Revive Columbia Update
For over a year there has been a church in Anaheim, California praying for God to revive the city of Columbia. On this side of the coast, another church was praying for God to revive Columbia. In the perfect timing of God, the two churches came together last week for Revive Columbia.
Calvary Chapel Open Door and Calvary Chapel Columbia joined with folks from several other states and spent 5 amazing days praying, worshiping, witnessing, and hanging out. In all of my years of going to conferences, seminars, and other events, this past week was the best. I knew the moment I met Pastor Roger, with his contagious smile, and the “Jesus loves you” greeting that it was going to be a great week!
The group arrived by bus on Tuesday night, and we had a spaghetti dinner together at the Church. After dinner we had a time of worship and prayer, ending with a time of Communion. When the service was over, we spent the remainder of the evening preparing packages to hang on the doors that we would be visiting over the next 3 days. There was a great sense of excitement, and people were filled with joy and anticipation.
Beginning on Wednesday, we had a time of worship, bible study, and training on evangelism each morning, and then from around 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon we went out in every direction putting into practice the things that we had just learned. There were as many as 14 teams, with four people on each time. We knocked on doors, talked to people on the sidewalks and shopping centers. We saw a number of people come to Christ, and had the opportunity to pray with dozens of people. Over the course of 3 days, we talked to hundreds of people.
Each day ended with a service at the church where we had a concert with Deaf Generation. After the concert, 2 people had the opportunity to share their testimony. After the testimony time, we had worship and a Bible Study. It was a great way to end the day.
We had been praying for so long for God to move in our community, and our prayers were answered. I suppose the thing that impressed me the most, was that God did an amazing thing in the hearts of the people who were participating. We thought that the community was going to be revived, but it was us that were revived. You should've seen the faces as the teams came back together and shared the events of the day! The testimonies were encouraging and exciting. It was almost like, “Is it time to stop already?”
We finished the week on Sunday, and the team left to go back to California, but something has been birthed in our hearts here at Calvary Chapel. One of the folks who was so excited about being able to lead some one to Christ this week said to me, “Pastor, this is the kindling that is going to start the fire in our church!” Amen!
Thanks to everyone who prayed, participated, brought refreshments, and were involved in any way. To keep learning and growing, we are planning to get a group of people together this Friday night (July 15) at 7 and hit the streets with the message that has blessed us all week long—“Jesus loves you!”
Happy New Year!
Can you believe that we are at the beginning of 2011? I saw a church sign the other day that read "More of Heaven in 2011!" Sounds like a great slogan to keep us focused on the things of God. My brother-in-law was going around on New Year's Day saying, "Blessings from Heaven in 2011." I like that one too. Whatever the slogans, we all need more of Jesus in our lives this year.
The past year has been an amazing year, and we have seen God do many wonderful things. It is with the greatest anticipation that we look forward to things that God has planned for us this year.
The thing I like most about the New Year is that it is a chance to have a fresh start. The past is behind us--all the failures and mistakes, as well as the successes and mountain-top experiences. Like Paul, we need to forget those things that are behind, and press toward the goal before us.
I would like to remind you of where we are heading as a church during this coming year. Our focus is Upward and Outward. We want to see people connected to God and to each other, and in order to help that process along, we will be moving toward a small group ministry. Keep listening, you will be hearing much about this in the coming weeks.
We are also excited to have Mr. Sam Nadler, the president of Word of Messiah Ministries come to speak on January 23. Perhaps you remember him from last year.
One final thought is that we have agreed to lead a tour to Israel. The dates are February 27-March 8, 2012. So start saving your money now and plan to go with us on "the trip of a lifetime."
Israel Update - December 7
Latest News from somewhere around the South End of the Dead Sea
The fun continues. We have had another busy schedule since our last update. We left our hotel at about 7:00 yesterday, and worked our way from the Northern Border of Israel to the Southern end of the Dead Sea (it would help you get an idea if you could look at a map of Israel). We have covered a lot ofreal estate.
I thought that it would be a good idea to list in order the places we have been for the last two days so that you can get the full picture.
Monday – December 6th
1. Caesarera Philippi
3. Lunch with Peter's Fish
5. Cruise on the Sea of Galilee
6. Visit to the Museum
Tuesday – December 7th
1. Baptism at the Jordan River
2. Bet She'an National Park
3. Visit to the closed area of the Jordan River
4. The caves at Qumran
5. The ruins at Masada
6. A Night with the Bedouins
As you can see, we have been moving! It brings the Scriptures so much to life when you can actually see the sites!
We had a wonderful cruise on the Sea of Galilee. It was a time of worship and great fellowship. As a surprise to all of us, Pastor Jerel asked for all the married couples to come to the center of the boat and renew their wedding vows! It was a very moving time there in the center of the Sea.
Today, we got clearance from Israeli military to visit a part of the Jordan River which has been closed for a long time. We visited the actual sight where John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and the children of Israel crossed over in to the Promise Land.
The Masada site was very moving. It is like the Statue of Liberty. I made the very bad decision to hike the snake trail to the top. All I can is that I am one very tired and sore man, but I made it to the top!!
Can't wait to tell you about our visit to the Bedouins. You'll have to see the videos when we get home.
Only 2 more days in the Holy Land. We love and miss every one of you.
Chuck and Angela
Israel Update - December 5
Bokertov from the Sea of Galilee
Wow! This is an amazing place. So rich in history and tradition! To be able to actually stand in the places that you have read about, or seen in pictures, adds so much more life to the Bible.
These last two days have kept us busy from early in the morning until late in the evening. Each sight that we arrive at, the Pastor who is leading the group says, “This is my favorite place.” You know what, I agree. Every time we get to a new place, I too say the same thing.
Yesterday, we spent most of the day in Jerusalem. Our day started at the top of the Mount of Olives, just outside the city of Bethany. The view of the city is breath-taking. We walked a total of seven miles in the next few hours, tracing the steps of Jesus on Palm Sunday.
Once we came the Mountain, we stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane, had a devotion, then spent some personal time in prayer. I can't describe how moving this was to me personally.
Our next stop was the spot where Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. From there we went down the Via Dolorosa, tracing the traditional steps of Jesus from the Antontio Fortress to the Cross. The highlight of my day was when Angela sang the song “Down the Via Dolorosa” on the roof of the Church of the Ascension.
From the house of Caiaphas to the, we went to the model of the city of Jerusalem, where we were able to put everything in perspective.
Our day ended with a trip to Bethlehem, where we read the Christmas story and sang Christmas carols at the Shepherd's Field.
Today was another great day. We checked out of our hotel and headed north. Our first stop was the city of Caesarea where we had our church service in the Amphitheater. We spent a couple of hours exploring the ruins of this magnificent city.
Continuing north to Lower Galilee, we went to my second favorite site so far, (you'll have to wait until I get back to find out what my favorite site is so far—try to guess if you can), the Valley of Megiddo, where the Battle of Armageddon will take place. This is the place where the rule of man will end when Jesus returns. Wow!
Our last stop of the day was a kibbutz, where we took a step back in time-a 2000 year stop. We got to experience life as it was over 2000 years ago (wait until you see the videos – I even have on of Angela riding a donkey!)
Then it was on to the Sea of Galilee, where we are spending the night.
I'll be sharing all the details (and pictures and videos) when we got home.
Chuck and Angela
Israel Update - December 3
Shalom Sabot from the Holy City
What a day! I never would have imagined that you could crowd so many things in one day. We are blessed to be with a great group and an incredible guide. And let me mention out bus driver. I thought teaching teenagers to drive was scary, but our bus driver has added a new dimension to my prayer life. You cannot imagine how close this man gets a bus to a parked car.
Our day started at 6:00 am with a typical Jewish breakfast here at the hotel. Just think about your mouth watering for eggs and grits, with lots of bacon, only to be at the buffet line looking at fruits, vegetables, all kinds of cheeses, and 3 types of raw fish! They even had a few types of salads.
By 6:30am we were on the bus heading for our first destination – the western part of Jerusalem. This is the section of Jerusalem that is controlled by Israel. Our first stop of the day was at the Western Wall. We were able to watch the Orthodox Jews in their morning prayers. What a sight! Then we got to actually go up to the wall, and many prayed there, writing their prayer requests on pieces of paper and sliding them in the cracks between the rocks.
Israel is filled with history, and we spent the next few hours exploring a maze of underground tunnels where excavations have been going on for decades. We actually saw some of the actual walls, paths, and steps from Herod's temple. These are places that Jesus walked many times. It was an overwhelming sense of God's presence.
We then made our way to the Antonio Fortress, the place where Jesus was tried and condemned, We had a time of teaching and worship that was awesome. From there we walked down the Via Dilarosa,, the Way of the Cross. As we walked, we talked about what it must have been like 2000 years ago when Jesus walked that same path, carrying His cross.
Then it was back to the Temple area where we had teaching and worship on the southern steps. This is the place where people would enter and exit the Temple area. The Israelis have uncovered the actual steps from Herod's Temple. Many times we read in the gospels of Jesus teaching and interacting with the people at the Temple in Jerusalem. This must have been where Jesus was. Then we rounded the corner, and there got to see the actual stones from the Temple that were pushed over the wall when Titus and the Romans destroyed it in a.d. 70.
So much to tell, and so little time. The rest of the day, we visited the old city of David and the Hebrew Museum.
Out last stop of the day was back to the Western Wall to watch the celebration of Shabot (the Sabbath). Then it was back to the hotel at 7:00 of our Shabot meal. It was the usual Jewish mixture of fruits, vegetables and salads. To our surprise, they also served beef tongue and goat.
So, after a 14-hour day, we made it back to the room exhausted, but filled with a sense of God's presence.
Chuck and Angela
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