>> To read the daily weblog written by the conference staff — and see many pictures from the Friday event — please click here
By God’s grace, our first Epicenter Conference in Asia was a wonderful event and I am deeply grateful to Pastor Peter Tan Chi and his entire team of staff and volunteers at CCF here in Manila. Their passion and enthusiasm for creating this conference was infectious, and they surpassed by far even their own expectations. I also want to thank my dear friends, Pastors Ray Bentley, Hormoz Shariat and David Ortiz. These are men who have met and fallen in love with the Living God. They are men of faithful prayer. They are men of great wisdom. And they blessed all of us with their outstanding teaching. The CCF praise and worship team also blew us away with their capacity to bring us into the presence of the Lord with such joyful music and singing.
* Pastor Tan Chi opened the conference sharing his heart for the Church all throughout Asia to get ready for the return of Jesus Christ, to understand the “signs of the times,” to share the gospel, make disciples, be trained to lead small group Bible studies and house churches, and to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.
* I gave two messages and emceed the conference. My morning message was from Matthew 24 and Luke 21, “Are We Living In The Last Days?” My afternoon message was from Ezekiel 38-39, “What Is The Future Of Russia, Iran and Israel?” During these messages, I walked the audience through dozens of End Times prophecies and explained which ones have been fufilled, which ones are being fulfilled, and which ones seem increasingly close to coming to pass. I urged people to “get ready, be prepared” for the Lord’s return, and gave practical, Biblical suggestions of how to do that. I also shared the work of The Joshua Fund in educating and mobilizing Christians around the world to bless the people of the epicenter, and the charitable work we do in Israel and the region.
* Israeli Pastor David Ortiz shared extensively from the Scriptures on the Lord’s everlasting love for the Jewish people and explained that persecution of the believers will intensify in the last days. He described the persecution he and his family have faced from Arab Muslims and religious Jews in the city of Ariel on the West Bank. He then told the story of how a Jewish terrorist sent a bomb to his home disguised as a gift basket for the holiday of Purim for the purpose of killing him and his family because they are followers of Yeshua (the Hebrew word for Jesus). People at the conference were in tears as he explained how the bomb nearly killed his 15 year old son, Ami, and saw the horrific photo that a neighbor took of Ami just moments after the blast. Choking with emotion, David shared how desperate he and his wife felt as the doctors told them that Ami’s spirit was about to leave his body. But then, he said, as he was crying out to the Lord for a miracle, he suddenly saw a vision of the Lord seated on His throne explaining to him that this event had taken place to bring Him glory. David also saw a vision of the Lord telling the death angel that Ami was not to be touched. David said he knew at that point that Ami would live. The rest of the story is one of the most powerful testimonies of God’s love and mercy for a family that I have ever heard, outside of the Scriptures themselves. It is also a humbling story of a family choosing to forgive their persecutors, because Jesus teaches us to love our enemies and bless those who persecute us.
* Iranian Pastor Hormoz Shariat explained from Jeremiah 49:34-39 how in the last days God will scatter the Iranian people, judge the government leadership, and then set His throne in Iran so that many Iranians will turn to follow Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Hormoz explained from his own life and ministry how these prophecies are coming to pass in our lifetime. He described his own journey from Radical Shia Muslim to what I describe as “the Billy Graham of Iran,” reaching seven to nine million Muslims in Iran with the gospel each week through satellite TV broadcasting.
* American Pastor Ray Bentley then introduced six Filipino believers blowing shofars (trumpets made from rams’ horns). He then delivered a message from the Hebrew Prophet Joel chapter two.
* The CCF team had hoped that 3,500 pastors, ministry leaders and lay people would attend, but the final attendance was more than 4,500. What’s more, they were able to make the conference available to thousands more through a live webcast and a live satellite TV broadcast all throughout the Philippines. Soon the conference will be distributed to churches all throughout Asia on DVD to help build a global movement of believers preparing for Jesus to come back and ready to love the people of the epicenter with unconditional love and unwavering support.
* Thanks so much for your prayers. But don’t stop praying yet. Saturday CCF will be training small group Bible study leaders and holding a youth conference where I will be the keynote speaker. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be preaching at all five Sunday services at CCF so that 17,000 to 20,000 more people will hear the message and be mobilized for this extraordinary moment. God bless you and the people of the Philippines.
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