Pastor Jack Hayford said Friday that the founding of the Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries (FIRM) could not have been more timely because "we live in perilous times" where standing for righteousness, including standing with Israel, may mean persecution, perhaps even martyrdom.
Hayford, founding pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California, was the final speaker in a three-day sellout conference in Loveland, Colorado, which served to launch FIRM. Read earlier articles on the conference here.
Saying we must engage in spiritual warfare, Hayford emphasized the need to pray and urged the crowd to take the "1 percent challenge" to devote 1 percent of each day—14 minutes—to pray for Israel and the Jewish people.
Using the backdrop of history and biblical quotes, Hayford said Israel has a right to the land and cited the many miracles that have happened, including their winning the Six-Day War.
"FIRM must stand with Israel and stand for righteousness," Hayford said, urging the people to take on the "whole armor of God" (Eph. 6:10).
He lamented the lawlessness in the world where "people won't listen to God," and "deception," where leaders actually bow to Muslim leaders, as well as immorality resulting in people rejecting "the Creator's order for sexuality."
"There's a showdown. These are last days and perilous times until the Lord will come and take us into Himself," he said.
Hayford also told the crowd how Wayne Hilsden, founder of FIRM, first shared the idea with him at an airport in Denver several years ago. He said he was honored to serve on the board of directors.
Hilsden told the crowd that FIRM's strategy in supporting israel won't be just through large conferences or lobbying on behalf of Israel, but through prayer.
He repeated the vision that FIRM is a "Global Fellowship of biblically grounded believers committed to cultivating Messiah-centered relationships to bless the inhabitants of Israel, both Jew and non-Jew, and to bless the Jewish community worldwide."
Throughout the conference, speakers emphasized that their support of Israel was not just political but to share Yeshua (Jesus) with the Jewish people.
Hayford said there are reportedly 300,000 Jews worldwide who accept Yeshua as being the prophesied Jewish Messiah.
An emphasis at the FIRM conference was engaging the millennial generation for whom causes of "justice" are important, including the plight of the Palestinians.
Hayford poked fun at himself, asking why they invited an 80 year-old speaker if they wanted to reach millennials.
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