Month: April 2019

90 Day Challenge vii starting on Sunday, April 28

Dear FPC family and friends,

So we begin again another 90 Day Challenge as we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of Easter season.  It may not seem like a time to launch ourselves into some of the historical books of the Bible as well as a few minor prophets, but that is exactly what we are doing next.  Over this study we will be seeing the books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges,  and the prophets Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Haggai.  Each one takes place in a specific time and place and so some history will be needed to supplement the readings.

My prayer is that Scripture will come alive for us as Jesus is alive and resurrected.  While the person of Jesus may seem very far removed from a Joel, you will find in this prophet a call that one day our sons and our daughters will be filled with the Holy Spirit.  This harbinger of Pentecost will bring us to today where we see the Holy Spirit alive and well  in the church.

I pray that you will be enriched by your time in Scripture and that it will edify your walk with our resurrected Jesus.


Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Bob

Israel during Lent – Day 9

Israel Day 9

45 hours straight touring or traveling before hitting the sack Saturday night.  Shabbat Shalom!   Ours and Theirs!
Funny joke:  when President Trump visited the Western Wall, he wrote a prayer and put the prayer note into a crack in the wall. A reporter saw where he put the prayer and pulled it out of the wall.  It said, “Lord, it’s Trump, what do you need?”
Not funny joke:  Many land mines remain in Israel.   They are marked with signs in Arabic, Hebrew and English.  The English signs read “land mines”. The Hebrew signs read “land mines”.  The Arabic signs read “picnic area”
Today we flew from Tel Aviv to Moscow to JFK (by airplane) and were then bused to Strasburg and New London.   We all reminisced on what we learned and experienced, each of us reflecting differently but all of us reflecting profoundly.  
One theme common to most of us was a growing desire to read the Bible, now with the big picture of the Big Story having been brought down from the abstract and into the real, earthy, historical, lived world of God’s actual presence on earth  
A pilgrimage it was,  and we are all grateful for pastor Bob’s gracious and competent leadership.  On behalf of the whole group of us – – Well done Bob, Thank You!!!!!!!!!
What does a Jewish wife say when she looks in the mirror first thing in the morning?  “He deserves it!”.
Finally, Jerusalem is inhabited by Jews, Arabs, Christians, Bedouins, Muslims. returnees to the Promised Land from every country in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America (and more), secular Jews, (and more), and every combination of the above that you can think if.  In short, Jerusalem is a microcosm of the world.  The problems and joys of the world are on display here.  No wonder the Bible tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem!!  (Psalm 122:6. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!”
“לשנה הבאה בירושלים”
“Next year Jerusalem!


Israel during Lent – Day 8

Day 8.  Last Day in Israel and What a Day it was.  

Hezekiah’s tunnel.  

701 BC.  Having 20 years earlier overrun and ended the Northern Kingdom of Israel forever, Sennacherib, King of Assyria, now threatened Judah’s existence.   In order to survive a siege, King Hezekiah had to plan for a reliable water supply.  So he had an underground aqueduct built a quarter mile long and our group walked through it to the pool of Siloam (John 9)! Pretty cool. . . And wet!

The Western Wall (wailing wall) 

We joined other pilgrims from around the world praying at this 2000 plus year old foundation of the Jerusalem temple. This writer wrote prayers for his wife, each of his children, their spouses,  their children, prayed those prayers, then left those written prayers in the wall, following that up with prayers for others.  It was a special and powerful experience leaving that wall with the deep sense that God is answering those prayers.   It was emotional for each of us to realize that the Lord of the universe notices and cares about and acts on behalf of each of us in the most personal of ways. 

A Road that Jesus walked!

Of all the sights we visited there was one where archaeologists are 100 percent certain that Jesus walked and we walked there.  Almost too big to take in.   

The Garden Tomb

Visited one of the two possible sites of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial.  An Iraqi Jewish Christian woman was our guide and she could not have explained the Gospel, (God’s coming to earth to die for our sins because we are incapable of ridding ourselves of them) any more clearly!

Right after that we had communion.  

Think about that for a moment.  For most of us American citizenship is about our promise to remain loyal to America, expressed in the Pledge of Allegiance.  For a Christian, citizenship in the Kingdom of God is about God’s commitment to us as expressed in bread and wine symbolizing God’s giving his life for us.   Now what Kingdom that ever existed on planet earth has ever had a king like that?  God in Jesus is a King who has won the loyalty of his followers not by the sword but by a cross. 

We watched a shepherd herd his sheep in the same shepherd field where King David tended sheep as a boy, just outside of Bethlehem.   That may be the same field where the shepherds would have heard the birth of Jesus announced.  Like wow!

Viewed the wall between Muslim Bethlehem and outer Jerusalem, site of the Intifada in 2000.   We must pray for “the peace of Jerusalem”

The Valley of Ellah 

This is where 11 year old David jumped to the front of the line and said I’ll go.  He ran down to the creek, got 5 smooth stones and did what he had practiced since he was 5. He used his sling to fell the Philistine’s chosen fighter, a man named Goliath.  Each of us is bringing a stone home from that same stream home with us, reminding us that none of us is exempt from the call of God, nor are we incapable of answering that when we simply say yes and trust God enough to go. 

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