Rev. Nader Hanna, Executive Director of Salam Ministries, was born and raised in Egypt, a Muslim, Arabic-speaking country. He has lived and served the Lord in Egypt, Lebanon, Cyprus, and the United States. Rev. Hanna’s background and experience have given him a unique ability and passion for connecting to Muslims across the world. Join host Jonathan Schultz to hear of Rev. Hanna’s outreach efforts to predominantly Muslim international students, recent immigrants, and refugees.
The following program is sponsored by evangelical life ministries.
Welcome to engaging truth, the manifestation of God's word and the lives of people around us. Join us each week. As we explore the impact of his message of spiritual renewal from the lesson of forgiveness forged and the crucible of divorce, to the message of salvation learned by an executioner from a condemned killer to the gift of freedom found in the rescue of victims of human trafficking. This is God's truth in action
And welcome to another edition of engaging truth. I'm your host pastor John Kane with us today. We have Reverend Navil. No. Navil is the third vice president of Lutheran church, Missouri Senate, a top 10 Christian denomination in the United States. So Nobi, welcome to the program.
It is an honor and privilege and a blessing to be with you and bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the hearers and those who will, uh, view it later on.
Thanks Nobi. You know, I, I think you were two years ahead of me at the seminary in St. Louis and, um, our paths have crossed from time to time over the years, but you are the only person I know who's named NABI. So tell us a little bit about your background if you would.
Well, um, I am an Arab by nationality, Christian by grace and saved through the Grimson blood of Jesus. NABI is a Palestinian's name, which means noble one or wise one. So my parents, uh, chose a name that I never thought, um, would bring that much honor at that time they gave it to me, but our gracious go, uh, God has been so kind to me. And my last name no means light. And I'm reminded of, um, Israel seven, 10 that he said in his heart to teach the people of Israel God's word, which of course is the light to the nations.
So how did you come from, uh, Palestine to here to the United States?
I'm glad you asked that question. I was 16 years old when I came to this country without, uh, learning without any knowledge of the English skills. I had the alphabet, but I could not communicate when I came here. And the only reason I came is because I was a troublemaker. Um, I was a, my father used to say in a bill, uh, when you showed up the devil hid, so he ran, he ran away and I got in trouble at high school, uh, got into a group called the black cat, uh, busted a whole bunch of windows at my school where I attended parochial school at the Catholic. And then my brother, my oldest brother, Moses, or Moosa in Arabic invited me to come to the United States. And I really, really didn't want to come. But I was telling my friends that I was invited and this says, oh, NPI, once you go to the states and just check out all those chicks out there.
So that was my intentions when I came here, but it was in this place that in the middle east, uh, the United States is called the big Chi town or the big Satan. It was here for the first time I heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and that set my whole life on a different course. Uh, as a young boy, as a Catholic, I never opened the Bible. And when I came to this land of the free and the home of the brave, the Bible became my source of food and happiness. And so even before I, uh, considered going to the seminary, I ate the Bible. I devoured it. I could not get enough of it. So that a year later when I went back and I caught what my father said, he said, NABI, I don't know what happened to you. You left as a devil, you came back as an angel.
And I said, dad, let me tell you about Jesus Christ. You know, we had all the churches where I grew up. I was baptized, uh, at the church of the annunciation, uh, in Nazareth. I lived my life at the, um, steps of the church, but I never really heard with clarity and the distinction of the pure gospel. I am saved by grace alone until I came to this country. And I shed more tears about that because as a young boy, growing up as a Catholic, I needed to appease God. So what I would do, literally, John, is I would pick up the sharpest rocks and I would kneel on those rocks in the presence of the statues of Mary and Joseph until my knees bled. And now of course I have arthritis thanks to that, um, ESCAP of things, but it was the grace that oozes from the veins of Jesus that changed my life.
And that's, you know, coming over here, I never really intended to stay. I intended to come have fun. Like we say, in the English year to saw your wild old, so to speak. Thank God I did not go that route, but by God's grace, I met a lovely lady. And the day I met her, I told her I was gonna marry her. And I did not wanna leave her behind. So this August the 31st, next month I will be here 50 years. And out of those 50 years, uh, 47 with my queen. And so God has taken me on a route that I would've never anticipated or expected or even dreamt even possible.
So to be clear, uh, kneeling on sharp objects is not necessary for our salvation.SCS. But as you read in John:
So that, that, uh, transition from legalism and trying to save yourself to the recognition that Christ has done everything necessary for your salvation. And you stand now as a completely forgiven love child of God, that transition from, uh, from your Roman Catholic past to Lutheranism. How did that happen? That you became a Lutheran?
Well, when I came here and I heard the gospel and I gotta admit it, I was at the assemblies of God's church. The first time I heard the gospel, clearly of course, they do add, you have to do all of these things, afterward, decision theology and all that. And I respect that in their, uh, teaching, but it wasn't actually, until I met the queen, uh, who is now my, uh, bride for 45 plus years, she was a great Lutheran. And she said, I can't live with their teaching. Why didn't you come and visit our church? So I did. And the first time I went, I said, oh my gosh, this is a Catholic church. She said, no, we're not Catholic. And so I began to go and listen more carefully. And there was a distinct, distinct difference of teaching by grace alone. Yeah. Through Christ alone, scripture alone, that became the foundation.
And I hungered for that. And I intended to learn as much as I can about Lutheranism, but first I needed to learn what Catholicism was about. So I read over a thousand pages of Catholicism, what they teach and we are totally different extremes. It isn't that we are not very similar. We are on many, many aspects, except we say, Jesus, only they say Jesus. Plus that's the two major differences there's others. But for now suffice is to say, that's the difference. And, um, and the great things. And going back to the earlier question that you raised up, uh, John, it is this, we move from legalism and lawlessness to love and light because love flows from the veins of Jesus for God is love. Right? John first, John four 19. We love because he first loved us. And in that light and in that love, I am free. And as Jesus said in John 8 32, if you believe my words, you are truly my disciples. And you shall know, and this is the Greek word that is really important, as well as in English or Arabic or Hebrew, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. And that freedom that I don't have to do anything to appease God for my sin gave me the joy of listening to the gospel and receive it by faith to comfort my heart, my guilty conscious and all of those things.
So NABI, you, once you realized that you were free from the guilt of sin, you had been set free through Jesus cross and his empty grave. You no longer had to worry about yourself in terms you could worry about others or serve others. So was it at that point that you started thinking about becoming a pastor?
No, not really. I didn't, uh, begin, but I got involved in the church. And so I, I began to teach, uh, Bible study, uh, extensively because I really wanted to learn. And then I also, um, uh, be, uh, became an elder of the church. And I thought if I'm gonna be an elder, I better know what it is that I'm responsible for. And the teaching there is I went through adult instruction of course, to become a member, which I thank God for a 14 or 18 weeks at the time that I had, which really opened my mind, but it was during my, and I was a Bible study leader for the youth. I was the youth counselor, so to speak. I had a man every Sunday morning and he's still in front of mine even today, uh, for five years, which I taught during that period, he would come into that church and then we would walk into the room and he would say, NABI, you are missing your call.
You should be a pastor. And I would just say to him, just shut up, Tom. I don't want to be a pastor. Keep in mind, John. I had a very good successful business. I was a professional house painter. I had five guys working for me. I was making money right and left. I thought I had everything that I wanted, but, and then others came along the way and began to say, you really need to consider ministries. I'm not interested in being a pastor, but the culprit of how this came about. And I'm getting what I call spirit bumps on my body, cuz I'm just shaking all over. I, uh, took some of our youth five, um, kids from Sioux falls, South Dakota to Bloomington Minnesota to listen to Terry diner, how to make youth leaders better leaders. And it was during that time. One of the kids, not from my own, but from the group, um, wanted to commit suicide.
Oh, and so another pastor Richard Leki and myself sat on the floor of the, uh, elevator for almost five hours with this young man, just to make sure that he would not commit. I would not let him leave the elevator. So I get to my room early in the morning, about five o'clock in the morning. And I get down on my knees and I said, Lord, if this is what you want me to do, I'll do it. I'm screaming. And I'm hollering. This is not what I wanna do. But if this is what you want me to do, I'll do it. So I get home. And then when I, uh, walk into the house and I said to my queen, honey, you better sit down. I got something to tell you, and it's not another woman. And uh, I said, um, I think I need to go to the seminary.
And she said, it's about time. And I said, what are you talking about? She said, honey, don't you remember when we had the missionary at our church, he kept looking at you and he said, you should consider going. I says, he did everybody around me knew that, but I wasn't ready. Or the spirit had not led me to be ready, I should say. And um, after that, um, I, we prayed, I went to talk to makeup. Oh, I should add one other thing that, um, before this happened here, about two months, we got a new pastor who is my mentor to today. His name is Howard Shane. I don't know if you know his name, but he calls me into the office. He says, NIR, come and talk to me. And I thought, oh, what did I do? Because literally he calls my home and say, come to the office.
I, you talk to you. So I go and talk to him. He says, I've been watching you. I like what you're doing for the youth. And so he opens his wallet and he gives me a picture and he says, I want you to go to this place. I had no idea what it was. It was Luther tower at the St. Louis seminar area. He says, NABI, you need to go there. I says, not you too. That's what I told him anyway. So fast forward here we are in the ministry, uh, just celebrated 28 years, uh, five years of education, uh, UN unbelievable journey. Um, you know, if you know, Jeremiah 29 elevens, I know the plans I have for your plans are good and not of evil to give you future of hope and let this past Sunday, my title was, um, um, seeing the unseeable that God works and, or James, everything behind the scenes, God was molding me, fashioning me, forming me by the gospel so that I might be the servant he wants me to be. And it was at that moment that, um, I began looking seriously about it. And then 89, April of 89, I had signed to go to seminary for boot camp in Greek. And the rest is history. As far as ministry is concerned. Well, you, you
Said that people saw that, uh, God's hand was with you for many years before you went there and, uh, you know, looking from the outside to your life, um, and, and being at some of those conventions where you got elected, um, you, I think you were, uh, San Antonio or I'm, I'm sorry, uh, South Dakota, uh, uh, district president, if I wasn't,
No, I wasn't. Um, I was elected to the second vice president and first vice president. And so, and then I was elected to the Sonal. Right. Um, and it was Matt Harrison who called, he says, NA bill, do you think you could work with me? And I says, I can work with anybody if it's about the gospel, right? The rest is history. Yeah, no, I was not. But, uh, I mean, hindsight would say, had I stayed in the, um, South Dakota district. I probably would've become the VP, but okay. I never really sought an office of any kind. I just wanted to be a faithful pastor. That's all I wanted to be, but God had other plans, you know? And one of the things I often teach when I travel around the country, which I do quite a bit, uh, it is this that, um, if you want to, uh, to make God laugh, tell him your plans and he will tell you otherwise,
Well, I think you talk about the fact that this is all about Jesus, amen. That, and it's not our plans. It's his plans. And his plans have an eternal component as well as a temporal component. But working through you, he is, uh, doing some amazing things.
Yeah. I preached at the Minnesota south district. It is all about Jesus, uh, Colossians three. And I began my sermon in Jesus through Jesus, on account of Jesus. We are saved because of Jesus, death and resurrection. We have freedom, salvation redemption on account of Jesus, death, and resurrection. The devil has been destroyed. Sin has been demolished. The grave has been done away with. And so the whole focus of all that you and I do, excuse me, all that we are privileged to do is nothing but about Jesus, our blessed Lord and savior.
We'll come back to vice president nor just moan. We'd like to appoint our listeners to our radio programs website at E LM, houston.org. There, you can learn more about us. You can find shortcuts to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. You may also donate to support our work at that website. All of our OnAir hosts are volunteers. So your donations will go far to help us purchase radio air crime. We strive to have a wide variety of interviews with people who are creatively sharing the good news of salvation that it's ours in Jesus Christ at that intersection, you know where faith meets life. You may also write to us at Elm Houston PO box 5, 6, 8, Cypress, Texas 7 7 4 1. Oh. Now back to our guest, uh, tell us, tell our listeners how they can find a little bit more information about that place, uh, perhaps where you went for, uh, your education or any other website that you'd like to point us to.
Well, uh, if you go to the lcms.org that will, of course open a whole array of places, but we have two seminaries, one in for Twain, theological seminary, as well as St. Louis, which is my Alma mater. That's what I went to. And you can just put Concordia seminary or, uh, Concordia for Twain, theological seminary. And you can find that, but if you want to know more about me personally, I serve in God's vineyard in Hartford, South Dakota. The name of my congregation is Trinity Lutheran church. We do have a YouTube that you are willing. Uh, you, you would be able, I should say, not willing, but you would be able to view the sermons, listen to the programs we offer and the activities we do. And so, uh, or you can reach me at preacher man foot washer. That's all one word. It's a big one.
I'm sure the, um, radio station can provide that for you on their website, preacher, man, foot washer, gmail.com. And I need to share why that, uh, um, name for my email. I take tourists to the holy land because that's where I am from. And I've been doing that for 26. Uh, I will be leaving in 20 days from now to the tour. And often we go to the Jordan and people wanna be baptized. And I said, you know, if you've been baptized once you don't need to be baptized a second time, because one Baptiz is good because that's not what you do, but what God does for you and said, what can I do in this place that is so meaningful to so many people. And so I decided to wash the feet of all of my travelers and not only do I wash them, if I, if, if let's assume it was you, John, who were with me, I would ask you to take your shoes step into the Jordan.
I would wash your feet. And as I'm washing your feet, I literally say a blessing specifically for that person, whatever that person, you know, cuz we've been together for a few days. Now we are at the Jordan. So I know a little bit about you, I'll say a prayer for you and a blessing for you and give you a hug. And so that's where the, uh, name for my email, preacher man foot washer. I'm constantly preaching. Even if I'm having breakfast, I'm preaching in the good sense, cuz more in the west we say don't preach to me. Well, yeah, but preaching literally is good news. My gosh, I got good news. I wanna share with you. It's better than the lottery. And so I'm sharing that whether I'm walking or talking or whatever it is that I'm doing, and that's really a privilege when you look at every opportunity through the lens of the gospel you on
So often, you know, people are looking at the problems of the world, whether it's COVID or wars or famines or earthquakes or storms, they, they look at all the problems and say, where is God in all of this? How do you get people to transition from thinking only about heaven, to realizing God's presence in their life and the difference that he makes right here and now,
Well, uh, like I shared, uh, with you earlier, I just spoke about seeing the unseeable. We expect God to be like a genie in a bottle or we put him on the shelf until we need him. And then we rub the battle and say, okay, Jesus, come right now, do your miracle and leave me alone the rest of the time. So where is God in all of this? What he promised to be, he's always with us at all times, he comes to us for his word and through the means of grace, his baptism, as well as the Lord's supper. So why is there problems in this world? It's not because of God. People always blame God, but they forget it is Satan who brought sin and misery and death and chaos. And if it wasn't for Jesus coming to earth, our world would be a lot worse than what it is today.
It was Jesus who changed history to make it his story. It is Jesus who gave the light and the hope that people would treat others with dignity and honor and blessing. It is Jesus who made the difference in people's life. That hospitals clinic orphanages began. So where is Jesus is working behind the scenes. You may not see it because your eyes are filled with sin and you cannot see the purity and the righteousness of God until faith removes the scales like it did with Paul and his life was changed. Where is God? What he promised to be found in his word and through his gifts. And it's always there. The problem is we don't always focus on God. Here is when we focus on God when our life is good. When the money are coming, when health is good, we are fine. But as soon as, oh, sorry, Laura, you got cancer.have overcome the world, John:
That, uh, is an otherworldly hope to sure. The sure confidence that we have in Jesus, that the victory has been one. And he has shared that victory with us as believers. Now, bill, thanks for spending time with us and to our listeners. We hope that you will join us again real soon for another edition of engaging truth. God's blessings bye-bye
Thank you for listening to this broadcast of engaging truth. Be sure to join us each week at this time to help support our ministry, contact evangelical life ministries, post office box 5 6, 8, Cypress, Texas 77, 410. Or visit our [email protected], or find us on Facebook at evangelical life ministries. Thank you.