Last week I had another rather incredible experience as once again the Lord opened up a door of training that I believe He desires for me to put into practice in my time current pastoral ministry. My wife and I attended the Christian leadership seminar graduate meeting held in Washington DC from August 18 – 21. These meetings were for those that had graduated from the Yad Vashem training program in Jerusalem from 2010 – 2016, which I graduated from in May, 2014. Only this training also invited our spouses to come with us and I was especially blessed to have my wife Deb join me for this experience. There are so many things that are happening in our world in the spiritual realm that we need to declare as the wonders and work of our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Yad Vashem in many ways represents the heart of the state of Israel today. It is at their Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem that they have their Holocaust remembrance service in the spring of the year and it is a place where all people go to be reminded of the tragedy of the Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews. “Christian Friends of the Yad Vashem” is a wing of the center that was added in 2006. “Christian Friends” seeks to promote positive and cordial relationships between Christian groups and the state of Israel and to help keep the memory of the Holocaust alive beyond the state of Israel. One of the most significant events that I’ve been privileged to be part of occurred on the first night of this rather remarkable experience. One of the agencies that has been sponsoring these delegations of Christian leaders who receive the scholarship training in Jerusalem is an organization called “the Museum of the Bible”. The Museum of the Bible is a group that is currently building one of the largest museums in Washington DC. When it is completed in November 2017 it will encompass a whole city block and be over 430,000 square feet of artifacts and historical information regarding the importance and value of the Word of God. On Thursday night of last week Yad Vashem and the Museum of the Bible signed a document committing support to one another and upholding the objectives of both organizations. This was a very significant event because Yad Vashem represents the heart of Judaism while the Museum of the Bible represents those who are committed to the expansion and expression of the Word of God across all language barriers and time and space barriers.
I have come to the conclusion that in my pastoral ministry it is very important that I find ways to bless the Jewish people and to support the nation of Israel however God may lead. God made many promises to the people of Israel beginning with His first word to Abram in Genesis chapter 12. We read these words after God calls Abram to leave his homeland: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”, (Gen.12:2-3 NIV). I believe it would be a wise thing for us as a church to seek to bless Israel. I’m not sure how that will work out in practicality but I am very interested in seeing how the Lord may lead us. We are surrounded by such a dense Jewish population and we should look for ways and means to reach out with the love of Christ by developing redemptive relationships with Jewish friends and neighbors. We listened to story after story of the remarkable things God is doing through Christian ministries that are reaching out to Jewish populations. I want to through prayer and counsel be directed as to how best to serve God in this manner. Please pray with me that God would direct our steps as we seek to work in the same mission field Paul worked in the first century. Remember his motto was “to the Jew first”. The promises that are passed on to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are reinforced in each of their lives. To Jacob who was fleeing his brother Esau God told in a vision these words: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring”, (Gen.28:13-14 NIV). Let’s explore together how we may better minister to the Jewish population in our area.
Another interesting experience we had while we were in Washington DC was to visit the work site of the Museum of the Bible. It is currently under construction and we had occasion to go there (see above picture with Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, director of Christian Friends and my wife Deb). This museum will be a state-of-the-art Museum with the latest of technological advances to promote the history and value of the Bible. As it was an active worksite it was very interesting to see the plan and vision that is being implemented, which I will believe will be for the glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. I was most amazed to find out that the admission price is going to be a donation. I’ve already talked to the man who leads our international student class and we’re planning an outing once the Museum opens in November 2017. Once again what a remarkable experience it is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and to say yes to where He is leading. Let us say yes to God who has called us into a relationship with His Son the Lord Jesus Christ and proceed through the open doors that he is set before us.
All for God’s glory,
Pastor Rich Sivo