What Threatens Religious Freedom in the Middle East?

In this episode of Inside The Epicenter, Joel talks about religious freedom in Israel and his relationship with Sam Brownback, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Also on the podcast is Carl’s interview with Brownback at the NRB 2023 convention. The former Ambassador shares his thoughts on what God is doing in the Middle East. They also consider the pressing matter of religious freedom in Israel and the challenges that lie ahead. 

Is there a growing trend of isolation and opposition against Israel? Listen to this episode to find out more!

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- [Sam] Religious freedom is a human right of the soul.

- [Carl] Yes.

- [Sam] And yet it gets trampled on by so many governments around the world and private businesses. You've just gotta push back on it, but as you do push back on it, you can have success and get people free.

- [Carl] Hello. We were at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention earlier this year in May, and we interviewed Ambassador Sam Brownback.

- [Joel] Oh, Carl, I'm so glad that you had the opportunity to sit down at the NRB Convention in May and interview Sam. Sam is Ambassador Brownback, but I've known him as Sam for a long time. We met first in 1994. He had just been elected from Kansas to be a freshman congressman, and I got to meet him then, and we became friends. So that's coming up on 30 years that we've known each other. I knew him then when he made his transition, when he ran for the Senate from Kansas, and later when he was appointed Ambassador for International Religious Freedom appointed by President Trump and Vice President Pence. And oh, well, he was also governor of Kansas. And I remember numerous times, Sam and his wife Mary invited me to come out and stay at the governor's mansion to speak at a big book festival that the first lady Mary Brownback had hosted out there. They are readers of my novels and nonfiction books. We've spent lots of time in prayer together. I think he is one of the most interesting, certainly the one of the most respected and important voices for religious freedom in the United States and around the world. In fact, Carl, as you know, he literally wrote the legislation that created the position of the Ambassador for International Religious Freedom. Never imagining that he himself would be appointed by a future president to serve in that role. So looking forward to hearing your conversation with my dear friend, Ambassador Sam Brownback.

- [Carl] What are your thoughts about religious freedom? The state of religious freedom in the US and Israel, and how we can encourage religious freedom?

- [Joel] Well, Carl, that's a good question, and it's taken a bit of a twist here in the summer of 2023. We're seeing some attacks against religious freedom here in Israel. Let me start by saying then Ambassador Brownback invited me to give a keynote address at a big conference on international religious freedom that he and then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosted at the State Department several years ago. I write about that event, and I include the text of my address on the state of religious freedom in Israel and in the Arab world in my nonfiction book from 2021, "Enemies and Allies." So I commend that to listeners' attention. But in that address, I said, look, Israel has been the best defender of religious freedom, not just for Jews of all kinds, of all different theological persuasions, ultra Orthodox, Orthodox, traditional, and even secular and even super secular and atheists, Israel has protected the freedom of all kinds of Jews to believe what they wanna believe and practice as they see fit here in Israel. But also, Israel has been a great defender of religious freedom for all religious groups. Muslims, I mean, a lot of people don't know this 'cause Israel's enemies are constantly attacking Israel as an apartheid country, a racist country. But an apartheid country would not allow Arab Muslims to worship Allah or to go to a mosque or to get training in the Quran or to go up to the Temple Mount and pray at the Dome of the Rock or the Al-Aqsa Mosque, but literally 20% of the Israeli society, Carl, are Arabs, and most of those are Muslims. There are some Arab Christians as well, and they have full freedom to practice their faith, as well as Arabs have full freedom and political freedom here in Israel to start their own political party, to vote, to run for the Knesset, to serve on the Supreme Court here in Israel, which has happened numerous times and other key positions. So Israel's not an apartheid country. It's not a racist country. We certainly battle problems. I'm not saying everything is perfect for Jews or for Arabs, much less Muslims, but also Christians and Messian Jews have freedom here. Being a Messian Jew, a Jewish follower of Jesus, is not exactly a beloved position here in Israel. It's somewhat controversial. And there are some, certainly within the ultra Orthodox community or the extreme Jewish Orthodox nationalist camp that hate Messianic Jews and want to see driven out of the country or see some sort of harm or restrictions on us. We talked at another podcast, several other podcasts, about two ultra Orthodox members of Parliament, who in March of 2023 actually introduced a bill into the Knesset that would ban Christians and Messian Jews from talking about our faith in Jesus with friends and neighbors and others here in Israel. It would've put us in prison for a year if we were found guilty of talking about our faith with other people. So that's a problem. It's a consistent problem. But, so far, over 75 years, Israel has been true, and thank God for this, been true to the Declaration of Independence of Israel, which states that there is freedom of religion here. That not only is Israel a Jewish state, but it's also a democracy, and freedom of religion is sacrosanct. And that has really been true, and Israel deserves great credit for protecting religious freedom. Now, there have been assaults. We have seen a number of physical and verbal assaults against Christians and Messian Jews over the last several years, and particularly here in 2023. We have seen, again, that legislation be introduced, but to his credit, prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately, or very quickly at least, sort of put the kibosh on that legislation, said it would never be allowed to pass in his tenure. Why did this bill get his attention? Because "All Israel News," the news service that I run, we broke the story that that legislation had just been introduced and was a threat. And it became such a firestorm of international coverage and international outrage about that bill that Netanyahu moved very quickly, to his credit, to squash it and to say that, you know, he will never allow the religious liberty of Christians to be infringed upon. But there are forces within his government. There are fringe forces, but nevertheless, they're there. He's having to manage that. And as we talked about on some other podcasts, there's been some additional threats and challenges this year. So, just to wrap that up, I just wanna encourage Christians around the world who are listening to this Inside the Epicenter podcast to pray that the Lord would protect Israeli democracy and protect the rule of law here, and protect the religious freedom of all people. Look, I wanna protect the rights of people that I don't agree with because I want my rights to be protected here in Israel from people who don't agree with me. That's the nature of religious freedom. Israel, I should note, is a signatory to the 1949 UN Human Rights Declaration. And in that Human Rights Declaration, one of the provisions is that every human being has the right to believe what they want religiously and to change their religion if they see fit. And that's important. It's not popular to say that because Jews don't wanna talk about the possibility that a Jew might come to faith in Jesus. By the way, that's not changing your religion. It's just accepting the Jewish Messiah being Jesus and being fulfilled as a Jewish person completed just the way God intended. But obviously Jews who don't believe in Jesus see that as conversion away from Judaism, but that's not illegal here in Israel, and nor is it illegal for someone who is religious to become an atheist or an agnostic, or for a Jew who's secular to become ultra Orthodox or ultra Orthodox to become secular and so forth. So, so far, 75 years, religious freedom has been very well protected here, but there are threats, and I don't think we should lower our guard. And this podcast plus "All Israel News" plus my TV show, "The Rosenberg Report," we're working to cover and expose these types of threats. Why, because we don't love Israel? No, because we do love Israel, we do love the Jewish people, and we do love freedom, these God-given freedoms. And we need you to be praying that these freedoms continue to be protected. So Carl, thank you so much for interviewing Sam Brownback. I interviewed Sam when this bill broke, when we broke the story about the threat to religious freedom by this bill back in March by these two ultra Orthodox Knesset members. And when Netanyahu moved decisively to quash this bill and say it would never see the light of day, Ambassador Brownback came on an "All Israel News" Zoom cast we did to explain his gratitude to Netanyahu and why that was so important. So I'm grateful to Sam for his steadfast commitment to religious freedom, and I'm grateful that he would participate in this podcast and that you guys got a chance to spend time together at NRB. I'm totally jealous and wish I'd been there.

- [Carl] What does the former Ambassador for International Religious Liberty for the United States think about what God is doing in Israel and the Epicenter region? Hi, and welcome to "Inside the Epicenter with Joel Rosenberg," a podcast of the Joshua Fund, a ministry dedicated to blessing Israel and the neighboring countries in the name of Jesus. And I'm joined today with a very special interview here at the National Religious Broadcasters with Ambassador Sam Brownback of the United States, the International Religious Liberty Ambassador underneath the Trump Administration. Ambassador, it's great to have you here, and I'm just so grateful to welcome you to this podcast.

- [Sam] Oh, Carl, it's just a pleasure to join you. Joel has been a dear friend for a long period of time. We first met in the revolution 1994 when the Republicans took over the House of Representatives for the first time in over 40 years, and he was working with Rush Limbaugh, and I was a new green congressman coming in from Kansas, gonna change the world.

- [Carl] Incredible.

- [Sam] And we've maintained contact and work with each other really off and on ever since.

- [Carl] Incredible. It's so amazing in the kingdom and just how small a world it really is sometimes. You know, when we cross paths and connect the dots, and our listeners to the podcast will know that it seems like we often have you Kansans here as a prominent component of this. You know, Mike Pompeo and lots and lots of others that have been part of our thing. I think it's really a heartland state. It's the core of who America is, and you guys represent really the best of what we think is going on.

- [Sam] Well, I don't know about that, but I hope we do. And there is a line from one of the "Superman" movies, I think it was like the fifth iteration of "Superman." At the very end, the military is asking Superman, "How do we know we can trust you?" And Superman responds, "I was raised in Kansas. "It doesn't get any more patriotic than that."

- [Carl] Exactly.

- [Sam] And I go, "Yes! "Hollywood finally got a line right."

- [Carl] There it is.

- [Sam] And there it is.

- [Carl] So you talked a little bit about how you met Joel, but how did you become the International Religious Liberty Ambassador for the US? I mean, that's a tremendous role.

- [Sam] It's a wonderful role. I'd been in the Congress, I'd been in the Senate, I'd been governor same time that Mike Pence and I, he and I were both governors at the same time. And then I was finishing up my term as governor, and Mike Pence reached out to me and said, "You ought to come and be the Ambassador "for International Religious Freedom. "We wanna push this topic." And I'd helped create the position when I was in Congress. It's a statutorily created position. And I said, "You know, yes, I'd be happy to do that." And what a fortuitous, a divine moment because we had Mike Pence there at the top with President Trump, of course. Mike Pompeo coming in after I came in there. And we just started really pushing this as a core cornerstone human right, and really the movement started taking off then globally, which we need this to be a grassroots movement to push around the world for religious freedom for everybody, everywhere, all the time.

- [Carl] Well, I'm gonna make a small detour here just to let our audience know. I've shared with Joel on this podcast my work with Open Doors with Brother Andrew.

- [Sam] Yes.

- [Carl] And doing work on behalf of international religious liberty in the US and starting Open Doors advocacy work. And you were a lion in the Senate for us when we brought out the scorecard on international religious liberty and we began to do those things. When we were working on this, the first few people we talked to said, "Well, of course I'm for religious liberty. "Of course I'm, you know, we're Americans. "It's like apple pie and Chevrolets," you know? But when we began to dig a little bit deeper, as you well know, there are major forces in this country limiting religious freedom and desiring to inhibit that. And unfortunately, there weren't many pieces of legislation that we could write up, you know, that would be, oh, we wanna support religious liberty. But there were all kinds of letters, all kinds of things we could do. And you were one of the real, help formulate that whole policy for us, that whole strategy. So I wanna say thank you again.

- [Sam] Oh, thank you. It was a great honor to be a part of that. And I still remember the first guy I helped get out of jail in Uzbekistan for religious freedom. And I was at a kid's softball game in Kansas, I got a call from a staff member and said, "He's outta jail." I said, "What?" And it was a guy that we'd been advocating for in Uzbekistan, they released him. And I was addicted then. I thought, "You can use this position "to get people out of jail on the other side of the world?" And they go, "Yes, amazing!" Then let's do more of it.

- [Carl] Sure.

- [Sam] And we did. And it's really, the movement has grown. 'Cause it's just such a core movement. Religious freedom is a human right of the soul.

- [Carl] Yes.

- [Sam] And yet it gets trampled on by so many governments around the world and private businesses. You've just gotta push back on it, but as you do push back on it, you can have success and get people free.

- [Carl] Well, you know, you're absolutely right. And one thing I would also point out is that we've had governments in the US that have taken a bold stand. You are so instrumental in formulating the conference.

- [Sam] Religious Freedom Summit.

- [Carl] Religious Freedom Summit that has really put some of these questions really front and center for the globe. I mean, it was a lonely space early in the days when I was doing that, and you've really made it a much more vocal opportunity. And I wanna thank you for that as well.

- [Sam] I think people have finally seen that this is a core issue. That if you can get this one right, you can build a lot of your other human rights on top of it. You get this one wrong and you're gonna lose your freedom of assembly, your freedom of speech and all that. This is just one of those founding. And 80% of the world has a faith of some type.

- [Carl] You're right.

- [Sam] You got a big constituency you can build this thing off of if you'll just structure it. It's religious freedom for everybody, everywhere, all the time. This is very simple, very direct, very clear, and you can build off of that.

- [Carl] Well, and what people sometimes in the evangelical world mistake religious liberty work and religious freedom work for compromising the gospel or something like that.

- [Sam] No.

- [Carl] But I think it's absolutely central. I've always felt this way. And what you find is that when people in different religious traditions affirm what the Bible teaches about freedom, it does become an open conversation rather than being shut down.

- [Sam] Yes!

- [Carl] And we have far more allies out there on this conversation. We need to endorse the Jewish people who are speaking out on behalf of the rights of minority religious viewpoints in their countries. The Muslims around the world who are standing up against the radicals who would eliminate conversation.

- [Sam] Absolutely.

- [Carl] And you know, I think that's a really important factor to bring into this.

- [Sam] Oh, it's critical. I mentioned to you, I was last week in Doha, Qatar speaking at a religious freedom summit paid for by the Qatar government and others that were there. And I was asked to speak at this. And I'm just going, "Wow. "Here I am on the Arabian Peninsula "talking about religious freedom." And I'm used to thinking this is the heart of the Muslim community that's shutting down religious freedom. Well, they're starting to look at saying, you know, if we're gonna build a economy post oil, we've gotta open up. And we've gotta figure out some way to not kill everybody that doesn't agree with us theologically.

- [Carl] Right.

- [Sam] And the leadership gets it, and they're starting to do it. It'll take a while to build on down into the culture, but the movement, particularly within the Islamic world, in some place, not every place, but in a number of places is really gaining some momentum, and we need to be back of it. We need to support.

- [Carl] I was gonna say, yes, I fully support that. And I think it's unfortunate that we sometimes, we shorthand and lump peoples together when we really need to find those people within the countries that we would normally think of as being hostile to religious freedom, find those advocates that we can have common cause with to bring this true freedom. This is the fundamental freedom. I used to say it was our first freedom. This is our first freedom in America. It's the first freedom inscribed in our Bill of Rights.

- [Sam] And it's a freedom God gave us.

- [Carl] Exactly.

- [Sam] I mean, you just think about it for a minute, God, he gave you and I the right to choose him or not.

- [Carl] Yeah.

- [Sam] And it's a free choice, and I have the free will. And you know when God gives us this right, he knows we're gonna mess it up.

- [Carl] That's right.

- [Sam] And he's gonna have to send his son to clean it up.

- [Carl] That's right.

- [Sam] And it's gonna cost him enormously.

- [Carl] Sure.

- [Sam] And he still does it. So there's gotta be something enormously powerful about this freedom. And that's the thing that I think that we kind of undervalue sometime is this was a God-given freedom of incredible cost to the Father to give it to us.

- [Carl] No question. I think it comes directly from, it comes from scripture, of course, but it's from the heart of God that people have the opportunity to freely engage with this dialogue in this conversation. I mean, of course, as believers, we have a conviction about what truth is, but the reality is we need space. We can't be closed to people from other convictions dialoguing with them. Otherwise, you know, the gospel doesn't get heard. Because if we shut down, they'll shut down.

- [Sam] Absolutely. No, we've gotta join other people with this, and we've gotta fight for it domestically in the United States.

- [Carl] That's right.

- [Sam] That's why we formed this National Committee for Religious Freedom because you're starting to see constrictions coming in the US, and any restrictions in the United States will be magnified around the world. There'll be other countries that'll say, "Okay, if the Americans are gonna limit this, "or if the commercial community can limit this, "then we can too." And you're gonna see this get much worse around the world.

- [Carl] That's so true. Ambassador, we're gonna take a quick break right now, and I'm gonna come back in just a moment. We'll finish this conversation really focusing on Israel and the neighboring countries and what we can do there. Our verse for the day today is found in Galatians chapter five, verse one. And it says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. "Stand firm then, "and do not let yourselves be burdened again "by a yoke of slavery." And our prayer requests today are to, number one, pray for the nations of the Middle East epicenter that they would experience a renaissance of religious liberty and freedom to engage. And second, that Americans would understand how under threat their religious liberties are, and to stand together in love to speak liberty into that question. Well, we're back with Ambassador Sam Brownback, formerly the Ambassador under the Trump administration of International Religious Liberty. And today, I wanna say like ambassador at large for international religious freedom around the world. So, Ambassador, let's go to Israel. We're sitting in front of a beautiful picture here at the NRB conference of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem is often pictured as the holiest city in the world. It's the holiest or one of the holiest cities for the three Abrahamic religions. And Joel and I have talked often about the Abraham Accords and how focusing all back on Abraham is one of the great principles for us to advocate for dialogue between differing viewpoints. Talk a little bit about what you see in the region and some of the challenges, but also some of the good stories, some of the successes that are going on there.

- [Sam] The challenges I think have just been out there so clearly to so many people. I wanna talk about the good things. I think you're seeing a reproachment taking place now between the Abrahamic faith between Jews and Christians and Muslims.

- [Carl] Sure.

- [Sam] That we're starting to look at each other more as people of a common father, if you will, Abraham. I've got this image in my head that someday, we're gonna see clerics, Jewish clerics and Christian clerics and Muslim clerics, not blending faiths.

- [Carl] Right.

- [Sam] I'm completely opposed to that. It will not work, it's wrong, but would stand together in front of Abraham's tomb in clerical outfits and pointing to that's the father of the faith.

- [Carl] Right there.

- [Sam] Now, I follow Jesus, and he is my Lord and savior, and I believe that. And I don't believe in blending any of this, but I do believe in fighting for each other's religious freedom to pursue God as we see fit. And I think we've got to start doing that much more. And the enemy is not each other. A lot of times, the enemy is working more in this secularized world that's trying to shut off all religion. And they're trying to do it as well, the Abrahamic faiths, because they say all you guys are doing is fighting with each other, and all you're offering to the world is hate and division. And if that's what you have to offer, I'm not interested in it.

- [Joel] That's right.

- [Sam] And we've gotta show a respect and a love for each other, and we're called to love our enemies. We're called to respect others and treat 'em as we would want to be treated ourselves, regardless of what they believe.

- [Carl] Yes!

- [Sam] So I just think you've got a moment where some people are starting to see that, and the Abrahamic Accords were a piece of it. So for the first time in diplomatic history, at least the last 50 years, instead of excluding religion in diplomacy, which we had done for years and years and years, you brought it in.

- [Carl] That's right.

- [Joel] You made it a centerpiece of a common sort of understanding.

- [Carl] Right.

- [Sam] And poof, you get the Abrahamic Accords that are Nobel Prize type material.

- [Carl] Yes. No, I 100% agree. And you know, it was fascinating for me, as someone who worked in religious liberty two decades ago, to engage with members of the Diplomatic Corps who felt isolated alone when they had religious convictions because they said their entire education as ambassadors, as members of our State Department was to ignore religion, was to secularize the approach to all of the world's conflicts to what I would call reduce them to economics. And it wasn't reducible. When nations are deeply motivated by religious convictions to do what they do, it's foolish on our part as Westerners to come in and go, "Oh, religion doesn't matter." I mean-

- [Carl] In the Middle East, in Jerusalem?

- [Joel] Look where we're sitting, right? You know, so.

- [Carl] And the concept diplomatically that you're gonna get a major breakthrough in the Middle East between the Abrahamic faiths without engaging religion, without the religious leaders giving their blessing to it is ludicrous.

- [Carl] It's ludicrous. It's inconceivable to the average middle easterner that religion would not be part of the solution and the conversation. It's interesting you mentioned the Abraham Accords. When I happened to have the privilege of being on one of Joel's delegations last year to the Abrahamic Accord countries, and we were in the UAE where they were celebrating, which I believe has just opened the Abrahamic houses of Abrahamic faith. Fascinating dimension. Something you talked about this. The director of the project was giving us a briefing on it, and he was moving very strongly down that road of, you know, we're all under one umbrella religiously. We're all of one real house of faith, and you know? Some of the evangelical leaders on the group just went, excuse me, it's really important for our audience for you to understand that it is not because we are all one at the core, although we all are religion's point in one unified direction that we feel that this is an important project. We feel it's important precisely because we're different and we have different convictions. And it demonstrates to the world that people of different convictions, deep held beliefs, can come together nonetheless and still have harmony and fellowship. I mean, I think that's the basic idea of America, right? I mean, really.

- [Sam] It is. Well, it's our founding. I mean, you had all these 13 colonies. And at the very outset, they don't agree on religion. You got the Baptists in one place, the Anglicans in another, you've got the Catholics here. And they were used to Europe where you all fought about this and killed each other. And they said the only way this will work is if we guarantee the free exercise. No federal church, and you have a guaranteed a free exercise. That's the only way the world's gonna work is if you guarantee it. But it's not about blending faith.

- [Carl] That's right.

- [Sam] It's about a common human right, and using government to guarantee the common human right. I think that's what some of the Muslim leaders in the Middle East are really starting to figure out that this is the key ingredient for them to have an economy in the future and to be able to operate effectively in a world and not just be closed in on themselves.

- [Carl] Sure. Well, you know, Joel has said and written in his book "Enemies and Allies" exactly the story of meeting with Mohammed bin Salman in the house of Saad Palace and him asking, what do evangelicals believe? And getting the gospel shared. If we were just simply presenting a sort of watered down, neutered religion that looks and sounds just like Islam, that's not gonna help foster a dialogue of respect and mutual trust building.

- [Sam] No. And plus, if we don't do these sort of things, you are going to have the clash of civilizations. You're going to have more killing. Like really is what's setting up in Africa today in this boundary line that kind of blurs between Islam and Christianity.

- [Carl] Yep, other countries.

- [Sam] If you don't start getting respect and really care for each other, you're gonna have huge amount of fighting. And you're seeing it setting up in Nigeria right now. This is happening now. If we want peace in the world, this is kind of how government's role has to be is to protect that right to religious freedom. And you got active cases going on that are moving the other way to a clash of civilizations.

- [Carl] No, it's true. Unless the prince of peace rules in the hearts of men, there is no peace.

- [Sam] Not gonna be peace.

- [Carl] And so for us at the Joshua Fund, our mission is to bless Israel and the neighboring countries in the name of Jesus, but it takes an awareness and an ability to be able to have respectful and integrated dialogues with all of those different players there. Maybe talk for a little bit right now about, you know, we've, we've done a podcast on the rise of the extremists within Israel that would eliminate Christians from the whole country, and Muslims at that rate, but really just make Israel a one religious state, which really flies in the face of, you know, the founding democratic principles of Israel. And maybe just talk a little bit about how you're seeing some dialogue take place on this behalf.

- [Sam] Well, it's dangerous what's starting to pop up in Israel. 'Cause here's a beacon of really an open society that's willing to accept whoever, as long as you're peaceful. I mean, no, they're not gonna tolerate any sort of terrorist type of activities. And so for them to come up to start to isolate and move, and it also kind of hurts a lot of their base support globally of the evangelical community, which has been some of the strongest supporters for Israel around the world. And you're telling them now, well, yeah, we're okay with you if you stay in America or you stay in Australia, but not if you're here. You go, wait a minute, you've got a free open society. We have a free open society. This really goes at the foundation of that openness. Plus it's one of these trends that we're starting to see more in democratic countries. Like in India, you're seeing this rise of Hindu nationalism, and we've now got a number of churches that have been destroyed in the northeast and Manipur state. You're seeing it come up in Europe in the secular community, really of an aggressive secularism that's pushing back on people of faith. And I think particularly in democracies, and like in our own where you're seeing limitations in corporations debanking and deinsurance and not providing to companies or groups because, well, you're kind of Christian affiliated, and I don't wanna suffer a reputational problem by being associated with you. We've got to stand up against these or these trends will grow deeper and stronger.

- [Carl] Oh boy, I couldn't agree more. Well, Ambassador, we're kind of coming to the end of our time, unfortunately. But if you were to say one thing that is really animating your work right now, what would that be? And really, how can we pray for you?

- [Sam] What's animating me I think really is the moment. We have an incredible moment. I've been doing religious freedom work for decades. And right now, we've got a real chance to make this a mainstream major foreign policy pillar. That if you're gonna have an open society, it has to have this. And this pillar stands in sharp contrast to communist China, which is about eliminating and controlling religion. And I think this is one of 'em that we've just really gotta stand on. And then I really pray for favor and to use the moment right. I'm the son of a farmer, and I see a great harvest out there, and I see big storm clouds too. So this is the time you get your combine in the field and you harvest every bit you can because the storm's coming. Not to pull back and not to plant in the shed, just sit in the shed, it's to get out there and face the coming storm, but harvest while you can.

- [Carl] Wow. Well, Ambassador Sam Brownback, thank you so much for this time, and really for your service to our world. I mean, I was gonna say your service to our country, but also it's a whole global in endeavor. And thank you for your service to the kingdom as well. So may God bless you and thanks for sharing this time with us here at the National Religious Broadcasters.

- [Sam] Delighted to do it. God bless you and God bless your work, and thank you Joel Rosenberg for your commitment to service.

- [Carl] Well, thank you, Ambassador. And you know, to our listeners, if you'd like to learn more about the Joshua Fund and visit our website at joshuafund.com. There you can find out all about the healing work we're doing in this critical region to make a difference for Israel and the neighboring countries in the name of Jesus. And as always, check out our show notes for anything you've heard on this podcast that you'd like more information on. For Joel Rosenberg and the entire Epicenter team, I'm Carl Moeller. Thanks for listening to this Inside the Epicenter podcast episode.

- Hi, this is Joel Rosenberg, founder and chairman of the Joshua Fund. And I've got exciting news. In 2023, I'm inviting you on behalf of our entire board and staff to come to the Holy Land. To come to Israel on the next prayer and vision tour. This is the 75th anniversary of the prophetic rebirth of the modern state of Israel back in 1948. And what is God doing here? It's amazing spiritually, economically. In so many ways, there's been so much growth, so much progress. But the best is yet to come. And we want you to see it. We want you to walk where Jesus walked. We want you to see where the apostles ministered. We want you to see where people's lives were transformed by the love of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We want you to see this city where Jesus died and rose again and where he's coming back, I hope soon. But in the meantime, come to Israel with the Joshua Plan. You can learn more about the trip, the itinerary, the cross, all the details at joshuafund.com. But sign up quickly 'cause I think this thing is gonna fill up fast, the prayer and vision tour of Israel in the fall of 2023. I hope to see you there.

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A chronicle from the diary of Lynn Rosenberg, co-founder of The Joshua Fund, from the first 15 days of the Hamas War on Israel.

Israel in Crisis: The Joshua Fund Responds

We are witnessing the darkest hour in Israel’s modern history. Our team is providing critical aid to families displaced by the terror attacks, including housing, food, hygiene products, and more.