Last night, we at Texans for Israel celebrated Passover. From one end of the room to the other, we were surrounded by friends who had never attended a Passover Seder. My wonderful brother in the Lord and friend, Andrew Summey, flew in from Dallas to be our leader.
I am here to report to you that we had the most amazing Passover Seder and probably. It was one of the most exciting, educational nights I’ve experienced. I think you could talk to most of the friends that were there and they would say it was a life-changing experience.
It did not hurt that we had Psagot wine from Israel and Matza from Jerusalem! Most of us also stayed up to watch the Great Show that G-d gave us this morning of the first of four blood moons! What a beautiful end to a great evening!
Join us for a Night to Honor Israel in Amarillo, Texas. May 18th, 2014. Save the date!
Texans for Israel would like to invite you the TFI Friday Club. Beginning April 4 and running through May, we at Texans for Israel would like to gather the community and pray for the success of Amarillo’s Night to Honor Israel, which will take place May 18, 2014.
What Is Friday Club?
Texans for Israel recently had the idea to create a morning for all to come together and pray for this wonderful event that is coming to Amarillo, A Night to Honor Israel. Started by Christians United for Israel decades ago, this event is held all over the nation. We are so excited that Amarillo will be added to that list this May. It is truly an honor and blessing that we are able to host such an event!
At Friday Club, guests can pray together for the people of Amarillo, our brothers and sisters in Israel, and how A Night to Honor Israel will bring us all together.
When is Friday Club?
Friday Club is from 7-8 a.m. at 619. S. Tyler. We will provide fresh coffee and doughnuts. Please come to the outside stairs by OHMS in downtown Amarillo and go down the stairs to the basement. If you have any questions, please call 512-666-4834.
And don’t forget! Amarillo’s first Night to Honor Israel is Sunday, May 18th at the Amarillo Civic Center. Spread the word and let’s make this an event to remember!
We look forward to seeing you there!
Peace. It is a big word with an even larger meaning. This year people from all over the world will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss what that word means for Israel and the world at large at the 2014 CUFI Washington Summit.
When Does The 2014 CUFI Washington Summit Take Place?
From July 20th to July 22nd, 2014, Christians and Jews will come together at the Washington, D.C. Convention Center to discuss the road behind, the road ahead, and the obstacles that are standing in the way of viable solutions to peace within the Middle East.
The conference is being organized by Christians United For Israel and has been timed to coincide with the conclusion of temporary Iranian nuclear deal. The timing is crucial as it is important that the Obama administration understands that it must not make a permanent "bad deal" this summer which would leave Israel and many other nations vulnerable to a nuclear armed Iranian state. Indeed, it is imperative for Christians and Jews the world over to recognize that our voices are all that stand between Iran and a nuclear weapon.
Who Is Speaking at the 2014 CUFI Washington Summit?
The world is fortunate that many influential leaders recognize this fact and are tirelessly working to keep the pressure on the White House and other governments. To that end the CUFI Summit is honored to have the following speakers presenting:
Ron Dermer - Israeli Ambassador to the United States
Charles Krauthammer - Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and FOX News contributor
Dennis Prager - Radio talk show host and author of Why the Jews and The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism.
James Woolsey - Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Bill Kristol - Editor of The Weekly Standard
Elliott Abrams - Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush
Bret Stephens - Foreign-Affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal
John Hagee - National Chairman of CUFI
Malcolm Hoenlein - Executive Vice-Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Gary Bauer - Under Secretary of Education and Chief Domestic Policy Adviser in President Reagan's Administration
Throughout the course of the conference there will be plenty of opportunities to hear these individuals speak and provide their insights into the problems facing Israel and the ways in which peaceful solutions can be found. There will also be ample opportunities to meet many of the speakers and to ask them your questions directly. Thus, this is your best opportunity to get up close and personal with the leaders who are working to facilitate real peace within the Middle East.
What Will Be Discussed at the 2014 CUFI Washington Summit?
There will also be many opportunities for you learn how to become involved by contacting our elected leaders on Capitol Hill. These sessions will be informational, educational, and potentially the most important meetings you will ever attend. If you are tired of sitting on the bench and watching others play on the field, this is your opportunity to learn how you can suit up and make a difference in the Middle Eastern peace process and the prevention of nuclear weapons proliferation within the region.
For more information about the CUFI Washington Summit, contact Texans for Israel by calling us at 512-666-4834. We will be happy to provide you more details, answer your questions, and give you suggestions on ways you can become involved in bringing Christians and Jews together so that Israel's future, and indeed the world's, will be brighter and free of the threat of nuclear conflict.
image courtesy of CUFI
Few cities on earth are as historic or diverse as the little town of Bethlehem in the West Bank. It is home to Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike and is among the holiest destinations in the world for Christians. In fact, if no border existed you could travel from the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem (pictured at right) to the world's holiest Muslim destination, the Dome of the Rock, in just over 15 minutes. Sadly, that border and the reasons for its existence are changing the city and affecting its future.
How Has Bethlehem Changed?
What should be a city of peace and harmony resembles more of a highly guarded compound these days. Many businesses and homes are hidden behind high security walls and strong fences designed to keep onlookers and visitors away. They appear to be working as tourism to Bethlehem continues to decline and more and more Christian pilgrims and tourists choose to stay away and instead opt to visit other cities of historical religious significance. In the past few years, 50 restaurants, 28 hotels, and more than 240 souvenir shops have closed their doors as fewer tourists arrive to support them.
What Are The Demographics of Bethlehem?
Further, the changing demographics of the city show that it is a trend that is likely to continue. As recently as 1948, up to 85% of Bethlehem was Christian; today that number is less than 12%. Religious persecution, violence, and land grabs supported by political leadership has simply driven Christians from the city.
In 2014, barely 60,000 residents identified themselves as Christians. Indeed, if you ask many Christians in Bethlehem to express their views, many will tell you they no longer feel safe and many have received threats or known friends and family who have been the victims of discrimination or acts of violence.
While unfortunate, this doesn't mean that Bethlehem is a dying city. It simply means that it is a city that is changing and not necessarily for the better. Today, Bethlehem is quickly becoming one of the largest Palestinian cities in the country with its boundaries reaching the outskirts of Jerusalem to the point that it is often difficult to tell where one city begins and the other ends.
While Christians fear that the rise in Islamic fundamentalism will slowly strangle all Christian influence from the city, Muslims point out that this simply will not happen as Muslims consider Jesus to be a highly important prophet. Only time will tell whether a balance can be achieved where Christians and Muslims can share this holy city with one another while respecting the religious beliefs of the other.
What Can We Do To Support Israel?
In the end, the question is not whether the city of Bethlehem is changing; the question is how do Christians, Jews, and Muslims stand together so that the changes allow people of all faiths to live in harmony with one another. The answer to that is increased communication between the members of all religions so that each may understand that the city is not just a Christian city, a Jewish city, or a Muslim city; but rather that it is a city that belongs to humanity and it is the duty of us all to respect it, and to protect it.
For more information about the work Texans for Israel is doing to bring Christians and Jews closer together, contact us by calling 512-666-4834. We will be happy to tell you all about our work and discuss the ways that you can join our efforts in supporting the land and people of Israel.
Photo Credit: janruss via Compfight cc
The "Christ at the Checkpoint III" conference has just taken place in Israel and it has caused a considerable stir within both the Christian and Jewish communities. What was billed as a conference of peace has stoked the fires of discontent and division and it is important that Christians and Jews stand together in their condemnation of this conference.
Why Is Christ At The Checkpoint Causing Controversy?
The presence of the conference was so concerning to the Israeli government that they issued a very strong statement suggesting Christians avoid attending the sessions which were held in Bethlehem. The conference was organized by a colorful cast of characters which included the highly controversial Stephen Sizer. Indeed, many view this conference as an attempt to manipulate religion and the word of God for political purposes.
Unsurprisingly, the conference has drawn sharp rebukes from the Messianic Christian/Jewish community and groups alike for what they believe is the twisting and misinterpretation of Biblical teachings. Namely, they claim that the conference is nothing more than an attempt to smear Israel by focusing on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Conference organizers claim that this occupation has been detrimental to the Christian community in Palestine and that it is responsible for the divisions between Christians and Jews in the region.
In the end, the conference has not facilitated discussions or amity between Jews, Christians, and Arabs. The recent rockets attacks this week indicate that the conference may have in fact set efforts for peace back considerably.
By focusing on the barriers Israel has built to protect itself from rocket attacks and suicide bombings, they have invalidated Israels right to secure its borders and protect itself from acts of aggression that have killed thousands over the years. Of all the points discussed at the conference, this is by far one of the most controversial and it's a discussion that will no doubt continue long into the future.
How Is Christ At The Checkpointing Affecting The Relationship Between Jews And Christians?
Further, the Christ at the Checkpoint III conference has driven a wedge between Christians and Jews that is creating a very dangerous opening for radical Islamists to exploit. Namely, many of the topics covered in the conference are being turned into talking points that are being used to stoke resentment and hatred among younger Arabs that could quite easily manifest in the form of violence in the future.
For these reasons it is necessary for Evangelical Christians, Jews, and Arabs to stand together and reject the premises outlined in the conference. Only by standing together and respecting the teachings of each of our religions it will be possible to find peaceful solutions to our disagreements. While the words and teachings outlined in the Bible, the Talmud, and the Koran are very different, there is common ground that can be reached; but only if the extremist views being promoted by conferences such as the Christ at the Crossroad III conference are rejected and exposed for what they are; an attempt to use religion as a basis to drive political discussions.
If you are interested in supporting our Jewish brothers and sisters, please contact Texans for Israel. Every day, we work hard to provide, donate and support various charities and organizations that lift up Israel.
image: Christ at the Checkpoint
The year was 1978 when Pastor John Hagee decided to visit Israel as a tourist for the first time. As he walked the sacred streets imagining all who had walked those paths centuries before him, he was struck with their lingering presence. Indeed, the voices of the past spoke out to him and he knew he needed to devote his life to spreading their eternal message.
In the days, weeks, and months that followed Pastor Hagee pondered the many ways he could bring Christians and Jews together as one united voice for peace around the world. Reaching out to Orthodox Rabbi, Aryeh Scheinberg, in San Antonio, Pastor Hagee pitched his idea for "A Night to Honor Israel." After some hesitation and many discussions, the idea slowly took shape and a framework for cooperation and communication was born.
By 1981, the first "Night to Honor Israel" was scheduled. On September 10, 1981 the Theater of Performing Arts in San Antonio was packed with curious Jews and Christians filled with trepidation as to where the evening would lead. But, as the choir began to sing and the orchestra began to play, those fears gradually subsided and the seeds of unity were planted.
When the evening was over, $10,000 had been raised to support Hadassah Hospital in Israel. It was a gesture of peace and reconciliation between the two faiths that has grown and solidified over the years. This one evening and the many subsequent evenings that have followed stand as testament that Christians and Jews working together can accomplish a great many things.
Every year since Christians United For Israel's (CUFI) first “Night to Honor Israel” in San Antonio, Pastor Hagee has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to worthy causes in Israel. For the past few decades, the friendships and partnerships that have grown from these simple evenings have changed the face of Israel and America alike. Businesses have sprouted, agricultural projects have developed, public works projects have been built, and security agreements have been reached and strengthened.
Much of this can be attributed to the communication and understanding nurtured by the incredible men and women who have attended these evenings over the years. Indeed, without them the course of Israeli history might well have been very different and Israel would be very different than the economically strong and socially diverse nation we know today.
Texans for Israel is committed to continuing the traditions set down by so many men and women over the past 50 years. One of Texans for Israel’s greatest heroes is Pastor Hagee, and we are extremely grateful for his generosity and knowledge. To that end, we are honored to help host Amarillo’s first "Night to Honor Israel" on May 18, 2014. Please join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on this amazing event that will bring our community together!
It is always a good time to celebrate one's faith in the Lord and the heavens above. Religions around the world express their faith in a number of ways throughout the year and this month is no different. From Jerusalem to Amarillo, Texas, Christians and Jews alike are preparing to celebrate some of the most holiest of holidays: Purim and Passover.
What is Purim?
Purim celebrates the Jewish deliverance that is recorded in the Book of Esther. According to accounts, Haman who was the royal vizier to King Ahasuerus desired to kill all of the Jews in the empire. However, his plans were uncovered by Mordecai and his daughter Esther who was the Queen of Persia. Summoning great courage, Esther approached King Ahasuerus and revealed Haman's plot to him. In turn, the King ordered Haman hung and the Jewish people were saved from destruction.
Purim and Passover are two separate events. Purim celebrates Queen Esther and it is usually celebrated in March. It is preceded by a minor fast known as the Fast of Esther that lasts for 2 days. This year, Purim will take place on March 15 and 16. During this time, Jews will read the Book of Esther and reflect upon the great courage it took for her to stand up as she did. They will also enjoy hamentasch, a pastry traditionally eaten on Purim (pictured above).
Additionally, as Jews read from the book it is customary to boo, hiss, make noise, and stamp feet at the very mention of Haman's name. These actions are carried out by "Groggers" whose goal it is to do their part in relegating Haman's name to the dustbin of history. Following the fast, Jews are commanded by the Talmud to eat, drink, and be merry. Further, Jews are required to make gifts to charity that are known in Hebrew as shalach manos (sending out portions.)
How is Passover related to Purim?
Of course, Purim is related to Passover. Jews were fasting at the same time that Christians were celebrating Passover and their deliverance from the Pharaohs of Egypt. Passover takes place April 14-22 of this year.
Indeed, both holidays are celebrations of strength, faith, and the undeniable truth that brave men and women can stand in defense of their faith and prevail even against the greatest of odds.
Finally, it is important to note that there are three blessings Jews will recite during Purim this year. They are as follows and both bear equal meaning to Jews and Christians alike:
Blessed art Thou, Lord our God and Master of the universe, who sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us regarding the reading of the Megillah. Amen.
Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, Master of the universe, who performed miracles for our fathers in those days at this time. Amen.
Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, Master of the universe, who has kept us alive and has sustained us, and brought us to this season. Amen.
Ultimately, both Purim and Passover are celebrations of life and occasions to gather with friends and family to celebrate our faith in the Lord and his providential care. Both are celebrations of deliverance, and each holds a special place in the hearts of Christians and Jews because they represent the belief that no matter how bad things may become, His love, and His power will always be there to guide and protect us.
For more information about Purim, Passover, and the amazing work Texans for Israel is doing to support our Jewish brothers and sisters, contact us by calling 1-512-666-4834 and we will be happy to answer your questions and give you all the details. To learn more about Purim, we recommend checking out this great guide for 2014's celebration!
photo courtesy of photo credit: ulterior epicure
via photopin cc
As the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church and the National Chairman of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), John Hagee has inspired and touched many lives over the years. As the descendant of a long line of pastors, his efforts are the continuation of a family legacy that began long ago. To say that the word of God runs in his blood would be an understatement that is underscored by the many preachers and pastors that line his family tree.
Who Is John Hagee?
Pastor Hagee and his wife, Diana Castro, have worked tirelessly building their flock to more than 18,000 members. Since 1975, the church has grown into a family that the Hagee's are deeply proud of. Indeed, today the church is able to spread their message via 8 major television networks, 162 independent television stations, and more than 51 radio stations around the world. To date, their message is heard in over 190 nations where Christians of all denominations eagerly absorb the message of God's love for mankind.
It is also notable that Pastor Hagee is also a prolific writer and has penned 21 books over the years. Books such as Jerusalem Countdown and The Beginning of the End have become best sellers due to their timeless messages of love, peace, and unity. In fact, it is this message that serves as the core for everything Pastor Hagee stands for and promotes to his audience.
Of course, one of Pastor Hagee's greatest accomplishments have come from his efforts to bring Jews and Christians together for their support of Israel. Since the first "A Night to Honor Israel" in 1981, he has helped raise tens of millions of dollars to support everything from building projects to cultural exchanges throughout the Holy Land. Hospitals, orphanages, absorption centers, and many others have benefited from these efforts and today Israel owes much to his efforts and the men and women that have answered the call to action.
Today, Pastor Hagee is the Founder and National Chairman of Christians United for Israel. Since its founding in 2006, it has become a labor of love that involves more than 400 Christian leaders from all denominations. Together, they are working to make our world a brighter, more unified, and more loving place for people of all faiths throughout the world.
When Will John Hagee Visit Amarillo?
Pastor John Hagee will speak at Amarillo’s first Night to Honor Israel this Spring and we at Texans for Israel look forward to seeing people of all religions throughout the area at this incredible event. For more information about the event or to reserve a ticket, we encourage you to contact us by calling 1-512-666-4834.
photo courtesy of CUFI
Support for Israel has ebbed and flowed over the years. Since its independence the nation has seen allies come and go, and once stalwart supporters have become silent in their accolades. Among the most interesting to consider was the support of Evangelical Christians that was seemingly endless nearly a decade ago.
How Has The Relationship Between Christians And Jews Evolved?
At the time, Jews were skeptical of this support. Given the history between Christianity and Judaism there was much discussion as to whether or not this support should be accepted and relied upon. With some reluctance the support was welcomed and many bridges were built between the faiths. However, as the years have passed this support has waned and now appears to be fading into the pages of history.
In fact, there are those within the anti-Israel establishment that feel support for Israel is no longer advantageous to Christians. Individuals such as Sami Awad, Naim Ateek, and Jim Wallis have traveled across the world attempting to drive wedges between Christians and Jews. Regrettably, these wedges have been driven deep and are now starting to affect relationships far beyond their initial reach.
Indeed, it now appears that younger Christians and Jews have begun adopting the views of the anti-Israel movement. Among millennials, support for Israel is at an all time low and there is a danger that these views will persist throughout their lifetimes. For Israel and Jews everywhere this presents a challenge of enormous proportions. Truly, the survival of Israel and the partnerships between Jews and Evangelical Christians that has taken decades to foster is at stake.
It will be an uphill struggle to repair the damage that has been done. If it is countered now, then the damage can be mitigated and repaired, however, if it is neglected the damage will persist for generations.
Through education, exchanges, business partnerships, and most importantly, communication, the waning relationship between Evangelicals and Jews can be refocused and the damage repaired.
It is essential to do this now rather than later as the anti-Israel narrative continues to lure supporters within the United States as was evidenced during the 2012 presidential campaign. These supporters are not overtly anti-Israel, but their apathetic attitudes threaten to silence the vocal support that is needed in the future.
What Can I Do To Help Israel?
To that end, groups such as Christians United for Israel and influential people like Pastor John Hagee, the National Chairman for CUFI, are stepping up their efforts. With over 1.6 million members and chapters on over 120 college campuses, the goal of CUFI is to reverse this trend and develop leaders who will counter those seeking to silence Evangelical support of Israel now and in the future.
For more information about the work we are doing at Texans for Israel and our support of CUFI, please contact us. To contribute to our cause of lifting up the nation of Israel and its people, please visit our donations page.