How Has God Called You?

Bishop Paul Lanier  |  October 9, 2020

Close up image of two IFCJ staff members packing food boxes.
On August 27, 2020, Yael Eckstein and Jacob “Jackie” Schimmel (IFCJ Board of Directors member) visited Lev Chash Soup Kitchen in Haifa, branded logo food boxes inside of warehouse, two men packing food box, packaged food, shelves of canned food and boxes in the background, branded logo tshirt, summer clothing, no faces in the photo

As a pastor, over the years I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of preaching about God’s goodness, mercy, power, and enduring presence in our lives. I never feel so alive and so young as when I preach … and never so old as when I’m done.

I know in my heart that we are all called to do something prophetic with our lives. And this month especially, as I reflect on how my passionate, diverse congregation continues to grow and inspire me after all these years, I am thinking about the greatness of God and how He uses His people to profoundly and significantly bless others.

And this has me thinking of The Fellowship, a ministry that comes together as Christians and Jews to serve the people of Israel. As Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Fellowship, I notice how God uses each one of you to bless Israel and to save Jewish lives — and how, together, we are experiencing biblical prophecy come to life!

Giving to Israel and Her People

The Fellowship finds precious Jewish people in the world, and you help us to feed them if they are hungry, clothe them if they are naked, and help bring them home to the Holy Land from countries where they are in distress.

You are an extraordinary group of people. As soon as you hear reports of terrorists harming innocent Israelis — incendiary balloons on children’s playgrounds, rockets threatening Israeli border cities — you respond with compassion for innocent Israelis who are in danger.

Today’s global health crisis is no different. You’ve responded to this relentless virus in Israel, even when you are dealing with your own crisis in America. You still want to help Holocaust survivors who rely on The Fellowship for food, you care for the Jewish orphans, and help Israeli families hit hardest by the pandemic. You continue to reach across the waters to extend a helping hand to the holy land of God.

Our Common Root

With the election season in America just beginning, I pray for God’s wisdom and blessings over our leaders. If I’ve learned anything from The Fellowship, I’ve learned that we succeed because of our differences, not despite them. Because even with all of our differences as Christians and Jews, we are united in our faith.

Yael Eckstein has taken up the mantle of her father as Fellowship President and CEO. Rabbi Eckstein established the bridge between Christians and Jews, and Yael has expanded it. I feel so blessed that I’m allowed to witness her deep and abiding faith in our God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

And even though Yael is Jewish and I am a Christian, I am reminded that we have a common root: Israel. He promises us in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So together, we have a holy mission that God placed on our hearts.

Even in the diversity of thought in our national leadership in the U.S., and the division we sometimes see in our nation, The Fellowship stays true to its purpose. We are a part of God’s government, standing for the Jewish people.

As a Christian, I’m grateful to be a part of The Fellowship. I hope you will ask yourself how you can be a part of what God is doing in Israel. This is a remarkable moment in history, and I want you to join us and see what God will do with us, through us, for us. May He continue to bless you.

  • Bishop Paul Lanier