Truth Matters

Does it matter if our leaders lie, if we lie to each other and to ourselves? More than ever it is important that the followers of Jesus resist the culture of systematic lying and deception. Spreading lies and advancing the culture of deception comes with consequences. All Truth is God’s Truth. Speak to God truthfully. Speak to others and to yourself truthfully. This too is included in the greatest commandment: “Love your God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself.”  We are called to look upon Jesus, who is the Truth to lead us into all truth, including the truths that surround us in our earthly human encounters.  We are called to filter everything through Jesus. Watch and listen to the message I shared in Crikvenica, Croatia with the participants attending the 2021 Renewing our Minds (ROM) Gathering, early July 2021. Time 29:48 min

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Webinar Notes, Refugees Our Neighbors

Webinar Notes, Refugees Our Neighbors, selection of highlights featuring two webinars produced by Leadership Focus International in May and June 2021. Our international team of panelists, all of them leaders with the firsthand experience in ministering to refugees, immigrants and minorities, include Heather Staff (UK), Ryan Smith (US), Yousef Alkhoury (Palestine), Mihaela Kovacs (Romania), Liviu Bocaniala (Romania), Ali Noghandoost (Croatia), Noemi Mena Montes (The Netherlands), Jyl Hall Smith (US), Zdravko Plantak (US). While it may be challenging to listen to three hours of webinars in their entirety, sampling the highlights is something each one of us can do. Take 46 minutes this coming weekend, or as soon as you can, and let us know your thoughts. If you believe this is something your friends need to watch and hear too, we would appreciate you share it in your circle of friends.

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A Christian View of the Political Turmoil From Inside of Israel

Focus Conversation with Botrus Mansour, an Arab lawyer and General Director of Nazareth Baptist School. Botrus is also a Baptist Church Elder, and Chairman of the Convention of Evangelical Churches in Israel. He is the author of several books, of which the most recent one is ‘Looking from the Precipice, Reflections from Nazareth of a Palestinian Christian Evangelical.”

Henry Kissinger once said : “Israel has no foreign policy, only a domestic policy.”  In order to understand what leads to Israel’s policies it is important to have a grasp of the political system in Israel, and how it impacts the region and the world.

Join this important conversation on Zoom, Thursday, 17th June, 2021, at 6.00 GMT (8.00 pm CET). To attend registration in advance is required https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrdu6grToqHN1N7cyG_uaVqeymgnJoifnp

The event is organized by Leadership Focus International and moderated by Tihomir Kukolja.

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In Medias Res: Refugees in Your Own Land

Yousef Alkhoury, Lecturer of Biblical Studies and Missions, Bethlehem Bible College, Palestine speaks at the Focus webinar “Refugees and Immigrants Our Neighbors”. 

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Refugees and Immigrants, Our Neighbors

Panelists, Focus Webinar, Refugees and Immigrants Our Neighbors

On Thursday, May 27, 20h CET (6pm GMT) we are continuing our current season of webinar conversations on refugees and immigrants, this time with the title – “Refugees and Immigrants, Our Neighbors”. Our underlining question remains: Should we, followers of Jesus, care? 

Our international team of panelists include: Heather N. Staff, Political Adviser on Refugee and Migration Policy to UK Parliamentarians. Liviu Bocaniala, President of a leadership development organization, Polylogos Association, Romania. Mihaela Kovacs, Founder and Director of Fundatia Beraca, Romania. Yousef Alkhoury, Lecturer of Biblical Studies and Missions, Bethlehem Bible College, Palestine. Zdravko Plantak, Professor of Religion and Ethics at Loma Linda University, California, US.

Our 90 minute conversation will include questions: Why are Christians divided over the acceptance of refugees and immigrants into our countries?  What obstacles have you faced in your ministering to refugees or immigrants? Are there similarities in the suffering of refugees and immigrants, and other minorities? What does it look like to be a refugee in one’s own country? How does the teaching of Jesus about loving our neighbors include loving our refugees and immigrants too, and what does this look like in practice? How can Christians help other Christians, and our communities, to welcome refugees/immigrants, and treat them with respect?

We are inviting you and your friends to watch and share this webinar with your friends.

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Only When One Turns to the Lord the Veil is Taken Away

We do not arrive at the TRUTH by carefully aligning Biblical proof texts into systematically organized themes, topics, doctrines, or systems of beliefs however important they might be. By doing so many have arrived at diverse teachings and truths, all supported by some kind of inner logic and reasoning, yet more often than not at odds with each other, while claiming the sole authority of the Bible in their conclusions.

We arrive at the TRUTH by beholding Jesus as revealed in the Gospels, and on the pages of the New Testament, and letting Him interpret and reinterpret everything else – whether the Old Testament covenant, or my church tradition or denominational beliefs, or my cherished beliefs, or fashionable beliefs of the day. 

But only a few dare to do so. Most of us find it very offensive and too radical still to accept that Jesus Christ is THE cornerstone upon which all our cherished notions of God, life, religion and the world, stand or fall. To look for the Truth elsewhere means to choose blindness. It means to remain under the veil of ignorance, confusion and without direction. 

The truth is that “whenever anyone turns to the Lord the veil is taken away…” (2. Corinthians  3:16.) Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said, but I tell you!” (Matthew 5:21.27.31.33.38.43.)

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Meeting Jesus on the Refugee Trail, Webinar

Zoom attendance requires registration. Register here.

The treatment of refugees and migrants over the past several years has been a very much contested issue in the US and Europe. The spectrum of attitudes towards them, shared among many Christians too, ranges from the expressions of compassion and acceptance to those of hostility and aggression. Often Christians are the most vocal against the acceptance of refugees and immigrants. Too many Christians, in Europe and the US, and other places are rejecting any policy and action that would treat refugees and migrants with empathy and dignity.

The current situation begs a question: After 70 years of the 1951 International Convention of Refugees in existence, and several years of intensive and challenging migrations of people across international borders, what stand should Christians take in regard to the treatment of refugees and migrants as they come to our countries? In short, should the Followers of Jesus welcome refugees and immigrants, or reject them? 

Some of the questions included in the conversation will be: Why are Christians divided so much over the acceptance of refugees and immigrants into our countries? Are you or your church, and in what way involved in aiding refugees? What obstacles have you faced in your ministering to refugees or immigrants? How can Christians help other Christians, and our communities, to welcome refugees/immigrants, and treat them with respect? What does the Jesus-centered theology of refugees and immigrants look like?

Our team of international panelists, all of them leaders with the firsthand experience in ministering to refugees, immigrants and minorities, include Ryan Smith, US; Jyl Hall Smith, US; Liviu Bocaniala, Romania; Noemi Mena Montes, The Netherlands; Ali Naghondoost, Croatia; Mihaela Kovacs, Romania; Tihomir Kukolja, US. One of our panelists has a personal experience of being a refugee.

This webinar will go live also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/leadfocusinternational

Join us via Zoom, Thursday 22 April, 2021, at 6.00pm GMT, and be a part of this important conversation. Register now to attend.

Watch the webinar here:

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Palestinian Christians, Webinar Notes

Webinar Notes, Palestinian Christians: Have We Forgotten Our Palestinian Brothers and Sister? A group of young Palestinian Christians talk about the challenges Palestinian Christians are facing due to the biases of many American and Western Christians. Featured contributors are Areej Murad, Shadia Qubti, Yousef Alkhouri, Lamma Mansour and Jack Munayer. They all represent a new generation of young Palestinian leaders, actively involved in peace-building, reconciliation, and human rights and social activism. Time 15:10 min. 

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Christian Nationalism, Webinar Notes

A selection of webinar highlights from two webinars, Overcoming Christian Nationalism, and Christian Nationalism and Christian Identity Do Not Belong Together” produced by Leadership Focus International, February and March 2021. Time 28.33 min.

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Christian Identity and Christian Nationalism Do Not Belong Together

Camilla Bocaniala, one of the panelists

‘Christian Identity and Christian Nationalism Do Not Go Together’, was a message a group of international panelists shared on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. It is one thing to love one’s country, and quite another to be idolatrously obsessed with one’s country, nation, race at the expense of healthy relationships with anyone outside the circle. It is even worse when nationalism is wrapped in a ‘Christian’ blanket. 

Our panelists were:  Camilla Bocaniala, Romania, Co-founder of Polylogos Association, a leadership development organization. David Austin, US, Worked in international and humanitarian development, including UN and US Government. Jyl Hall Smith, US, Adjunct Professor at United Theological Seminary, Ohio, and a boards member of Faith 2020. Heather Staff, UK, Political Adviser on Refugee and Migration Policy to UK Parliamentarians. Zdravko Plantak, US, Professor of Religion and Ethics at the Loma Linda University, California. 

The panelists talked about a difference between patriotism and nationalism, complexity of the identity question, our primary and defining identity in Jesus, biblical Christology, spiritual offensiveness of nationalism, practical solutions to the challenges of Christian nationalism. This webinar was a follow-up webinar. Watch here the first webinar on Christian nationalism ‘Recognizing and Overcoming Christian Nationalism’. Recommend our webinars to your friends too. 

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