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“The First Hostage” now 4th week on Publishers Weekly best-seller list.

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2016 at 4:31 pm

PublishersWeekly-logo(Ft. Myers, Florida) — We’ve just learned that The First Hostage has hit the Publishers Weekly hardcover fiction best-seller list for the fourth week in a row. The thriller about the Islamic State plotting to capture and behead the President of the United States is presently #20 on the PW charts.

I’m encouraged that it’s resonating with so many readers, especially given that it’s competing against recently released novels by the biggest names in the fiction world, including John Grisham, James Patterson, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks, and Danielle Steel, among a host of others.

Thank you so much to all of you who are reading and enjoying this new J.B. Collins series in the U.S., Canada and around the world! Thanks, too, to all of you who are reviewing the novel and spreading the word about the book on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. I’m deeply grateful for each of you.

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The Caliphate vs. The Kingdom. What is “the gospel of the kingdom” of Christ and why is it our hope in such dark times?

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2016 at 2:58 am

GospeloftheKingdomUPDATED: (Dallas, Texas) — This weekend here in Dallas, I taught Part #3 of a series of messages I’m delivering across the country this month on what Apocalyptic Islam is, why it’s a threat to us, and how the Church ought to respond.

Here are the links to my notes for the first two messages.

  1. Part #1 — What’s the difference between Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology & Biblical eschatology? And why does it matter?
  2. Part #2 — ISIS waging war of genocide against Christians in the Mideast. New UN report provides chilling details.

Here at Prestonwood Baptist Church, I spoke on “The Caliphate Vs. The Kingdom.” I explained why Iranian and ISIS leaders are so fervent about the coming of their so-called messiah (the Mahdi) and their Islamic kingdom (the caliphate), and asked whether Christians are anywhere near as passionate about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His actual, literal, physical Kingdom on earth.

Over the last several years, I’ve been doing a personal study in the Scriptures on the whole notion of “the gospel of the kingdom.” What is the kingdom, exactly? Why is it a matter of good news for believers? How can anticipating the coming of the kingdom be a source of great hope in dark times? I have to say this study has been especially encouraging as I’ve been studying the caliphate and Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology. There are some similarities, but the contrasts are striking, and important.

What’s more, as we begin 2016 — as we begin the process of choosing the next President of the United States and so many other national leaders — we also need to have a deeper understanding of Christ’s kingdom. We need to constantly remember that the Lord is sovereign over our electoral process, that He may not give us the candidates want to win, and in fact He may allow horrible, corrupt, even dangerous leaders to win control of the United States. I hope not. I pray not. But should this happen, all the more we will need to understand “the gospel of the kingdom” and live with the hope that our King is coming soon to make all things right.

As soon as I can, I hope to post a link to the video or audio of the message. But for now, here some of the notes I used, particularly the Scriptures that formed the basis of the message. Please print them out and study them yourself, and as a couple and with your kids and your small group Bible study. And please feel free to share these notes with others on social media. Hope you find them helpful. God bless.

“THE CALIPHATE VS. THE KINGDOM” — sermon notes

  • As darkness falls over the world, and particularly over Middle East….
  • As the forces of freedom are in retreat….
  • As Iran’s Apocalyptic Islamic regime and its nuclear program is not neutralized but rather rewarded by the West and as the regime becomes even more aggressive….
  • As the forces of the Islamic State — also driven by Apocalyptic Islam

— wage a war of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria in order to hasten the establishment of their Islamic kingdom or caliphate and the coming of their so-called messiah, the Mahdi….

  • As our religious liberties here at home are under relentless assault…..
  • As Americans murder 58 million unborn babies and there seems no end in sight….
  • As our faith and our values are constantly trashed by our nation’s elites….
  • As Washington seems unable or unwilling to steer the ship of state back in the right direction….
  • As the two presidential front-runners give us little confidence they can or will turn the country in the right direction either….
  • And as many in the Church turn their back on Christ and His Word and His people….

It is important for followers of Jesus Christ to remember, to study more closely — and to preach faithfully and without hesitation– what the Bible calls “the gospel of the Kingdom.”

The good news is that we have a King. He is coming. He adopted us into His royal family. And He will reign forever. He will establish justice and righteousness. He will make all things right, and all things new. This is our hope in an increasing dark world. And we must hold fast to it now as never before.

THE HEBREW PROPHETS FORETOLD THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM

“One like a Son of Man was coming…up to the Ancient of Days….And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

“Behold, a day is coming when….the Lord will be King over all the earth; in that day, the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.” (Zechariah 14:1,9)

“Behold the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he will reign as King and act wisely and do justice and rigtheousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5)

“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us, and the government will rest on His shoulders…There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the hrone of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with Justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this.”

(Isaiah 9:6-7)

JOHN THE BAPTIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” — John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2)

JESUS CHRIST PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

“Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.” (Matthew 4:23)

“Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:35-36)

JESUS’S DISCIPLES ARE TO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

  • “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” (Matthew 10:6-7)
  • “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, as a testimony to all nations, and then the end shall come.” (Matthew 24:14)

THE APOSTLE PAUL PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

  • “And he (Paul) entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God.” (Acts 19:8)
  • “And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:25-27)
  • “And he (Paul) stayed (in Rome) two full years in his own rented quarters and was welcoming all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:30-31)

THE KINGDOM TO WHICH WE BELONG HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES

  • “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’…..Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels….These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46)

HOW DOES ONE ENTER THE KINGDOM?

  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again He cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
  • “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
  • “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
  • “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:23)

ONCE WE RECEIVE CHRIST BY FAITH, WE ARE ADOPTED INTO THE ROYAL FAMILY AND THUS ENTER THE KINGDOM

  • “In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will….In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.” (Ephesians 1:4,5,7,8)
  • “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.” (Ephesians 2:19)
  • “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession…” (I Peter 2:9)
  • “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth….He has made us to be a kingdom.״ (Revelation 1:5-6)

LET US SEEK TO UNDERSTAND AND SERVE THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM

  • “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
  • “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.” (Matthew 13:11)
  • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” (Matthew 7:21)
  • “To these (apostles) He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God.” (Acts 1:3)
  • “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “Blessed are the gentle/meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
  • “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:11)

LET US PRAY FOR THE KINGDOM TO COME

  • “Pray, then, this way: Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

THE KINGDOM IS NOW, AND NOT YET

  • Matthew 13:11 — “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”
  • NOW: The Kingdom of God came in a spiritual form when Christ arrived in earth the first time.
  • Luke 17:20-21 — “For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
  • Matthew 12:28 — “…if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”
  • NOT YET: The Kingdom of God is coming in a physical form when Christ comes back to earth the second time.
  • Luke 19:11-12 — “While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. So he said, ‘A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return….'”

WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS & BENEFITS OF THE MESSIANIC, MILLENNIAL KINGDOM?

  • The Messiah “will reign as King and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land.” (Jeremiah 23:5; see also Jeremiah 33:14-16)
  • “Judah will be saved.” (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • “Israel will dwell securely.” (Jeremiah 23:6)
  • “Then it will come about that any who are left of the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.” (Zechariah 14:16)
  • The Lord God “laid hold of the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and threw him into the abyss.” (Revelation 20:2-3)
  • The saints “came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years….They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4,6)

WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS OF THE ETERNAL KINGDOM?

  • “the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come….time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom” (Daniel 7:18, 22)
  • God will dwell (tabernacle) with His people (Revelation 21:3)
  • “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any death.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain.” (Revelation 21:4)
  • “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3)
  • “they will see His face” (Revelation 22:4)
  • “there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them” (Revelation 22:5)
  • “they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5)

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ISIS waging war of genocide against Christians in the Mideast. New UN report provides chilling details.

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm

genocide-graphic

(Austin, Texas) — The evidence is in, and it’s chilling — the Islamic State is intentionally waging a war of genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria.

The jihadists are systematically trying to exterminate the Christian population in both countries by forcing followers of Jesus Christ to convert to their brand of Apocalyptic Islam or enslaving them, murdering them, starving them, and/or driving them out of the region.

This is the case I began to lay out during a presentation at Life Austin Church here in the Texas capital on Thursday night. It was part of a series of messages I’m delivering across the U.S. on radio, TV and in churches as part of The First Hostage book tour.

For the moment, ISIS is focusing their genocidal campaign on the populations of Iraq and Syria. But this is only the beginning. According to their Apocalyptic Islamic eschatology, ISIS leaders want expand their genocidal campaign throughout Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and the rest of the region in order to broaden their Islamic kingdom or caliphate and hasten the coming of the Mahdi, who they believe will then establish a worldwide caliphate.

Consider the trend lines:

The number of Christians in Iraq has dropped from 1.4 million to fewer than 275,000 in recent years, which ACLJ notes is “an 80% drop.”

“When hundreds of thousands of Christians – men, women and children – are killed, this isn’t war — this is genocide,” argues World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder. “And we Jews know what happens when the world is silent to genocide.”

Lauder has urged Jews and Christians to join forces against genocide. “Together, we must speak as one and tell the world: no more discrimination, no more terror, no more death, and no more silence!” I absolutely agree.

While ISIS is engaged in the slaughter of Christians because they believe it is fulfilling Islamic End Times prophecy, they actually unknowingly fulfilling Biblical prophecy about the last days.

The Lord Jesus Christ prophesied in John 16:3 that “an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”

Christ also prophesied that believers will see “wars and rumors of war,” the rise of “lawlessness” and vastly increased persecution in the last days before He returns to set up His Kingdom. The Lord Jesus specifically warned that the enemies of the Cross “will deliver you to tribulation” in the End Times “and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many.” (see Matthew 24) These are exactly the trends we’re seeing emerge in the epicenter.

But let’s be clear: it’s not just Christians who are facing the ISIS genocide. Sunni and Shia Muslims who don’t share the ISIS theology and eschatology are also facing this jihadist rampage. So are Yazidis and other minorities. And, of course, ISIS is threatening to exterminate the Jews of Israel soon.

“Palestine will not be your land or your home,” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told the Jews of Israel in an audio message in December. “It will be a graveyard for you. Allah has gathered you in Palestine so that the Muslims may kill you.”

In August of 2014, just after I finished writing my first novel about ISIS (The Third Target), I began publicly warning that “we are watching genocidal conditions emerging in the epicenter” as the ISIS jihadist rampage accelerated.

The situation has worsened dramatically since then.

By February of 2015, the government of Iraq had laid out their case to the U.N. Security Council that the Islamic State was not simply committing atrocities but outright genocide.

“These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. They have committed the most heinous criminal terrorist acts against the Iraqi people whether Shi’ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis,” Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said. “These are in fact crimes of genocide committed against humanity that must be held accountable before international justice.”

Now, just this week, the U.N. has issued a report documenting the magnitude of the horror. Consider the numbers just in Iraq:

  • 18,802 civilians were killed in Iraq between January 2014 and October 2015
  • 36,245 civilians have been wounded during this same period
  • some 3,500 have been seized as slaves by ISIS
  • 3.2 million civilians have been displaced from their homes and villages, on the run for their very lives

“The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,” the report states. “The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”

The U.N. report “details numerous examples of killings by ISIL in gruesome public spectacles, including by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings. There are also reports of the murder of child soldiers who fled fighting on the frontlines in Anbar. Information received and verified suggests that between 800 and 900 children in Mosul had been abducted by ISIL for religious education and military training….ISIL [also] continued to subject women and children to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery.”

Now consider the numbers in Syria, as well. According to the United Nations:
  • at least 250,000 people have been killed in Syria
  • 6.6 million people in Syria have been displaced from their homes and villages and are on the run for their lives
  • 13.5 million need humanitarian assistance,” reported Reuters on January 15, 2016.
  • First, the President and Congress must publicly acknowledge that the Islamic State is engaged in genocide.
  • Second, it is time for Congress to formally declare war against ISIS.
  • Third, we need to elect a new Commander-in-Chief ready, willing and able to neutralize the ISIS threat, as well as the Iranian nuclear threat before it’s too late.
As Jay Sekulow, head of ACLJ, and his team note, “The Holocaust gave rise to the necessity to define what ‘genocide’ is, and Article 2 of the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) did just that,” defining it as:

any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

“Christians in the Middle East urgently need this recognition to wake up the world to what is going on,” Kuby notes. “In contrast to other diplomatic notions such as ‘systematic mass murder,’ ‘genocide’ is an internationally recognized legal term. It is necessary to call for further steps, such as a resolution at the UN Security Council and a referral to the International Criminal Court….All necessary criteria are fulfilled in order to recognize this as genocide. To deny this only adds to the horrendous suffering that people are already experiencing.”

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