making peace in a 'horizontal' direction. We have some great news to tell you about a different kind of peace process in the Middle East - something you won't hear about on the news!
"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called Sons of God".
PEACEMAKERS - A COURSE IN MEDIATION
Resolving disputes of any size is not easy. But Israel College of the Bible has recently held a course in Mediation which, when accompanied with relevant experience, qualifies graduates to assist in all kinds of situations in Israel. This might include disputes between landlord and tenant, an individual and an institution, or a dispute between neighbors, for example, as a way of preventing such matters going to court. The body of Messiah is also no stranger to conflict, and these newly trained students now have another tool in their belt to help resolve the trouble that bubbles up from time to time in congregations.
A nationally known expert in the field was invited to teach the course, which augments the studies in Christian Counselling already available. Head of the Department of Counselling, Keren Silver, explains, "Counselling and mediation are very different - mediation is very practical. We teach students how to be as neutral as possible in the conflict, and what steps need to be taken in order to find a solution that all sides can agree on".
Twelve students graduated last Thursday and received their certificates, half of whom were Messianic Jewish and half Christian Arab. Even within the class there are widely differing viewpoints on various subjects, but along with the training in counselling which enables students to identify emotions, reactions and solutions, this training is helping students to put out fires of controversy and dispute, and restore peace. Perhaps not on a national scale, but we now have some well-trained firefighters and peacemakers in our communities and in the Kingdom!
GAZA GETS TO HEAR ABOUT THEIR SAVIOR
Many of us have seen the tragic images of Gaza and the suffering of the people there. Persecution of Christians is serious - a few years ago a Christian bookshop was burnt down and the owner shot dead. There are a few believers, but many never get the chance to hear the Good News about Yeshua.
However, we are very excited to tell you that our new videos in Arabic have enjoyed a great deal of exposure in Gaza in particular, where Facebook is used even more than in Israel.
Here's a message from Carlos Damianos, who heads up the Arabic media work:
I want to thank the Lord for His goodness, and for leading us to this moment to upload videos to reach the Arab world. The first video has already gained a lot of attention in the closed world of Gaza. God is able to break through every boundary, as he says in Isaiah 45:2, "I will go before you and make crooked places straight. I will shatter bronze doors and cut through iron bars."Tens of thousands of Muslims have seen it and there have been hundreds of comments and questions - many raised by genuine seekers.
We have a couple of prayer requests:
1) That the Lord would work through the power of the Gospel, through the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who are exposed to videos. Well over 50,000 have watched the video so far.
2) We really need two more people to join the team to help with photography, editing and responding to all those who are commenting and actually searching for the truth.
OUR RUSSIAN STUDENTS GET READY TO GRADUATE
Did you know there are over one million Russian speakers in Israel? That means 1 in 8 Israelis speak Russian!
Four years ago we developed a two-year "Certificate of Biblical Education" in the Russian language, equipping Russian speaking believers to reach new levels of effective ministry. Here is the class of 2017 that will graduate tomorrow.
This program is taught under the leadership of Dr Oleg Korotki, and consists of ten courses (30 credits):
Introduction to Theology
Hermeneutics and Exegesis
Soteriology and Christology
The Book of Romans
Family and Counseling
The Old Testament Survey
The New Testament Survey
Some of the students will continue their studies with us in order to gain a associate degree in Theology.
A SHORT HISTORY OF MESSIANIC JUDAISM
Ever since the first Jewish disciples of Yeshua, there has always been a remnant of Jewish people who believed in him, even though for most of history they would simply assimilate into Christian churches and become invisible as Jews. It was once assumed that one had to choose between being either Jewish or Christian, and many left their Jewish identity at the threshold when they came to church. Today, things for Messianic Jewish believers are very different. What changed? Continue reading...