Sep 21

Church Outreach Idea: Worship in the Park

One of our outreaches for Seven Oaks Church of Christ this year was a “Friends Night in the Park.”  We have a local park with a nice pavilion, playground, basketball courts, and lots of open space.  We reserved the pavilion, took our grill, bought 400 hotdogs, chips, drinks, and desserts.  We encouraged our people to invite their friends and family.  One of our little girls invited 25 of her friends!

The Serving Line

The Serving Line

We began eating at 5:00 p.m. and started the worship at 6:00.  The kids, and many adults, enjoyed playing soccer, football, and on the play-sets.   We had face painting for the kids too!

Eating some food!

Eating some food!

Our hispanic brethren joined us for the night and we had a great time of fellowship with them.

We went throughout the park inviting those in the park to come and eat and worship with us.  Many of them did.  Not all stayed to worship, but some did and most all registered and took information so we have their contact information.

Me preaching!!

Here I am welcoming everyone!!

We gave away sermon CDs, had a drawing for a couple of books to give-away to guests, and offered many tracts.  I preached the lesson on the theme “What a Friend we have in Jesus.”  I made sure it was a little shorter, which worked out nicely.  The weather was great for our evening.    We didn’t know how many to expect for this inaugural event.  The count came to around 215, which was a great number.  We had lots of workers who helped transport items from the building to the park and back.  Many of the ladies served and the men packed tables and chairs and grilled dogs!  The kids loved it.

Our worship was special, except for the blinding sun in some people's eyes!

Our worship was special, except for the blinding sun in some people’s eyes!

We hope to do this again next year and get more friends and guests to come be with us.  The premise centers around it being easier to invite your friends and family to a park and picnic for worship than an intimidating church building.  We want to give our members many opportunities to invite others and get comfortable with inviting.  Every invite is a success, even if they don’t come, because someone learned the church exists and you care about their relationship with God.  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/church-outreach-idea-worship-in-the-park/

Sep 17

Lessons for the Outsider from Judas

Outsider tomato with grapes by shubijam - at www.freeimages.com

Outsider tomato with grapes by shubijam – at www.freeimages.com

Judas Iscariot is famous for his betrayal of Jesus.  We can learn many lessons from Judas regarding greed, unbelief, and hypocrisy.  But I wish to consider an aspect of Judas typically overlooked.

It is likely that Judas was the only Apostle not from the region of Galilee in the north.  His surname Iscariot likely signifies he came from a town in the south called “Kerioth.”  Literally Iscariot probably meant “man of Kerioth.”

We understand that those of Galilee spoke with an accent (Mat. 26:73).  Many shared a common occupation of fishermen.

Jesus certainly made every effort to include Judas in the Apostlic circle, but could it be that he felt like an outsider?  He was valued and put to work as the treasurer of the group.  He was there for all of the teaching and training of Jesus.  But he still gave into unbelief and greed.

Could it of stemmed from him feeling like an outsider?  This might have been a factor in his infamous deed.  But this is clearly conjecture and cannot be proven.  Yet, it seems there are still some lessons for us.

Possible Lessons

  1. Always work to pull outsiders into the group and help them to know they are accepted.  In every congregation there are those who feel like they are an outsider.  In the small groups of our churches there are those who feel distant and on the fringes.  Most congregations have been accused of being cliquish.  Single moms, minorities, unchurched, and newcomers often feel like they are outsiders and not a part of the group.  Someone said to me recently, “When you are moving to a new church, find people of the new congregation who do not have family, they will accept you in quickly and easily.”  How true and sad.  Those entrenched in our churches who have lots of family or already have their friends or group, often don’t feel the need for more, so they unconsciously keep others out.
  2. When you are an outsider, be on guard, it can weaken you to temptation.  When you find yourself in the uncomfortable role of the outsider, be on guard.  The position of an outsider can open you up to bitterness, jealousy, strife, and unbelief.  Many have become unfaithful, because they didn’t “feel” accepted and welcomed.  Being different can be uncomfortable and a real challenge.  But rather than allowing satan to use it, you use it to grow as a person and be better able to understand others.  Choose to get involved, be a friend to others, and focus on serving.
  3. Being an outsider, does not justify sinful behavior.  Sadly we have a society that often breeds outsiders.  Outsiders are often the ones who commit violent crimes or struggle with drug addictions.  Even in the church, the excuse that “I was not a part of the group” or “I was not accepted” is used to justify leaving the Lord, an affair, or strife with the leadership.  While the church may be at fault, the answer is certainly not to leave the Lord!  It is possible Judas’ outsider attitude helped lead to a terrible decision of betraying our Lord.

Don’t let an outsider attitude cost your soul!!

What other lessons can be drawn about outsiders?

If you would like to learn more about the Apostles check out my book The Twelve.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/lessons-for-the-outsider-from-judas/

Sep 14

Advanced Bible Reader – A Great Tool for Your Kids

ABR logoHave you heard of the website and ministry of Advanced Bible Reader.  It was started by my good friends Kyle Butt and Chad Thompson.  It has been around for several years.  It is based on the school program called AR for Accelerated Reader.  Kids read books and take tests over the books to earn points.

Advanced Bible Reader works basically the same way as AR.  Students can read any portion of the Bible and take a test over those chapters.  Students need to get an account and password to log into the site.  There are also Bible fact quizzes, other Apologetics Press book tests on the site, and Discovery Magazine tests.  Parents or Bible Class teachers can establish their account, monitor their students, and reset tests.

We have used it in years past at 7 Oaks and need to reemphasize it again.  It is really designed for kids on a reading level between 2nd and 6th grade.  They have some tests for younger children.

The program has benefits for home schools, Bible schools, and Christian schools.

Check out the website to learn more.

If I can share my experience and how we have used it at Seven Oaks I will be glad to do so.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/advanced-bible-reader-a-great-tool-for-your-kids/

Sep 11

Because of Who Their God is . . .

Terrorist AttackThis is the solemn anniversary of one of our great national tragedies.  It has come to be represented with three numerals – 9-1-1.  It is hard to believe it has been 13 years since that terrible September morning.  Yet here in 2014, we continue to see more terroristic threats.  Recently we have all been appalled at the beheading of two journalists by ISIS.  This radical group certainly presents a real and present danger to Americans now and into the future.

As much as the media and political figures try to deflect the religious undertones and roots of the problem, it is obviously there for anyone with open eyes.  The Biblical worldview sees this as a part of the conflict raging between good and evil, darkness and light.  It is satan at work with all of his might.

The truth so often neglected in all of the rhetoric about terrorist, Islam, and America is that people are shaped by who their God is!

Important!

You become like the God you worship.

Your beliefs about God, who He is and what He stands for, shapes and directs how you act.

The Bible says in regard to unfaithful Israel, “They rejected His statutes and His covenant He had made with their ancestors and the decrees He had given them. They pursued worthless idols and became worthless themselves, following the surrounding nations the Lord had commanded them not to imitate” (2 Kings 17:15).

The reason those men flew those airplanes into buildings, and had such a hatred for America, had a direct correlation to who their god was!  The reason these men are cutting off innocent heads to make a political point is because of who their God is.  The reason Christians must not fight a religious war in the name of Christ is because of who our God is!

This is a primary message of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5-8).  Jesus is calling his followers to a higher level of discipleship because of who their God is (Mat. 5:48 – be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect).  The reason Christians do not revile when reviled, endure suffering, and love their enemies is because of who our God is.

Sadly, it seems people want to push this simple explanation of the atrocities and terroristic acts done on 911 and today out of the way because it is not politically correct and is a religious argument.  Yet, it seems to me that our nation will not be able to fully understand these threats and deal with these threats until we face this reality — they are the way they are because of who their god is.  Most in America are the way they are because of who their god is too–be it pleasure, fortune, or fame.  But Christians are to be the way we are because of who our God is!

So . . . who is your god or God?  Come to know the true and living God abounding in mercy and lovingkindness through the pages of Scripture.  When you know Him, it will change everything about you!  You will be different too, because of who your God is!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/because-of-who-their-god-is/

Sep 09

My Favorite Apps for Ministry

Screenshot of my iPad.  Dropbox is on the lower left.

Screenshot of my iPad. This screenshot is my page that has my ministry Apps.

I wrote on a previous post about “How I Preach from my iPad Mini.”  In this post I want to share with you some of my favorite apps for ministry and preaching.  You likely are familiar with most of these, but it might be helpful to find out how I use them.

Bible Apps

Accordance Bible – This is my primary Bible program that I use across platforms.  I have invested in purchasing modules (materials) for it for years.  I primarily like it for what it allows me to do with original languages.  The app works well, but is only for those who are willing to spend some money and also would like to use Accordance as their Bible software on their laptop.  If you have questions about Accordance visit their website or ask me about my experience and I will share more.

Holy Bible - Lifechurch.tv – This is a very popular Bible app.  Most folks have this on their device, be it a phone or tablet.  It is a great free app that offers an incredible amount of free Bible versions as long as you have an internet connection.  I love this app for the Bible reading schedules and plans it offers.  And when you get behind, you can use the “catch me up” feature and it will reset your plan.

ESV Bible – This is a wonderful free and easy to use App.  It is the ESV version of the Bible.  It is very easy to find scripture references and it does not have to have an internet connection as the version is downloaded to your device.  Everyone should have it!

Reading Apps

I love to read on the iPad and two of my favorite Apps to use are . . .

Feedly – Feedly is a free RSS reader App.  Blogs, news services, and podcasts have a RSS.  You can typically just copy the homepage for a blog and then add it to your feedly account.  The app is free and it organizes and keeps all of your blogs that you have added in one place.  So you don’t have to go to each individual site, they are in a nice reading format.  This saves time and also makes it were you can share a post on social media, email, or send to evernote very quickly.  I must admit that I really enjoy using this app, but don’t make the time for it as much as I need to and often stay behind on blog reading.  But when I take the time to read blogs, I am always blessed and it helps my work as a preacher.

Kindle – This is the App for reading Kindle books from Amazon.  Though I still read many traditional format books, I enjoy reading Kindle books for the ease of access, the font and backlit display of the iPad, and the ability to highlight sections.  I like to highlight favorite sections or good quotes and make notes as I read.  I then will access these at the Amazon Kindle site and put them in Evernote, copy and paste into a document for a sermon or class, or just have for future use.

Productivity Apps

Evernote – I think most everyone has heard of Evernote.  I have been with them for years.  I have always used the free service.  Evernote is a cross platform, cloud based service that allows you to save pictures, PDF documents, screen shots, emails, typed documents, and other computer related things.  We have used Evernote to save personal information (like car service records), recipes, illustrations (I use it as my illustration filing tool), blog ideas, book highlights, lists, journal entries, homeschool material, and church work information.  I try to store good information I run across in Evernote and then I will search Evernote by tags or words when doing a sermon or class.  I also find it very helpful to use to remember and store information in one central location.  I use it a lot, but still should use it more!

Notability – You have to purchase this app, but I have found it worth the small price.  It works really well with a stylus for use with your personal hand writing.  I use it to type or write notes during classes or lectures.  It will open PDF documents and then allow them to be edited.  So I can open a sermon and edit it by adding highlights, handwritten notes, or typed additions.

Genius Scan – This app is a great tool for “scanning” documents.  I use it on my iPad and phone when I need to take a picture of a document and then email it to someone.  It will enhance the image and works almost as well as a traditional scanner.  For a paid fee it will sync to Evernote and Dropbox.  I use the free service and just email to myself and then do what I wish with the document.

Dropbox – This is a cloud-based storage service that allows you to save documents in the cloud.  You can access them from any device.  You can share folders with a friend so both of you can access the documents.  I save documents from my laptop into Dropbox and then open on my iPad and will typically preach or teach from this app looking at the notes.  (see the previous post I wrote for the details.)  Dropbox is a free service up to 2 gb!

Presentation Apps

Haiku Deck – I love this service.  It makes great looking presentations very quickly and easily.  The great benefit is the free access to wonderful pictures.  You can design your presentation on the iPad or online and then present from Haiku Deck or do as I do and email the presentation as a Keynote or Powerpoint file.  I then present the sermon just like I had made it on Keynote, but it looks better.  I typically use this app for presentations that I want to use only a few words on each slide and desire a strong visual effect with the pictures.  Here is a Haiku Deck I did that you may want to use as a sermon (it was not original to me).  You should be able to see others I have made.

Prezi – Another great free presentation service.  I don’t use the app very often unless I am showing someone personally my presentation.  Typically I design my presentation online at www.prezi.com and then download on the church computer to show in the auditorium.  You can do a lot of different things with Prezi.  Here is a recent prezi (you should be able to view more at the site too as all of mine are public).

Thanks for reading.  What are your favorite apps for ministry?  I know there are many more out there, that I would like to use, I just have to get them into my workflow.

**I included the link to the Apple store to get these apps.  Most all of these apps can be used with other types of devices, just search your app store for the links.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/my-favorite-apps-for-ministry/

Sep 07

What Does Success Cost You?

Moving Forwards 5 by svilen at free images.com

Moving Forwards 5 by svilen at free images.com

How do you define success?

You have a definition.  In fact, you have some different definitions of success according to the realm of life.  For example, my mind defines success as it relates to being a preacher, father, husband, son, financially, and as a farmer now.  This definition that we have developed for success has been formed overtime.  Various factors help create this definition.  Our culture, the Word of God, our family, and our friends, and our employer all shape what our definition is for success.

Important!

Here is the question, “What does that definition of success cost me?”¹

I first read this question in the book Amish Peace by Suzanne Woods Fisher.  I thought it was a wonderfully piercing question.  It comes in a chapter dealing with simplicity and the Amish value of “working hard for the principles they stand for and live by, not for money and accumulation of wealth” (p. 22).

Give it some thought:  What is your definition of success and what is that definition costing you?  Is it a good aim and goal?  If you attain it, will it be worth the sacrifices?

For example, some men have defined success as having to make so much money and attain a career status, but this definition costs them their marriage or a good relationships with their kids.  Some parents define success as it relates to their kids involvement in sports or academic accomplishments, but this definition can cost them family time, spiritual training, and a diminished role of the church in their lives.

I am not saying success is a bad aim or we should not as Christians seek success. I am not saying it is wrong to seek success in your career or relate your parenting success somewhat to your kids involvement in sports and education.  But I am asking you to consider and meditate on what is your definition and what is that definition costing you.

Because many have ended up at their definition, and then regretted the journey because the cost was too high.  If they could do it again they would have a different definition.  

——————

This question is found on page 23 of the book Amish Peace by Suzanne Fisher

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/what-does-success-cost-you/

Sep 02

This Is Parenting

Holding Landon!

Holding Landon!

After spending last week at a great conference called, “Polishing the Pulpit” in Sevierville, TN we headed to the Smoky Mountains after it ended on Thursday morning.  We had a picnic lunch at a popular spot called Chimney’s.  This is a beautiful picnic area situated on the banks of a beautiful creek.  After eating the kids wanted to play on the rocks and in the creek. They took off their shoes and began to wade in the cold water and played on the rocks.

Brooke on the Rocks

Brooke on the Rocks

IMG_8187

Austin Climbing!

We were a bit nervous, knowing the danger of them slipping and falling, but we also don’t want to be over-protective.  Brooke was cautious, Austin is older and athletic, but Landon is 5 and all boy.  He hasn’t heard of caution or fear, except when it comes to heights.  He took off. Amanda instructed me to stay close behind!  He was loving it.  He was trying to keep up with Austin climbing all over the rocks. Amanda was taking pictures and talking.  I was trying to not get my feet wet and certainly not fall.  I was a bit nervous and uncomfortable.

I kept saying, “Be careful; Stay low; and let me help you.”  Landon kept saying, “I can do it, Dad; I don’t need your help!”  Now we didn’t just say these things once or twice, I said it a few hundred times and he said his line a few hundred too!  He didn’t want help, but I was there, at least a step or two behind.  Actually, he did need my help, you see when he would come to a tough part, where he needed a hand or lift, he would look to me.  He gladly took the assistance.

Me Chasing After Landon!

Me Chasing After Landon!

This is Landon telling me, "I can do it, Dad!" while pulling his hand away.

This is Landon telling me, “I can do it, Dad!” while pulling his hand away.

Later, Austin and I even set out and made it all the way across the creek (I gave up on keeping my Keens dry and just walked in the cold water, now my goal was to not get my shorts wet that were holding my keys and wallet.)  Even Austin needed help to span one treacherous step.  But he didn’t want very much, because he could do it too.

Austin still needs a little help from Dad!

Austin still needs a little help from Dad!

We made it to the other side!

We made it to the other side!

Amanda did well letting the boys, and even this older boy, play in the dangerous conditions.  As I was chasing Landon around it occurred to me–this is parenting!  As I was feeling my heart rate go up and constantly worried someone was going to fall; I thought–this is parenting.  Wasn’t this experience a microcosm of what parenting is?  The challenge of letting your kids go in the world with so many dangers.  The constant tug-a-war between the child’s independence and the parent’s control.  What I was doing is what I will be doing for years to come, and in another sense never quit doing.  It is the concern, the advise, the fear you have for them.  It is their desire to do it themselves and show they have what it takes to do it without you.

The crew minus Caleb who didn't make the trip!

The crew minus Caleb who didn’t make the trip!

I left the creek that day feeling worn out and also very grateful to God that we had fun on the rocks and no one got hurt.  I also experienced in a very real way, what parenting is really all about on a much bigger scale.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/this-is-parenting/

Aug 31

Waiting on God

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

Illustration © Review and Herald Publ. Assoc.

I like to know the plan and schedule for the week.  I like routine and find comfort in a schedule.  Times of waiting when the end is unknown are difficult.  Our family runs on routine and regularity overall, though it is still pretty crazy with four kids.

Thus the text of Numbers 9:17-22 jumped out at me as being difficult for the children of Israel.  The text describes how God lead the children of Israel through the wilderness with the pillar of fire by night and cloud by day that settled upon the tabernacle.  When the cloud settled down, they camped in the spot; when it lifted up they packed up and headed out.  They never knew how long God would have them remain in a certain place.  Imagine each morning getting up and watching the cloud to see if you were staying or leaving.  

The section concludes with this statement:

“Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.”  (Num. 9:22)

Think of the dependence and “walking with God” this created for the people of God.  They were taught patience and trust in watching and waiting on the cloud each morning.

I know there is a lesson there for my life.  I need to be more patient and wait on the Lord’s timing.  I often want him to move, but He takes no visible action.  But as I consider the text, I think the secret to their patience and trust, while facing uncertainty was knowing God was with them.  This is the secret for our lives as well.  When we are impatient, we need to be reminded that His presence is with us (Mat. 28:20).  We can remain in camp or pack up and leave, because God is with us each step of the way.

So in the end, I need the reminder, it is not so much where I am, as long as I am with God.  I just don’t want to pack up and leave when He stays, or stay when He leaves!  

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/waiting-on-god/

Aug 21

The 2nd Coming Should Shape Today!

Fire and Explosion by Evans888 at free images.com

Fire and Explosion by Evans888 at free images.com

Steven Covey in his classic book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People lists Habit #2 as “Begin with the end in mind.”  The Apostle Peter had long ago applied this principle to the Christian life.  In 2 Peter 3 he is discussing the end of time.  He is talking about the promise of Jesus’ coming.  He describes this great event:

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”  (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)

Typically upon reading this passage we get preoccupied in discussing the events of the second coming.  We are humbled, frightened, and even a bit confused with some of the descriptions.  People like to debate these various “end of time” scenarios and events.  People treat Revelation the same way, getting focused on conjecture and even making predictions.

But as I was studying Peter’s words again, it occurred to me that maybe we miss the point when we do such.  The point is much more similar to Covey’s Habit #2 of allowing the end to shape the present. 

Important!

You see Peter says these things about the end to make the point:  “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:11).

As he continues the thought about looking forward to the “new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells” he adds,  “therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” (2 Pet. 3:14).

Peter is saying, knowledge about the end should provoke a present holiness and godliness in our lives.  Let’s not focus on what we do not know about the end, but remember what we do know is enough to inspire present holiness and godliness.    

Let’s be holy today, because the Lord is coming back!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.joshketchum.com/the-2nd-coming-should-shape-today/

Aug 19

Should Christians Support the Nation of Israel?

Flag of Israel

Flag of Israel

The nation of Israel is regularly in the news, especially now with the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

This post is not about the political position of the United States.  In fact, let me say that what you think and believe about our policy regarding Israel politically is your opinion.  Israel is a democratic state, non-Islamic, and key to American interests in the region, so there are numerous reasons to advocate American support of Israel. But in this article, I want to simply address the question, “Do we have a Biblical mandate to support Israel as Christians?”

Many Christian groups claim that we should financially, prayerfully, and nationally support Israel because of the Bible.  Typically this revolves around the idea that the Jewish people are “God’s chosen people.”  Many see the current nation of Israel as the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham and predicted in the prophets.  Finally, dispensational premillennialist, which are a large section of evangelical Christians, believe that the nation of Israel is an essential component in the end of time coming of Jesus to reign on earth for 1,000 years.

However I believe Christians have no Biblical mandate to support the nation of Israel and here are four reasons.  (BY THE WAY – I preached a sermon on this topic which is available in the audio resources.)

1.  The current nation of Israel is not a fulfillment of Old Testament promises and prophecies.

God made some key promises to Abraham primarily in Genesis 12.  He promised him a nation, a land, and a seed that would bless all families of the earth.  All three of these promises were fulfilled in the pages of Scripture.  Abraham’s descendants became a great nation, conquered the land of Canaan, and Christ came to bless all nations.¹

The prophets of Israel, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, warned of the impending doom and captivity of Israel because of their idolatry.  They also predicted their restoration and a period of renewed peace and hope.  The prophecies were primarily fulfilled by Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel as they resettled the land.  There is also a dual-fulfillment aspect of these prophecies as they also point to the gospel age and the coming of the Messiah.²

In fact, there is not a single New Testament passage that predicts a restoration of national Israel days into the future.  Quite to the contrary, the New Testament teaches against a national hope for the Jewish people. It makes it clear their purpose has been accomplished.³

2.  Jews are not the chosen of God today, but rather the church is God’s people today.

Israel and the law of Moses had a special purpose to lead us to Jesus (Gal. 3:19-25).  The New Testament makes it clear that God is not a “respecter of persons.”  The gospel is made available to all.  Israel’s favor was always based on the condition of their obedience, of which they often fell short.

Christians today are the people of God.  God has broken down the wall of separation that divided Jews and Gentiles and reconciled them together in one body–His church.  Paul even calls the church the “Israel of God.”  God does not have two special chosen peoples today.  To think that the Jews still are, despite their rejection of Jesus, goes against the entire message of the New Testament.¹¹

3. The Jewish people, like everyone else, must accept Christ to be saved.

Jewish people today, just like every other nationality and ethnic background, must look to Jesus for salvation today.²²  The Apostle Paul had such a burning desire for the salvation of His people that he wished himself accursed if it would mean the salvation of his countrymen.  He hoped the salvation of the Gentiles through Christ would provoke the Jews to jealousy causing them to come to Jesus.  He desired for them to hear the gospel, because it is through hearing the Word of God that faith comes (Rom. 10:17).  Paul taught that it was only through the gospel that all Israel can be saved.³³

4.  The Jewish nation is not essential to the return of Christ.  

Contrary to what is often written in best selling predictive end of time books today, the New Testament does not teach that the nation of Israel has a role in the end of times.  The book of Revelation is not focused on the Jewish nation, but rather aiding persecuted Christians with hope and strength.  There is no call in the NT for the temple to be rebuilt, rather the book of Hebrews shows the obsolete nature of such worship.  Christ is described as coming at an hour that no one knows.  His return will be sudden, swift, and bring destruction upon this world.  Only the patience and long-suffering of God prevent this event from happening and it will only require a word from God for its commencement.  All of us are encouraged to be sober and vigilant in our preparation of this day.¹¹¹

Conclusion:

While this should not be an area of divisiveness and contention amongst Christians, it is important for us to properly understand the Bible on this subject.  Think what you want about the nation of Israel politically and its role in the Middle East; but do not feel like you have a Biblical mandate to stand with the nation of Israel because of their heritage.  Thus, by way of application, it is my opinion that Christians should consider these truths when asked to contribute to Israel-support ministries.  We should not encourage our political leaders to use our military to protect Israel from a Biblical position.

What questions or thoughts would you have for me on this subject?

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¹  Regarding the promises made to Abraham here are some scripture references:  Nation Promise – Gen. 12:3; 13:6; 17:6, 18:18  – Fulfilled – Ex. 1:7; Deut. 26:5;  Land Promise – Gen. 12:2, 13:16; 17:6; 18:18; Fulfilled in the days of Joshua and Solomon – Josh. 21:43-45; 23:14-15; Psalm 80:11; 1 Kings 4:21; 2 Chron. 9:26;  Seed Promise – Gen. 12:3; 22:18; fulfilled in the coming of Christ – Acts 3:25-26; Gal. 3:16

²  Restoration prophecies – Jeremiah 29:10-14; Isaiah 43:18-19; 52:5-12; Some Minor Prophets; Fulfilled – See the books of Ezra and Nehemiah; Haggai;

³  The NT teaches against a national home for Israel.  Jesus warned of their destruction (Mat. 21:33-44; 22:1-8; 23:37-39; ch. 24; Luke 19:11-14; 27.    Regarding their purpose being accomplished see Galatians 3:19-25; Ephesians 2:14-16; Col. 2:14.

¹¹  Acts 10:34-35;   The gospel is available for all peoples – Gal. 3:28; Rom. 1:16; Mat. 28:18-20; The church today – 1 Peter 2:9-10; Ephesians 1 – 2;  “Israel of God’  – Gal. 6:16.

²²  John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 1:16; Galatians 2:16; ch. 3

³³  Paul writes about his desire for the Jewish people in Romans chapters 9-11.

¹¹¹  See 2 Peter 3; 1 Thess. 4 and 5; Matthew 24:36-50

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