Read Part 1 here
Following Dr. Evans’s stirring speech, more leaders of faith joined Glenn and David Barton to share their tales of inspiration and love.
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin spoke at length about courage and love. “I am overwhelmed by the presence this evening of so many of our Christian brothers and sisters united with us by their great love for Israel,” Riskin said as he opened his speech.
Rabbi Riskin discussed many things, among them the difference between courage and strength. Riskin said that while “strength” revels in power, “courage” reaches out in love. “Indeed, Courage begets and demands love; the very Hebrew word for love Ahava, derives from the root verb HAV which means to give,” Riskin explained.
“To give to and to love someone who is like yourself is only an extension of loving yourself; that is merely the self aggrandizement of strength not the self sacrifice of courage. To love someone who is different from you, who disagrees with you, who may be weaker or stronger than you, smarter or stupider than you, of a different color or different ethnic background from you – that requires courage, the courage to applaud and love difference, otherness,” he continued.
Riskin was happy to see so many Christians standing with the Jewish people and with Israel at the Restoring Courage event.
“Despite the fact that we are different, that we are Jews and not Christians that we accept Jesus as a Jewish teacher but not as a messiah or a god. You have the courage to stand together with us we feel your heart, we respond to your love, especially in our time of need even today as rockets and missiles and grads are falling on the Southern part of Israel. The love relationship between us proves the amazing power of love of God – sent love to all of his children and it is one of the great miracles of our very fateful and glorious times,” Riskin told the audience.
Pastor Tom Mullins also spoke, focusing on the charity of God’s divine love. He told the story of Nehemiah, who while living in exile received word that Jerusalem had been laid to ruins. After fasting and prayer, Nehemiah did the impossible and led people to restore the Holy City in just fifty-two days!
“In just 52 days the impossible became possible. The gates and walls of the city were rebuilt! Even their enemies couldn’t help but see God’s hand upon them. One man’s compassion fueled a dream of great possibility. One man’s compassion united a nation. One man’s compassion brought a people back to God. When the compassion of God’s love flows through us, we are compelled to make a difference with our lives.”
“Together, may we be filled with the same compassion as Nehemiah – driven to our knees in prayer and committed to make a difference. Together, may we stand to honor the covenants of God with great conviction and charity, unwilling to shrink back from our duty,” Mullins said.
The final guest speaker was Pastor John Hagee, a man of faith who has come under attack in the United States but has remained a firm proponent of Israel. Pastor Hagee’s speech, which encouraged audience members to declare themselves as Israelis, moved people to cheers as well as tears.
“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Israel,” Hagee told the crowd. “Therefore as a free man, I take pride in the words – I am an Israeli.”
“Israel’s fight is our fight. If a line has to be drawn, then let it be drawn around both of us – Christians and Jews, Americans and Israelis. We are one, we are united, and we will not be discouraged and we will not be defeated,” he told the audience.
By the time Pastor Hagee left the stage, the crowd was proudly standing on their feet.
As Glenn returned to the stage to close out the program, he again called for the people around the world to stand with Israel. He also asked the Israeli people to know that while the governments of the world may not be standing with their country, the people of the world were. “We are not our governments. We stand with you.”
Glenn then brought participants from throughout the show to make a declaration of courage, love, and support. He said that he would soon be calling on people around the world to make a similar declaration.
As Vernessa Mitchell again dazzled the crowd with a her powerful vocals, a dramatic fireworks display lit up the amphitheater and the coastline, bringing the first night of events to a dramatic end.
Tomorrow, join Glenn, Dr. Mike Evans, and others for the second Restoring Courage event, The Courage to Remember. The event will air on GBTV LIVE at 1:00pm ET, and be rebroadcast at 8:00pm ET! Sign up here!