JERUSALEM, Israel -- Just after the Thanksgiving holiday, disaster struck an evangelical church in the heart of Jerusalem. It appears Muslim radicals destroyed the facility where Living Bread International Church has met for the last 10 years. Most of the property and personal belongings of the church's pastor, Karen Dunham, were burned in a dumpster. Michael Hilsden, a former volunteer at Living Bread, recorded footage of the damage."This is it. This is all of Karen's stuff. Everything," Hilsden says in the video. "This is what is happening to Living Bread Church. Right here. Everything. They burned everything." Dunham pastored the Living Bread Church for 10 years. But on Saturday, Nov. 24, Muslim neighbors came into the building and ransacked it. "They destroyed everything inside," Pastor Dunham said. "That dumpster right there is full of stones. They tore out the floor. They pulled out the wiring. They punched holes in the walls." "It was an act really, I thought, of terror," she added. "You know the sad thing is I've been there 10 years or longer. I mean you've got diaries, write down what God says to you, Bibles. They burnt all the personal stuff." The ones who vandalized and seized the church claim the rent has not been paid and that they've been trying to evict the church for two years. But Dunham begged to differ."We have the legal right to be there right now," she said. "Our rent is paid till next year. And you have a 20-year lease? We have every right to be there. Do they have any right to do what they did? None. None." The dispute goes back years. In 2014, The Jerusalem Post covered how Dunham's neighbors harassed church members and stole property. Yet Dunham decided against pursuing legal action."The biggest power is conquering love and He said, 'I want you to go and love those guys and I want you to tell them you forgive them,'" she said. "'And I want you to tell them that your God is in the building waiting for them and release that building back to Me.'" from: http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/israel/2016/december/radicals-leave-brutal-thanksgiving-surprise-for-jerusalem-church
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
Note the tactic: Destroy the stuff and destroy the character. Instantly, our minds read the claim that they were behind on rent and we think, "Aha!", even if for a fraction of a second before we nudge that thought aside and internally say "I don't think that is true." Do we believe that the antichrist world (which, but for the actual followers of Christ, is the whole world) will merely destroy stuff without destroying credibility? As believers are arrested, do they not get accused of all sorts of horrible things? Things that even other believers would look at and say, "Oh that is ungodly!"? Why engage in this tactic? Because the credibility of our witness, for those cultivate that seriously with an inward and outward life that reaches for the mark of the prize of the calling in Christ, is most precious to us. We think that we can lose most anything if we have that. But, when we are accused of things that would cause believers to look askance on us, and we remain faithful anyway, I think then we will know God more truly than ever. Can we endure that? Can we?
Tim, That truly is the mark of a true believer, that we don't have to defend ourselves but let God vindicate us. And that is so tough because we so want to defend our reputations. It made me think of Jesus silent before his accusers and it makes me weep to know he could have destroyed them with one word but he didn't. And I weep to think of the many times i have tried to defend myself when accused wrongly. Truly this is something only the Lord is able to accomplish in us. L
Two things:1. We owe it to each other to believe each other.2. If we can't believe each other in Christ, we are going to have a very difficult time enduring on top of the difficulty of enduring, if that makes any sense.Now is the time to meet and gather together regularly and small and intimately and fervently. Creating those bonds now in peace with an eye toward the days to come may be indispensably valuable to us. Hebrews 10:25
But we need to keep these bekievers on our prayers. This church was doing a precious Christ centered work in East Jerusalem. What occurred was the work of Satan to those that are given over through the darkness of Islam.Let us pray that this sister will be encouraged to continue her work. And those who work with her to be the Light of Christ in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.For sure the Integrity of those involved with this work or christ-centered. May God vindicate their integrity under Christ centered character.-bbs-
As many of you may know I am in Israel right now. I can't remember exactly how any days ago it was but about 6 or so days ago we met a member of this church while we were in the desert section of Israel staying with friends. This church member who I won't identify has been in Israel over a year now working with that church. They showed us pictures of the ransacked and vandalized church perpetuated by Muslims. The article is every bit true regarding the damage. The French Bible college ministry upstairs from this church has moved out and left because of the danger.