Lynne Hybels

Friday, January 22, 2010

Christ at the Checkpoint

Yes, I’m speaking at a theological conference in Bethlehem in March. Yes, I’m the token non-expert speaker. Yes, I’m in over my head. But I would do anything to support the vision and passion of this conference—“Christ at the Checkpoint: Theology in the Service of Peace and Justice.”

In the last eighteen months I’ve traveled to the Middle East four times and I have three more Middle East trips scheduled in the next ten months. This is an unexpected direction in my life. Since 2003 my global focus had been sub-Saharan Africa. Then wham. I received an invitation to attend a conference in Jordan taught by Arab Christians and I knew I was supposed to go. God used those brothers and sisters from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Israel/Palestine to break my heart, to renew my mind, and to call me to a more determined and—yes!—radical pursuit of Jesus, justice and peace.

Nearly every time I’ve mentioned the new Arab Christian friends I’ve made in the Middle East, people in the US have said things like: What? You mean there are Arab Christians? Iraqi Christians? Palestinian Christians? Oh, we Americans know so little about the people of the Middle East, let alone the problems and the politics. But “Christ at the Checkpoint” offers a unique opportunity to learn. If you sense the slightest little internal nudge to learn more about peace and justice in the Holy Land, please check out this conference ASAP!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Lynne,
    this sounds very interesting. I would like to make 2 comments, this being the first. It is great that the Bible gives us God's perspective on the history of Israel. Called to be a blessing to others (Gen 12:1-4), called not because they were so great, but because God loved them, (Deut 7:7-8, just like how he saved you and me), called to be a nation of priests, to show the world the way to God, what happened? He rescued them from Egypt, gave them perfect laws, a good land, a king after his own heart, prophets to correct them, he gave them every help imaginable, yet they sinned. They sinned to the point of killing his own dear son. Israel teaches me that we can not get to God, even when he gives us every help to do so. It isnt just about getting a better president, or better laws, Israel had the best, and still fell. Now the wages of sin is death, and Israel had a living death among the nations for 2,000 years, but that verse continues, that the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus! God's love does not know how to quit (amen!), even after what they had done, his love continued towards them - his love is greater than our sin. In every generation, there were a remnant saved by grace, and finally, all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26). We see how this happens in Zech 12:10-13:1. They look on him whom they have peirced (conviction of sin), mourn for him (repentance), and God washes them clean (baptism). That is, they are saved just like you and I were. Having shown the world that we cant be saved by works, that the wages of sin is death, and that God's love is greater than our sin, they finally show the world the only way to salvation, living out their calling as a nation of priests, because the gifts and calling of God are irreversable! (Rom 11:29) This is wondereful. I sin, I let God down, and wonder if he could still love me and use me in his will, then I remember Israel, and am comforted. God's love for Israel shows me the nature of his love for me also. And their history, from beginning to end, is recorded in Scripture to be a blessing (1 Cor 10:11). Romans 15:8 says Jesus came to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs (see Psalm 105:6-11 for some of these - and remember, in Jesus, all the promises of God find their yes). See Luke 1:54-55.
    We have a good God. I am glad his love never fails, and his promises can be trusted. At present, Israel have been re-gathered in unbelief, are still sinning (like the rest of us) and need the Gospel (like the rest of us), but we can see through the eyes of Scripture in that regathering the first blossomings of redemption (Rom 11:15). Praise God Israel have come home.
    Thanks, Colin