Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Increased Knowledge with Enriched Experience: 2013 Washington Conference

JRAM delegates
with Pastor Arnel Aquino
in front of the Cannon House
@ Capitol Hill
Recently, there were a number of JRAM leaders from Calgary and British Columbia who’ve participated in the 2013 Washington Conference and Leader’s Summit with Israel Allies Caucus Foundation in Washington, DC last November 14, 2013. The invitation to attend was sent by Knesset Christian Allies Caucus through its Director, Josh Reinstein. According to the email sent to me, “The Knesset Christian Allies Caucus has been working hard to mobilize political support for Israel through faith-based diplomacy. The culmination of that work will be centered around a summit that we will be holding in Washington on November 14. At this summit we will gather dozens of Congressman, Members of Knesset and Bible- believing politicians from around the world. The centerpiece of the Summit will be a Gala dinner where we will make the point that the Christian leadership is behind Israel. Our plan is to have 50 tables full with pastors, Christian businessmen and Christian leaders from across America.” 
Inside Cannon House during Summit

In addition, one of the major reasons for JRAM’s participation is a simple reminder that Christianity owes a debt of gratitude to Israel, as our Savior Jesus Christ, a Jew Himself begun this movement that we are part of. This is the least that we can do for His people, i.e., to show our unwavering support through education of our church leaders and congregation towards Israel and its role in our Christian life. Furthermore, we adhere faithfully and believe in the promise that God gave Abraham in Genesis12: 2-3 about Israel, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

When I received this invitation, I immediately sent an email to all JRAM Pastors and Coordinators with the following objectives for attending this event:
1. To maintain friendship with Israel through Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and support its objective for Israel's concern. 
2. To connect with key leaders in the greater Body of Christ coinciding with support towards Israel.
3. To align JRAM with like-minded organizations and the Body of Christ in openly declaring support for Israel. 

Taken during
2013 Washington Conference
Gala Dinner
JRAM delegates with Pastor Giulio Gabeli
and other Canadian delegates
I am happy to report that we have fulfilled each objective that we have set out to do in this ministry trip. Attaining new knowledge and understanding of the value of Israel to our Christian life is essential to discovering God’s purpose and plan for humanity and it is when we begin to immerse ourselves with this awareness that the biblical knowledge becomes a reality for us today. Nobody can deny that Israel’s presence is intertwined with Christianity’s ideals.

Attendees of the Gala Dinner
Jesus Rock of Ages Ministries (JRAM) is proud to become one of Israel’s partner in fulfilling God’s plan and purpose in sharing His message to many people that He is a God of miracle and wonder, as Israel’s existence in modern times is a witness of it. Overall, the ministry trip was worth it and looking forward to a time that JRAM can organize an educational tour to visit Israel and individually experience the Holy Bible comes alive. This is something we need to prepare for and look forward to. Thanks to JRAM Churches that participated by sending the Pastors and Coordinators and the opportunity to represent JRAM. Lastly, I speak for all delegates when I say this: we were blessed by the experience and learned a lot
from it.

Maximize Life to the Fullest

The Psalmists reminded us about the length of one’s life span: “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty…” (Psalms 90:10a ESV). Someone has calculated how a typical lifespan of 70 years is spent. Here is the estimate:
Sleep................23 years...........32.9%
Work.................16 years...........22.8%
TV....................8 years...........11.4%
Eating................6 years............8.6%
Travel................6 years............8.6%
Leisure.............4.5 years............6.5%
Illness...............4 years............5.7%
Dressing..............2 years............2.8%
Religion............0.5 years............0.7%
Total................70 years............100% (Our Daily Bread)

Looking at what the Scriptures says about life span, there are important reminders to remember. In James 4:14 ESV, we are reminded about the brevity or shortness of life: Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” It is also confirmed by the Psalmist: “….they are soon gone, and we fly away” (Psalms 90:10c). But one observation that the Psalmist significantly described is this: “…yet their span is but toil and trouble…” (Psalms 90:10b).

It seems that many in living their life are in agreement with this statement of Richard L. Evans that causes many to lose vitality in living life: “The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.” In order to avoid this tragedy, we need to take heed on what God prescribed for us to do. Allow me to provide some biblical mandates and promises in living life to the fullest:
  1. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things (things that we need in life) shall be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:33-34, italics mine)
  2. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)
King Solomon, when asked by God what he wanted in life with an offer of a “carte blanche” (permission to do something in any way you choose to do it-Merriam Webster Dictionary), he did not take time to think about what he wanted but knew exactly what he needed to have: At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you….Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (I Kings 3:5, 9 ESV) After hearing King Solomon’s response to His offer, God was pleased and added more than what He asked for: It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” (1 Kings 3:10-14 ESV)

What one lesson can we learn from this? We must choose and decide to walk in His ways and keep His statutes and commandments that He prescribed for us to follow. When we do, God will lengthen our days and everything else that follows are all secondary to it.  I believe that a Swedish Proverb excellently summarized what God wanted for us to attain in our life: “Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things will be yours.” And after all is said and done, here’s an important reminder for us to remember in living our life to the fullest, as someone said: “Let your life be like a snowflake which leaves a mark but not a stain.”

Let’s talk again!