Facing the Islamization of the West! What Is the Role of the Church?

“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Tim 1: 7
Islam is anti- Western and anti-Christian, but Muslims may not be. We need to reach out to them with love, 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. We need to speak the truth with love and respect, but insist on the freedom of speech and the right to criticize Islam.
The West is naive and unprepared to face the problem of Islamist extremism, because it misunderstands Islam. Even counter-terrorism experts have bought into a theologically illiterate view that all religions are the same and that Islam’s problems today are just a twisted ­distortion.
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Last Thursday I gave a presentation at a local church. After a few days, I was disinvited from giving the Bible Study, the next Sunday.
The topics discussed were Jihad, Sunni, Shia, and ISIS, NOT Muslims.
There is a difference between Islam and Muslims.
After the presentation, in the Q& A, a guy stood up, and presented himself as a Muslim.
The Muslim guy wanted to confuse the audience, and said: ” I am a Muslim, and Syrian. If you want to meet Muslims, come to the mosque a few miles away” He turned his back and left. he did not give anybody a chance to respond.
1- Maybe 90 % of Muslims are peaceful. He did not let us work it out.
2- By saying he is Syrian,he was confusing the audience again. We were not discussing Syrian refugees. My presentation was not against Syrian refugees. Syrians are victims of ISIS and the Assad regime…This was in the presentation. He took the whole thing as against Syrian refugees..which is a shame. I am with welcoming the stranger among us so that they could hear the Gospel. Please go to my www.SalamChristianfellowship.org and read my Sunday sermon, Nov. 15, sermon on this.
Finally, many Muslims use demagoguery to intimidate any frank talk about Islam.
Strict adherence to Islamic values is incompatible with Western Society. Indeed much of what we value in western society today is opposed by Islam. The Islamic culture has no legacy of democracy. The spread of women’s rights was, and still is, opposed by the Islamic culture. Fair treatment of people irrespective of gender identity or sexual orientation oppose Islamic values.
Islam is anti- Western and anti-Christian, but Muslims may not be. We need to reach out to them, but insist on our right to expose the Medieval Islamic values that violate human rights.
That lecture was given before at that church, and no one complained..I believe the leadership, at the church, is now afraid of Muslims coming and shooting me…happened to me before..at another church in Michigan. The safest place is in God’s will.

Hesham Shehab
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* Tariq Ramadan is the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He is dubbed the Martin Luther of Islam. He was elected by Time magazine in 2004 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world and by Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the top 100 Global Thinkers

Sharing Jesus, Shining Like Stars

Sharing Jesus, Shining Like Stars
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
It is always a pleasure to be at St. Mark.
I was driving back from St. Louis, MO, when I received the news of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
I was coming back after I did an interview on Islam with the Lutheran Hour Ministries…How fitting hah.…But in a sad way…In addition, I had to re-write big chunks of my sermon in the car, while my helper drove to Chicagoland.
What I am going to say may not be popular in the Church.
A knee-jerk reaction to the Paris terrorist attacks is not Christian. We need a Spirit-filled reaction.
Let me start from home; Chicago!
On Friday, a Middle East political analyst was asked about the suicide bombing in Lebanon that killed 43 people and wounded 200. You know what he said! This is not a chaotic round of killing, it is part of the tit-for-tat bombings and killings going on between ISIS, which is Sunni, and Hizbollah, a Shiite terrorist group supported by Iran, for about the last two years. Then he said, “It is like the gang wars in Chicago.”
That statement reminded me of an incident. Some years ago, when I moved to Chicago from Michigan, I saw a black man stranded on a highway. His car was on the shoulder of the road, he had a gas can in his hand. I pulled over, and gave him a ride to a gas station, and back to his car. On the way, I introduced myself, and was witnessing to him, sharing my story, and how God called me to faith from a civil war, after my brother was killed by a Christian militia in Lebanon, and how the words of Jesus about loving our enemies were instrumental in calling me to faith…Could you imagine what he said: “Nothing will change for you… We have a civil war going on right here in Chicago.” This maybe an exaggeration…but, last month, a 3-year old black kid was shot in the head in Chicago, execution style.

Black lives matter… Hispanic lives matter… French lives matter… American lives matter… Muslim lives matter.
They are all created in the image of God… whether we favor westerners or not.
The tragedy in Paris highlights our selective grief and selective outrage.
Terrorists kill Muslims everyday more than all the French victims that were murdered on Friday.
Muslims, both Sunni and Shiites, are targeted by radical Muslims more than Westerners.
It is estimated that there are 12 million Syrian refugees out of 23 millions, and many million Iraqi refugees are scattered around the world. Imagine if more than half of the American people become refugees.
We should not take out anger on refugees. The immigrants streaming across Europe are trying to escape the radicals, they are not the enemy. The Paris attacks certainly remind us of the importance of security in this immigration crisis, and terrorists may very well try to infiltrate such refugees. But almost all of these people are just trying to live and protect their families—as you and I would do. If we start placing blame, and drawing quick conclusions from that, then we are saying that innocent people should have been denied protection. This is not ok. The gospel frees from fear and makes us people of compassion. We need to walk by faith, not by sight. Hate comes out of sinful flesh. Love comes from the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to love God and love our neighbor. All the Mosaic Law and the Prophets hinge on these two commandment.
The Bible tells us to welcome the stranger among us.
When Jesus comes in His glory, he will reward those who welcomed the stranger, and say I was a stranger and you welcomed me. After all, baby Jesus and His family were refugees in Egypt.
I am not talking about politics here, but morals. You would notice that what I would say would get Americans on both sides of the isle.
We, in the West, have made friends with dictators and corrupt Islamic leaders who oppress their people, like the Saudi family. We are bed fellows with the Saudis that pedal Radical Islam all over the world.
We have compromised with dictators who gassed their people like Saddam Hussein and Assad of Syria. If you do not believe me, you could find footage that shows Donald Rumsfield received by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Imagine that the State Department once called Assad of Syria a reformer.
We are compromising on human rights when we receive a Chinese dictator in the White House and honor him, while his government throws Christians in jail and torture them.
We are supporting Radical Shiite governments and militias in Iraq, and striking deals with enemies of the American people, like the Iranian regime.
We are applying double standards when dealing with almost every issue.
We have lost the moral high ground.
I am not calling on America to be the policeman of the world, but the leader of the world.
Turning a blind eye to those dictators I mentioned is a blunder like that when the Free World turned a blind eye to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. I am not vindicating the terrorists, and condoning terrorism here. But I am saying that Islamic terrorism is a symptom of deep-rooted malady in the Middle East, and our lame policy towards that region.
I say it again, I am not talking politics here at all…but I am talking about the survival of the Free World. This is an existential issue. Empires collapse, when they lose their morals.
Today, I believe we need to find a new way of managing our nation, our lives, and our relationships with others; whether they are friends or foes. From now on, wishy-washy solutions won’t work. Sweeping the dust under the carpet won’t work anymore.
But as Followers of Christ we have a burden…
Today, we need another Martin Luther…
Today, we need another Dietrich Bonhoeffer…
We need Christians who stand up for Jesus against all odds, and never compromise on the Truth.
It is our vocation, as Christians, to defend our country against all enemies. A Christian soldier, or a security officer, is serving God like a pastor does, but outside the walls of the Church.
Maybe some of us do not know that Martin Luther, in 1529, was calling upon the Church to take her responsibility in defending Christendom against the Turks, which was another name for Muslim Ottomans who conquered most of East Europe and were trying to storm the gates of Vienna. But at the same time Luther was writing on how to reach those Turks with the Gospel, and discussing the best way of doing it. Luther translated parts of the Quran, the book of Islam, to German, in order to equip the Church, so that Christians would understand Islam more, and would be able to witness better, if possible.
A knee-jerk reaction to terrorist attacks does not work. We need a Spirit-filled reaction.
As Christians, we have to love our enemies.
We need Christians who shine like stars, so that men would see their good deeds and glorify their Father in Heaven.
We need Christians who would do this with humility, not with self-righteousness.
What a powerful argument for God, if we confound the expectations of enemies, and come to meet them, not with a sword but with a towel and basin.
Looking back at Daniel 12:2-3 says this, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

The verse before this talks about eternal issues. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame….”

That’s why it’s so important to share Christ with our neighbors. There are two eternal destinations: everlasting life, and everlasting shame.

You and I can have a vital role in which destination it will be for the people we know. If we share with them the source of righteousness, we’ll shine like the stars forever and ever. People you influence for Christ will be the lasting legacy of your life.
Today, if you are excited about what God is doing, and come to the Bible Study hour, you may hear the testimony of an Iranian lady, a new sister in Christ. Sama was looking for God and for peace in Islam, but she could not find it there. A friend of the family who is Armenian Christian invited her to church. Sama says in her testimony: “When I went to church for the first time, I discovered that God in Christianity is kind and merciful. He died on a cross to save his people. Christians call Him their Savior. When they pray, they address God as Father. Christians have a close relationship with God. God is the Father that teaches us how to be kind, compassionate, and friends with one another.” Sama was baptized three months ago.
Note her words: “God is the Father that teaches us how to be kind.”
Sama is here today, in God’s Kingdom, because a friend shared Christ with her. I am here today, because a retired Lutheran pastor from Northern Minnesota gave me a business card in a bank building, in an elevator, in Lebanon. On Wednesday, suicide bombers hit there… Pastor Lutz risked his life to go there…God honored that and watered the seed he planted…and those seed gave fruits..We have baptized 30 people at Salam..so far.
Nobody will find peace in the Middle East. It is impossible. But through the Prince of Peace it is possible.
We have a ministry of reconciliation.
Making disciples is our commission in this world.
The problem is that we get distracted from the eternal, don’t we? We spend most of our time and our energy on earthly stuff. We are, in this, like someone trying to leave lasting footprints on a sandy beach.
But the tide will one day come along and erase all those footprints we left in the sand. Someone else will get your position, they’ll get your money, and they’ll get your house. There’s a verse of poetry that puts it in a very eloquent way:

“Only one life, ’twill soon be passed, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

Daniel affirms that the lasting thing you can do with your life is sharing the source of eternal life with your neighbors.
How are you doing on witnessing for Christ?
Could it be that you’ve misplaced your priorities? Are most of the marks of your life in the sand or in the cement of eternity?
You may not have made many tracks in earth’s sand… but marks you have made in cement for Christ/ will be there for a billion years/ and more – people who are in heaven BECAUSE of you!
Witnessing may need guts, but loving your enemies needs more than guts. It needs trust in Christ.
If we are in Christ, the Rock, our supposed weakness is infinitely stronger than the strength of Jesus enemies. Jesus gained the ultimate victory for us on the cross. We need to believe in what Jesus says: “…the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church. Amen
Hesham ShehabHicham Alb

The Paris Terrorist Attacks; A Towel and a Basin!

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PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 12:  French troops patrol around the Eifel Tower on January 12, 2015 in Paris, France. France is set to deploy 10,000 troops to boost security following last week's deadly attacks while also mobilizing thousands of police to patrol Jewish schools and synagogues.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 12: French troops patrol around the Eifel Tower on January 12, 2015 in Paris, France. France is set to deploy 10,000 troops to boost security following last week’s deadly attacks while also mobilizing thousands of police to patrol Jewish schools and synagogues. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

What I am going to say may not be popular in the Church.
A knee-jerk reaction to terrorist attacks is not Christian. We need a Spirit-filled reaction.
Black lives matter… French lives matter… American lives matter… Muslim lives matter.
Terrorists kill Muslims everyday more than all the French victims that were murdered on Friday.
Muslims, both Sunni and Shiites, are targeted by radical Muslims more than Westerners.
It is estimated that there are 12 million Syrian refugees, and many million Iraqi refugees are scattered around the world.
We, in the West, have made friends with dictators and corrupt Islamic leaders who oppress their people, like the Saudi family. We are bed fellows with the Saudis that pedal Radical Islam all over the world.
We have compromised with dictators who gassed their people like Saddam Hussein and Assad of Syria.
We are compromising on human rights when we receive a Chinese dictator in the White House and honor him, while his government is throwing Christians in jail and torturing them.
We are supporting Radical Shiite governments and militias in Iraq, and striking deals with enemies of the American people, like the Iranian regime.
We are applying double standards when dealing with almost every issue.
We have Okayed Sodomy and other sexual abominations and called it something else.
We have lost the moral high ground.
God help us.
I am not calling on America to be the policeman of the world, but the leader of the world.
Turning a blind eye to those dictators I mentioned is a blunder like that when the Free World turned a blind eye to Hitler’s invasion of Poland. I am not vindicating the terrorists, and condoning terrorism here. But I am saying that Islamic terrorism is a symptom of deep-rooted malady in the Middle East, and our lame policy towards that part of the world.
Mind you…I am not talking politics here at all…but I am talking about the survival of the Free World. This is an existential issue. Empires collapse, when they lose their morals.
In the 19th Century, trying to modernize the Third World was called the White Man’s Burden. It may have been considered a racist poem written then by Rudyard Kipling. Even though the imperial powers eventually failed, but the local governments that took over did a worse job.
I believe we need, today, “The Washington’s Burden,” or “The American Burden.” We as American people, have to find a new way of managing our nation, our lives, and our relationships with others; whether they are friends or foes. From now on, wishy-washy solutions won’t work. Sweeping the dust under the carpet won’t work anymore.
But as Followers of Christ we have a burden…
Today, we need another Martin Luther…
Today, we need another Dietrich Bonhoeffer…
We need Christians who stand up for Jesus against all odds, and never compromise on the Truth.
It is our vocation, as Christians, to defend our country against all enemies. A Christian soldier, or a security officer, is serving God like a pastor does, but outside the walls of the Church.
Maybe some of us do not know that Martin Luther, in 1529, was calling upon the Church to take her responsibility in defending Christendom against the Turks, which was another name for Muslim Ottomans who conquered most of East Europe and were trying to storm the gates of Vienna. But at the same time Luther was writing on how to reach those Turks with the Gospel, and discussing the best way of doing it. Believe me, I wrote a Ph.D. term paper on that. Luther translated parts of the Quran, to German, in order to equip the Church, so that Christians would understand Islam more, and would be able to witness better, if possible.
A knee-jerk reaction to terrorist attacks does not work. We need a Spirit-filled reaction.
As Christians, we have to love our enemies.
We need Christians who shine like stars, so that men would see their good deeds and glorify their Father in Heaven.
We need Christians who would do this with humility, not with self-righteousness.
What a powerful argument for God, if we confound the expectations of enemies, and come to meet them, not with a sword but with a towel and basin.
Looking back at Daniel 12:2-3 says this, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Hesham Shehab

Jesus Waking up Muslims through Visions and Dreams

“See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. – Acts 8; 38

Throughout the nearly 1,400 year history of Islam, Muslims have resisted the Gospel. Many Christians tried to reach them with the good news, but with little success. 
But what is happening nowadays in Muslim communities has never happened before.  Many Muslims are having dreams and visions of Jesus Christ. Islam teaches that Jesus is not the Son of God, He was not crucified, and believing in Him as a Savior, would doom them to eternal hell in Islam
At Salam Christian Fellowship, most converts who come to our services have had dreams about the Lord, visions, and even miracles.
Last May, an Iranian lady, Farida, 35, was baptized. She had seen Jesus and John the Baptist in a dream last year. John the Baptist was holding a bowl of water in his hands. She came to me then, and asked; “What should I do?” I replied “You need to be baptized.” After she had gone through proper teaching, she was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Last month, her husband, Ahmad, 43, had a visitation from Jesus and is coming to Salam with dedication.
Please pray for both Farida and Ahmad, as they are suffering of isolation from their extended family in Chicagoland, and are pressured to leave Salam.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13: 8). He came to this earth two thousand years ago, emptied himself, and was incarnate in a baby to work salvation for us. Today, he is calling Muslims to faith and using Salam spread His Gospel to the ends of the earth.

In this Christmas season, please support God’s mission with your prayers and gifts so that we keep on bringing the Gospel of Good News, Reconciliation, and Hope to those hopeless Middle Eastern communities that suffer dissent and wars under the yoke of Islam.
Hesham Shehab

All donations are tax-deductible if made to
Salam Christian Fellowship
21W500Butterfield Road, Lombard, IL 60148
Farida Baptized

Bibles for Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

MELM%20RefgImg%20032014Arab Luth.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.. 55: 10-11

Brothers and sisters in Lebanon are giving out Bibles to Syrian refugees. 350 copies were distributed last quarter. Salam is raising $ 1000 for the next quarter. 500 copies are needed. A copy costs $ 2. Please send any donations (tax-deductible) payable to Salam Christian Fellowship (21W500Butterfield Rd., Lombard, IL 60148) or to Lutheran Church Charities at 333 W. Lake Street, Addison, IL 60101

Note that Gulf states are distributing copies of the Quran to Syrian refugees with a lot of provisions and cash.

theword.

Please prayerfully donate generously in order to spread the Word of God to a much un-reached frontier. For more info on what Gulf states are doing, see the link below:
http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=359408

The Jesus’ Touch

luther-chapelArab Luth.

For the 10th anniversary of my enrollment at CTSFW, I post an old article written in 2005, with some editing:
The Jesus’ Touch

“For me, the most thrilling ‘Jesus Touch’ of my life was when I was called to attend Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN,” said Hesham Shehab a missionary from Lebanon working here in the United States. “It was an emotional moment when I first walked Luther Drive, the road that goes from Luther’s bronze statue to Kramer Chapel on the Concordia Theological Seminary campus. There I was, a former Muslim, a descendent from Muhammad’s tribe, who studied at the most prestigious Muslim ‘Seminary’, Al Azhar University, walking Luther Drive to pursue my dream, to reach my highest goal in life; to learn the true Word of God, and become an ordained disciple of Jesus Christ.”
Hesham was born in Lebanon in 1960 to one of the largest Muslim families in the country who pride themselves on being direct descendants of the tribe of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. He was recruited into the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood at the age of 13 and trained to be a militiaman, two years before civil war broke out in 1975. He was taken to a military training camp where he was taught to hate Christians. He was told, “If you want to shoot straight, imagine that there is a Christian in your sights.” (Hesham says, “A statement that puts in a nutshell all the hate we had for our Christian compatriots.”) He participated in some aspects of that war. “It was a terrible war,” says Hicham, “everyone lost somebody.”

In 1975 he was given a rifle with a powerful telescope and ordered to snipe at people in the Christian part of Beirut. It was a moment of truth for Hesham when he looked through his telescope and saw three people running for cover; an old woman and two boys. One who looked just like his cousin. The old woman reminded him of his grandmother, he could even see the wrinkles in her cheeks. He did not shoot. “My conscience told me that they were people just like me. I refused to follow orders and decided to quit. No causes are worth the bloodshed,” thought Hesham.

Hesham decided to focus on becoming a Muslim preacher so he started taking classes at Al Azhar University. Just days before he was to preach his first sermon, he had a car accident and broke both of his legs. He spent 50 days in the hospital and was bed-ridden for a year. This gave him time to reconsider what he was doing with his life. To pass the time he began reading English novels especially the Western novels by Louis L’ Amour – he read every one of his books and greatly improved his English.

But his hatred for the Christians only grew when his only sibling, his brother was killed by a Christian militia.

As he continued at the University he had to take a course in Cultural Studies which required that he read selections from the Bible and the Quran. He knew half of the Qur’an by heart, but the Bible was new to him. “I read the Sermon on the Mount at the climax of my hate and thirst for vengeance. Christ’s exhortation; ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven’ (Matthew 4:45) struck me with full force,” says Hesham. “I felt I heard the voice of God in stereo. I, who knew what is an enemy, and sought to kill my enemies, felt that Jesus exhortation was superhuman and cannot emanate from an ordinary human being, but from a divine source.”

“Even though I was taught by the Muslim clerics that the Bible was distorted by Rabbis and bishops, Christ’s words ‘Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor’ sounded authentically divine,” continues Hesham. “Even through the loss of my brother, I thought ‘There is another way, a way of forgiveness.’ I was touched by Jesus’ parables, especially the one about the Good Samaritan. I stopped my activities against the Christians and decided to reconsider things and see if it were possible to follow this Jesus.”

Hesham started sneaking into protestant churches to listen and learn all he could. As he learned more about Jesus he also began to dedicate his life to seeking peace between the Christians and Muslims of Lebanon. In 1990 when the international community and Syria imposed a cease-fire on Lebanon, Hesham vowed to work for peace and reconciliation. Together with the Muslim mayor of a Beirut suburb, he founded an NGO dedicated to Muslim-Christian dialogue and gradually recruited a hundred community leaders to participate.

In the year 2001 Hesham met a retired Lutheran pastor, Rev. Dr. Bernhard Lutz who was a missionary in Lebanon and they became close friends, working together. Trying to start a Lutheran church in Lebanon, Dr. Lutz learned that there is a law against planting new Protestant churches there. So Dr. Lutz encouraged Hesham to cometo in the United States.

“Above all,” says Hesham, “I am excited about going to Concordia Theological Seminary to study the Bible and become an ordained pastor.” Hesham has planted a new ministry to the Muslims in Chicagoland as he continues to attend classes at Concordia Theological Seminary.

At this beginning of our 161st academic year here at Concordia Theological Seminary God has given us the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the exciting ministry of preparing men like Hesham who have felt “Jesus Touch” in their lives as they are called to serve Him in the office of the Holy Ministry.
==================================
Today:
Hesham was ordained in 2010, and Salam Christian Fellowship in Chicagoland is a thriving ministry. Hesham’s dream is to establish an Arabic institute at one of the LCMS seminaries that could prepare Arab converts who do not speak English for the ministry.
Please consider a gift to Salam Christian Fellowship, earmarked to Concordia Theological Seminary TODAY to help Hesham continue his Ph. D in missiology at CTSFW. Hesham Your donation is critical at this time as the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Please partner with us as we prepare men whom God has set aside to do His work of caring nurturing His beloved children.
All donations payable to Salam are tax-deductible.
Mailing Address:
Salam Christian Fellowship
21W500 Butterfield Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Tyre Church Booming with Converts and Seekers Needs Your Support

yamout-clinic-2“Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut” Revelations 3: 8
Yamout Arab Garbyamout-Clinic

Hundreds of hundreds of Syrian refugees are coming “to hear the Word of God, to be fed, to be treated by medical teams, and to be loved ,” Lebanese missionary Mohammad Yamout recently told a standing-room-only audience at Salam Christian Fellowship in Lombard.

Mr. Yamout, raised as a Muslim and converted to Christianity several years ago, described past events at his mission station in Tyre as a “tide moved by God and a door for preaching the Gospel that could not be shut. ” Mentioning the tragedies and massacres in Syria and Iraq , he made it clear that ” God is bringing good out of evil ” and that scores of Muslims in those countries have found comfort and peace by proclaiming Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Mr. Yamout and his family have been persecuted for their mission work. He explained it as “part of the spiritual warfare that Christians suffer when they preach the Gospel to Muslims.” He credited God for giving him and his family the necessary love and patience to endure this persecution.

The missionary encouraged Americans to get involved in his mission in South Lebanon . He related that a Christian brother , former U.S. Marine Chris Todd and his family, are now in Tyre helping him while he travels now and then to the United States to raise funds for his mission. Mr. Yamout was recently joined by an 18-year- old American missionary from California, whom he said was one of those new generation of young people helping mission projects protect innocent people in the Middle East from the violence of ISIS . “She [ the missionary ] is a lady totally sold out To Jesus without any reservations . She packed her bag with a fistful of dollars in her purse and answered the Lord’s Call for Laborers in the Plenteous Harvest of the Middle East .”
Yamout went on to say that if Christians cannot come to Lebanon to help his mission, they can get involved in many other ways, such as sponsoring a child through the Salam Christian Fellowship or by contacting the Beirut Lutheran Hour Ministry office .

In addition of being displaced and homeless, Syrian refugees have been recently banned by the Lebanese education system from attending public schools , Mr. Yamout claimed. This ban led him to enroll more than 70 children at Catholic schools, which, he said , charge a $1,000 dollars per student tuition. He is planning to start a preschool for hundreds of refugee and neglected Syrian children .

With a goal of planting churches for Muslims in the Middle East, Mr. Yamout founded his mission headquarters in 2008 , later adding a sister center in Amman, Lebanon.

Born in 1966, in Beirut, Lebanon, Mr. Yammout converted to Christianity at the age of 14 , coming from the largest Sunni Muslim family in Beirut. The Yammout family has been providing Imams and muazzens (those who call for Islamic prayers in mosques) for a century, and his late great uncle, Sheikh Shafiq Yammout, was the head of Sharia courts there.

Lebanon used to be the only state in the Middle East that had a Christian majority, Mr. Yamout told his audience . Christians in Lebanon have dwindled from more than 50% of the population early in the 20th century to the current 13% . The rest of the residents is mainly Shia and Sunni Muslims. Political power is divided among the Lebanese along sectarian lines; however, the president of the country is required to be a Catholic Maronite; the prime minister a Sunni Muslim; the house speaker a Shiite Muslim; and 50% of the parliament must , by the national constitution, be elected from the Christian population.
Even though the country’s Lebanese population is only 4 million, Lebanon has received more than 2 million Syrian refugees since the civil war broke out in Syria. The country now has 750,000 Palestinian refugees, many are those who were displaced after the establishment of Israel in 1947.
Asked more about the tragic situation in the Middle East, Mr. Yammout explained that the fighting in Syria and Iraq is a 1,400-year-old feud between Sunni and Shia Islamists . He said that the U.S. intervention against the Islamic State is considered by Sunni majority as taking sides with the Shiite minority, which is represented by Iran, the Syrian regime, and Hizbollah in Lebanon. Mr. Yammout explained that Sunni majority countries are supporting the fight against the Shiite militias in Syria and Iraq. He further explained that since the Iranian Islamic Revolution took place in 1979, Shiites “have dug themselves into a hole, antagonizing Sunnis, and that they cannot kill their way out of this crisis. ” The Shiites cannot rule the Sunnis by force, and a just political solution to the grievances of both parties is needed in
the region, he asserted.

Edited by Bob Schwarz

Preaching Christ in the Devil’s Den. Yamout Speaking in Lombard and Mchenry

Brother Mohammad Yamout is in the U.S. for a week.
Do not miss his inspiring presentations at three locations:
Peace Lutheran Church, 8 AM, Saturday, on Dec. 6, at
21W500 Butterfield Road, Lombard, IL 60148
Salam Christian Fellowship:
on December 6 at 12: 30 pm, at Peace Lutheran Church, 21W500 Butterfield Road, Lombard, IL 60148. A Middle Eastern lunch will follow.

Fellowship of Faith Lutheran Church at 9 a.m. on Dec. 7th
6120 Mason Hill Rd, McHenry, IL 60050
Please note that the presentations will be different in content. There will be a Q & A on the Middle East crisis, after every presentation.
Yamout Arab Garb

My friend will share his love of Christ, as he particularly experienced it in the “Devil’s Den” of Beirut. Because of that love, Mohammad was persecuted, tortured, and jailed. But he remained steadfast in the Way! He has a lot to say that will inspire all Americans of all faiths. Below is a brief biography written by Mohammad:

My name is Mohammad, a former Sunni Muslim. I was born in 1966 in Beirut, during the civil war. I was called to faith in Christ through the Sunday school ministry of the Evangelical Bible Church in our neighborhood, in Beirut, Lebanon. My parents kicked me out when I got baptized, and since the age of 13 I lived under the guardianship of my Heavenly Father. Two times, I was threatened with death by Muslim Fundamentalists, and one time I had to hide for six month in a Christian village in North Lebanon.
God called me to the ministry early on, but I did not answer the call, but rebelled and went after my dreams and ambitions. Even though I was very active in church, from teaching, to preaching, I was not obedient to what God called me to; and that is to serve Him full time.
I went to the U.S. 1986 for four years and earned a BS in Accounting, then returned to Lebanon. At the age of 25, I had half a million dollars in my bank account, I owned my house, my business. I got married. All was going great, and I was going up the ladder… And for 20 years I was running away; but whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and indeed He did. In no time, my Father stripped me naked. I lost everything and was jailed for bankruptcy (that is the law in Lebanon). Then, I had only my family. Yet, I was hard-headed, so when I came out of prison, I went again into business, made money and had four retail stores.
In 2008, God had His way. I realized my hands are too short to box with God. I surrendered to the Lord’s will and liquidated all my business at a loss. Then, I started street evangelism, as well as ministering in an orphanage near Beirut. By 2009, God led us, as a family, to plant a church in the city of Tyre, South-Lebanon; close to the borders with Israel. I have five children: Laya, Selina, Lynn, Peter, and Sarah. God has been blessing us. We have distributed thousands of copies of the New Testament, and tracts of spiritual literature. We have helped hundreds of people in different ways, and we have seen God at work in saving souls. All of this has not been without persecution; for we are in the Devil’s Den: We had the windshield of the church’s van broken, my wife hit, and I was imprisoned. But God is good, with the blood of Jesus, we are more than conquerors.
We ask for your constant and continual prayers, for we believe in the power of prayers and whatever God puts on your heart in way of support, we are more than grateful and thankful.
May God Bless you and Keep you in Perfect Peace.
In Christ,
Mohammad

Be Reconciled with Yahweh

Yahweh Logocyrus
Be Reconciled with Yahweh

God revealed Himself by Hs name, Yahweh, to Moses. When the children of Israel sinned, Moses interceded for them and God pardoned their sin. He said, “I have pardoned according to your word, but truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh.” Numbers 14:21. (Yahweh means I AM who I AM. He is the eternal source and the unchanging One. He alone is holy and has created all things and by His will they exist and were created (Rev 4:8,11))

God gave Jeremiah revelation of His purposes. He said, “Thou shall swear (declare), Yahweh lives, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness: and the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him they shall glory.” Jer 4:2 We, and the nations, will be blessed by being in Him. Later He said that we would find our total satisfaction and life in experiencing the reality of His loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness coming forth from us as it is in Him and comes forth from Him. (Jer 9:24)

I myself believed the facts about God but was seeking pleasures from the things of the world, including the high of alcohol. But God has given me His desires to love His Son and to seek His kingdom and His ways to be manifest in me and thru me. Now I have a fire in my spirit, to see sin removed from myself, the people of God, the unbelievers, and all of the world. Now I have a desire to see all of the world functioning according to His eternal plans and purposes. This has happened because the Holy Spirit has taught me to “Behold the lamb who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

Jesus was punished on the cross for my sins. He took my sins and iniquities on Himself and became my lamb, dying for my sins, and brought them into hell, as my scapegoat. God raised Him from the dead and now He has been glorified, so that He can live in me thru the Holy Spirit. The same God who was in Christ when He walked on the earth, now lives in Christ in me, doing thru Chirst in me, what He did in Christ in His earthly body. (2Cor 5:19,21 ; 1 Cor 1:30,31)
God promised Abraham that thru His seed (Jesus) all his sons and all the nations would be blessed. God said that darkness would cover the earth and that many would come to His light in His people. (Isaiah 60:1) We are seeing that today. Yezedi’s in Iraq are coming to know Jesus thru Iraq Christians. Yahweh is also bringing sons of Ishmael to Himself. He has said “ All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; They shall ascend with acceptance on My altar, And I will glorify the house of My glory.” (Isaiah 60:7) We are the temple of God, the house of His glory. Thru Salam Fellowship and many other ministries, God is glorifying Himself, by manifesting His life in His people to the nations. He is doing what He has purposed from eternity to do.
Truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Yahweh Let us give glory to Him
Rich Fick
Cyrus International Ministries

God Gave Us a Spirit not of Fear but of Power and Love

St. Mark

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, we tend to focus upon the wrong things in Jesus’ parables. You can tell it by the names we give to them. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is not about the Prodigal Son but the waiting, loving Father. Here too, we could call this parable, “the Parable of the Extravagant Master. A master would not entrust all his resources to his servants. But God does. He has given to us His all, the fullness of His grace and mercy in Christ.

In this parable, we are not talking about money, even though money could be one part of how we invest in the blessings God bestowed on us. King David was providing gold, silver, bronze, and his personal treasure for building the temple, when he realized that it all comes only from God, and says:
1 Chronicles 29:14 (ESV)
14 “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.

God is the Giver of all that is ours and what we do is either act in faith, using the grace He has entrusted to us, or in fear, afraid of the opportunities His grace provides to us.

I want to begin with the guy who buried his talent. The talent in the parable was not some small sum. A talent of gold weighed in those days 67 lb. It was equal to the wages of a hard worker for four years. Many thousands of dollars – a good amount of money even today.
He was so captive to his fears that he hid what he was given in the backyard in order to avoid dealing with it. His life was shaped by his fears, not by faith. It did not matter how much time the master might have given him, because he would never have been prepared for the day of reckoning. The talent shall be taken from him on that great and mighty day when the Lord returns to settle up with His people. The worthless servant will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus Christ is a risk taker who was lavish and generous and trusting. Because that servant was crippled by fear, and ignored the Good News of Jesus Christ, he fell in the hands of the Living God.

Most world religions rule and function through fear. Even the politics of nations is driven by fear.
I want to remind us of times in history when fear drove a free nation to perpetrate irrational acts.

When the U.S. entered the war against Germany and the Central Powers, a search for spies and saboteurs escalated into efforts to suppress German culture in America. Many German-language newspapers were closed down. Public schools stopped teaching German. Many of the numerous churches which had been founded by German-speaking immigrants stopped holding services in German and began changing over to English. The result of all of these was a blurring of German ethnic and linguistic identity in the face of rising anti-German sentiment.
Germans were called “Huns.” In the name of patriotism, musicians no longer played Bach and Beethoven. Americans renamed sauerkraut “liberty cabbage”; and somewhat it is a paradox that German measles was called “liberty measles.

During WWII, seventy-four days after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an order that forced over 110,000 Japanese Americans to leave their homes in California, Washington, and Oregon and live in one of ten detention camps in desolate parts of the United States.
Two-thirds of them had been born in the United States, and more than 70 percent of the people forced into camps were American citizens.

Under the shadow of the events in the Middle East and the war on terror, a friend of mine, a journalist, a German American Christian, has been telling me since we met some years ago… that we, Christians, should act before American Muslims are sent to detention camps. I know this sounds like an exaggeration in 21st Century America, but I want to say that the church is sometimes crippled by fear, like this world…even though we are not supposed to be of this world.
I once asked a friend, WHY IS DOG MINISTRY is MORE POPULAR IN OUR CHURCH THAN MINISTRY TO THE MUSLIMS? COULD YOU IMAGINE THE ANSWER? MY FRIEND REPLIED: “BECAUSE OUR DOGS DO NOT BITE!!”
YES..YES, SOMETIMES WE ARE CRIPPLED AND HINDERED FROM SHARING THE GOSPEL and investing in OUR TALENTS THAT CHRIST BESTOWED ON US BY FEAR.
Many of us avoid sharing Jesus with their neighbors and friends, because they are scared of being called Jesus freaks, or avoid going to lunch with us.
The more we hide our talents, the more they will be depreciated. The more we share and invest our talents with the world, the more they increase in value. Faith and love are the only things that the more you give them away, the more you get.
We are always encouraged by the stories of heroes of the faith. Imagine if Jesus’ apostles did not go out with the Gospel to the world!! We would have been all pagans! Right! You may say, well those were the apostles. True, but they were ordinary men filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter, the leader of the twelve had denied Jesus three times. The disciples of Jesus faced persecution, torture, and execution, but were not thwarted by them.
When we walk by faith God shall bless us beyond our human understanding.
Today, we have a young man from Egypt among us. Oussama was a young Muslim, 22 years old, living in Egypt. He was traveling by train one day, when an evangelist gave him a Christian tract, and later a copy of the New Testament in Arabic. The Holy Spirit worked in Oussama as he was reading God’s word and he found peace.

His Muslim family was concerned by Oussama’s new love for Jesus, so they sent him to Mecca, to straighten him out. But he could no longer believe as a Muslim. He found a treasure in Jesus, and was then ready to put behind his back his family’s inheritance and wealth, in order to flee for Jesus.
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
1 John 5:4 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 1 John 5: 7
Oussama fled from Mecca to Jordan, to Syria, and finally ending up in Lebanon.
Oussama was able to open two stores in Lebanon and worked for twelve years growing his business. While in Lebanon he attended two churches growing in his faith, and evangelized on the streets of Beirut . However, more than a year ago, he was detained and held in a prison for 13 months in Beirut, Lebanon.
There, in Lebanon, Hizbollah is in charge. Hizbollah is a Shite terrorist organization controlling most of Lebanon. Oussama was beaten by nine soldiers for evangelizing in prison.
The torture he suffered did not separate him from the love of Christ. In fact he came closer to God in prison. This is when he became aware that Jesus was preparing him for a mission, like Joseph in that prison. He decided that he should forget about the “good” life he had in Lebanon, and follow God’s will. He applied to the UN for refuge, while he was in prison. Although Oussama wanted to stay in Lebanon where his friends were and where he was comfortable. He felt God’s call to come to the United States, even though he did not speak one word of English.
He was relocated to Chicagoland in ONE MONTH. This is unheard of – it was a miracle – God was at work! Last night, I was talking to another refugee about this. That refugee said that it took his family 12 years to make it to America.
Oussama found me in only five days (another miracle). Now he is helping Salam with evangelism. We are starting two new location for evangelism in Chicagoland.
Going back to the parable, we see that the loser lived by the law, and did not live by the Gospel. So, he was judged by the law. While the other two servants lived by the Gospel and knew their master well. They saw Jesus as a risk taker who was lavish, loving, generous and trusting. So they invested in what He had given them and took risks. In other words, they acted in faith.
Those two servants represent those who/ having received the Word of God/ are empowered by the Holy Spirit to respond in love and faith to seek further spiritual enrichment. They continue to read God’s Word, gladly come to Church to hear it preached, and receive the Lord’s Supper. They continue to reinvest in God’s Word and His work in their lives. They are followers of Christ who are always prepared to share the blessings of Jesus with their neighbor. They are salt and light in a lost generation, a condemned and dying people.

The day of the Lord will come, as Jesus says in the parable. You cannot escape it. Easter’s victory points us to that day, and then what was begun in the garden of the empty tomb will be made complete in each and every one of us who live in Christ by faith.
May God continue to give us spiritual gain through His Gospel and keep us free from any fear or complacency. For we wait with joy and peace the time when Christ our Lord and Master returns to receive us home, and by virtue of faith in Jesus Christ He will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Master.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A sermon given on Nov. 16 at St. Mark Lutheran Church in St. Charles, IL