“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — The Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16)
Darkness is falling on the people of the Middle East — war, terrorism, ethnic cleansing, Radical and Apocalyptic Islam and even genocide. More than ever, they need the light of the Gospel and the hope of God’s love, forgiveness and eternal life (especially at Christmas, but every day of the year, as well!)
In 2006, Lynn and I founded The Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization “to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus.” Over the past ten years, we and our team have seen and learned a great deal. Here are some of the two most encouraging lessons.
First, I see a tremendous openness to the Gospel message among my people, the Jewish people, in Israel and around the world that may very well be unprecedented since Jesus and the Apostles themselves were preaching and teaching in the First Century.
It’s not that every Jewish person who hears the Gospel is receiving the message and trusting in Jesus as Messiah, but so many more Jewish people are open to listening to the Gospel message. Many are asking questions about Jesus, searching for answers on the Internet, and watching online video testimonies of Jewish people explaining how they came to faith in Jesus. They’re curious about reading the New Testament, and some are stunned to learn that Jesus is Jewish, that His mother and earthly father were Jewish, that He lived and ministered to Jews in Israel, that He came to ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ And they want to learn more.
That’s why the work of The Joshua Fund is so important at this extraordinary moment in history. Similar to a venture capital fund, we come alongside small but growing and promising congregations and ministries and we invest in them – with encouragement, with prayer, and, when appropriate, with financial resources. Why? So they can sow more seeds, and bear more fruit, and prepare the way for the Lord’s return. That’s why we count it such a joy and honor to invest in these ministries.”
Second, it’s not just Jewish people who are exploring and responding to the Gospel — what also excites me is that amidst the worst persecution in the modern history of the Church, we are seeing the greatest harvest of souls in the Muslim world in the history of the Church.
From 1960 to 2010, the number of Muslims that have converted to faith in Jesus Christ has grown from fewer than 200,000 to some 10 million people. This was the conclusion of a ground-breaking peer-reviewed article published in 2015 by two respected Christian scholars, Dr. Duane Alexander Miller and Patrick Johnstone.
Now, in a world of 1.6 billion Muslims, 10 million conversions may appear to be a small percentage, but remember in nearly fourteen centuries of Islam, there were almost no conversions to Christ – some, but not many. Today, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of Muslims searching for hope via satellite TV, radio and the Internet. Some are reading the Bible and examining the claims of Christ for the first time. Others are seeing dreams and visions of Jesus. And they are coming to faith in numbers we’ve never seen before.
That’s why Lynn and I see it as so important for The Joshua Fund to invest not only in ministries to Jewish people but also in Arab pastors and ministry leaders who are reaching Muslims, to encourage and refresh them, to help them make disciples and train and equip new believers, and develop young leaders.
Here are a few excerpts from our 2016 Donor Report — examples of how your faithful prayer and financial investments are changing lives…..
“I am 23 and grew up in a Jewish Orthodox family. My stepfather is part of an extreme religious group in Judaism, and they sent me to an Orthodox boarding school in Israel. I asked once about Yeshua [Jesus] and was told to never ask about Him again. I slowly became secular. Just a year ago, Yeshua came back to my thoughts. I decided to return to a religious seminary and I spoke with the rabbis about Yeshua, and they convinced me that he was not the Messiah. I couldn’t connect with what they were teaching, it did not have the ring of truth, so I left school and became secular once again. Then all of a sudden, Yeshua once again came to mind. I knew that it was not me chasing Yeshua, but Yeshua was pursuing me, wanting me for Himself. Because of all the fears that I grew up with, I was afraid so I decided to ask Him, ‘If you are real, help me.’ Then, I came across videos about Yeshua on the internet and they helped me understand. I started reading the New Testament and found out how godly this book is and how far modern Judaism is from Moses’s Bible. How could they tell me Yeshua was anti-Semitic? My family is religious, so I’m believing in secret.”