Special Series

Israel 2020 – Lesson 8: Israel in Pictures

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Saturday, 14 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 302

Israel 2020 – Lesson 8: Israel in Pictures

Today, we're bringing you the FINAL installment in our Israel 2020 series, in which we share a few photos and memories from the trip.

 

Israel 2020 – Lesson 7: Fighting Over a Rock

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 13 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 323

Israel 2020 – Lesson 7: Fighting Over a Rock

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly.

When viewing Jerusalem for the first time and identifying the perimeter of Old Jerusalem, one specific building caught our eye: the Dome of the Rock. It is, in fact, very hard to miss because of its large golden dome. The Dome of the Rock is the third-most sacred area for the Islamic faithful. It was first dedicated in 691 A.D. and then refurbished around 1541. The Dome is built on a hill, specifically over a rock (a crop of limestone) and is more commonly known by the Jewish people and Christians as Mount Moriah.

“The air over Jerusalem is saturated with prayers and dreams,” wrote Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. I saw firsthand that this is true. Currently, these prayers and dreams seem to circle around today like a storm. To the Jews and Christians, this is the place — the rock — where Abraham proved his faith by preparing to offer his son, Isaac. Later, we read that King David built an altar on or near this rock and subsequently his son, King Solomon, erected a Temple to the Lord on this same spot of ground.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 6: Renewed Hope

Written by Sister Vanessa Watson on Saturday, 07 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 349

Israel 2020 – Lesson 6: Renewed Hope

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Sister Vanessa Watson.

I am so grateful to God for our recent trip to Israel; it was so inspiring. Israel is truly the Holy Land and Jerusalem the Holy City, set apart by God to be the staging ground for the birth, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! What a blessing to go on this trip with Native friends and other believers around the U.S. who share our desire for the “Peace of Israel.”

One particularly moving event occurred at the Jewish Agency. All of us (28, plus our tour guide) were in the very room where Israeli officials voted in May 1948 to become the Nation of Israel. I don’t think it was a coincidence that Native American leaders were there as well as the President of our Church, Brother Joel Gehly. So, when Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez stated that he felt like he was coming home when he entered Jerusalem and that he felt a connection somehow with the nation of Israel and wanted to partner with them, I whispered to my husband, Brother Larry, that I felt history was again being made in that place, that I was seeing a glimpse of prophecy being fulfilled.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 5: Shabbat Shalom

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 06 March 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 593

Israel 2020 – Lesson 5: Shabbat Shalom

Today, we're bringing you the next installment in our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Joel Gehly.

A very special experience was offered to us when we were in Israel. After a very wet and chilly (but exhilarating) day of visiting sites in the city of Jerusalem, we boarded the tour bus around 6 p.m. for a short drive to a Jewish home. It was Friday evening, and as we drove the streets of Jerusalem, we observed that the normal activity level of the city was greatly diminished. Friday evening at sundown was the start of the Jewish Sabbath. As we entered the beautiful home, happy exuberant cries of “Shabbat Shalom” echoed over and over.

“Shabbat Shalom” is the special greeting between people, even strangers, said on Shabbat. The greeting means that one should have a Shabbat of peace.

To describe our evening, I suggest you first take a look at the short video at the bottom of this article. This will give you a sense of the home, the people, the table, the host, and the joy we experienced as we fellowshipped together with our Jewish hosts.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 3: Could It Be? Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Written by Sister Ruth Gehly on Friday, 28 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 469

Israel 2020 – Lesson 3: Could It Be? Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Today, we're bringing you another installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Sister Ruth Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next few weeks!

As our tour bus meandered its way through the Jordan Valley into the arid hills of the Judaean desert, our guide pointed out that short green grass was blooming on the sandy hills. This phenomenon typically occurs for a very short period of time each year. Yet, while we were there, a great blessing was occurring. The desert had been blooming for many weeks, a phenomenon that was not common.

Could it be that God’s hand is moving? Could it be that the time is drawing nigh for deserts to bloom again … for the life and spirit of a nation to be restored? Quite suddenly, an excited wonder — a need for something more — quelled from deep within. Very unexpectedly, tears slid down my cheeks.

Broken Silence

Dusk was closing in, and everyone was quiet. In those quiet moments, a song my childhood Sunday school teacher used to sing reverently broke the silence, calling our attention to what we were about to behold.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 4: Dedication and Determination

Written by Evangelist Wayne Martorana on Saturday, 29 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 265

Israel 2020 – Lesson 4: Dedication and Determination

Today, we're bringing you another installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Evangelist Wayne Martorana. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next few weeks!

Through the years, I have often had the desire to visit the Holy Lands in Israel and walk the paths that
Christ and His disciples did, fulfilling their ministry, establishing The Church, and administering to the people. However, I did not know that I would ever have that opportunity. The invitation came from a very unlikely source, the Gathering of Tribal Nations leadership, and culminated very quickly. 

As an aside, please pray for the leadership of this organization who some Church members have befriended. We have shared with them and many others on this trip that many of the aboriginal people of the Americas are descendants of Joseph of Egypt from Old Testament times. They have been receptive to listen to our scriptural explanation but want the Lord to show them directly in order for them to be proponents of this message. Certainly, this thing is not too hard for the Lord to accomplish!

Israel 2020 – Lesson 2: Draw Israel to Christ

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Saturday, 22 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 559

Israel 2020 – Lesson 2: Draw Israel to Christ

Today, we're bringing you the second installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next month!

We were in northern Israel, perhaps less than 5 or 6 miles from the Lebanon border, and stopped at an area identified as Caesarea Philippi. This place is in the northern hill area of Israel and it has a water spring at the base of a cliff that is one of the three identified springs that begin the Jordan river. It was here at Caesarea Philippi that part of The Church mission statement resonated within me and I saw the work clearly.

The Mission Statement of The Church includes the wording, “to draw Israel to Christ” and “through an effort” focused on the Native Americans of North and South America. The meaning of the words is important to consider.  As we visited Caesarea Philippi, we were reminded of the interaction between Jesus and His disciples. The question was asked (Matthew 16), “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”  Peter replies to the question, and Jesus affirms that they (the disciples) had received of the Father both knowledge and faith. The disciples were “drawn” to Christ in faith, and they had witnessed the power of the Son of God.

Israel 2020 – Lesson 1: Thanksgiving

Written by Brother Joel Gehly on Friday, 21 February 2020. Posted in Special Series Hits 638

Israel 2020 – Lesson 1: Thanksgiving

Today, we're pressing pause on our regularly scheduled Good Word Friday to bring you the first installment of our Israel 2020 series, written by Church President Brother Joel Gehly. Look for this series every Friday and Saturday for the next month!

A small group of brothers and sisters from The Church was invited to join a tour of Israel sponsored by the Gathering of Tribal Nations and the Alliance of Christian Women for Israel.  The Gathering of Tribal Nations (GTN) is an organization comprised primarily of Native American people who have a zeal for Jesus Christ and a loosely defined belief that, in some way, the indigenous people of the Americas have a bond with Israel and the Jews. The Alliance of Christian Women for Israel is a small collection of dedicated women who have a great love for the land of Israel and are committed to assisting the people of Israel.

The tour group consisted of eight Navajo and two Cree (Manitoba) indigenous individuals, twelve gentile pastors and friends of Ron and Tyda Harvey (GTN), plus the six of us from The Church. Included in the Navajo group was Mr. Jonathan Nez and his wife. Jonathan is the current president of the Navajo nation. Mr. David Harper, accompanied by his wife (Cree nation), was a Grand Chief of many tribes in Canada. The Gentile friends of Ron and Tyda Harvey were all charismatic Christian people who have a passion for Israel and the work of the Gathering of Tribal Nations.

The actual tour of the country included almost three days in the northern area of Israel around the Sea of Galilee, and the remainder of the time was spent in or around Jerusalem. The activities every day kept us very busy, and we were very blessed to see a large portion of the country. The tour guide who accompanied us was a very knowledgeable Jewish man who had an incredible ability to weave Jewish, Christian, and world history throughout the many areas we visited.

Standing on the Promises

Written by Sister Vicki Ali on Thursday, 05 December 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 467

Standing on the Promises

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Vicki Ali recollects how her definition of "cool" has changed since she was a teenager.

I didn’t dig deep into my earliest church memories, but I dialed back to my preteen years and came across a good one to share. At this age, church services could be highly entertaining to an immature brain. The sport of Church People Watching provided many moments of uncontrollable muffled laughter as friends and I witnessed things like a sister returning to the front pew during the service with a trail of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. There were also poorly timed burps and other funny noises from old and young humans, and once a Sunday school Christmas program momentarily dissolved into melee when two kids got into a physical brawl front and center on stage. All of these — certainly America’s Funniest Home Video worthy moments.

However, the most amusing church memory I’ll share occurred when my family and I attended the Roscoe, Pennsylvania, location of The Church of Jesus Christ for several years. I dreaded the hour ride to get there, crammed in a car with my siblings and parents, which also included stopping to pick up my grandma and another elderly sister. Did I mention the last two passengers always wore very strong (often conflicting) floral perfumes? After escaping that misery, I was glad to settle into a pew with my new friend, Robyn. Robyn was four years older than me and super cool. She was kind enough to tolerate awkward me sitting there, as I admired her weekly lip gloss and nail polish choices, and we doodled in notebooks. So what significant event stands out from this pew memory?

How My Decisions Discipled Me

Written by Brother P. on Tuesday, 03 December 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 361

How My Decisions Discipled Me

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Brother P. recollects how growing up in church influenced his adult decisions.

If you grew up in The Church of Jesus Christ like I did, then you probably have memories of playing under the pew as a kid — and having to sit next to mom if you got too loud. There are also memories of Sunday school lessons, sermons, baptisms, sacrament, feetwashing, campouts, picnics, MBA activities, and more.

One thing that I am particularly thankful for is not really one event, and I cannot actually remember a person telling me this, but I think it was more of a cultural thing that I absorbed.

Thankful for the Greatest Generation

Written by Sister Erin Light on Thursday, 28 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 584

Thankful for the Greatest Generation

Happy Thanksgiving! We hope you're enjoying a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories, and Sister Erin Light shines the spotlight on something that we can be very thankful for in our church — the fact that we benefit from having a wide span of ages interacting with and supporting one another.

One of the first questions out of my mouth as a child after Sunday service was not, surprisingly, “What’s for lunch?” It was, “Where are we going today?” That's because, more frequently than not, Sunday afternoon was the time when Mom and Dad would decide to go visit someone from the branch who was elderly or sick.

In the San Diego Branch, when I was little, we had a large group of seasoned saints who all lived within a half-hour of the church building. I remember sitting on their couches, always being offered a cookie or some juice, but the best memories were the stories. Soft-spoken sisters and brothers, with years of serving God and a huge pile of blessings, were just waiting to share. I remember trying to hold in my excitement at hearing their stories of prayers answered and miracles that got them through poverty, family trials, sickness, or layoffs. At the end of our visits, Mom and I would sit together and hold hands as Dad said a prayer for them.

The Real-Life Armor of God

Written by Brother Rich Nath on Tuesday, 26 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 425

The Real-Life Armor of God

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Brother Rich Nath discovers an interesting connection between an old memory and a recent experience.

All throughout my toddler and school-age years, I attended VBS in the Monongahela Branch. Every summer, there was a weeklong series of lessons on a particular theme.

My great-great aunt, Sister Mabel Bickerton, planned many, many VBS lessons for all age groups that covered people, events, or in one case, a specific item. Back in 1980-something, when I was in my early grade-school years, the VBS theme was about the armor of God. We studied the pieces and their meanings throughout the week, ending with a program on Friday night where we sang the songs and displayed the pieces of armor.

Thank You for the Music

Written by Sister Natalie Shawver on Thursday, 21 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 487

Thank You for the Music

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Natalie Shawver takes a musical trip down memory lane.

“Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide…”

Know that song? I learned it (hand-motions included) thanks to Sister Linda during a Sunday School class in the Youngstown Branch in the late ‘80s.

“I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise with a capital ‘P,’ I’m a great big bundle of potentiality!”

How about that one? Those words (and tune) are permanently ingrained in my head (and heart) thanks to Sister Carolyn from a GMBA Campout in the early ‘90s.

Open to the Spirit

Written by Sister Stefanie Callens on Tuesday, 19 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 494

Open to the Spirit

Today's article is another installment in our series of childhood church memories. Today, Sister Stefanie Callens remembers feeling the Spirit of God for the first time.

God touched me for the first time when I was 11 or 12 years old. That particular Sunday, there wasn’t anyone else who had come to the branch except for my immediate family, so they decided to just do a Bible study. We read a couple of chapters, and I remember feeling really disappointed when we finished up. I just wanted to read and learn more and more. It was to the point that I was on the verge of tears. I didn’t understand why I was feeling that way and actually hid in the bathroom because I was embarrassed.

Feeling Emotion vs. the Spirit

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Thursday, 14 November 2019. Posted in Special Series Hits 473

Feeling Emotion vs. the Spirit

Today, we're happy to introduce a new series called Early Church Memories. We all have certain childhood memories that stand out as interesting or important to us. For those who were raised in church, many of these early recollections play a role in our spiritual development. You'll see articles in this series pop up through November, and we hope they remind you of your earliest memories with the Lord.

To start things off, Sister Michelle Watson shares two memories that are the same but different.

I had to have been 6 years old or younger, and I was sitting in a pew near the back of the sanctuary in the old church building in Anaheim, California (before the blue remodel). The minister at the pulpit was telling a very touching story about a young child. Because the story was about a kid, my ears perked up, and I listened. The narrative was sad and beautiful, and I both pitied and admired the fictional child.

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