VFW and Veterans Day 2018
One of the blessings of being a pastor in the same community for over 27 years is that God has opened some doors for ministry within the community. I have been asked to offer public prayers in programs for the Fort Lee Police Department, Fort Lee Fire Department and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). It is a privilege to serve as a community chaplain at various times throughout the year.
This all started through relationships. Almost 25 years ago I became friends with a police officer who was the president of the Fort Lee union. This led to the ongoing role as chaplain to the department. Almost 20 years ago I started saying a prayer for the VFW programs. Commander Jimmy Viola became a good friend over the years until his recent passing. The fire department has also called on myself and other clergy for their memorial services.
This November 11 marks a significant event in history. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, an Armistice treaty was signed with Germany to end World War I. At the time it was believed that this event was the ‘war to end all wars.’ Sadly, a few years later the World War II shattered the illusions of peace.
November 11 was first known as a holiday called Armistice Day and later called Veterans Day to honor all who have served in the military. This year the holiday falls on a Sunday.
While 11:00 AM on a Sunday is not a convenient time for me to be at a community Veterans Day service, it seems like a time I need to arrive at our church late. I have requested the opening prayer so I can get to our church in time to preach. This will be a bigger event than usual because it marks the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I. Here are a few guiding biblical principles on why it is important to be at the community service.
First, we are called to honor those who risk their life for our well being. Romans 13:7 says, “Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
I grew up in a generation where military service was voluntary. Those who serve risk their lives fighting on behalf of our nation. Many veterans return with PTSD and other emotional and physical challenges. I make it a point to thank as many veterans as I can for their service for our country.
Second, we are called to be salt and light in our community. Matt 5:16 says, “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It has been my experience that many who come from other traditions including Judaism are moved by a heartfelt prayer.
Third, involvement with the VFW reminds me that the world needs to come to know Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The message of the gospel is that we can “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 5:1) The world may never have the absence of war, but Jesus came that we might have peace with our Creator. Peace with God leads us to work towards being peacemakers in this world.
This November 11th, I will be arriving late to preach the message. I am thankful to pastor our church and to serve as chaplain in the community.
Operation Christmas Child
This year Fort Lee Gospel Church will continue to encourage the congregation to prepare shoe box gifts for children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a program that fills shoe boxes with school supplies, small toys, and toiletries, to be sent to children in poor and war-torn nations of the world. Our church has participated in this program for over a dozen years. Shoe boxes will be collected during the fall to be shipped out in time for Christmas, with a collection date of November 11th through 18th.
Samaritan’s Purse has been sending shoe boxes around the world for many years. Plan to take part in this important ministry that God is using around the world. For details on packing the boxes, brochures are available or you can speak with Laurie. Further information on building a shoe box can be found online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. Be sure to check out this site.
The past few years our church has prepared about 100 shoe boxes each year. We have had a great response early this year so we expect to see at least 120 shoe boxes this year. We believe God will use this ministry to touch many lives, as we all participate. Pray for God to use this ministry to change lives, families and communities with the power of God’s love.
All Nations Celebration Report
On Saturday, October 27th, Fort Lee Gospel Church held it’s first All Nations Celebration. Despite weather reports of a Nor’easter storm, about 70 people attended, most with food in hand. The idea behind the event was to celebrate our diversity of cultures as we identified over 30 nations of origin which define our congregation.
On the food side, we had an overabundance as many showcased the food of their country of origin. The program included testimonies, poems and music from some unexpected members.
The theme verse was Rev. 7:9 which speaks of heaven as follows, “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”
A special thanks to Patricia and all who assisted her in making this evening special in the story of Fort Lee Gospel Church.
November Guest Preachers
On the Sundays before and after Thanksgiving Day we are privileged to have guest preachers share at our worship service. On Sunday November 18 David and Julia Hennigh will be with us to share of their ministry in Africa. David served as pastor of Fort Lee Gospel Church in the 1980s. Their family have spent most of the years since serving in East Africa. They have visited with us numerous times over the years.
On Sunday November 25th Rev. Yeathus Johnson from the Metropolitan District will bring the Sunday message. Pastor Yeathus gives oversight to our church as he gives leadership to the urban churches in metro NYC. Rev. Yeathus has minister in our church in multiple settings including a Spring Retreat and a Saturday conference.
We look forward to the ministry of these men of God in late November.
November Events at Fort Lee Gospel Church
11:00 AM Worship Service Our weekly service including worship through singing, prayer, preaching and fellowship. Nursery and three children’s classes are available.
9:00 AM Chinese Worship Service The Chinese worship service is led by Pastor William Cheung. He can be reached at 914-282-3399.
1:30 PM Korean Worship Service Contact Pastor Jaedoo Lee for further details at (646)464-2448.
5:30 PM Spanish Worship Service Contact Rev. Esteban Canales at 973-510-8834 for more details.
7:00 PM, Nov 4 & 18 Evening Service Our Sunday evening service usually meets on the first and third Sunday of the month.
1:30 PM, Nov 11 & 25 NYC Nursing Home Ministry A group leads a service twice a month at a nursing home in NYC.
12:30 PM, Nov 18 Thanksgiving Dinner Our monthly meal will take place on the Sunday before Thanksgiving Day. We will have traditional turkey meal with some cultural additions.
1:15 PM, Nov 18 Seniors Ministry A group leads a service at an assisted living facility in Teaneck.
12:30 PM, Tuesdays Men’s Lunch & Bible Study We meet for a meal before we study the Bible and pray together.
7:30 PM, Tuesdays Bible Study The group is going through the “Purpose Driven Life” study.
6:00 AM, Wednesdays Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
6:00 AM Morning Prayer Morning prayer meeting combining personal and group prayer meets every Saturday.
2:00 PM, Nov 3 & 17 Women’s Bible Study This group meets on alternating Saturdays.
5:00 PM, Nov 3 & 17 Couple’s Bible Study An 8 study session looking at what the Bible says about marriage.
6:00 PM, Nov 10 & 24 Youth Group For those in 7th grade through their teens. Invite a friend.
Prayer for the Persecuted Church: Nov. 4
November 4th will be marked by thousands of churches around the world as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This tradition has been ongoing for many years as western Christians have been educated to the challenges of living as a Christian in contexts which are very challenging.
This year we remember that it is very difficult to live as a Christian in countries like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Sometimes persecution is government sponsored and at other times local religious leaders lead mob violence against Christians. Often persecution is tied to stopping people from converting to Christianity.
Voice of the Martyrs website is a good source of news to learn of people and places where there is suffering for Christ. (www.persecution.com)
This year we also remember people who suffer religious persecution who practice other religions. October brought the greatest act of violence against Jews in our nation’s history with the killings in a Pittsburg synagogue. They need our prayers as well.
On Sunday, November 4th, time will be taken to pray for those who suffer for their faith around the world. Be sure to keep the persecuted church in your prayers.
Thanksgiving Proclamation from 1864
It is the duty of the nations as well as of men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proved by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.
We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subject to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins; to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings are produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and all those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.
by Abraham Lincoln