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Seeking Prosperity in the Startup Nation

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2).

Israel, “the startup nation,” has proven that not only can the Lord prosper the Jewish people in their return to His land, but He wants to prosper their businesses and economy as well. Second, only to Silicon Valley in research and development, Israel’s name has become synonymous with progress and innovation. However, imagine taking this miracle one step further! Imagine the power of a union of Believers coming together in business, to share wisdom, fellowship, and fulfill the glory of the Lord’s kingdom on Earth through the Israeli economic marketplace. This is precisely the idea behind Israel First Fruits, which aims to foster entrepreneurial leadership in the Body of Messiah to fulfill its ancient mandate to bless Israel and the nations. They are doing this through business courses, individual consultation, seed-funding and investing in kingdom business models.

CBN’s partnership with First Fruits has been an enduring one, as we have partnered to help support many areas of their vision for young entrepreneurs in the Body. Most recently, CBN co-hosted the Israel Business Forum in Netanya. The event drew in nearly 40 business-minded Believers from the international community and 120 local Israelis. The local believers were able to pitch their ideas for a panel of selected industry professionals and investors, receive small-group and individual consultation with mentors from across the globe in break-out sessions, and compete to win up to 25,000 shekels in the business plan competition. In addition, these global entrepreneurs got the opportunity to explore the Holy Land on a guided tour, enjoy fellowship and worship together, and network among new and esteemed business minds from the Body. The participants had the unique experience of not only touring the country’s many biblical locations of Jesus’ life and ministry, but also visiting incubators and business accelerators in Tel Aviv; reminding the entrepreneurs why they were all there, but also where they could aspire to reach. In all, the event created a much-needed space for believing investors, hopeful startups, and seasoned business gurus to collaborate on both areas of the immediate future of the State of Israel and the eternal value of their business and contribution. Psalm 122:9 calls to those who seek the prosperity of God to maintain their works and intentions for ‘his sake’, and for this very reason, First Fruits and CBN are striving to create a network for eternally-minded business in the Land.

The business plan competition, which was the focal point of the 2-day conference, allowed for 8 entrepreneurs to present their business strategies, 5-minute overview presentation, and projected growth capabilities for their venture. In the words of First Fruit’s CEO, the competition showcased “the diversity of callings and ideas that can be found in the Body”. Business plans ranged from product design, like for a secure electronic locking and tracking courier parcel, to development ventures, like the creation of a tourism-generating bed and breakfast network in Ariel (Judea and Samaria). The many ideas brought before the panel were innovative and distinct. In the end, the first prize winner was a woman from the upper Galilee region who worked as a real estate developer, looking to improve the region’s reputation for high-end tourism. In second and third place were a brother and sister luthier and piano tuning service, a dying craft with unmet demand, and a business to teach school children about sustainable ecology, therapeutic gardening, and edible and medicinal plant cultivation. These entrepreneurs stood out largely because of their personal histories that made them uniquely qualified to operate a business that would not only prosper them personally, but further the advancement and ideals of The Land. 2nd Prize winner – ‘Ronit’s Garden’ was based on her knowledge from her Kibbutz upbringing, and history of tending to agricultural land in Israel, where she discovered the many benefits for youth and people with disabilities.

The whole event was a smashing success, and both investors and entrepreneurs left with new connections for future business and a renewed connection in God’s plan for their future. In the words of one of the panelists, “The goal is really to carry out our work in the marketplace while honoring Christ with our resources […] and our objectives are much greater than dollars and cents. God is in the marketplace, as well as the ministry, and what we are trying to create is ministry in the marketplace.” So help us pray for the prosperity of Israel, God-honoring business-people in the Land, and to help bring the Lord’s presence to the forefront of Israel’s economic future.

 

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Traits of a Great Leader

What character traits come to your mind when you hear the words, “great leader”? Do you think of someone who inspires or encourages others? Is it a person with a dynamic personality? Perhaps it is someone with knowledge, wisdom and skill who made their way to the top?

Knowing what traits you admire in a “great leader” is an important part of becoming one. And every “great leader” will seek out the wisdom and knowledge from other “great leaders” who have paved the way before them.

The desire to see believing entrepreneurs achieve success in the Israeli marketplace inspired the staff of CBN Israel to co-host a two day leadership training seminar. As leaders in the market, four restaurant owners from “Chick-Fil-A” were invited to be the guest speakers of the event. The name and reputation of “Chick-Fil-A” alone was enough to draw out over sixty business entrepreneurs from multiple cities to glean from these godly, experienced and successful business owners.

The message that threaded the various seminars together was the importance of gaining and applying wisdom. “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom: and in all your getting get understanding”. – Proverbs 4:7. Wisdom is learning to take responsibility for yourself and for those under you. Wisdom is learning to serve others and help others become successful. Wisdom is learning to set goals and to have a strategy in how to achieve them. Wisdom is accepting failures and being willing to grow from them.

Another important part of being a leader is learning to give clear instructions. As an interactive object lesson, the attendees were instructed to form groups of two or more and to blindfold one member of the group. The other members were to give verbal instructions as to where the blinded should go and what safety hazards to avoid as they went. If instructions were sufficiently given, the blinded would complete their journey successfully and safely.

One attendee shared with CBN Israel that the object lesson was “a great” and effective experience.

Isn’t this also the way our God perfectly leads us as His disciples? He has given us clear wisdom and instructions through His word and by His Spirit which helps us to accomplish the tasks that we are called to do. And as disciples, we in turn have opportunity to exemplify Him to those who follow in our footsteps.

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CBN Israel Co-Hosts First Forum For Non-Profit Organizations

For the last year and a half, CBN Israel and FIRM-Fellowship of Israel Related Ministries, have been discussing the need for training of the staff of believing, Non-Profit Organizations in Israel. Often it is the leaders of these Non-Profits that receive training opportunities and benefit from their interactions with other leaders, but the staff of these organizations do not have those same privileges and suffer from a lack of knowledge. So CBN Israel collaborated with FIRM in order to meet the need. 

On May 2, 2018, the two partner organizations hosted a Forum for Non-Profits, where leaders and staff alike could come and receive training. With over two hundred people attending the forum, both the sponsors and the participants considered the Forum a huge success. 

International Director of Israel First Fruits Center for Economic Advancement, Mordechai Weisman, commented, “I think the Forum is a great initiative and I applaud both CBN Israel and FIRM for organizing it. I think this is a great opportunity for people not only to learn and gain a greater depth of understanding in how to run their organizations, but also for the opportunity to network with other believers”. Weisman was also one of the speakers of a breakout session at the Forum and was encouraged by those who came to learn more about marketplace ministry. 

Another benefit to the Forum is the interaction between the older and younger generations. Key speaker, Eitan Shishkov from Tents of Mercy said, “I really appreciate how this Forum gives placement for the older generation to teach and share experience with the younger generation. In whatever way I can help with the next Forum, I would be happy”.

With the newly completed product of Superbook in Hebrew, the Forum attendees were the first to have opportunity to purchase the DVD’s of season one as well as the curriculum to share with their families and congregations. CBN Israel staff member, Yigal Miller, stated, “After five years of working on the creation of Superbook in Hebrew, we are very happy to present the newly finished products here at this Forum. The people seem very excited about it and feel that it will give great value to the children. We hope it will be a big blessing to the Body of Messiah and to all of Israel”.

When the day long forum came to a close, the staff from FIRM and CBN Israel received feedback from the participants of their experience in the Forum. Michael Mustretta with FIRM shared, “The people who came to the forum were refreshed and received the answers they were looking for. The people were very thankful to have this opportunity. In the areas where one organization is weak, another is strong, and instead of working against each other, the Body of Messiah can learn from one another and build each other up”. 

With the results of a great first Forum for believing Non-Profit Organizations in Israel, FIRM and CBN Israel hope to host another forum like it in the near future. 

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The Envelope System- A Practical Tool for Practically Everyone

The Envelope System is a budgeting method used to visualize where and how money is spent. This method, made recently popular by Christian Financial Educator, Dave Ramsey, helps users to not overspend and accrue unwanted debt. The system is said to help users make better financial decisions knowing that there is no back up credit card to cover frivolous spending. 

The way it works is by labeling envelopes with a name for each expense. Every month, when the paycheck arrives, the money is taken out of the bank in cash and immediately distributed to the designated envelopes. These expenses include monthly bills, yearly payments, savings for vacation, etc. When it comes time to pay the bill, the money is taken out of the envelope and used for it’s intended purpose. At the end of the month, any money that remains in these envelopes (i.e. food or gas), can be placed in savings or used for the following month. If the month is not over and the money has been used up, a choice needs to be made whether to take the money from another envelope or to wait for the next paycheck. The goal, as is with all budgeting systems, is to end up with a cushion of savings, to learn where the money is being spent and finally, to be financially free. 

Here at CBN Israel, we seek to build up the body of Messiah here in the Land of Israel. And one of the ways this is accomplished is by helping families in crisis to walk in financial freedom. We have recently discovered the envelope system including an on-line app making it easier than ever to help families learn budgeting. Here is an example:

In the upcoming weeks, we will begin hosting financial training seminars, introducing these helpful tools that we pray will be a blessing. We will also include gifts for those who attend these seminars such as purse-sized organizers to hold their envelopes. 

We would like to ask you to be praying for us as we plan for these seminars. Please pray:

   1.) For the Lord’s wisdom and guidance. Apart from Him, we can nothing. But through Him, we can do and give all that He is asking of us.  

   2.) That God would bring those who need to hear this message. 

   3.) For the Body of Messiah to be the head and not the tail, above and not beneath, victorious in all things including the area of finances. We desire to see believers become givers, self-controlled spenders, teachers of God’s ways and able to help others walk in freedom. 

Thank you for standing with us! On behalf of all the staff we pray, God bless you!

 

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Messianic Business Course Helps Israeli Entrepreneurs Find Their Niche

When Zev first heard of a business course being held specifically for believing entrepreneurs in Israel, he felt drawn to attend. He was fresh out of the Israeli army, eager to explore business ideas and was already being mentored by the successful business owners of the Galilee Experience in northern Israel. Yet as a husband, father and full time employee, leaving town to attend the course was not an option. A decade later, however, the opportunity came practically to his door. 

In 2016-2017, CBN Israel and Israel First Fruits held their business course in Israel’s northern city of Tiberias, just minutes from Zev’s home. By this time, Zev had made his way into business management with a company called, Megavoice, and was ready to explore the possibility of venturing out on his own.

“It was the business course that caused me to make the decisions I needed to make,” Zev shared with the staff of CBN Israel. “I realized I loved working with Judaica products and could start a business selling these items on-line.” With a gift of creativity and a focus on quality, Zev hopes to bring customers a new and appealing product.

With the completion of the course, each student is presented with an opportunity to get ahead in their start-up business by presenting their plan before investors at the annual Business Forum in Jerusalem. A competition is held on the final day of the forum in which three of the eight finalists will win investments towards their start-up business. Out of nearly two dozen contestants, Zev has been chosen as one of the final eight.

Five years ago, Zev attended the forum as an inspired employee from the Galilee Experience. This year, he has the opportunity to gain an investment into his own business.  As Zev is moving forward in his business endeavor, the biggest challenge he faces now is in staying balanced in his time management. As a man who loves God and desires His blessing, Zev understands that God must come first and his family, second. Yet in order to be successful in what he feels God is calling him to do, a lot of hard work must go into the building of his business. 

Be praying for Zev as he works out the delicate balance of ordering his time and dividing it rightly. To learn more about Zev’s biblical products, visit his website at: biblicalproducts.com.

Watch for updates on CBN Israel’s facebook page to see who will win this year’s competition! https://www.facebook.com/CBNIsrael/ 

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