Allen Jackson - When God's Plans Break Out - Part 1
It's good to be with you again. Our topic today is "When God's Plans Break Out". We're living in a very unique time when the purposes of God seem to be filling the headlines on our daily news. I mean, God is moving in the earth in the most remarkable ways. It doesn't mean there's not expressions of evil. We hear more about that, we're probably more aware of that, but the truth is God is moving throughout the earth, so we're going to take a few sessions and focus on that so that we can know how to participate and perhaps see with a God perspective that will bring hope to us and diminish fear. I'm particularly excited today.
I have a guest I'm going to introduce you to in just a moment. She's an Israeli. She's been a friend of mine for a long time. For more than 30 years she has taken care of Holocaust survivors. She went to Israel as a young woman, and she cleaned the homes of just local people to support herself so that she could afford to take care of the Holocaust survivors. At that time, they were largely an overlooked group. And it's a remarkable story that she has come. She's an Israeli citizen today, but for 30 years she's cared for this group of people who saw human evil up close and personally and survived. Enjoy the lesson.
Allen Jackson: Service is a little different. We have a friend visiting with us from Israel, and I wanted to take a few minutes at least and let you meet her. Inge Buhs is an Israeli, as I mentioned. She spent the last 30 years caring for Holocaust survivors, and she began in the humblest of ways, meeting just the physical needs of their life, cleaning their homes, and helping them get to a doctor and whatever they needed, because at that time, 30 years ago, they were, unfortunately, overlooked in a lot of ways. Not so much today. But Inge has spent years doing that and has become a dear friend. We hardly...can't imagine visiting Israel and not having some time with an update from Inge, and we happen to be fortunate enough this Christmas season that she would come to Tennessee. So I wanted you to get to meet her. Inge, you better come join us.
Inge Buhs: Usually nobody claps for me.
Allen Jackson: I know. You can sit on that side, okay? You can have a seat. It's on.
Inge Buhs: Thanks.
Allen Jackson: Welcome.
Inge Buhs: Shalom.
Allen Jackson: Shalom, y'all. Inge spoke to some students in a school yesterday, and I think you should tell them what you told the students.
Inge Buhs: I don't know. I said a lot in 3 hours. Yes, I tell you what. I told them that I wasn't scared of the bombs in Jerusalem, but I was scared of them. So, now it's a little the same.
Allen Jackson: But I promised her that you loved Israel and this was a safe environment.
Inge Buhs: This is so good for me to see, and you know what? This is what I would like to take back to Jerusalem next Wednesday to tell them we have a lot of friends, especially in this time.
Allen Jackson: Let's talk just a little bit about the Holocaust, 'cause for most of us that's something we learned about in history, but it's very personal to you. You have a lot of friends that have made up, lived through those years.
Inge Buhs: Yes.
Allen Jackson: Can you tell us about a couple of your... she calls the survivors "The old people". That means we're not, so just go with it. Most of them are in their 80s or beyond now.
Inge Buhs: The 80s, that's the young ones. So the lady I started to work with, with Holocaust survivors, that was in 1987, and the Lord had brought me there as a German Christian specifically. In 1987, the hearts of the survivors were not yet very open for German Christians, but God changed this. And if I tell you something, nobody of us, I heard their stories 37 years, but I have never really understood the depths of their pain. But I'm always astonished till today that they're really overcomers. They live without hate, without bitterness, and today they call me, as a German even, their mother. So God has brought us a long way.
Allen Jackson: So tell us a little bit, when I say that you've helped the survivors, what have you done? Does that mean you have parades or picnics or... what have you done?
Inge Buhs: Lots of parades and picnics, but I started in 1987. I had absolutely nothing. I saw the survivors and understood it was my people who did it, so what could I do? The only thing I had was my two hands. So I washed their floors. A friend always said it was TM, toilet ministry. And cooking for them, sitting on their beds when they were sick, bring them to the hospital, and out of this came later on a very small, little organization, health organization, for Holocaust survivors.
Allen Jackson: Some of my favorite memories in Israel are being there during Sukkot, and we would come visit, you would have a party with the survivors and they would sing and dance and they would really have a little competition to get the attention of the strangers that were gathered with them. And we had some really good times, hearing them tell their stories and sing.
Inge Buhs: Yes, I don't know anybody who sings as much and in the age of 90 or whatever, to dance like the survivors. And that is a very remarkable thing. They come from extreme pain. Every little thing can trigger a memory, but they decide to live. It's actually a gift. And I think we can learn a lot from that. Sometimes it's almost like they make a decision and sing and dance and teach us what life is all about.
Allen Jackson: Well, I think more than sometimes. It's impressive that they weren't angry or bitter or filled with hate.
Inge Buhs: Nothing.
Allen Jackson: They had a joy. They'd lost, most of them, the majority of their family. They had lost everything, all their possessions. They've made a new life in a new country and it's been difficult. And they were some of the happiest, most joyful people I've ever met.
Inge Buhs: That is absolutely true, yes.
Allen Jackson: But now there's a new challenge in Israel.
Inge Buhs: Yes.
Allen Jackson: I mean, most of you have seen the news that October 7, Hamas came. We've talked a bit about that and had a little bit of history lessons trying to put it into context. But Inge has a perspective from how the Israelis are seeing and hearing that.
Inge Buhs: Look, it's now, in May, 40 years that I live in Israel, and I can tell you today, yes, I'm German, but I am today such a proud Israeli. I don't know what you see in the news. I am proud of Israel. Our soldiers, they are young, young soldiers. They go and they say, "We fight for our freedom. We fight for our mothers, for our brothers, our children". There's such a commitment and unity, and I'm telling you, they never want to hurt a Palestinian child ever. And I am proud of them. Israel has gone through so many wars. This one is different. It is so different because it happened in our own country, and it was not a war, it was a massacre. The people are strong, they're out walking, they're working, but I do believe that none of us really came out of the shock yet. And you have to see, we don't even have identified all the dead people yet. It is a very difficult time, but what I see, too, is that there's a turning to God. If it is even young secular people, they're praying, the soldiers ask us for prayer. And the Holocaust survivors, they're, again, examples to me. They are strong, but they're worried for their grandchildren. They are proud to have grandchildren who are soldiers today, but many of the grandchildren of the survivors are at the war in Gaza and that is, of course, very difficult.
Allen Jackson: I think it's difficult for us to understand the degree to which the Israelis feel isolated, because they see the protest at our universities and in our major cities and they imagine that that represents the attitude of the majority of the public.
Inge Buhs: Look, what is different this time, first of all, the people say it is the worst incident ever since the Holocaust what happened against Jewish people. It was not a soldier who was killed, it was little babies, the hostages. I can only ask you to pray for them. I ask you pray for our soldiers, pray that we get our hostages out. But you know, the Holocaust survivors almost sent me off. They said, "You gotta go to America". And I thought, "That is so strange". Usually they let me go on a holiday but they never say, "Go, Inge". And I thought, "Why is that"? But I tell you why. They see antisemitism rising around the world, and that is something which extremely difficult for them. They sometimes, we talk in Israel that it is a time like 1933 in Europe. You know what? Many people were quiet, and I'm asking you be not quiet. See the little signs. Sometimes when I see the survivors I know the little signs are supposed to be very serious. Take them serious. Also here in America. That's what I'm asking you, for the Jewish people and for our Lord, because the battle is against him.
Allen Jackson: I mean, it's... there's simple things. You have Jewish friends in the States who are afraid to speak in Hebrew on the street.
Inge Buhs: Yes.
Allen Jackson: Or they don't want to tell other people they're Jewish because they understand the pushback, and the threat escalates if that becomes public.
Inge Buhs: Yes. Yes, and in Washington, D.C., a professor and my friend, they really don't speak Hebrew anymore on the street. They are scared. And their friend, the mezuzah, which is a sign on the doorpost from the Jewish people, was ripped off in Washington, D.C. It seems small. It is not. Many of the Holocaust survivors I take care of, they are alive because there were Gentiles who helped them and they were willing to risk their own lives to help them. I'm not sure where we are going, but the truth is I ask myself would I be willing. Israel gives them today the biggest honor. They are called "The Righteous of the Nations". You cannot get a bigger honor in Israel. But you know, I thought, coming from Germany, we are so proud of these few Gentiles who stood up for the Jewish people, but would I be willing? May the Lord give me the strength and us the strength, because it is standing up for him.
Allen Jackson: You're an Israeli citizen.
Inge Buhs: I am a proud Israeli citizen.
Allen Jackson: How does a German Gentile become an Israeli citizen?
Inge Buhs: Only a miracle. I could write a whole book on this. It did start with a few people saying, "You could ask for citizenship". Usually you don't even sometimes get a visa anymore to volunteer, but it started with the Holocaust victims writing a letter that they want me to become Israeli. And I think that's precious.
Allen Jackson: The survivors are heroes in Israel. I mean, they are national heroes. They are treated with a reverence and a respect. Some of Inge's dearest friends are the police officers of Jerusalem because they have watched her care for those people, and when they have physical needs, sometimes they've been involved in helping arrange transportation and such. And they've watched it year over year. And so some of her closest friends and greatest allies are the police officers in Jerusalem, so you want to treat Inge with respect or you'll have a really hard time when you visit the land. 'Cause... but now, those young officers have been promoted, and they're in the Department of Defense and...
Inge Buhs: Yes, well, let me tell you, the Word said, "All things turn to the good for those who love God". And how did we meet the police officers? We had a home for Holocaust survivors and about 14 years ago we had a break-in, and we had to tell the police that there was a thief, and that's how we got involved with the police. That's how they knew about us. And I bless the thief till today. They don't know that, but they don't like it very much.
Allen Jackson: But, you know, I've had the privilege of knowing Inge for a long time, and she's such a powerful reminder that if you will determine to honor the Lord with your life, he will bring about outcomes that exceed anything you could imagine. You know, she didn't look for a parade and run to the front of it and say, "I'm important, I'm important". She found an opportunity where she could serve. And I have watched the Lord consistently bring blessings to her life.
Inge Buhs: He did.
Allen Jackson: And I have learned a great deal about the character of the Father and the character of what it means to be one of his children in the earth from watching Inge. And we're going to take that lesson to heart here. But you go tell your friends they have some friends in Tennessee.
Inge Buhs: I have a good message to take home. Thank you.
But I want to pick up a topic that we will live with for a bit. The title may change, but the idea, I don't believe, will. And what I want to spend some time with you, not just in this session, but when God breaks out in the earth, this is what's in my heart. When the plans of God, the purposes of God, the activity of God, when it breaks into the open. It's happened throughout history, it's the story of Scripture. It's happening today. And what should we anticipate? What should we imagine that our role might be or are we simply observers? What are we engaged as initiating that, or do we respond to that? There are so many questions but it's grounded and rooted in what God has told us that he would do. We're looking to see God fulfill his Word. We pay close attention to the land of Israel because God said he would establish the Jewish people there.
Some of my Israeli friends carry some kind of subtle frustration with the Christian community because they say the only reason you care about us is you think we're a prophetic indicator. And I understand how they could arrive at that conclusion, because we often talk about them in those ways. But that's not the only thing God is doing in the earth, but there was a sequential component of the land of Israel, because for 2,000 years they were scattered to the nations, and God had promised he would restore them, and it seemed impossible. They had no advocate, they had no voice. There was nothing to imagine it was a realistic expectation, and yet they prayed it as a people for hundreds and hundreds of years until in May of 1948, God caused the impossible to become a reality.
And now we're watching the continued hatred of that, and the expressions of that, but there's a great deal more that God has told us in his Word that he intends to do, which brings me to the first passage of Scripture. You have it: 2 Peter 1. Says: "We have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you'll do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place". This is Peter, the fisherman, that Jesus recruited. He's not a rabbinic scholar. He's a fisherman. When we meet him, his arms are corded with the muscle of a man who spent his youth pulling the nets out of the Sea of Galilee. His skin is bronzed by the sun and his hair is windblown. We meet him, at this point, he's an older man, and those characteristics have no doubt changed, but he didn't spend his younger childhood in yeshiva, poring over Scripture. But he says to us, "You would do well to pay attention to the prophets".
Now, if Peter, that was recruited by Jesus, walked on the water, cut off the ear of a clown in the Garden of Gethsemane, ran to the tomb and then hid because he couldn't believe what the prophets had said, if he says to you and to me we should pay attention under the direction of the Holy Spirit, may I suggest we pay attention to the prophets? Take a moment with that, because I find we tend to fall into kind of two general camps, and they're polar opposites. There's a group of people who see everything as prophetic. If the salt doesn't come out of the salt shaker as rapidly as you would like, it's because it's the end of the age, and the salt of the earth has stopped pouring. And you just wanted to salt your scrambled eggs. On the other end of the spectrum is a group of people who just don't pay any attention to it. "It's confusing, and I don't understand, and I've met too many crackpots".
And so most of us live somewhere in this kind of in between range with very little interest. But the biblical message to us is to pay attention to the prophetic Word of God. Now, I'll put one caveat in that. I don't understand biblical prophecy to be principally focused on foretelling so that you can pick the lottery winners. It's not to help you disengage from life. I've met too many Christians that have used the Word of God as an excuse for disengaging. "God's going to do what God's going to do. Things are going to get bad. It's going to get worse. He's going to come get me out of this. Why do I care"?
Bad attitude. And I'm not going to take the time to unpack all of that biblically, but know this. The prophetic Scripture is to help us understand God's purposes and intent. What is God doing? What's he about? What's the objective? You see, if we can know those things, then we can have some sense of how we might lean into that. We just heard a beautiful testimony of someone who, most improbably, leaned into that and God has responded in the most remarkable of ways. It enables us to be prepared that we can make the choice to be involved.
I spent months and months saying to myself and to anyone who would listen, "Let's not sit in the bleachers and watch God move. Let's go do something. If it's rock a baby in the nursery, if it's pray over the people walking through the doors of the building, if it's going to our places of employment 10 minutes early and sitting in the parking lot and inviting the presence of God into those places of business. If it's gathering with our families at the holidays and blessing the food or standing in the kitchen and blessing it because you don't have the authority to do it at the table. Let 'em eat a casserole that you've prayed over".
But we've talked about dozens and dozens and dozens of ways, and to me, the prophetic Word of God helps us understand what God is doing so that we can say, "I'll lean towards that". It also helps us diminish fear and provides context for the courage that we will no doubt need to serve the Lord. I'll keep inviting you away from these traditional ideas that the greatest expression of your faith is driving to church and sitting in a building. So that if you drive a little extra distance, or the sermon is a little extra boring, you're going to get some serious rewards in heaven. Folks, that is a deplorable understanding of our faith. I'm an advocate for gathering with the people of God, and I understand you don't gather because every time you do so that it's rewarding. You do so to present yourself to the Lord. You want him to know that you value him enough that you will gather with his people. And hat's just the beginning of what it means to honor the Lord.