Faith, Biblical Truth, And Humanity: 5 Key Christian Life Points From Pastor Michael Nasrallah
When we sent out an interview request to Pastor “Mike” Nasrallah, we hardly expected to receive this kind of SMS reply: “Okay lang, sige, how about this Wednesday? Would you please call me on my mobile phone? Shalom and abundantly be blessed. Ingat, ingat always. Mabuhay, ang Diyos ay mabuti. JJJ."
Even with his jolly, emoji-peppered response, we didn't have the faintest clue of his Israeli-Arab origin until we finally met. Every single person we had asked to be able to connect with this man of faith simply referred to him as Pastor Mike without the mention of his surname.
On the day of the interview, we walked in and shook hands with someone who turned out to be one of the simplest, most joyful foreigners one might meet. You wouldn't think Mike Nasrallah was a pastor. He came dressed in his clean, short plaid polo, khaki pants, with a small cross-body messenger bag. More than anything, he looked ready to meet new people and grinned with one of the friendliest faces we’ve ever clapped eyes on.
Pastor Mike is of Middle-Eastern background, born to parents from an arranged marriage, as is customary in their tradition. His father is a professional book-binder who comes from the North of Haifa and his Arab mother hails from the Biblical hometown of Jesus in Nazareth. “My name, Michael, means ‘who is like God’ and Nasrallah means ‘Victory of God’. I grew up in a family of Catholic background, and was born and raised as a Palestinian in Jerusalem. They’re trying to track if my family had any Jewish background, but originally they came from Lebanon. My great grandpa came from North of Lebanon. My father was born and raised in Israel during that time. In 1948, my father went to West Bank to study to be in seminary school to be a priest, but after the war did not complete his path to the clergy. He got into professional book-binding, and he started traveling. He brought my mom with him, got married, and they started a family in Jerusalem.”
Before journeying on the road to praying and prophesying for others around the world, Pastor Mike pointed out that it was after the suffering in his childhood that faith came to him. “I came to know Jesus in 1980. I became born-again in Church of God on Hebron road not far away from Rachel’s tomb (Rachel is the wife of Jacob from the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible). Church of God is a Pentecostal church in Israel. The Lord led my parents to evangelists from Georgia. During that time my mom passed away in 1977, and I felt hopeless and helpless. I was 12. I took the responsibility of my brothers and sisters, being the oldest of six. She [my mom] died of cancer. After my dad remarried, me and my stepmom didn’t get along, but the Lord had a plan. My stepmom suggested to send me away to boarding school to feel good, meet people, and get away from everything that I’m familiar with in Jerusalem and whatever affects me. The Lord always has a plan.”
After sifting through the chapters of his youth, Pastor Mike sat down and began to straightforwardly share about keeping in close touch with the Lord. This comes after carefully examining and reading through the Bible. He tackled various topics commonly asked about like knowing Christ as Lord personally, letting Him lead, praying for struggling loved ones, and staying in touch with the source.
“During that time in 1980 I gave my heart to the Lord, I was 15. I’d been seeking the Lord, like ‘Where is God? You took my mom…’ I’m the oldest ‘Why…’ hopeless, helpless… I was set in my past. I was like, where was God in the midst of that? I wished I had died and my mom was still alive. That’s how bent my thinking was, but the Lord has a plan. God brought that evangelist/missionary that time from United States and he spoke about John 3:16, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’"
The Importance of Salvation
If there’s anything that turns off people from believing in the God of the Bible quicker than you can say “Lord,” it’s the bickering and strife between believers about doctrine, politics, and lifestyle. Pastor Mike points out that no one is without sin and that people ought to remember this. The focus of each individual has to be on Jesus, not the walk of that other person you can’t stand to understand.
“Even among believers, there’s a lot of animosity and fighting between the churches, when we’re actually all working for Him. We are all like sheep, all of us, and He is the best shepherd in the world. When Adam and Eve fell into that sin [eating forbidden fruit], Satan said, ‘No, you’ll be like God’ so it’s already injected in their mind the false idea that you become like God. They have choices. God, He cannot force Himself on anybody. People have the choice either to follow Jesus, Him crucified, Him buried, and Him risen on the third day or they have their own choice and they build their own kingdom. [In this] the church cannot save you, the name, the brand, the mark of the church cannot save you, only the Savior Lord Jesus Christ, He is the only way, the truth and the life.”
Putting God First Before Anything Else
As far as idolatry goes, non-tangible ones are the Achilles heel of each person. We make or craft them for ourselves to our detriment; whatever we obsess over or live for above Christ needs to be taken down from its pedestal. “We are his sons and daughters when we come to the full knowledge of who we are through being born-again. Even the scientists cannot define some mysteries. If they’re seeking the truth which is in the Lord Jesus that’s the only way we’re going to see what the hope is for this world. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because the wrath went up high to God, He said ‘Wala na tama na…’ He said, 'Let your nephew Lot with his wife and two daughters get out of that city I’m going to destroy it,' and Lot was obedient that’s what’s important. Obedience is better than sacrifice. That’s why people they don’t understand they think 'I'll do sacrifice' but it’s not obedience, obedience takes commitment, connecting to the heart of the Father.”
Standing in Prayer and Hope for Struggling Loved Ones
What could be tougher than worrying about ourselves? It has to be worrying about some people we truly care about who can’t seem to get it together. There is a way to reach them with love rather than anger and frustration, and presenting Jesus as an anchor when the waves are rough. “My prayer for them is that the Lord redeem their soul, restore them to the right foundation. He wants them to be free from addiction, drugs, alcohol, from sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, God wants them to be safe. [To help these loved ones] you just love them, try to embrace them, and slowly let them know that someone is on the other side, who loves them.”
Prayer and Communicating With God
A lot of people think praying is reserved for the righteous, when point in fact is anyone who needs and truly seeks the Lord can call out to Him. It is said He will listen to you at your point of need and even on days when you are okay there are unseen gaps in our lives He can fill if we make time, communicate, and listen. Pastor Mike points us out to the very lines Jesus answered with when his own posse asked him for a “template," which happens to be the Lord’s Prayer.
“They have to overcome with the Blood of the Lamb and His Word in the Testaments. The disciples came to the Lord Jesus and said ‘Teach us how to pray’ and He said 'Heavenly Feather, hallowed be your name thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven as it is on this earth.' That is just simple prayer, it is communication it’s like people now texting to their friends, family, or their loved ones. They can text to Heaven, communicate verbally with the Lord or just converse with Him. He hears the heart of the man, He hears the prayers. You have to overcome rejection, fear, hopelessness, disappointment, and sometimes you don’t get the answer that you want.”
Living Out Faith Openly to be a Witness of Love to the World
The world is in bad need of a good pat on the shoulder. One way to help reach out and touch lives is to be unashamed of His love and the mustard seed of faith you might have in your heart. “God gave his only begotten Son. He doesn’t want anyone to perish, even in this company, and wherever we go we want to proclaim Jesus is Lord. He is the hope for Republic of the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Middle East, Africa, Europe, all Asia, all U.S.A, Canada. God loves this country, it’s been on his mind. So for many years and hundreds of decades for the 7200 islands, God wants them to be proclaiming Jesus is Lord from Luzon, to Visayas, to Mindanao. Love is the key for a lot of people.”