As the Hajj period closes in Mecca, I repost a story from May. I am traveling, so I may resort to more guest posts and reposts at this time, though my goal is to post the weekly news roundup on Saturdays.
[Originally posted May 30, 2012] So last week, I introduced some of you to the amazing prophesy at the end of Isaiah 19:
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (NIV)
Last week was really a preface to what I’ve been eagerly wanting to share with you. I wanted to give you Scriptural context to a weeklong gathering in Jerusalem earlier this month.
Believers from several Isaiah 19 nations share communion in historic Christ Church in the Old City Jerusalem.
In light of the highway of worship in Isaiah 19 as well as the regional shifts — including the Arab Spring — leaders from the Isaiah 19 nations decided to meet to
- worship Yeshua/Jesus together, prophetically acting out the highway of worship
- encourage one another with testimonies of how the LORD is building the highway
- seek the LORD on how to proceed in ministering to Him and the nations in light of the Arab Spring.
The first night of the conference opened with Communion, an act of oneness with one another as well as Messiah. We were all led in worship by worshipers from Israel and Turkey in various permutations all four days.
Many of the participants are former Muslims who have accepted Jesus as their LORD and savior. Another consequence of recognizing Jesus as savior is understanding that He is the the Messiah and King of Israel and so loves Israel and the Jews very much (Mat. 25; Rom. 9, 10, 11). As you can imagine, there are Muslim extremists who would kill a Muslim-background Believer just for one of those “offenses” against Islam (case in point, the incarceration and death sentence over Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran). So organizers are being careful to protect the identities of these brothers and sisters in Christ.
However, there were some there who have shared their testimonies with the world already through books or film. Three of those stories I will share with you over several posts.
On Wednesday the week of the conference, participants who had traveled from the nations toured the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus.
As we returned to the Old City — where the conference was held — some in the group thanked me for taking photos of the conference. Then one of the older Turkish men asked through a translator how he could pray for me. I told him. He asked me for a token to remember to pray. I gave him my card with the website details on it.
I about fell out of my seat during the evening session when I saw that the speaker that night was the man who asked to pray for me.
Pastor Ali grew up Muslim but not religious. Once married and with children, he found that he was in a cycle of alcoholism and rage. He beat his wife every day, he says. He was ashamed but couldn’t help himself.
He was so ashamed that he would go find construction work in other cities so that he wouldn’t stay home and beat his family. Drunkenness continued to be a problem.
Eventually his friends advised him to go seek Allah’s help by going on hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca.
There, in Mecca, Ali dreamed Jesus. Jesus said, “You are mine. Leave this place.” Incredulous, his friends watched him leave. Ali hasn’t turned back since.
He described a very angry, depressed man enslaved by alcohol. I saw a very joyous man full of the Holy Spirit.
Ali’s story was dramatized in the “More than Dreams” films chronicling the stories of Muslims who trusted Jesus after the Savior appeared to them in a dream. (You can watch the “More than Dreams” films on Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, or YouTube).
I have embedded Ali’s story below.
As I listened to Ali tell his testimony and tell of what the LORD is doing in southeastern Turkey, I had a sense I was looking at the apostle Paul. Ali is truly an apostle in Turkey, planting and tending churches much like Paul did.
Some of us, perhaps, have at a time wished to have lived in the first century with Peter, James, John and the rest.
God put us on earth at this time. Jesus said we would do greater works than He by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:12). Looking at Ali and others who testified, I felt that we were about enter a time when the people of God will see the Spirit move in a way that rivals the book of Acts.