Billy Graham once said the job of Christians that we often fail at is “to make the impact of Christ felt in every phase of life.” This duty to make a difference not just spiritually but socially, economically and politically takes commitment, sacrifice and total surrender to God’s plan. Something Franklin Graham has echoed in state capital after state capital these last few months. “We’ve got an opportunity to make a difference in this country,” Franklin Graham said on Thursday to a crowd of some 7,500 people at the Decision America prayer rally in Sacramento, California. The Decision America Tour has made 13 stops to date. And at each, Franklin Graham has challenged Christians to not only pray, but to act: “I want you to become a community organizer for God,” he said. “Become a political activist for God, for His truth, for His righteousness.”

WEEK 9 : The Annunciation to Yoseph of the Birth of Yeshua

1. SCRIPTURE

Matthew 1:18-25

Mt. 1:18 Now the birth of Yeshua the Messiah was as follows: After His mother Miriam was betrothed to Yoseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
Mt. 1:19 Then Yoseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
Mt. 1:20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Yoseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Miriam, for which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
Mt. 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Yeshua, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Mt. 1:22 Now all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
Mt. 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “With us is God.”
Mt. 1:24 Then Yoseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife.
Mt. 1:25 And did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Yeshua.

The plight of Eritrean asylum seekers in Israel has been identified by the Barnabas Fund. It’s a story that needs to be told.

Holot was originally built in 2014 for Eritrean and Sudanese refugees, but now mainly houses Eritreans. Behind the wire and searchlights are over 3,000 men, 95% of whom are Christians. Women, children and the elderly Eritreans are not detained: most eke out a living doing menial work in Israeli cities, sometimes assisted by aid organisations such as the Eritrean Women’s Community Centre (EWCC) in Tel Aviv, which is funded by Barnabas Fund. 1

The majority of Eritreans fled their home country because of either religious persecution or conscription: military service is indefinite and can last years, even decades. About 36,000 Eritrean asylum seekers currently live in Israel, but are not recognised as refugees. They are unable to access education, employment, healthcare and social services. The estimated 7,000 Eritrean women are particularly isolated.

Let me start by saying that my upbringing was very firmly secular. My family made it clear from a young age that belief in a supreme being was the folly of the idiot or those on the lower echelons of society. We were intellectuals and therefore did not hold to any belief other than those based in ‘science’. My family were however, Jewish by race and so we did partake in the Jewish holidays and festivals and even attended the local reform synagogue on a semi-regular basis, however it was constantly affirmed that these were merely cultural exercises and nothing more.

My grandmother was a Jewish communist and was responsible for my firm Jewish identity, herself being brought up in a kosher home. However this also instilled me with socialist principles from a very young age. In fact at a young age I can remember going on Anti-War marches and even telling teachers that I was communist, laughing at those who subscribed to the Christian faith.

Despite this, since I can remember, I have had a keen interest in politics, philosophy and religion. I can remember being eager to go to synagogue at around age nine, not for religious purposes, but again for a sense of heritage. On my tenth birthday I was given a kippah by my mother and father (along with a Complete Works of Shakespeare).

Answers to Objections to the Christian Religion; Remarks on his answer to the Letters which Dr. Priestly addressed to the Jews (Newbury, June 11, 1787)

How truly exceptional Foundations 7 was!  I have not been to any of the previous Foundations conferences but for me Foundations 7 was quite literally the best Christian conference that I have ever attended.  And I am not prone to exaggeration – knowing full well that exaggeration is a form of lies.

They should be places where folk can really connect with each other, with God … and with themselves, all within the framework of solid Biblical teaching and an exploration of our Hebraic roots. They should be times where there is space for God to act, where there is freedom to explore, rather than acting as directed. We believe that the newly-launched Foundations Regional conferences can provide such a place. Have a quick read of these testimonies to see what God did at Foundations 7 national conference:

The Foundations vision began in 2012 in mid-winter as an experiment. After six more “experiments” in subsequent years we finally feel that, with Foundations 7 this April, we have “cracked it”. We have arrived at the beginnings of a model for a different kind of Christian conference, one that is informed by Hebraic principles, rather than the rigid structures that have become the norm in the Christian world. Here’s how David Andrew, one of our Bible teachers, explained it:

 This being our third 'Foundations', Agnes and I have been completely won over by the completely 'outside of the box' experience - a feature which has successively developed and improved with each year. Although we are blessed with a great many fine conferences and teachers, it's not normal for Christian gatherings to challenge the stubborn structures of religion that can so easily leave us 'well-taught but still caught' in the sticky webs of western Gentile / Greek religiosity that we have never thought to question because ... we have never thought! Although I'm sure it's not the intention of organisers or speakers or the 'punters', I think that the effect all too often is to provide 'entertainment for the troops' that ensures them a good meal but essentially changes nothing and leaves moribund structures unchallenged. Not so Foundations!

The preservation of Israel and the preservation of the Nazarene are one phenomenon.” This line mulled over in my head as I sat in the back seat of our big blue van. The van twisted, turned, and trudged through the hillside as we made our way toward the heartland of Israel. I had just finished reading Sholem Asch’s book One Destiny in which he addresses the unique relationship between Judaism and Christianity, centered on the Messianic hope present in both religions. I could not help but connect the preservation of this beautiful land out my window to the people of Israel. The road directed our path through the many Arab and Israeli villages that live in constant tension. Sadly, most of the world does not see the beautiful surrounding area. Judea and Samaria have been in the news a lot lately as our people have been under threat of stabbing attacks from terrorists. While the threat is real, there is no place on earth that brings more peace to your soul than the land God promised and gave to his people.

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