Megachurch Pastor James MacDonald Poses as Homeless Man

Image credit: James MacDonald/Facebook

Well-known megachurch pastor James MacDonald recently posed as a homeless man stationed outside several campuses of Harvest Bible Chapel before Sunday morning services to see just how his congregation would react to his presence.

MacDonald, who founded and leads the megachurch in the Chicagoland area, posted a video of the experiment to his Facebook page Monday. He told his congregation he was blown away by the treatment he received as he crouched next to the door of the church campuses, donning a gray, mangy beard as he leaned against a TJ Maxx shopping cart overstuffed with his life’s belongings.

“The closer a person is to us and the less common the struggle, the easier it is to love,” the pastor explained in the video. “[H]ow common is homelessness? How frequently is the homeless person someone dear to us personally? Never.”

Moments later, the undercover MacDonald is seen walking into the church sanctuary, pushing his shopping cart in front of him. When he reaches the pulpit, MacDonald removes the fake, raggedy beard and oversized coat, revealing his true identity.

“Do you know that your father in Heaven is giving the same graces to the person that is hardest for you to love? He is giving it. He doesn’t play favorites. He is giving the grace to everyone,” he said. “If we are going to love like our father in Heaven loves, we don’t get to play favorites. By favorites, I mean, so often we love the people when there is some benefit in it for us.”

The crux of MacDonald’s message — and the intention behind his brief social experiment — was to show his congregation that it’s “hardest to love when the problem is most common and the people are least known.”

Many of the interactions he had with his fellow believers, though, left him “crying inside that beard.” MacDonald then showed a highlight reel, revealing a number of congregants praying with him, bringing him food, handing him cash and inviting him inside the sanctuary.

“I dressed up as a homeless man and sat outside our church,” he said. “What I witnessed blew me away.”

APOSTOLIC CHURCH HURRICANE UPDATE

A special thanks goes out to the First Church Pearland and Pastor Ken Gurley for supplying a tent to the Highland Park Church. Volunteers from Chipley, Crawfordville, Perry, Sopchoppy and Tallahassee solved the puzzle of erecting the tent. We now have it up and operational in Highland Park for that congregation to hold service in on Sunday.

The Westville church with the Open Pond congregation furnished volunteers to the Office Depot location on 23rd Street, in Panama City. Reach Out America, Feed the Children and Office Depot supplied food and necessities for hundreds of people and our wonderful apostolic people passed them out.

Thanks also to the Men’s Director of Alabama; Brother J.B. Sims, and those that came with him for bringing a backhoe and a skid-steer to the Panama City church for operation “clean up.” A lot of the debris was removed and they now can hold services in their pavilion.

We shall also commend with special thanks, the National Guard who set up their operations in the parking lot of the Panama City church. They indeed, have been an incredible blessing to that congregation. Our prayers are for those deployed in this time of need.

Special thanks to our fellow pastors and their men and ladies for the relief ministered to our brothers and sisters in Christ this week.

Larry Sims

Florida Disaster Relief Coordinator

Hamas scales back Gaza riots; truce ‎efforts to renew ‎

Despite several attempts to breach the security fence, fires sparked by arson terrorism, IDF official says the weekend was “the quietest” since Hamas’ riot campaign began • Palestinians: Over 100 protesters wounded in riots • Egypt continues with truce efforts.

Hamas appears to have scaled back the violent riots on Gaza’s border with Israel, as seen in Friday’s demonstration – a weekly demonstration that had been getting increasingly more violent in recent weeks – which was ‎relatively low-key, defense officials said over the ‎weekend.‎

The military said that 10,000 ‎Palestinians rioted ‎near the border, torching tires and hurling stones, ‎grenades and explosives ‎at the troops across the ‎fence.‎

Video: Reuters

Three attempts to breach the security fence were ‎foiled, the IDF said.‎

Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that over 100 ‎‎Palestinians were wounded by IDF fire during ‎‎Friday’s riots. ‎

An Israeli Air Force aircraft bombed a Palestinian arson terrorism cell ‎on Saturday. The Palestinians reported that one man ‎was killed in the strike. ‎

In a separate incident, several explosive devices ‎discovered near the border fence on Saturday were ‎neutralized safely by military sappers. ‎

In a third incident, the Israeli Navy stopped a ‎Palestinian fishing boat carrying what the IDF described as “suspicious items neutralized by sappers.” Two ‎fishermen were arrested. ‎

Palestinian terrorists also launched dozens of ‎incendiary kites and balloons across the border over ‎the weekend, sparking nine fires in Israeli frontier ‎communities.‎

Reuters
Palestinian protesters trying to sabotage coiled barbed wire placed near the Israel-Gaza border, Friday

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot met over ‎‎the weekend with GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. ‎‎Herzl Halevi and senior commanders in the Gaza ‎‎Division and held several situation assessments.‎

‎”This was the ‎quietest weekend along the border since the riots ‎began [on March 30]. There were points along ‎the security fence where Hamas operatives were seen ‎instructing protesters to keep away from the fence,” ‎one IDF official noted.‎

Still, “In other places, where violence raged, ‎security forces took the proper action. This is not ‎something the IDF is willing to tolerate and the ‎demand from Hamas is that all the rioting stops entirely,” he ‎said.‎

On Thursday, Israel reinforced its deployment along ‎the Gaza border, a day after a Grad rocket fired from Gaza hit a home in Beersheba.‎ The attack prompted Israel to threaten a ‎forceful response if Gaza violence continues. ‎

On Sunday, after the relatively calm weekend, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered ‎the reopening of Israel’s border crossing with Gaza ‎‎– the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing and ‎Erez ‎pedestrian crossing – which were shuttered in the ‎wake ‎of Wednesday’s rocket fire. ‎

Egyptian security officials held separate meetings ‎in recent days with Israeli counterparts and ‎with the heads of Hamas and the other terrorist ‎groups in Gaza, in an effort to prevent an ‎escalation of violence.‎

Arab media reported that Egyptian intelligence chief ‎Abbas Kamel, who canceled his visit to Gaza after ‎Wednesday’s incident, is expected to visit the ‎coastal enclave and Israel on Thursday to cement a ‎truce deal. ‎

Kamel is also scheduled to meet with Palestinian ‎Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he hopes to ‎convince to lift the economic sanctions imposed on ‎Gaza.‎

Still, Egyptian and Palestinian sources were quoted ‎by Arab media as saying that Hamas has not promised ‎Cairo that it will halt all border riots or its ‎arson terrorism campaign, but rather said it would ‎ensure protesters will remain 500 meters (1,600 feet) ‎away from the fence.‎

‎”This aims to allow Egypt to reach agreements with ‎Israel that would allow dozens of economic plans to ‎go through and improve life in Gaza,” one ‎Palestinian official said.‎

Some Arab media reports said that, despite Egypt’s ‎objections, Abbas plans to impose additional ‎sanctions on Gaza as part of effort to wrest ‎control of the coastal enclave back from Hamas. ‎In 2007, Hamas routed Abbas’ Fatah faction from Gaza in a particularly violent coup.

Qatar is said to be gearing up to circumvent these ‎sanctions and funnel the money with which Hamas ‎would be able to pay wages to its workers in Gaza. ‎ Doha has gone over Abbas’ head on the matter earlier ‎this month as well, sending energy-starved Gaza some ‎much-needed fueldespite Abbas’ attempts to stop it. ‎

King Abdullah Revokes Parts of Peace Treaty with Israel

Jordan will terminate revoke the appendices to its peace agreement with Israel relating to the leasing of Naharayim, or Baqoura, in Jordan, which is adjacent to the Israeli border, where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River. The area includes the Island of Peace, over which Israelis were awarded private ownership and other rights under the 1994 peace treaty. Another area where the king wants to delete the appendix is Ghumar, an assortment of agricultural fields in Moshav Tzofar in the Arava desert.

Both areas were transferred temporarily to Israel for a period of 25 years, which is due to end on October 25, at which point the king must decide whether or not to renew the leases – although the actual term “lease” is not mentioned in the peace agreement appendices.

On Friday, a mass demonstration of tens of thousands took place in Amman, under the slogan: “The people want national honor.” The demonstrators demanded that the Jordanian government return the territories in question to Jordanian sovereignty. They also called for canceling the peace treaty with Israel altogether, expel the Israeli ambassador and close down the Israeli embassy.

Naturally, the thousands of demonstrators were drinking fresh water drawn from lake Kinneret and other Israeli water sources—as part of the same 1994 peace treaty. Many of them probably cashed their checks earned by working for one of the numerous Israeli owned manufacturing plants in and around Amman.

عبدالله بن الحسين

@KingAbdullahII

لطالما كانت الباقورة والغمر على رأس أولوياتنا، وقرارنا هو إنهاء ملحقي الباقورة والغمر من اتفاقية السلام انطلاقا من حرصنا على اتخاذ كل ما يلزم من أجل الأردن والأردنيين

Jews have held ownership rights in Naharayim since 1926, when a Jewish engineer from Russia, Pinchas Rutenberg, purchased a concession to build an electric plant there. The plant was overtaken by invading Jordanian Legion forces in 1948.

In Moshav Tzofar, the land was purchased legally from Jordan in 1994, and should the king insist on taking it back, the least he must do is pay its full value. Except that in a recent TV interview, former Jotdanian PM Abdul Salam Majali said he was hoping the Israelis would give the land back to Jordan free of charge.