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Archive for April, 2011

At the beginning of Psalm 4, we see the words “For the choir director.”  In Hebrew this is la manatze’ach

Manatze’ach comes from netzach, which means “strength,” “victory,” or even “eternity.”  Thus, the choir director (to us, the worship leader) was conducting music that brought strength, victory and even eternal significance.

It’s no wonder, then, that the Israelite’s praise and worship was so critical when they went out to battle (cf. 2 Chr. 20:21-22) – both on an earthly level as well as in the realm of the spirit (cf. Eph. 6:10).

 Finally, la manatze’ach can further be translated “to him who causes victory.” 

 It isn’t the choir director who causes victory for the worshipers; it’s God Himself who responds favorably to those who worship Him by faith (Heb. 11:6) and in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

 And worship is far more than singing; it is merely one means of prayer, but it is prayer that brings joy, freedom and power for the believer!

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Here is an email I just sent to the church I’m so privileged to pastor about the trip to Israel I just led of 28 of our people :

This is a note to let you know that the many prayers for our historical pilgrimage (not “trip” or “vacation”) to Israel bore enormous fruit and in more lives than just the people from SHCC who went to the Holy Land!
 
We had the best “tour guide” that exists, in the opinion of probably everyone who went.  This Jewish man has been leading tours in Israel for 35 years, fought in the Yom Kippur War (1973) and deeply loves his country.
 
A genuinely knowledgable tour guide is essential to the success of a pilgrimage like ours and Ze’ev Gill has it all!  He has already agreed to be our guide in future trips and that will prove to be a huge blessing from our Lord
 
And, our entire group made an indelible spiritual impact upon Ze’ev for our Lord — Ze’ev said so many times.
 
He was deeply burdened over Israel’s severe draught — the effect on the Sea of Galilee was obvious — so we asked him if we could pray for him and for Israel that God would send rain.
 
We prayed several times for only two days and guess what?  James 5:17-18 still works (of course)!  Two days later, the Lord brought in a huge storm that lasted several days — and rain was NOT in the forecast!
 
The Lord also answered so many of our prayers that we would not get sick, turn ankles (or worse) with all of our walking, get nothing stolen, get along well and I could go on (and on, and on!).
 
And spiritually, it was an extremely rewarding time; how I wish you could have been there when we took Communion in the Garden Tomb where Jesus was raised from the dead.  It was probably the highlight of my time, but just seeing the joy of our people being there in Israel for the first time was equally high for me.
 
How I wish you could have been there with me when I prayed for everyone at SHCC from the Western Wall of the Temple — or when we had a very, very special time of worship with a messianic worship team/proprietor of a boat on the Sea of Galilee — fittingly called “Faith.”
 
All of what we did was designed to help the people on the trip draw closer to our Lord and really “see” the Bible come to life — and that happened!
 
Now, I have a vision from our Lord to take as many Christians to Israel with me as I can to teach them and to allow them to visit with our Lord there in His land.
 
I’ve already had many people who for various reasons could not go on this trip ask me about a trip to Israel next year and yes, I’m already praying about taking another pilgrimage to Israel about this time next year.  If we get at least 10 people who are interested — and preferably 20 — we can go. 
 
Our pace on this trip was vigorous because I wanted everyone to see as much as possible and because — due to logistical issues — I was not able to coordinate our itinerary with Ze’ev personally ahead of time.  So next time, we’ll make adjustments that will slow the pace down and give us more rest and time for reflection. 
 
One final consideration as you pray and consider saving to go to Israel for our next trip (Lord willing, I would like to lead a trip either every year or every-other year): here’s a very real thought I had after the trip: in one week, people received the equivalent of a seminary class in the Old Testament, New Testament and in the ancient and modern-day history of Israel.
 
That makes every penny invested eternally worthwhile, in my opinion — and at some point, Maureen and I plan on taking a personal vacation in Israel to absorb even more.  Please pray with me about coming to the Holy Land in the next trip I lead!
 
We missed you all and eagerly look forward to seeing you Sunday!
 
Sincerely,
 
Pastor Brad

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