Israel then and now: Prophecy fulfilled

Hebrew University Mt. Scopus 2016.

Originally published in CBN News

Nearly 3 000 years ago, Hebrew prophets wrote of how the land of Israel would be transformed. Now, a new book shows remarkable and even prophetic changes in the 70 years since the rebirth of Israel as a modern nation-state.

On a visit to Israel 150 years ago, famed author Mark Twain described it as a “desolate country” and a “silent and mournful expanse.”

“He talked about in the Jezreel Valley [where] you could walk 10 miles in any direction and not see a single person”

“So one of the towns we did photography was of a small town of Afula, which was really off the map as far as many westerners were concerned, but it was established in the early 1900s, so 50 [to] 60 years after Mark Twain, there’s a small settlement. Today it’s a booming Israeli city that we’ve been able to match, you know, some side-by-side perfect photography with it.”

Hershey and his team chose 200 photographs of Israel from the 1880s to the 1940s. In his new book, Israel Rising: The Land of Israel Reawakens, Hershey chronicles the changes that time span until today.

“That’s been part of the joy. We have these old photos, photos of Tel Aviv of less than a hundred years ago – of shacks on sand dunes with camel caravans on the beach. Compare it to the same angle today, it’s just stunning,” he said.

The book follows the prophet Ezekiel’s promise in chapter 36, verse 8, where he declares, “But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to my people Israel, for they are about to come.”

“We think of prophecy being to kings or people or nations,” Hershey continued. “But he [is] prophesying to the land when Israel returns as a nation – branches will put forth fruit, waste cities will be rebuilt, the people, people and beasts will be multiplied on the land [and] the land will be cultivated and sown.”

The book’s side-by-side photos show the transformation. There’s one of Jerusalem near the King David Hotel in the 1930s and the same view today.

Another pair shows Hebrew University Mount Scopus in 1925 and what it looks like now. From the northern port city of Haifa to Beersheva in the south, Hershey says the pictures show the prophets’ words coming alive.

‘It’s happening right now’

“We’re living in a really profound time in history. We’re living in a time where 26 [to] 2,700-year-old prophecies from Isaiah and Ezekiel and Jeremiah, they’ve been lying dormant for about that long and many of them are coming to pass,” he said. “The most repeated promise in the scriptures is that God will bring His people back to the land and when they do, there’s going to be these dramatic changes and we’re seeing those.”

Hershey says the land itself seemed to be waiting for its ancient people to return.

“To me, it’s one of the most profound things here, this land has been conquered 15, 20 different times; it never becomes a homeland for any other people group and the land would never produce for any other people group and Israel moves back in and suddenly the vast desert wastelands are producing flowers, they’re producing fruit,” he said. “Isaiah 27 talks about how that when Israel returns, Jacob will take up root and fill the earth with fruit. And for many centuries believers would read that and look at that as allegorical or spiritual, but as we’re finding today, it’s very literal. It’s happening right now.”

Hershey says the book provides a visual opportunity for those who have never visited Israel, and it’s also struck a chord with the younger generations.

“Most millennials are ready for something real, they want to see something practical, as far as much of perhaps theological Christianity they’ve been raised on more ideas, they’re ready for something solid, they’re ready for real,” he said. “So even now when I speak in the States, I’ll have questions about theology or questions about the Land and usually my answer revolves around ‘let me show you, come with me to Israel, I’ll show you myself.'”

As Israel prepares to celebrate its 70th anniversary, Hershey sees a miracle.

“Absolutely. I mean, Israel is the time clock as many people have heard and have said and I believe that as well,” he said. “There’s so much that is happening here in a very short amount of time and to me it’s one of the most profound miracles of our day.”




Let’s Laugh at That — April 19 2018

Today — April 19 2018 — Israel celebrates the 70th anniversary of its rebirth as a modern nation in 1948. Gateway News cartoonist Barry de Jager captures something of the miraculous story of this unique nation that features so prominently in the narrative of the Bible, and which not only survives but thrives against huge odds.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Also see: http://gatewaynews.co.za/israeli-culture-shared-at-johannesburg-freedom-seder-ahead-of-israels-70th-birthday/




Giant lion of Judah on its way to Israel

The Lion of Judah bronze sculpture.

Originally published in Charisma News

Jeff Anderson, president of Leadership Inc, announced that a massive 509kg, 3.3m long lion sculpture has now been completed by Eagle Bronze in Lander, Wyoming, and is ready to ship to Israel. The No. 1 life-size (105%) bronze statue called the Lion of Judah will be shipped by air to Jerusalem as a gift of love from American Christians to the Jewish people, in honour of the 70th anniversary of the modern state of Israel, which is being celebrated this year. Anderson reports that sufficient funds have now been raised to make this historic gift possible, in collaboration with the sculptor.

Eagle Bronze, one of the largest art foundries in the world, also cast New York’s Bull of Wall Street bronze sculpture. Monte and Beverly Paddleford, Christian owners of the famous art foundry, expect Greiner’s Lion of Judah statue to become an instant tourist attraction like the iconic New York stock market bull.

Many Christians and Christian organisations across the US partnered with Leadership Inc and the Kerrville, Texas sculptor, Max Greiner Jr and his wife, Sherry, to donate this significant fine-art gift to Israel. The first Christian organisations to financially support this symbolic effort were Dodi Yavoh and The Coming King Foundation.

The monumental Lion of Judah sculpture will be installed in the ancient city of David: Jerusalem.

The precise location will be determined by the mayor, city architect and city art committee in Jerusalem. Artist/architect Max Greiner Jr has been in contact with these officials for the last four weeks. In addition, the president and prime minister of Israel have also been notified of the Christian gift, along with US White House officials.

The majestic lion statue will symbolise the friendship between the USA and Israel, much like the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbour that was given to the US by France at the turn of the century. The male lion symbolises Israel, the Hebrew people, King David, Jerusalem and the coming Jewish Messiah. All “born-again” Christians believe the God-man, Jesus Christ, fulfilled all of the ancient Jewish prophecies recorded in the Torah and Tanakh, which Gentiles now call the Old Testament of the Bible.

The 66-year-old internationally collected American artist, Max Greiner Jr started work on the massive lion sculpture in 2006. The original sculpture was carved out of foam, after which clay was added. Then moulds were made. The “artist copy” (#ac) bronze casting was finally cast by Eagle Bronze in October of 2017.

Greiner has exhibited his #ac lion sculpture on his special art display trailer at numerous locations across the US. The giant lion statue was first featured at the Billy Graham evangelistic event in Waco, Texas, at Baylor Stadium to thousands of people. Next, the prophetic sculpture was exhibited at the global prophetic conference in Dallas, hosted by Mike and Cindy Jacobs. Then, the majestic bronze was displayed at the Heidi Baker conference in Kerrville, followed by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities Convention in Dallas. The lion sculpture was most recently exhibited to thousands of media professionals at the National Religious Broadcasters Association Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Once the No. 1 bronze casting from Greiner’s signed and numbered life-size edition is installed in Israel, the Greiners will donate the life-size “ac” bronze casting to The Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden on interstate highway 10 in Kerrville, Texas. The Coming King Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) art museum, is currently raising funds to build a massive 10 commandments base for Greiner’s #ac lion sculpture in the Texas hill country. The Greiners hope to find good homes for Max’s other copyrighted Lion of Judah life-size statues and his other smaller lion sculptures. This Kerrville spiritual art garden, located at the same latitude as Israel, is the only place on earth where all of Greiner’s monumental Christian sculptures can be viewed together.




Let’s Laugh at That — April 13 2018

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.

Gateway News cartoonist Barry de Jager says this week’s cartoon took shape in his mind as he was reading an article about how Open Doors used to smuggle bibles into closed countries by road.




Laura Story — Open Hands: Review

Music review by Luchae Williams

Contemporary Christian songbird, Laura Story, released her seventh studio album, titled Open Hands, in March 2017. The singer songwriter is no newbie to the Christian music circles, having scooped a Dove award in 2002 for track Indescribable and a Grammy in 2012 for the popular worship ballad, Blessings.

The new album is opened with a stunner of a track, which some are lauding as the “one to look out for”, called Death Was Arrested. Complete with Story’s sugar-sweet, but compelling, vocals and lyrics that speak about our victory through Christ’s work on the cross, I immediately found myself drawn in. Another beaut, that definitely deserves a listen if you’re a Laura Story newbie, is worship song Whisper.

Title track, Open Hands, features Third Day front man, Mac Powell. This modern worship track has a catchy chorus that speaks about surrendering all to “the one that’s strong”. My favorite part says: “Jesus I surrender all/Every victory and loss/Take it all/Take it all/Till all I have is open hands!”

Other more contemporary worship ballads include You Came Running and For The Love Of My King. The latter was written in modern hymn style, complete with poetic verses and a more contemporary-sounding chorus.

I found Give You Faith to be an interesting addition to the album. The song, clearly an ode to Story’s children, speaks about choosing to leave them with a faith in God, more than wisdom, money and material possessions.  The lyric so beautifully says: “I wanna give you faith, I wanna leave you hope / That you would know a love that never lets you go.”

Elements of pop can be found in songs such as Every Word You Breathe and Extraordinary. The album finishes with a stunning, piano-driven worship track called Grace Abounds. This song is one for the disheartened, in need of hope and a reminder of the power and beauty of grace. It is simple, classic and deep.

My introduction to Laura Story’s skillful songwriting was definitely a pleasure! She is able to turn Biblical concepts and principles into beautiful, poetic odes to and for God. Give this album a go if you love pop-inspired Christian music that is more than just a one hit wonder. Laura Story is the real deal.




Kris Vallotton — Poverty, Riches & Wealth: Book review

Book Review by Andre Viljoen

Money is one of those hot potato topics in Christian circles. It also happens to be a very important topic. And so my interest piqued when I was given an opportunity to review the latest book (just released this week) by best-selling author and senior associate leader at Bethel Church in California, Kris Vallotton, titled Poverty, Riches & Wealth

Money has been on my mind lately as I have been trusting God for more resources to pursue a dream of radically-expanding our kingdom news service. I was also fascinated to hear recently that evangelist Benny Hinn has said that he misrepresented biblical prosperity for years — and now understands that biblical prosperity means having no lack.

So, I was really interested to read what Kris Vallotton would have to say on this subject. A few years ago while visiting family in Redding, California I had the privilege of listening to Vallotton preaching an edifying series at Bethel on another hot potato topic — women in leadership in the Church — a theme he explores in detail in his book Fashioned to Reign: Empowering Women to Fulfill Their Divine Destiny.

Kingdom wealth
Poverty, Riches & Wealth is divided into two sections. In the first part the author sets out to discuss the true meaning of kingdom wealth (whose greatest effect he describes as its positive influence on others) as he contrasts it with poverty and riches. In the second part of the book he offers practical ways — including business skills and kingdom principles — to grow your capacity for wealth, and encourages you to embrace your God-given identity and fulfil your divine purpose as a history-maker.

Vallotton has lived an interesting life, growing up in poor circumstances with a bias against rich people; coming to Christ at the age of 18; owning nine businesses over 20 years; nearly having to declare bankruptcy after an unexpected setback; being at the forefront of the journey of an influential church; and lately becoming financially prosperous.

Kris Vallotton with his new book.

In his latest book he shares fascinating testimonies — both highs and lows — from his life story. One pivotal testimony involves a series of experiences of divine favour over three years in which all of his substantial debt was either forgiven or paid off by benefactors.

Writing about this time he says: “Wonderful, right? Sort of, except it unearthed a problem so deep in me that I had no idea it was even there.” The idea that people would help him because they loved him, without any thought of getting something in return, drove him to a “crisis of soul”. He discovered a problem of self-hatred and low self-worth that had plagued him since boyhood. “I was suddenly aware that I had a poverty mentality that was inoculating me from wealth,” he writes.

A mindset problem
Vallotton goes on to argue that poverty is primarily a mindset and he offers biblical solutions to address the problem.

He uses two interesting lists of contrasting statements to explain some of the differences between poverty, riches and wealth — and support his contention that all believers should be wealthy, but not rich. Here are just a few excerpts from his lists:

  • Poverty lives for today, but wealth leaves a legacy.
  • Poverty finds a problem in every opportunity, while wealth finds an opportunity in every problem.
  • Poverty feels entitled, while wealth feels empowered.

and

  • Rich people get their identities from the things they own: their houses, cars, yachts, money, etc. Wealthy people’s identity comes from who they are, not what they own.
  • Rich people either spend a lot of time on trying not to lose their money, or wasting it on themselves. Wealthy people’s money is just an expression of who they are, so they are confident in their well-being.
  • The rich person’s business goal is to make money, whereas a wealthy person’s profession yields profit as the fruit of serving others well.

This revelation-packed — and practical — book spans too many themes to mention in this review — sacrificial generosity; overcoming complacency and a ‘rapture syndrome’, adopting a hope-filled, persevering, unlimited-thinking approach; the company we keep and revelation out of intimacy with God; and reward as a kingdom motivator; to name a few.

I will just single out one more chapter from part 1, which has the interesting title: Money Is NOT a Measure Of Spirituality, Unless It Is. He begins the chapter with a statement that the “prosperity gospel” was one of the most destructive heresies of the 20th century. Then, referring to the lives of biblical heroes and lessons from Scripture, he makes a case for the reality of a supernatural power for wealth, which he admits may sound like the prosperity gospel if not followed with discernment. Read it.

As the editor of a news service called to tell the God stories of Africa, I was drawn to a paragraph in the book in which Vallotton says resource-rich Africa’s problem is not money but a lack of revelation and understanding. But drawing from a principle found in the biblical account of Joseph’s handling of Pharoah’s dream (explained in the book), he says Africa’s position is reversible. “In fact, the dream is alive as many African believers who are becoming friends with God are changing the continent with their revelations and insights. It is just a matter of time before Africa will be one of the wealthiest continents in the world,” he writes.

I say “Amen” to those observations. We (Gateway News) have met and shared the stories of a few of those African kingdom dreamers and big-thinkers. And we will be sharing more.

Poverty, Riches & Wealth is available for purchase at amazon:https://goo.gl/oYVnXn #povertyricheswealth




Free tickets on offer for Dewald Gouws concert in Cape Town on Saturday

Christian music artist Dewald Gouws is performing at a free concert at ChristGen Church Parow (Opposite the Ajax Football Club in Parow) on Saturday April 7 at the end of a Cape Town tour to promote his new song But God.

You can secure your free seat by contacting Ina Murison-McGowan on 082 850 4559. making sure to WhatsApp her your name so that your place is saved. Tickets are strictly limited.

“This song [ But God ] really has put Dewald right up there among the very best Gospel artists, not just here in South Africa but in the world too,” says Mighty Men Western Cape’s Piperjames.

He says that during his Cape Town trip which has included visits to schools, radio stations and local Christian, Dewald has also tirelessly promoted the upcoming Mighty Men Western Cape Conference at Moreson Farm, Malmesbury from October 5 to 7.




Breakthru Worship launching live album at Kingdom Come SA

Grant Clifton leading Breakthru Worship during the recording of their first live album.

“We want to make music that is a backtrack to revival!” says Grant Clifton, worship director along with his wife Bernice, at Breakthru Life Church in Johannesburg. Recently, Breakthru Worship, as they call themselves, completed their first live album recording and are excited to launch it at the Kingdom Come Conference in April.

Grant shares their story here about how this project came into being: “Last year, towards the end of September, we hosted our annual Spring Conference here at BLC. We were honoured to have Dan Mcollum and Keith Ferrante from California with us. They both prophesied over us and the team, saying that God was going to release new songs for our nation and beyond from BLC.

Songs of hope and vision with an African feel
“With the prophecy burning in our hearts we decided to dream about the possibility of recording an album and releasing the music at the Kingdom Come Conference. At that point we had one song written, but we felt a stirring to write more and see what God could do in such a short space of time. We intentionally tried to write songs of hope and vision, with an African feel as well, because we strongly believe in the sound that is in our nation.

“As the project was developing, each song came out of different encounters with God, messages that were being preached at BLC, and even prophetic artworks. We wrote a theme song for the conference, called Kingdom Come. The song is a song of hope, crying for more revival in our land. We felt a strong stirring in the Spirit as we sang it for the first time.

“Jumping ahead to 2018, by February, miraculously we had seven songs ready for recording — seven songs filled with hope, joy and vision for South Africa.

“We were also informed that Sean Feucht, the main worship leader from the USA, who was meant to lead most of the worship at the Kingdom Come conference, would no longer be available due to the expected birth of his fourth child. The conference organisers felt then instead of pursuing the option of getting another worship leader from abroad, that we need to rather have a local flavour when we worship together at Kingdom Come. Hence, every person in the worship teams at the conference is from our beautiful continent. This also set up a great opportunity for us to release the album and share songs of revival for South Africa, with South Africa.

“Early in March, we did the live recording at Breakthru Life Church. God’s presence was powerful as we sang words like ‘Bhodla Konyama ya kwa Judah, Phesukwesiswe (Roar Lion of Judah over this nation)!’

“With just two days of post-production, the album was sent for final mixing and mastering, and will be ready to be launched at the Kingdom Come Conference.

Grace for creativity and acceleration
“What astounded me with this project was to feel God’s hand on the process, and His grace for creativity and acceleration. In all the projects I’ve been involved with before, I’ve never seen something of such quality and presence come together so easily and quickly. All I can see is that God is in this, and that His heart to see worship rise from Africa, worship that’s passionate and celebrates the diversity of what He’s doing in our land. We can’t wait to share the music with this nation!”

For more information, please visit www.breakthrulife.co.za or follow Breakthru Life Church on Facebook. The music will also be available on digital platforms after the Kingdom Come Conference.




Happy Easter from Gateway News

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (Drawing by Gateway News cartoonist Barry de Jager).

 




A creative army is being raised up — Kate Fitz-Gibbon

A call for you to rise up into a new way of being and living with God.

Divine connections.

Hello Beautiful Humans,

Last month I put out an article inviting creatives, entrepreneurs and big dreamers to get in touch for a creative hub being hosted in March.

Since then two hubs have been hosted in Joburg, and God is really on the move.

I’m going to feedback to you on what happened at them, and for those of you who didn’t get a chance to read the last article, let this be your invitation into what God is doing.

Electric conversations.

A little recap – the creative hub is a space to discuss your God dream, find like-minded kingdom thinkers and real collaborations. It’s people coming together to find how the dream God has given them is a piece of the puzzle of what He is doing on a grander scale.

At the same time, we are hoping to build a dynamic series of God initiatives that will put the creativity, innovation and dreams on display for His fame.

Right now, you may be sitting with a God-sized dream and wondering how on earth you are going to accomplish everything you are meant to accomplish? That dream was most likely never meant to be fulfilled alone, and that’s why it’s bigger than you. What we discovered as groups of people sat around tables and discussed what God has placed on their heart, is that there are common threads in the various dreams people have, and that one dream compliments another beautifully.

Like-minded kingdom people.

Now, I know what you are thinking – “I have tried and tried so many times to launch but nothing ever happened. What makes this different?” One simple answer. The timing of God.

Before now there were realms that were not open to us. If we had of tried to do this a year ago, I really don’t think it would have worked. In fact, I tried various ways to connect people and it kind of fell flat until now. This time though, something real has started, and it’s only the beginning.

There were a couple of key things that happened at the two groups that made it very cool:

1. People felt like they had entered a heavenly atmosphere of possibility
2. God exceeded their expectations
3. Dreams were spoken into, enlarged, revived and fired up
4. Friendships and kingdom connections were made
5. Hope was restored, and healing came from disappointment
6. There were crazy levels of excitement seeing how all the dreams weaved together
7. Collaborations became a reality

Moments with God.

Going forward I am looking for the following people to contact me:
Clothing Designers/Brands + Pattern Makers
Musicians, singers and Music Producers
Chefs and those with Culinary flair
Social Media marketers and people in PR
Graphic Designers
Videographers and Photographers
Jewellery/accessories designers
Technology Designers
Hair Stylists
Make Up Artists

If you are one of the above, or any other kind of creative or entrepreneur, or you know someone who is, please do get in touch.

Looking forward to hearing about what God has placed on your heart.

Love Kate