This is not the first time in history when the Jewish people have been threatened with annihilation from Persian/Iranian leaders who hated them without cause. The Book of Esther tells the story of how two heroic believers — Mordechai and Esther — prayed and fasted and encouraged others to do the same.

In response to those faithful prayers, the Lord intervened in a dramatic and powerful way. The evil Prime Minister of Iran (Haman) was removed from power and hanged. The heart of the Supreme Leader of Iran (King Ahausuerus) was miraculously changed. The Jews did have to fight. But they were saved from destruction and scores of Iranians converted and became true followers of the God of Israel.

This year, the holiday of “Purim” commemorating these events falls on Sunday, February 28th.

If you are a pastor or Bible teacher, may I ask you to prayerfully consider preaching and teaching on the Book of Esther that Sunday? May I ask you to help followers of Jesus Christ remember how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saved the Jewish people from Iran once in history, and how He will do so again if His people will pray and fast as never before?

I am not speaking at a church that Sunday. But the Lord has opened a door for me on March 1st to speak at the National Religious Broadcasters conference in Nashville. I have entitled that address, “Israel, The Iran Threat and Lessons From The Book of Esther.”

[UPDATE: Another massive snow storm is currently inbound for the D.C. area. This has led to Cornerstone Chapel in Northern Virginia needing to cancel my evening of Q&A on prophecy and trends in the Middle East on Wed, Feb 10. Instead, I will now be preaching on “Israel, The Iran Threat and Lessons from the Book of Esther” at Cornerstone on Sunday, Feb 28 at their three morning services. it will actually be a three-part message, with each the message in second and third services building on the ones before. If you are in the area, please join us. If not, please watch the archived webcast of each message after they are posted on Cornerstone’s website. Thanks.]

Wouldn’t it be powerful if thousands of pastors all over North America and all over the world would call the Church to prayer and fasting for God to save both Israel and Iran (and our own countries, too)?

The situation is urgent. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning called on the U.N. Security Council immediately to impose on Iran “crippling sanctions” of the kind U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has previously suggested. His remarks come as the Iranian regime is significantly ratcheting up its threats against Israel.

“In the last two days the brutal regime in Teheran has made more outrageous statements, including the implicit call for the extermination of my country,” Netanyahu told the envoys at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, reported the Jerusalem Post. “Israel expects all responsible governments, including all those represented here, to forcefully condemn these outrageous statements….But I think what is required is a lot more than words,. Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons in brazen defiance of the international community. And the international community must decide if it is serious about neutralizing this threat to Israel, the region and the entire word. I believe that what is required right now is tough action from the international community. This means not moderate sanctions or watered down sanctions, this means crippling sanctions, and these sanctions must be applied right now.”

Meanwhile, a new AP story suggests Iran’s capacity to build nuclear warheads is accelerating. 

Excerpts from the article:

  • Iran pressed ahead Monday with plans that will increase its ability to make nuclear weapons as it formally informed the U.N. nuclear agency of its intention to enrich uranium to higher levels….
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…announced Sunday that his country would significantly enrich at least some of the country’s stockpile of uranium to 20 percent….
  • Although material for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead must be enriched to a level of 90 percent or more, just getting its stockpile to the 20 percent mark would be a major step for Iran’s nuclear program. While enriching to 20 percent would take about one year, using up to 2,000 centrifuges at Tehran’s underground Natanz facility, any next step – moving from 20 to 90 percent – would take only half a year and between 500-1,000 centrifuges.
  • Achieving the 20-percent level “would be going most of the rest of the way to weapon-grade uranium,” said David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security tracks suspected proliferators.

Now is the time for the Church to get on our faces and seek the Lord’s grace and mercy for Israel, Iran and the people of the epicenter.

This summer, we will be gathering in Philadelphia for the 2010 Epicenter Conference. I hope you will join us for the latest geopolitical updates from the Middle East, in-depth Bible teaching and very practical training on how to help mobilize a global movement to “learn, pray, give and go” to the Lord’s work in the epicenter. Among my guests will be Kay Arthur, the internationally renowned Bible teacher; Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, fmr. commander of Delta Force and fmr. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Greg Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California who has preached the good news of Jesus Christ to more than 3.8 million people around the world; Janet Parshall, the nationally syndicated radio talk show host; and other wonderful guests we will announce as we get closer to the event.

The conference will be held in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Performing Arts in Philly. All tickets can be purchased by calling Ticket Philadelphia at 215-893-1999, on line at http://www.kimmelcenter.org, or in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Please keep your ticket as it must be presented at both events on 6.25 & 6.26 to gain entry into Verizon Hall. (One single ticket will be issued for admission to both days.)

Tickets can also be purchased through our new website, http://www.epicenterconference.com. This site has all the conference details. It will also have regular updates over the next few months (including specifics coming soon on how your congregation can sign up for a live webcast). Please note that the facility only holds 2,000 people, so please sign up today to reserve a seat for you and your family.

Thanks so much — we look forward to having you join us at this critical hour in the history of the epicenter.

>> To learn more about the 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia June 25-26 — or to purchase tickets — please go to www.epicenterconference.com


LEARN: To sign up for Joel’s (free) Flash Traffic email updates, please click here

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GIVE: Would you like to help The Joshua Fund stand up a new warehouse in Israel; provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid to the poor and needy in Israel and the epicenter; stockpile supplies for the next war and/or natural disaster; and educate and mobilize Christians around the world to pray for the peace of Jerusalem? If so, please click here


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