>> ANNOUNCEMENT: Iranian evangelist Hormoz Shariat to speak at 2010 Epicenter Conference in Philadelphia June 25-26. Churches invited to sign up to show live webcast of Conference. To learn more and to register, please click here.
UPDATED: The past two days have been among the most remarkable in the ministry I have had in the past decade or so. My dear friend Hormoz Shariat — the most watched and listened to Iranian evangelist in the world — invited me to join him on his live satellite TV program into Iran on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here are a few highlights:
- Each show was 90 minutes long. Hormoz asked me to share how I became a follower of Jesus Christ with a Jewish father and nominal Christian Gentile mother. He asked me why Jews are considered the “chosen people” in the Bible and why many Iranians are bothered by the idea that maybe God loves Jews more than Iranians. We even got several calls on this. I noted that in Deuteronomy 9, God says He did not choose the Jewish people to bless us and bless the world through us because we were more righteous than other people. God just decided in His sovereignty to choose the Jews to reveal Himself to the world, to send the Bible through us, to send the Law through us, and to send the Messiah through us. I also noted that while it’s wonderful that God chose us, the really important question is whether we as Jews choose Him and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we may experience general blessings as Jewish people, but we can’t experience forgiveness of our sins, or eternal life, or the hope and peace and joy that is only promised by God to a born again follower of Jesus Christ. Finally, I noted that the Bible clearly teaches that God loves everyone in the world and desires all to be adopted into His family, and this most certainly includes the people of Iran.
- Hormoz asked me to teach about Bible prophecies related to Iran and the “last days.” We talked specifically about the implications for Iran of the prophecies found in Matthew 24, Ezekiel 38-39, and Jeremiah 49. For the past two months, Hormoz has been teaching his audience about these prophecies so they are becoming increasingly well-versed in the Biblical concepts of wars, rumors of wars, false prophets, the persecution of believers and a coming Russian-Iranian war against Israel. I noted that a cataclysmic war is coming to the Middle East soon. Either Iran will launch it, or Israel will launch it, or God will launch it. But it is coming. We must pray for peace, but we must also prepare for war. We cannot stop the trauma that is coming, but we can do everything in our power to make sure that every Iranian and every person in the epicenter has the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, and consider it, and process it, and make a decision to receive Christ or reject Christ. Satellite TV gives us an extraordinary opportunity to reach millions of Iranians with the gospel, and our love for the Iranian people compels us to do just that.
- Each show included live calls from Iranians asking questions. They called from inside Iran, from Europe, from the U.S. and even from somewhere in Central China. I’m excited to report that two Iranian Shia Muslims called in to pray to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord! What a great joy to have seen that happen.
- Each show was watched by millions inside Iran, Europe and North America. The programs can be seen on-line at www.mohabat.tv. The shows will also be re-aired on the network in the near future.
- I was touched by the Iranians who called in who used to be Shia Muslims but are now followers of Jesus Christ and the love they have for Israel and the Jewish people. That was striking, and further evidence of how dramatically Jesus changes the hearts of those who receive Him as Savior and Lord.
- For the last several days, Hormoz and me and several of our colleagues have also held several meetings with donors and pastors, sharing with them what God is doing in the Middle East and asking people to help Hormoz financially continue to grow and expand this vital ministry.
- I will add more details, but need to head to one more meeting with Hormoz right now.
HEADLINES TO TRACK:
- In rare move, leader of the World Jewish Congress writes open letter strongly criticizing President Obama for his increasingly antagonistic stance towards Israel and for not doing enough to stop Iran from getting the Bomb
- U.S. officials say Iran could create nuclear bomb fuel in a year
- U.S. acts as though it seeks regime change in Israel
- NEW POLL: Jewish support for President Obama plummets; plurality of Jews would now vote for someone else in 2012
>> Please visit the newly designed Joshua Fund website — and please help us educate Christians about God’s love and plan for Israel, and care for the poor and needy in the epicenter in real and practical ways