An Evening With Joel C. Rosenberg | Rockpoint Church | The Joshua Fund
Joel shares the story of his career and Biblical teaching from Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo, MN.
Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, welcomed Joel C. Rosenberg as a guest speaker on October 19-20, 2020. Joel spoke at a special event on Saturday night and at all services on Sunday morning. Additionally, Joel was interviewed and engaged in a Question & Answer session with Pastor Roy Fruits after the teaching. Joel shares the story of his career as well as some Biblical teaching.
- Thank you very much. What a joy and honor to be here in Minneapolis. Actually speaking here twice in less than 10 days. I was over at Bethlehem College and Seminary just a week and a half ago and was honored to be there and honored to be with you guys. Glad to be here at Rock Point. So thrilled that Pastor Roy Fruits and his wife would invite me and set up this event. You know a pastor by his fruits and this has been good fruit, so praise God. I'm thrilled. Your church has taken at least four that I know of trips to Israel. I've spoken at several of the times that you guys have been over there. And again, I wanna honor you guys for the 50th anniversary of this congregation that God has planted here to preach the gospel, to teach the word of God, to make disciples, train, equip, and advance the kingdom, not just here in Minneapolis, but throughout the state, throughout the country and around the world. So what a joy and honor to be here and I'm kind of shocked that this is not an evening service. This is a, you came it's not an evening service, right? Maybe now the fact that it's full is maybe you thought Joel Olsteen was coming. I don't know what you thought exactly, but I appreciate you turning out tonight and for whatever reason, maybe your wife dragged you or your husband or you weren't sure what was gonna happen. But I hope it's encouraging tonight. So one of the things, so let me just start out. I'm a little embarrassed by the video, but my team is very kind and they they wanna give you a quick introduction. But basically what they didn't say was I'm a failed political consultant. That's actually my professional pedigree. Every candidate I ever worked for lost. Well, you're laughing 'cause that's not your resume. So you wouldn't laugh so hard if you're like, that's gonna not go over so well. I helped Steve Forbes lose two presidential campaigns and about $70 million of the five daughters inheritance money that they were hoping for. And so I once worked for Israeli then former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That was 19 years ago. I was on his combat campaign team. It took him nine more years to come back. So I don't want you to think too highly of me 'cause that's really, and I'm one of the few Jewish people that grew up here in America though I live in Israel now. One of the few Jewish people that was born and raised in America that did not get the financial gene. I am not your stock broker, your hedge fund manager or your CPA. I'm not your doctor, your lawyer, your chiropractor. I don't run a major motion picture studio. All the good Jewish jobs I didn't get. So I make things up for a living. That is really what I do. I tell my journalist friends, look, if you wanna write fake news, that's fine but there's a job for it, be a novelist. You just have to own it. You have to be honest about it. But that's what I do. Every day I write fake news and I just call them political thrillers. And tonight I'm gonna talk a little bit about how writing these political thrillers with the gospel woven into them has opened up very interesting doors, doors to preach the gospel, doors to start the Joshua Fund. What is that? Why did we start it? What's it about? We're talking a little bit about it, but I want you to hear it as part of a story. The story of being somebody who was failing at everything and didn't get all these other skill sets and God was knocking every door in the corridor until I finally was willing to go through the door at the end marked, make things up. And that's not the normal way to go into life or ministry. But that's been the way that God has done it for me. And so I wanna talk about that and why I would quit everything and just run the Joshua Fund if I could, but the Lord won't let me. I love this ministry and I hope you'll hear my heart and our team's heart for why we do what we do and what is it that we actually do. We'll talk about that this evening, but the Lord is not letting me just do that. That was part of... He wanted me to found it with my wife and recruit good people and do as much as we could to train equip and send them out to do the work that they are uniquely qualified to do. And I do serve as chairman and it's a great board and several of the board members, as was mentioned are Rock Point members. So that's very, very fun and it's very encouraging. But he wants me to be a novelist. The Lord wants me, this is what he wants me to be doing. And for some reason, this is opening is like a key these novels is opening doors that I just never would have expected would have opened. And if I had known if the Lord had just said, "Hey by the way, this is all gonna work out, just trust me." I mean he does say that actually, but I was not. My wife is named Lynn and she actually has the spiritual gift of discernment. That's very helpful in life. I have the spiritual gift of obliviousness and so I have to well glad to hear some men laughing too. 'Cause there may be, I may not be the only guy in here that has this. Those of you that are not laughing, your wife knows that you're still trying to figure out. Do I have that? I'm not sure. That's the gift and it's probably noted most clearly on the road to Damascus. That story that Luke where Jesus says, "Oh foolish men and slow of heart to believe." And women, I know that most of you that suit your life verse. And certainly it's my wife's life verse. I'm only slightly kidding. God is interesting how he takes us down roads that we don't expect to serve in ways that we didn't expect. Even if we have a heart, we want to serve the Lord, but that doesn't mean that our plans have anything to do with his plans. In fact, that more often than not, he has very different plans because his ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And we know that we know it but then we're like, oh, and you really meant it. Oh, I see. So let me just start to walk you through, but I'm gonna start by the passage of the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul, he had passion when he was Saul, when he was Rabbi Saul when he was a Pharisee. He was sure he was doing the exact right thing. He described himself as most zealous Pharisee. He was the most legalistic guy. He was the top of. He wanted to be a super Jew. He wanted to be the most studied, learned, influential, and effective Jewish person in the entire Jewish religious world. That's what he wanted. He was totally wrong. He totally missed the Messiah until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. And that famous passage of course is in Acts chapter nine and while I'm not gonna preach that tonight, you know that story, I do wanna draw out just a couple of points as we set up this tonight, because if there was ever a man, a Jewish man trying to go one way and thinking that he was pleasing God. He wasn't doing it because he hated God. He was doing it because he believed this is the way to please the God of Israel. I know the law, I know it better than anybody and I'm gonna go change the world, at least the Jewish world by being an effective leader in this world. And Jesus was like, is like, no, no, that's not gonna work. That is not gonna work. Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And Saul says, "Who are you Lord?" He does not expect him to be rebuked by the God of Israel as he pursues being the most effective Pharisee that there ever was. And of course the Lord says, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now, get up and enter the city and you will be told what you will do. Jesus is not having a discussion with Saul any longer. Saul should have known from the word of God that Jesus was in fact the fulfillment of all the prophecy. Saul knew the word of God, but he was, he had a gift of obliviousness. He could not get it, that Jesus was fulfilling everything that he was waiting for and Jesus was not gonna have a conversation with him any longer. He just tells him, I'm Jesus, you're following me, go to the city and it'll be explained to you what you're gonna do next. It's pretty dramatic salvation, and we know that Saul, for three days and three nights, he's not eating, he's not drinking, he can't see physically, but he's beginning to see finally. He's beginning to see spiritually, which was far more important than seeing physically. And then of course the Lord that we all know comes to one of his disciples in Damascus. Interesting that the Lord saves the greatest Jewish apostle in human history in an Arab city, in Damascus. And so God comes to Ananians and says, "Ananias," and Ananias says, "Here I am. "Here I am Lord. "What do you need?" "I'd like you to get up and I want you to go "to the street called Straight "and inquire at the home of the house of Judas "for a man from Tarsus named Saul "for he is praying and he has seen in a vision "a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him "so that he may regain his sight." Now, we read this, if we've been believers for any amount of time or certainly if it's been a long time, we go, okay. That seems like a reasonable thing to do. Lord tells you to get up, go, here's a specific address. Go pray for this guy who's just come to Jesus. Unless it was Osama bin Laden. If he said, now I want you to get up, Joel, I want you to fly to Kabul, Afghanistan. I want you to go to the cave marked round and I want you to lay your hands and pray for this man from Saudi Arabia named Osama bin Laden, and he has been praying and he's heard that a guy named Joel is gonna come and pray for him and he's just come to Jesus and I want you to help him. I'm sorry, what? No. Then I would become a Jonah, and you'd wanna get on a cruise ship and head to the Pacific. I'm not going to some cave but Ananias was like, excuse me, could I get a price check in aisle five? What? Now, he doesn't say no, but he needs some clarity. But this is an interesting response that the Lord gave. And that's really what I wanna underscore as we begin. In Acts chapter nine verse 15, "The Lord says to Ananias, "Go," for he Saul that will become Paul. "He is a chosen instrument of mine "to bear my name before three groups of people, "Gentiles, kings, and the sons of Israel "for I will show him how much he must suffer for my name." Doing the ministry of reaching Jewish and Gentile people, Jews, Arabs, Muslims in the Middle East comes with a significant degree of spiritual warfare and resistance. The Jews and the Muslims are the most resistant groups to the gospel in the history of mankind. So if you're getting get involved in this ministry, it's gonna come with significant degrees of suffering. But this is God's heart. This is God's heart. And now, but so that's the setup. And that's the biblical foundation for what we're gonna talk about tonight. So let me tell you some stories about how I got where out of politics. So the short version of that is simply, I had to go through political detox. After I helped Netanyahu go nowhere, then that was, and I'd helped Steve Forbes and that was all in 2000. So by January 01, George W. Bush was becoming the president and I had been the deputy campaign manager against him. So I wasn't getting hired by the White House. And more likely I was hearing ringing in my ears, Dana Carvey going not gonna hire Joel, wouldn't be prudent at this juncture. I know that's more the father than the son, but still. Ganda, very scary. So as it happened, I decided I gotta get out of politics. I'm gonna go through political detox and I wanna report tonight that after 18 years I'm out. I'm clean though as we head to 2020 I need a patch. So I'm just just saying. #justsaying. So I told my kids I was gonna start to write a novel. Told my wife, and I'm gonna write a political thriller. I'm gonna get out of politics, all that travel, all that chaos, all that and I wanna write a novel. I was trying to explain it to my three little boys. We've got a fourth now, but at the time, three little boys, Caleb, Jacob and Jonah and then seven years later we had a Noah. And so, but these were the boys we had and I said to them, as we tucked them in, one night, "Daddy's gonna get out of politics "and he's gonna start to write a story "that's exciting with explosions and car chases "and gun battles." The stuff that every gospel track should have that. And then as the book grabs you and pulls you in, hopefully, I will start telling people about Jesus through one of the characters deep into the book when hopefully, you can't put it down. That was the idea. And I said, "Now, daddy has a few challenges. "Daddy has never written a novel before. "Daddy does not like to read novels "and daddy does not have a story." So they're all looking at me like. And so I said, so what we're gonna do is we're gonna pray every night before bed. Jeremiah chapter 33 verse three. This is that wonderful passage. "Call to me, says the Lord, and I will answer you "and I will show you great and mighty things "that you do not know." I said, that is the perfect verse for daddy. Daddy does not know how to write novels. Daddy does not have a story and dad does not even read fiction. So if this is not just some cockamamie idea that daddy has cooked up and daddy has warehouses out back filled with the crazy ideas that daddy has had over the years that have not borne out, but if this is from the Lord, he will guide us. So every night, this is what we're gonna pray. And their only question was, will you be home more? And that I like, oh yeah, I believe so 'cause this probably won't work, so yes, but we can trust the Lord, but I'm a Russian, Jewish pessimists at heart. I'm not proud of it. But my Russian Jewish side, which was my father's side is sort of dark and we think not only are we not glass half full people, we're not even glass, half empty people. We are glass, there's a crack in it and it's leaking fast. That's if you're a Russian Jew, that's basically how you see the world. And I would say with good reason, but I'm just saying that's how we look at the world. And fortunately, my wife is a Gentile and she loves Jesus, she's filled with the spirit. So she helps balance me and that's a very good thing. So anyway, long story short, I write this novel. Now, I'm not gonna go through that whole story. I've told it and you can find it online how I got into the whole process. But what happens is in November of '02, my first novel called "The Last Jihad" is published. And no one's ever heard of me. I've been a behind the scenes political operative. Nobody knows who I am, nobody cares and nobody knows this title of this book, "The Last Jihad" but it releases in November '02 and my publicist is the first book, he's having a hard time, she actually, she's having a hard time getting me place on radio and television shows to sort of talk about the book because nobody knows who I am. But the book opens the first sentence puts you in the cockpit of a jet plane that's been hijacked by radical Islamic terrorists. I just saw a picture up there, but it's not. We're not using the pictures yet. Okay, sorry. They distracted me. Focus. Let's stay focused. So the first page puts you inside the cockpit of a jet plane that's been hijacked by radical Islamists terrorists that's coming in on a kamikaze attack mission into an American city. Now remember, I began writing it in January of '01, almost nine months before the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and that story leads from the kamikaze attack on an American city, happens to be Denver, not in New York or Washington, and it leads to my fictional American president declaring war on Saddam Hussein to remove him from power. That's the arc of the story. Now then nine 11 happens and then almost basically a year later, the book is released, so it was uncanny. I wasn't predicting this was gonna happen. I was writing a what if scenario. A crazy, horrible scenario. Unfortunately, it felt like it was coming true. Again, I was not predicting and my details were different. It's a Gulfstream for business jet. It's not a commercial 777 or 757. It's getting flies into Denver, not to New York or Washington. There are a number of differences, but still. So basically to try to get somebody to put me on their show so we could talk and get people to be aware of the novel, my publicist sends a copy to the highest rated morning radio show host in my home city. I live in a little town of 5,000 called Fairport, New York. I did at the time, but the closest city was Rochester, New York, home of Kodak, Xerox, Bausch and Lomb and so forth. And so the highest rated show was a morning show on an acid rock format. I never listened to it as a kid, but there's a guy named Brother Wes who was the morning show host and he was big in our city. So WCMF 96 FM. And so they sent it to him and he read it and he decided to have me on. Hometown boy writes the novel, kind of uncanny. Okay. So it's the first show on the first full day of the tour, and I'm on by phone and he says, "Dude, dude, this is whack dude. "I mean, come on. "You write a novel that opens up "with a radical Muslim terror group hijacking a plane "and flying into a city. "Dude, how did you know?" "Well, sir, I didn't really know. "I was just making it up." "But dude, I mean, come on. "How did you cook up that idea? "I mean, that's crazy, dude." So we started to talk about it. He said, "Now you've got this in your novel, "the American president goes to war with Iraq, "and now President Bush is saying "that we might have to go to war with Iraq. "I mean, that's the big national debate now. "We may be going to war in the next few months. "Dude, how did you know?" "I didn't really know. "We don't know what's gonna happen "and I'm just projecting a fictional scenario. "It's like a war game." "Okay, but dude, dude, is this crazy?" Then he goes, now as we continue the conversation, he says, "Okay, dude, are you a Heb?" I said, "I'm sorry, what? "That is not a nice thing to say." He goes, "Are you a Hebrew?" I said, "Like in a Hebrew national hotdog?" And I just had never been called this before. He said, "Are you Jewish dude?" I said, "Oh, okay yes. "On my father's side I'm Jewish. "I'm not Jewish on my mom's side." All right, he goes, "I'm Jewish." I said, "You're Jewish?" His name was Brother Wes. I thought maybe he was a Jesuit or something. I didn't know. I just, I never met him. So he said, "So you're Jewish." I said, "Well you know. And he says, "All right, but at the end of your book, "look, I read it all weekend. "I mean, dude, but I read this book "and at the end of your book you've got these characters. "They're all talking about, well, this is a terrible, "a scary time to live and all this terrorism "and what's gonna happen next "and what happens after we die? "And you got one character he's like, "we gotta believe in Jesus. "I'm like, dude, what are you a born again? "What are you an evangelical?" And he said it like it was the most disgusting concept of some radioactive cocktail. It was like you could hear it over the phone. It's just like, arg. I said, "Well, I do believe that Jesus is the Messiah" and yeah and he goes, "Dude, how is it even possible? "You're Jewish. "How can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus?" I said, "Well, Mr. Wes, it's an interesting story. "I don't know if we have time to get into it on your show." He goes, "No, forget it. "Are you kidding me? "It's one thing to have a novelist "whose books seems to be coming true. "I gotta have that on my show, "but to be a Jew who believes in Jesus, "this is I gotta hear, son. "So I'm gonna hold you over the break, "we're gonna finish the commercial "then we're gonna come back "you're gonna tell us your story." And that was the beginning. And in the next 60 days or so, I was on almost 160 radio and television shows. Many of them, not all of them, many of them asked similar questions though, maybe not quite as flowery way of dude, dude come on. But it became my favorite question. How can you be Jewish and believe in Jesus? And so let me give you a short rundown. Jesus was Jewish. You may have heard that. Now, many Israelis thinks that he was Roman Catholic. They just don't, they actually don't know Jesus is the most famous Israeli in human history and most Israelis don't know anything about him and they believe he's an Italian, Roman Catholic. I mean that's the paintings they see, the movies. They just equate it with not them, not one of their team, our team. And the disciples, you may have heard, I think they're Jewish. All the disciples, original disciples were Jewish. And so the thing was that my father and mother, when they met and got married in 1965 they were agnostics. Now my father had been born and raised in an Orthodox Jewish home in Brooklyn. His family had escaped as Orthodox Jews out of Russia in the early years of the 20th century, around 1906. They hid in a hay wagon that was leaving, antisemitic, fascist, czarist, Russia and tsarist soldiers at the borders plunged their swords into the hay to see if anyone was hiding in the hay and by God's grace, this unsaved Jewish family, no one was injured. No one made a sound, nobody sneezed, none of the kids said, "Are we there yet? "I gotta go to the bathroom." And they got out and having gotten out of antisemitic czarist, fascist Russia, they could have settled in central or Eastern Europe like many Russian Jews did trying to find peace, trying to find quiet, trying to find shelter and safety. And many did and many ended up dying just a few years later in the Holocaust. But again, by the grace of God, God's sovereign kindness to us, he moved us across the continent of Europe, put that family on a steamship and got them to the United States and like any good Jewish family, they set up shop in Brooklyn. That's how it's done. And so my father and his brother were first generation Americans born to a family who'd escaped. But without going into their whole story, and that's a fun story of how my father came to faith and how my mother, my mother's now a Gentile, she's daughters of the American Revolution English Methodist Wasp. So this is quite an interesting combo platter here. Now, my father had become an agnostic by the time he met her. He had rejected his family and the synagogue and Orthodox Judaism. Lots of tensions, lots of problems, can't unpack all of it tonight, but he was a big part of it. He was an angry, bitter person and not happy with his family. His family wasn't nice to him either. But anyway, so he is agnostic, didn't know what he believed my mom if you go back just a few generations in her family, they had circuit writing, gospel preaching, Methodist missionaries. My middle name is Cooper, named for Judson Cooper, who was a pastor and a Methodist gospel preacher in central New York. So that was in her family, but by her generation, they went to a little church that didn't believe in Jesus, didn't preach the gospel. Didn't understand, she didn't understand that you had to be born again or even how that would work. So they began to read the Quran together. My parents, as they got started in their life. They were searching. It was the 60s but fortunately they didn't become Muslims. Then they read the Bhagavad Gita and they thought maybe it will be Hindus and then that didn't take. Okay, thank you Lord. And then they went to a church and eventually they heard the gospel. My mom came to faith in Jesus Christ first and she was truly born again in the spring of 1973 and then begged my father to join a small group Bible study of some young married couples that were gonna go through the book of Luke. Now my father didn't believe and he didn't really wanna believe, but he thought to know the basic plot of the New Testament is sort of like knowing basic Shakespeare. Every American should have the cliff notes. So sure, I'll join that Bible study. And so it was after six months of studying through the book of Luke that my father came home one day and said, "I can't believe I'm saying this to you, "but I have come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. "I've read this and I believe it "and I've given my life to Jesus." Now, this was a big spiritual revolution in our family and my father, this is the fall of 1973. My father thought he was the first Jew since the apostle Paul to believe that Jesus is the Messiah. He had never heard of a Jewish person believing this. He had never met one for sure, and in 1973, there weren't that many. Best research we've been able to do is that in 1967, when I was born, there was maybe 2000 Jewish people on planet earth who believed that Jesus is the Messiah, that he is the son of God, and he's the only way to get to heaven. The only way to have our sins atoned for. 2000, in all of the world? Now today, the numbers are dramatically higher and that's one of the things we're excited about. Joshua Fund helped partially finance a study from the Southern Baptists came out about a year, year and a half ago, and that study found there are today in America alone, 871,000 Jewish followers of Jesus. That's an amazing concept that we have gone from fewer than 2000 to almost 900,000 just in America. And if you add what's going on in other parts of the world, we're roughly at a million Jewish followers of Jesus in a world of 17 million Jews. That's extraordinary because for most of human history, for the last 2000 years, there was almost zero. Not zero, but almost zero Jewish respond to the gospel. And and yet now we're in this moment that's so dramatic and I'm one of them. I came to faith through the witness and teaching of my parents and our Sunday school teachers and our vacation Bible school teachers. And I came to faith when I was eight years old, 1975 I have to admit, thank God for all those people, but I hated Sunday school and vacation Bible school was worse. In Sunday school, we had these things. I don't know if you forced your kids, I mean encouraged your kids here at Rock Point to do sword drills. Ready, John 3:16 and whoever finds it first gets points and then eventually you get a baseball bat and a ball or something. And I'm like, yeah, they say, ready John 3:16, I'm like, what, there's a Mark, there's a Jenny, there's a Carrie, there's a Nancy. Where's the John? I don't understand what you're talking about. I had no idea about the Bible. I was completely illiterate, biblically illiterate, and because I had the gift of obliviousness, I didn't seem to know how to play this game. Like get me a Bible. I've got to study. It took me several years for me to go to my parents, and go, "Listen, I'm getting smoked in this game. "You're killing me. "You can't put me in this class. "I want that bat, I want that ball but I need a Bible." It took me years before I said that. Not that bright, but still God can use anybody. And so they got me a little Gideon, New Testament, with Psalms and Proverbs in the back. So it was just the New Testament and Psalms and Proverbs. So I began leafing through it. I wasn't that interested. I was just trying to get the basics for the game. So I kept losing, I kept losing, but one day they were like, ready? What's the last book of the Bible? And they were all shocked. Joel Rosenberg had just raised his hand. They're like, wow, well this could be progress. Fantastic. And the teacher said, "Joel, what's the last book of the Bible?" "Proverbs." You're bringing them back a lot of bad memories right now. That's what they did, they laughed. They said, "No, I'm sorry Joel." "It's revelation." Not in my Bible. No baby. Look at this, see, see, Proverbs, Proverbs, fork it over. You know you wanna give it to me. Come on, come on. I'm doing the work. I'm not a slacker. Come on. They wouldn't give it to me and I have to say, I'm a little bitter still. I actually was telling that story in Jerusalem at a church once and it was webcast and lo and behold, the Sunday school teacher that had been my Sunday school teacher saw, was surfing through the video web one day, came across this video. Couldn't believe that she had rediscovered me, watching this thing and then I guess I didn't really say and thank you to my Sunday school teachers and my vacation Bible school teachers for all that care and love for me. I didn't actually say that so she could tell I was actually a little bit bitter. And so she tracked me down and she sent me a baseball bat and a ball. So thank you. Now, the only thing worse, admittedly, the only thing worse than Sunday school was vacation Bible school. Because listen, we went to a church where in the summer, they let the kids off. The kids have more time, why teach them about the Bible? So we didn't have Sunday school, so my parents said, "Don't worry, we're signing you up "for vacation Bible school." I said, "What's that?" "Well, you go every day." What? One minute I'm like, thank God almighty I'm free at last and now every day. Are you kidding me? And you know what vacation Bible school is. Look, I don't like to sing. I don't like to do crafts. I'm not a big fan of flannel and I gotta say, I can think of a lot of ways to spend my summer morning better than gluing elbow macaroni to Burl out to write Jesus loves me. I mean, you understand what I'm saying? And yet somehow thank you to all my teachers who loved me and kept loving me and kept teaching about Jesus. And I did come to faith and eventually got excited about this. So in went to Syracuse University and I studied filmmaking, I wanted to learn how to tell stories. I wanted to write novels someday, but I didn't know if I could make a living at it. I thought filmmaking might be a better skill set to learn. And I could either go into commercial storytelling or maybe into news and just make things up. Either way, I was gonna be a fake news journalist, whatever. At Syracuse university I met my wife, Lynn. She's from New Jersey, I'm from New York. I had to get rid of all my New Jersey jokes. Most people from New Jersey don't realize that they're just the punchline for New Yorkers. So we had to work through that in our marriage. And anyway, so anyway, long story short, she was a creative writing English major and a Jewish studies minor. She's not Jewish, but she just got it put on her heart this love for Jewish people. We met in campus crusade for Christ and we just fell in love and the Lord was in it and we had a pastor who was from India and he used to say, "Joel, Lynn, we serve a prayer hearing "and a prayer answering God, a wonder working God." And we were like, what? We often needed English to English translation. He was speaking English but anyway, so in case you missed that, Joel and Lynn, we serve a prayer hearing and a prayer answering God, a wonder working God. And we saw this man show us what it means to pray and see prayers answered. And we eventually applied that with our children in many ways and we saw God do all kinds of crazy interesting things. And that first novel, "The Last Jihad" became number one on Amazon, 11 weeks on the New York times bestseller list. And again, I got to talk to millions of people and often about my faith in Jesus. And that set into motion a career. I didn't expect it. We pray for things, but then we don't really believe God's really gonna do it. We know he can, but Oh Lord, please let Peter out of prison. We pray, Lord Jesus. Who is it? It's Peter. Yeah, really sure. Okay Lord, we pray that you just the little servant girl. "Peter's at the door." Yeah, yeah. I'm sure it's his ghost or his angel. Just keep praying. We just don't, we're just not always sure he's really gonna do it. But as I was speaking around the country and doors were opening to talk about these novels at all kinds of venues, but increasingly now at churches and Christian conferences, people were saying, you're writing Joel in your novels about worst case scenarios that could happen in the Middle East but bad things are happening in the Middle East. We have a war in Iraq, we have a war in Afghanistan, we have the scourge of radical Islamism, not all of Islam. That's a theological challenge for the church. But the vast majority of Muslims aren't our enemy. But those who are, are. So you're writing and telling us about these things, but what can we do? How can we reach Jewish people and Muslims with the gospel? And that was the question I kept getting in various forms wherever I was traveling. But I would come home frustrated 'cause I'd say, "Honey, I don't know how to answer this question, "these set of questions because it takes a long time "to explain every, how would I explain "every ministry that's going on in the Middle East, "the ones that we know about, and then are they trustworthy? "Do they use the money wisely? "Are they theologically, reasonably healthy? "Are they heading in the right direction? "What's the address? "How do you invest? "What do you do?" It's impossible to end either a sermon or if you're giving a talk about your book and then you take questions. How am I gonna answer that? That's it, there's no way to do it in such a way that will help really answer the question that people would know how to, if they wanna send $25 or 25,000, what would they do? I don't have the answer, honey, and we started praying about that. Lord, you're prompting a question that you must have an answer to 'cause we don't have the answer. "Call to me and I will answer you," says the Lord "and I will show you great and mighty things that you do not know and that's where the Joshua Fund was born. We started in 2006 and the basic premise was what we were saying publicly was too, we wanna mobilize and educate Christians, educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus according to the Abrahamic covenant. Genesis chapter 12 verses one through three where God famously takes Abraham out of Iraq, Mesopotamia, and he sends them to the land I will show you and he says, "I will bless those who bless you "and those who curse you, I will curse." So we knew we wanted to help Christians understand God's heart for Israel and her neighbors. We don't believe that God only loves Jewish people. Now, part of the church's problem historically is many have believed that God does not love the Jewish people, that God's done with the Jewish people. This is called supersessionism. This is the theological view that Jesus, Jews rejected Jesus, therefore Jesus rejected the Jews and that all the promises that God made to ethnic national Israel now belong to the church, and there is no role, no place, no plan in God's economy for Israel and the Jewish people. He's done with us. Now, that's not true. If it were true that when Israel as a nation turned over Jesus to the Romans and the Romans crucified him in 31, 32, 33 AD whenever it was exactly. If that was the moment that God rejected his people, the Jewish chosen people that then how did Paul get saved? How did any Jewish person in the book of Acts get saved if God was already done with the Jewish people because of the rejection of the Jews? Now it says right in John chapter one to his men he, the Messiah came to his own. What own? His own, the Jewish people, the nation of Israel through whom the prophecies say the Messiah will come. He, the Messiah came to his own, Israel, the Jewish people, but his own received him not. We didn't welcome him and say yes to Jesus, but the Bible says, John says to as many as received him, the Gentiles, to them he gave, to you he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name. So God knew that the cornerstone, the chief cornerstone was gonna be rejected by the builders. He knew this. This was part of the plan, and he knew that he would eventually draw the Jewish people in small numbers over the years, but eventually he would show tremendous grace on us and he would pour out his spirit and draw the Jewish people into the kingdom. That he would open our eyes, that he had opened our hearts and what's fascinating to me is that we live in that season. That after 2000 years of very few Jewish people receiving Jesus as Messiah, now we're in the season where upwards of a million out of 17 million Jews have come to receive Jesus as the Messiah, as the Lord, as the only way to get to God that we can't just celebrate as we did last week, observe Yom Kippur the day of atonement. That is not how we can have our sins atoned. In part because there is no temple. If there's no temple, there's no place to follow the procedures of the law to sacrifice a perfect animal and have our sins covered for that year. There's no place to do that anymore. But God did not allow the temple to be destroyed until the Messiah had already come. The Temple's destruction in part is judgment on the nation of Israel, but it's also was superfluous. It was unnecessary. You did not need the temple when you had the Messiah, one sacrifice for all. But the problem for the Jewish community worldwide is very few Jews have actually heard the message. What we're living now in is a season where when Jews do hear the message and are prayed for, loved, increasingly they're saying, wow, I didn't realize this. They are doing what my father was doing, was coming home and saying, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I believe in Jesus. I believe in Yeshua. I believe that Jesus is our Messiah and I want to receive him and I want to be born again. I want to be grafted back in to spiritual Israel and spend eternity with God. And now I need to go tell other people. Most Jews are not rejected the gospel. Most Jews have not heard the gospel. Most Jews are rejecting the history of Christianity. They're rejecting the crusades. They're rejecting the inquisition. They're rejecting the pogroms, the Russian season when the czar was in charge and the Russian Orthodox church encouraged and supported these terrible persecutions and attacks against the Jews that left more than 60,000 Jews dead. Many raped and beaten and their homes destroyed and their possessions looted. And they see it, and many Jews see that as part of the church. That's part of Christianity. Hitler, we know Hitler was an antichrist figure, little, a little c, but his people, the Nazis who were running the death camps like Auschwitz, many of them described themselves as Lutheran Christians and they would gas Jews six days a week and on Sunday they would sing hymns on the way to the little chapel at Auschwitz. They'd sing about Jesus. If you're a Jewish person who knows that history, it's very hard to convince you that this book isn't an antisemitic handbook. So most Jews stay away from it. But there is only one way to be saved. Yes, we are the chosen people in the sense of God chose us to give us first dibs, first opportunity to know him and make him known. But it's not enough that we are chosen by God. We have to choose him back. We're no different from you except that we have a history. We have a history of rejecting Jesus, and we have a history of not reading the scriptures, and we have a history of being provoked, not lovingly by the Gentile church. That's a lot of reasons why we don't come to Jesus historically. But Paul makes it very clear in Romans. In chapter one, he says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel "for it is the power of God for salvation "for everyone who believes. "To the Jew first, and also for the Greek, "meaning the Greek speaker, meaning Gentiles." The world was pretty much divided in their world, Jew and other, and that was a Greek speaker. So he's saying to Jews and Gentiles, the gospel is the power of salvation. It's the only way to get saved "and I'm not ashamed of it." Paul says. I'll preach it to anybody, Jew or Gentile. In fact, everywhere I'll go, my pattern is I'll go and preach the Jews first. I will get beaten up, some will receive it, most won't. I'll get beaten up or stoned or whatever, and then I'll move on to the next synagogue in the next town if God lets me. I want my people to know because he gets to the middle of the book of Romans or two thirds through righty, chapter 10 he says, "How are they gonna believe "if they haven't even heard the gospel? "But how are they gonna hear the gospel "if nobody tells them? "And how will people tell them unless they're sent?" And with the sending comes the call, come reach Jewish people with the gospel. Come reach Muslim with the people. How is anybody gonna hear the gospel unless someone goes tells them? At this season where Jews and Muslims have been the most resistant to the gospel of any people group on earth, Jews above all. If it was easy to reach Israel and the Jewish people with the gospel, it would be done by now. We're the first country. We're the first people group that heard. We're like the Alpha and Omega of missions. Like we got it first, but we are been the most resistant historically, but things are changing. We're at this season where the curtain of Jewish response to the gospel is going up and even Jews who haven't received our listening, but it's important that the church be communicating and this is really the heart of the Joshua Fund. How do we make sure that every Jew and Gentile in the land of Israel, hears the gospel of Jesus Christ? Again, if it were easy, you'd think, how is it even possible that that's hard to do. There's nine million people living in the land, the footprint of Israel. Two thirds of those are Jews, about a third of those are Arabs. How hard is it? We're reaching China. We're reaching India. We're reaching Brazil. Yeah, but it's hard. I can't explain it. I just know from personal experience it is difficult. So this is what we're trying to be engaged in. And so the Joshua Fund, but we, again, not only with Jews then with Muslims also. So Joshua focuses on Israel, the Palestinians, and then people in five neighboring Arab countries, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. And so we're not just trying to reach everybody with the gospel. We are also trying to strengthen the church in the epicenter to fulfill the great commission. Our main goal was we're a fund. Our main goal is not to do the ministry primarily, that we do a lot of hands on ministry ourselves, especially now that Lynn and I and the boys live there. We live in Jerusalem. So we're happy that God wants to have us be a witness for him in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and even the utmost Scandinavian parts of the earth. So that's why I'm here. But that we're actually right there in the epicenter of the epicenter and it's exciting. But we're mainly as a ministry trying to strengthen the local believers to encourage them, pray for them, equip them, resource them, fund them so that they can reach the people of the region, of their nation, in their heart languages, knowing the culture the way they do and it's exciting. In 1948, there were only 23 known Jewish followers of Jesus in the entire country of Israel, in 1948 when it was prophetically reborn. 23, that section. Today on a study that just came out from the Israel College of the Bible, the main Bible training school there, something that Joshua Fund invests in significantly, there are now some 30,000 Jewish followers of Jesus. So now in a land of 6.8 million Jews, that's not enough. But when you think of 71 years and we've got more than a thousand fold increase, okay, there's movement, there's movement, but much more needs to be done. So from the leadership of the Joshua Fund, what our focus is, we think of ourselves as a venture capital firm, a spiritual venture capital firm. We are identifying, vetting small but promising ministry, seriously focused on preaching the gospel, making disciples, training up young people, equipping future pastors, helping people in marketplace ministries, caring for Holocaust survivors, caring for refugees, all the various aspects of the gospel ministry that Jesus laid out, we wanna equip them, we wanna invest in them and help them grow just as if you lived in Silicon Valley and you were a VC, you'd say, all right, I wanna go find a bunch of young people in their garage, they're cooking up the next app, the next killer app, whatever is there, the technology. How can we help them? How can we provide financial advice, management, assistance, marketing? What can we do to help you get your product done and onto the market and having big impact in the world? That's the ministry of the Joshua as venture capitalist, spiritually speaking. From a donor perspective, it's a little bit different meaning I think from your perspective, if you wanna get involved, it's like a mutual fund. You say, yeah, I have a heart to reach Israel and the neighbors with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I wouldn't know the first thing. I don't have time or the language set or whatever to go over and meet every pastor, every ministry, every congregation and analyze whether they're seriously healthy in their theology. If they have the resources to do what they say they're gonna do with their projects, if they're using the money at all or are they building chalet up in Paris or what? What are they actually doing with the money? So from a mutual fund that you, you don't have to be a stock picker. You don't have to do all your own research. You could say, well, if you see the Joshua Fund is a trusted resource, wonderful. Then we wanna help ministries, individuals, congregation, small group Bibles who say, we wanna make a difference. We wanna reach the most unreached peoples of the world, which ultimately, are Jews and Muslims. There are many other options and many other needs. And if the Lord doesn't call you to be involved, and Joshua and we get it, but a lot of people do have a desire but how are they gonna know unless somebody goes out and tells them and how can we equip people to go reach the people of Israel and the Middle East unless we fund them, unless we encourage the most, we help them? That's what we're doing and I love it. And I don't wanna be a novelist. I mean I do, but I don't. I would just wanna do that. But we've got a great team, a great board, which now you know is a significant element it's from Rock Point. We've got a great team. The sun never sets on the Joshua Fund empire. When I say that, I mean we don't have an office, we don't spend any money on a headquarters. Everybody works out of their homes. And we have people on the East Coast and in the Virginia area all the way out to San Diego. We've got people in Singapore and we've got people in Israel. So we just keep moving work eastward and it just keeps coming around and a lot of exciting work is getting done. I'd be happy to answer questions about it. I'm feeling like I haven't gotten to the pictures and the delegation. So should I take another few minutes on that or should we make that part of the Q&A? Keep going, okay. So let me take a few minutes. So this is an area. So we heard that Paul's role was to reach Gentiles, kings and the sons of Israel with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bear witness to them. Now, when you start a ministry and you're a failed political consultant and you make things up for a living, you're not thinking, okay, how do we reach the kings? How do we reach? That's not, I mean, honestly, that was not really a part of our thing. We pray for kings and all those in authority 'cause that's what Paul tells us to do. But Paul tells us also to be imitators of him. 1st Corinthians chapter 11 verse one, "Be imitators of me just as I am also of Christ." So we wanna reach Jews and Gentiles. We weren't really thinking so much about kings to be honest, but we were praying for all the leaders in the Middle East and then a few years ago the doors began to open. So the way they opened was I began, I wrote a series of three novels in which ISIS, the Islamic state captures chemical weapons in Syria and then is planning a series of genocide on attacks against Israel, the United States and other neighbors. And in that first novel was called "A Third Target" in that series, ISIS plots to blow up the castle of King Abdullah of Jordan, kill the king and take over the kingdom of Jordan. Now, for some reason I decided to make King Abdullah a character by name. Not that bright. If you're a nextdoor neighbor of a Sunni Arab monarch who's a direct descendant of Muhammad, should you really write a thriller where he and his family are being targeted and hunted by ISIS and their palace is blown up and all kinds of mayhem. Is that really the best way to witness to him? Well, anyway, it's what I did and as it happens, one of his advisors read the second book in the series. He was going through Heathrow airport. He didn't know me, didn't know about the book, but he saw the cover looked interesting, grabbed a copy and was reading it on a flight to Washington where he was going to meet his majesty, King Abdulah II. As he's reading the book, he's like, Oh my gosh, this is crazy. The palace is on fire. The king is flying his own Blackhawk helicopter in retreat to regroup with his forces and build a counter attack against ISIS. He's like, oh my gosh, what is happening in this book? By the time he gets to Washington, he goes to the Four Seasons Hotel. He goes to the king suite and he says, "Your majesty, you have to read this." He says, "Why?" "Because you're in it." "It looks like a novel. "What are you talking about?" "I know, but you're a named character in the book." Now, as it happens, President Obama, who they were there to see the next day, President Obama for some reason decided he was too busy and he didn't have time for the king that they would have to reschedule, but the King has already in Washington and he's got other meetings with cabinet officials and congressional leaders so they stay, but suddenly he doesn't have two of two days worth of activities on his schedule. A day of prepping for his meeting with the president, the half days of meetings with the president and the half days of debriefing with his team. So he's got two days free so he reads the novel. It was called "The First Hostage." So he sends this adviser, he says, "Who is this guy?" He goes, "I don't know." "Well go have lunch with him, see if he's a nut." So he has lunch with me and it comes back and he goes, "He is a nut." Well go, go have dinner with him and see if he's a dangerous nut. And so then he had dinner with me and in the end, Lynn and I received an invitation from the palace in Amman to come and have five days with the king and his senior advisors to get to know them. Essentially, we learned the king wanted to show us what he's doing to make sure my books never come true. So the first day we met him, we flew over from Israel. We got there and we met with him. He said, "I was wondering where it'd be fun to meet you "for the first time, but since you blew up my palace, "I thought I would bring you to the palace "so you could see what the damage, "that we don't want this to happen." And I said, "Yes, this is gorgeous. "I love this." And then he said, "I see that you made me a character "but I also see that my senior advisors, "they're all fictional names, but I can see who's who. So I buy copies of the book and I give them to each member and I say, this is you. You don't make it through the terrorist attack. Read that. Now as it happens, he had read the second in the series, it was a trilogy and I was writing the third, but I brought him copies of the first. I said, "Can I just show you?" Let's see the first. Oh, that's me, okay, first picture. So that's Lynn and me with his majesty, King Abdullah II, we just had lunch with him and I said to him, "Your majesty, you are the second in the series, "so you might wanna read the first to get the backstory "and understand how this all came about, "so I brought you some copies. "Now they're written in the first person. "Can I just show you the first sentence of the first page "of the first novel in the series?" "Sure." "Well it reads, I had never met a king before." So he laughed, he thought that was funny and so he decides to write, well you have now. So this is the King signing the book back to me and there's the line, "Well you have now, King Abdulah II." So we spent five days. Lynn was only able to come for two because we'd had a commitment with one of our sons. She came for two, I stayed for five. Fascinating, he put us in his private helicopter, flew us around the country to meet with commanders, generals, intelligence officials, trying to understand the ISIS threat, what's happening, how they're trying to make sure this never happens to their country and it was just unbelievable. He said, it's the biblical sites Petra, Jerash. The last night he invited me to a private dinner with him at his private palace. We had two and a half hour dinner with just a few close personal friends of his and we just talked about everything. And at the end I said, "You know what, your majesty, "I had a great affection "and admiration for you before I came." By the way, it's how interesting not just to invite a novelist, but an American-Israeli Evangelical Jewish novelist who blows up your palace do you invite that guy. So I said, "Thank you, we've learned so much "and I'm just wondering if you would be open "to other evangelical leaders coming and meeting with you, "doing what we've done to learn "many of them love Israel deeply, "but they needed to understand "what's going on in the neighbors "and how amazing to meet a king of your stature "and of your moderation "and you're willing to fight these radicals "even though you're a Muslim. "And what about maybe doing a delegation?" He said, "That would be a great idea. "Could we work together and put such a delegation together?" And so we did and the following year I brought a delegation including a Rock Point member, former Congresswoman Michele Bachman. See there, her there on the right and flanking on either side are two young men. The one on the right side of the photo is my son Jonah and the other side is Jacob. So actually I should have reversed that 'cause Jacob and Joan are the middle two and Jacob's older, but they got to come and be part of this delegation. And what a fascinating thing. I would have given both of my arms when I was a kid to get an opportunity to go meet a king and sit with these top leaders. We met with Jordanian Christian leaders, evangelicals. We met with top Muslim clerics. We met with the Cabinet. Then I flew home. Well I'm sorry, mashing these together. I'll just tell you a couple of other real quick things and then we'll pick up more as we go through the Q&A. But before we put this delegation together or as we were doing it, I happened to be back in Washington a few months later and even though I'd been praying for King Abdullah, I was also praying at our team. We were praying for all the leaders in the region. So an open door came for me to meet with President Abdel Fata el-Sisi, the president of Egypt. And so I got this opportunity to go. It wasn't just me, it was like 60 Middle East experts. But at the end of the two-hour Q&A session with him, he stood up, his entourage stood up, we all assumed he wouldn't leave, but he didn't. He just was chatting with people at the head table. Well, the type of people that were in this room are the type former assistant secretary of that and undersecretary of this and ambassador for that and secretary of this. So they know you don't rush up to the stage and get a selfie with Sisi. It's just not done. But I'm not a former anybody. I'm a failed political consultant who's getting the first opportunity to meet the president of Egypt. I'm like, oh, I like to go meet him. So unless the secret service is gonna tackle me, I'm gonna work my way around and nobody tackled me. Next thing I know, I'm shaking hands with the president of Egypt and I say, Mr. President, I wanna thank you for rescuing 100 million Egyptians from the tyranny of the Muslim brotherhood terrorists. Thank you. Well, you're welcome. And thank you for all you're doing to protect Christians in Egypt. You're rebuilding all of the churches that were burned down and defaced and destroyed during this period of terror and civil war and revolution. Thank you for that. I know there's a lot more to do, but I just wanna say thank you personally. I'm a Christian. Well, you're welcome. I see that you're meeting with Jewish leaders and Coptic Orthodox Christian leaders, Roman Catholic leaders. I appreciate, I don't remember any Egyptian leader sort of building these interfaith relationships with people that weren't Muslims and I just wanna say thank you for that. Well, you're welcome. We're trying to take Egypt in a new direction. I said, now this is not a criticism, but I haven't noticed that you have invited any evangelical Christians to meet with you. Maybe you have and I just haven't heard the news 'cause no, I don't think I have. I said, well, you might wanna do that. There are some 60 million evangelical Christians in the United States. There's some 600 million worldwide. It's an influential group spiritually, culturally, politically in other ways. So I'm working on putting together a delegation with King Abdullah, and it's just something you might wanna consider. Now we're six minutes into our conversation. He has no idea who I am. I just walked up to him. Nobody is still behind me in line, so we keep going. And he said, "Well, would you like to bring in "such a delegation?" And I said, "Well, I'll have to pray about that. "Yes." We already had prayed about it, but I wasn't thinking, I mean, I just try to plant a seed. I didn't think it would have miracle grow with it and it was just boom. And so we chatted, but what would that look like? How would it be structured? And then after about the nine minute mark, we turn and he says to his foreign minister, his chief of staff and the Egyptian ambassador to the US, "Gentlemen, make this thing happen." So I step aside, I exchange cards with them, we chat. I get on a plane, I fly back to Israel. A few days later, it's Passover. And it's Passover, so I'm at the home. Our next door neighbors at the time is the president of the Israel College of the Bible, the head of the messianic Jewish ministry training people in the scriptures. Again, a major receiver of Joshua Fund investment, his wife, some of the professors from the school and so forth and all their families and kids and our kids and my wife. And they're like, wait, wait, wait. You met with the president of Egypt? What was that like? What happened? That's crazy. I said, this is how crazy it is. Imagine being a Jewish man standing before the leader of Egypt on the eve of Passover and saying, let my people come. That is not how the story goes. So there we are. I thought maybe God would harden his heart. I read the story. So there we are, I'm sitting next to the president. Up the front, it was supposed to be a one-hour meeting with him. We went three hours. We talk about every topic, religious freedom, human rights, Egypt's relationship with Israel. We talked about the prophecies of Isaiah 19 with him, which I explained to him that Egypt is mentioned in the Bible more than any other country except Israel, that God loves the people of Egypt. We talked, it was amazing that Jesus, of course visited Egypt, right? Y'all know that because Joseph and Mary take baby Jesus and flee there when Herod is gonna kill all the babies in Bethlehem. So it was just an amazing thing and then then he said, "Let's get a picture," and so they line us all up again. You'll see Rock Points member, Michelle Bachman in the white jacket there. I'm at the other side and it was extraordinary. The man in the purple shirt is the head of all the Egyptian Christian Protestant evangelicals in the country, some two million of them and we didn't wanna work around the local believers. We wanna work with the local believers and so it was very special that he was with us. I gave him the opportunity to ask the first question and the protocol people put him right next to each other. I won't go through all the stories, but just showing you that then as this made front page news in all the papers in Egypt, Jordan and throughout the region, I got contacted by the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington saying, "Would you come and meet with our crown prince, "Mohammed bin Ziad?" And this is us meeting with him last November. Another delegation you might see behind the crown prince is Kay Arthur. She was with us and then we were invited to Saudi Arabia and as it happens, we were invited several months before the horrific unconscionable murder of Washington Post journalist, Yamaka Shoji, a Saudi national. We'd already said, yes. Should we still go? But we prayed about it. We discuss it as a team and we decided to go. Michelle was with us for that as well. We decided to do it because we'd been told, I had been told by the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia before we went, he said, "You're the first Christian leaders in 300 years "of the Saud family control of Arabia "who've ever been invited to the palace." I can't think of a single other example of this happening. And that was pretty amazing. So do you go or do you not go? Well, the murder was announced and we learned of it October 2nd in the days that followed, we were supposed to be there in November 1st and a lot of information we didn't know. But if we don't go, we become judge and jury. We've decided he's guilty and the crown prince and we might be blocking the door for anybody else. The apostle Paul appealed to Nero, the Caesar. Nero was not a good guy, but Paul wanted to go talk to him about Jesus. Daniel met with Nebuchadnezzar, the man who invented, the king who invented throwing Jews in the fiery furnaces. Do you go where you're not go? Joseph before the Pharaoh it's not exactly parallel. I'm not saying that is, I'm just saying that if we're supposed to pray for kings and all those authorities and we are supposed to do what Paul does, which is bear the name of Jesus before Gentiles, kings and the sons of Israel and the Saudi Royal family, the heir to the throne, the effective operational officer of the Saudi kingdom invites a Jewish American, Israeli evangelical with two kids in the Israeli army. That's not normal. I remember, it makes me think of the old Sesame Street thing. One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn't belong and that's me with the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman talking. We had an opportunity to ask him, what are your prayer requests? We said to him, the Bible commands us to pray for kings and all those authorities. How can we pray for you? We talked about the murder of Khashoggi. We asked them a lot of questions about it. We then asked him lots of questions and at one point, I said to him, "I noticed that you have met "with the Coptic Orthodox Pope in Cairo "under a painting of Jesus. "I don't remember any Saudi leader ever doing that before." And he said, "Well, this is the new Saudi Ara