Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection Are My Comfort

“Pastor Hesham, I cannot take it anymore. I want to be baptized,” Lateef, a refugee from the Middle East told me. “I feel crushed under the burden of my sins,” he added.
Lateef who is almost sixty is a devoted attendee at Salam Christian Fellowship. He has marked every chapter in his Bible with different colors, and avidly writes notes and questions while listening to every sermon.
Lateef left his extended family in the Middle East and in Chicagoland in order to follow Jesus. “I was a stranger among my people in the Middle East. I did not belong to any important clan there, and my last name in Arabic means stranger. No body accepted me. But I thank God for all what I went through, because my suffering brought me to this great country; USA. It lead me to Salam where I knew Jesus and found a family of faith,” he said. At Salam we learn the Word of God and see Jesus in the compassion and mercy we see from the pastor,” he concluded.
Lateef had been coming faithfully to Salam for a year, but he was encouraged when he saw people being baptized last November.
He kept talking about it, but did not ask for it.
Last month, he saw Jesus in a vision. His home was filled with light. He came to me the next day, and said: “I cannot sleep Pastor Hesham. I am sinful, and feel that my sins crushing me.”
After Lateef was baptized, he raised his head and thanked God adding: “Today I can sleep well. All my burdens are gone.”

What greater comfort could God offer than to announce that we are forgiven?
What would ease our soul’s pain, no matter what types of sin; no matter how many sins trouble us at any point in time , what would alleviate our hurting heart more than to hear God reiterate, “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. [1John 2: 2]
Can anything more effectively ease a troubled mind or relax a restless soul. Can anything more effectively comfort an anxious spirit than to see & to hear again that Jesus “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”? [Romans 4: 25]
Yes, Jesus was raised to life the third day, as promised, as God his compassionate Father declared me; declared you, ‘Forgiven – freely forgiven; fully forgiven!’
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God.” [Romans 5: 1-2]
Amen
Hesham Shehab
Note: The picture attached is taken at a previous baptism.
Baptized-In-The-Name-Of-The-Father-And-The-Son-Holy-Spirit194660_10151290541940001_708941546_o

Salam Tenth Anniversary Celebration In Chicagoland

Hesham 10Bob Id

17155566_10158674600775001_440406848076214102_n

17156259_10158674600415001_5767171186161377593_n<
17264189_10158674589310001_6665355504565223986_n

While Chicagoans were celebrating the 180th Birthday of the City of Chicago, some Christians in the suburbs were attending the 10th Anniversary Celebration of Salam Christian Fellowship at the Community Center of Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, Illinois.
Approximately 80 people gathered on Saturday evening, March 4, to share a Middle Eastern meal (prepared by Salam’s ladies) and Christian fellowship, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of a ministry which reaches out to refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, most of whom were raised, from the time they were children, to be Muslims.
The dinner was held in honor of those volunteers who helped Salam minister to new immigrants, and to thank Lutheran Church Charities (LCC) staff for their support in the social services that Salam offers to those Middle Easterners, and help them integrate in the American community.
Deaconess Dianna Bonfield represented LCC, while President Tim Hetzner was involved in rescue operation to help the victims of the tornado that hit Central Illinois last week.
Salam Christian Fellowship is a Word and Sacrament ministry that shares the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Muslim and Middle Eastern immigrants. Around forty people were baptized through the years.

Salam was founded 10 years ago by the Rev. Hesham Shehab, an LCMS Pastor originally from Beirut, Lebanon. Pastor Shehab immigrated to the United States in 2004 and then attended Concordia Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was eventually Ordained by the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church.
At the dinner, a Syrian refugee, who came here about 16 months ago, told us how he came to the United States and prayed to find the truth about Allah and God. He shared his story about how he was led to Salam and Pastor Shehab and how he learned who Jesus really is. Today he works Uber full time, but gives many volunteer hours each week to help people who come to Salam, as a gratitude to the ministry that helped him first. He drives refugees to clinics and public departments and tells them about Jesus.

Art Ellingsen

Drug Addict Finds Hope in Christ

Matthew 25:36-40 English Standard Version (ESV)

36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

Last month, Salam Christian Fellowship received an appeal from a Middle Eastern family whose daughter, Zahra, 17, tried to commit suicide.
Zahra came to America when she was 9. Zahra loved America and was a happy child.
christian-addiction-centers-1

do-i-need-rehab
But, Zahra, in her teenage years, ran with the wrong crowd that got her hooked on drugs. She went through a few rehab programs, but every time she failed to stay sober. She did not have enough support.
Pastor Hesham took her to a rehabilitation center in Rockford, IL, for treatment. After her discharge, Zahra needed to be in drug anonymous meetings daily, but her family had no means of transportation. Pastor Hesham and Salam volunteers drove her daily to her meetings, and encouraged her to stay the course, and prayed for her.
Today, Zahra is an active attendee of Salam, and come with her family every Saturday.
Zahra was re-admitted to her high school, and is now looking forward to finish high school and go to college. Her dream is study criminal justice and with the law enforcement in order to serve the America that she loves.
Salam is a faith ministry with very limited resources, but Christ’s love compels us. We give out of our poverty and trust God to provide for this mission. – Rev. Hesham Shehab

Nowruz, the Persian New Year

Salam will celebrate Nowruz ( or Norooz ) on March 24th , the “New Day” holiday which commemorates the Persian New Year, with a dinner and entertainment. Dating back 3,000 years, Norooz is rooted in Zoroastrianism–an ancient Iranian religion that influenced later religions. It is considered by Iranian and Persian people of all religions as one of their largest annual celebrations.
The Rev. Rennie Kaufmann, pastor of Risen Christ Lutheran Church in Plymouth, Michigan, and a professional entertainer will be joining us, in addition to two Syrian singers. Please book the dates. It will be held in one of the Western suburbs of Chicago. The venue will be announced soon.Norooz-postcard

The Washing of Regeneration

baptism-header“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3: 5
Thanks be to God, a Palestinian, 37 years old, was baptized this month. He took six months of teaching, and he would like to become an evangelist. Please pray for Mo as he lives a new life in Christ and he is separated from his family.

The Prince of Peace; the Only Hope for the Middle East

The war between Iran and Iraq lasted from 1980 to August 1988, making it the 20th century’s longest conventional war. The war cost both sides half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, with an equivalent number of civilians, and the conflict was compared to World War I.
But the Prince of Peace brought both Iranians and Iraqis together at Salam Christian Fellowship in Chicagoland.
On Christmas Eve service, we baptized an Iranian and an Iraqi together. The Iraqi was transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit from a hateful and depressed person to a forgiving and loving follower of Christ (read her story at http://salamchristianfellowship.org/?p=845).
The Iranian had a supernatural experience like that of St. Paul had. He had ignored Jesus for eight years, attending Salam on and off. Driving from work at night, his car was jolted to a stop by a flash of lighting that morphed into a cross. He came back home weeping like a baby until sunrise. In the morning, he called me (Hesham) asking for an explanation. I told him: You have ran away from Jesus for eight years, but the Hound of Heaven hunted you down, and caught up with you.

More and more Muslims are found by Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Only the Prince of Peace could mend the hearts of those suffering in the Middle East. Jesus is the only hope for this sin-torn world.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5Cross lightning
Hesham Shehab
All donations payable to Salam Christian Fellowship are tax-deductible.
Salam Christian Fellowship
21W500 Butterfield Road, Lombard, IL 60148

A Muslim Woman Found by Jesus

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the LORD’s hand
double for all her sins.”- Isaiah 40:1-2 (ESV)

We are often reminded, at Salam Christian Fellowship, of God’s Grace and the comfort that Jesus brings to this sin-torn world. Sometimes it is visions and dreams of Jesus that point the Muslims who attend Salam to the Word of God, where they find hope and comfort. Other times, it is a slow, but dramatic change of heart, where we could see how the Word of God, planted by the preaching of the Gospel, is watered by God.
Last week, driving Banar, an Iraqi single mom who joined us for our family Thanksgiving dinner, she shared with me the comfort Jesus brought into her life.
“I was blind, but now I see,” Banar stated. “My hate towards my ex has turned into forgiveness. My fear of the future has been transformed into hope and trust in Jesus Christ,” she added. “My son, who is the apple of my eye, is in the hands of Jesus, whom I trust,” Banar said confidently.
Banar came from Baghdad, Iraq, in 2010, with great expectations, as a bride, wed to an American Iraqi. She thought that she would find love, peace, and happiness in America, after she had left her war-torn country behind.
Banar found herself in a “nest of vipers,” as she explained, under an abusive husband supported by callous-hearted relatives. “I was treated like a slave, or a piece of property. My ex and his family made fun of me, as I struggled to express myself in public departments with very little English.” When Banar tried to complain against their abusive treatment, she was threatened to be thrown in the street, she moaned.
“I felt that I was a stranger in a foreign land, facing an unknown gloomy future,” Banar said. However, she was told that if she gives birth to a baby that would change her ex’s heart. Also, she was told that it would give her some worth in the eyes of his condescending relatives.
Even though birthing Ali, was the most precious and happiest moment in her life, the abusive treatment did not stop. “I felt that, for my ex, I am only a breeding machine, to be used at his own convenience.”
“I had to leave that abusive relationship, and take my baby with me. I did not want Ali to see me, in the future, humiliated, and learn how to abuse me, from his father and relatives, or abuse any other woman, ,” she explained.
Facing life alone, in America, proved to be more difficult than she thought. Banar struggled with the basic needs in life. She had no friends. Most Iraqis turned against her. “In a male-dominated community, Iraqis blamed me for all the problems with my ex and his relatives,” Banar groaned. She found herself lonely, rejected, and hopeless.
“My ex and his relatives started to pedal rumors in the Iraqi community, accusing me of shameful conduct,” she opined. Going back to Iraq as a divorced woman, she knew that her destiny could be death in an honor killing.
Sitting at her small apartment is a suburb of Chicago, burdened with a toddler, and having no hope, Banar thought of killing her ex and committing suicide.
But the Gospel is the power of God, and in all things Jesus “works for the good of those who love Him, and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8: 28)
“After two years of attending Salam, I am reconciled with God, and reconciled with the world. Jesus is walking with me, and giving me comfort, amid all the trouble. The Word of God is my guide. I am not afraid,” Banar concluded.
“The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my Shield and Portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.” Amazing Grace, John Newton

Hesham Shehab

at-jesus-feet

Bibles for the Thirsty; Using our Freedoms to Spread the Gospel

Thomas, a convert from Islam who fled Yemen for his faith and joined Salam two weeks ago told me a touching story. “It took me six years to find a hard copy of the New Testament in Yemen. Before that, I used to read bits and pieces online, but I had not held a Bible in my hands until then. It was a time of euphoria for me. I kept reading it again and again for days…barely catching some sleep,” Thomas said.
We take our freedoms for granted and should be more aggressive in sharing the Gospel to the lost.

Since we founded Salam Christian Fellowship in 2007, we have distributed thousands of Bibles to Iranian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees, in addition to college students.
This Christmas season, we have run out of Bibles and we need you urgent contribution to spread the Word of God so that we could offer Muslims the Spirit of Life this season.
All donations are tax-deductible. An arabic/ English, or Farsi/ English, bilingual New Testament costs, with shipping, costs $ 10.
Checks should be payable to Salam Christian Fellowship and sent to:
21W500 Butterfield Road,
Lombard, IL 60148
Hesham Shehab
bible-chains
Thanks
theword

Islamic Fatal Identities; the Paris Attacks

“90 percent of French citizens who have radical Islamist beliefs have French grandparents and 80 percent come from non-religious families. In fact, most Europeans who are drawn into jihad are “born again” into radical religion by their social peers. In France, and in Europe more generally, more than three of every four recruits join the Islamic State together with friends, while only one in five do so with family members and very few through direct recruitment by strangers.Many of these young people identify with neither the country their parents come from nor the country in which they live. Other identities are weak and non-motivating. One woman in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois described her conversion as being like that of a transgender person who opts out of the gender assigned at birth: “I was like a Muslim trapped in a Christian body,” she said. She believed she was only able to live fully as a Muslim with dignity in the Islamic State.”- France’s Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Drift Related to Islam (CPDSI)
The quote above reminds me of a book written by Amin Maalouf, a Lebanese French author, who published his work in French with the title, “Les Identités Meurtrières” (The Murderous Identities) in 1998, explained this phenomenon before the attacks of September 11, 2001. Maalouf says:
“Whoever claims a more complex identity becomes marginalized. A young man born in France of Algerian parents is obviously part of two cultures and should be able to assume both. I said both to be clear, but the components of his personality are numerous. The language, the beliefs, the lifestyle, the relation with the family, the artistic and culinary taste, the influences — French, European, Occidental — blend in him with other influences — Arabic, Berber, African, Muslim. This could be an enriching and fertile experience if the young man feels free to live it fully, if he is encouraged to take upon himself his diversity; on the other side, his route can be traumatic if each time he claims he is French, some look at him as a traitor or a renegade, and also if each time he emphasizes his links with Algeria, its history, its culture, he feels a lack of understanding, mistrust or hostility.”

This is why I believe that we need to reach out to them with love, and help Muslims feel that they are welcome and part of the West, as long as they are ready to integrate into the American, European, or Australian societies. But insist on our right to expose the Medieval Islamic values that violate human rights. In addition, we need to educate the Church on the perils of apathy towards the Islamic challenge.- Hesham Shehab

jihadi-john
les-identites-meurtrieres-1

standard_amin_maalouf_pax