See You in Jerusalem
It is important to understand the Jewish calendar, especially if you are trying to get a hundred of your closest friends from around the world to meet you there to pray. We are doing just that this month! I’m learning—in being intentional to study the Jewish culture as we do in every nation we serve—that the calendar of traditional religious events and commemorative dates in Israel greatly surpasses all other cultures and nations in complexity and implication. Big surprise there! And here I thought Singapore was challenging. I’m humble enough to say that I still haven’t figured it all out and humbler enough to admit that all days and times are ordained and sustained by the Hand of God and not man.
Call it chance, call it coincidence, call it auspicious, just don’t call it the intentional decision of any man. The truth is that my dad and I knew that we needed to shift our annual Friends Around the Table gathering (an international leadership gathering for the purpose of worship, prayer, vision, and preparation) from Myanmar to Israel because of a burning sense of urgency within us. We had initially planned this gathering in Israel for fall 2020. We always have Friends Around the Table in October, and it is usually the first week of the month, but for the last two years, friends have asked us to push it to the second week of October.
Years before that, others asked us not to go beyond the second week of October because the brown trout finally make it out of the lakes and into the streams inside of Yellowstone by the third week of October and we should prioritize to be there at that time. I wonder who made that request? (It was me. I know, fleshly right?)
So we landed on the second week of October, made the arrangements, and began to invite guests.
My dad called me one day late last year and said, “Hey, when is the Feast of Tabernacles in Israel next year?”
I quickly put him on speakerphone so that I could look it up on my phone.
“Oh, you mean Sukkot?” I said. He laughed, knowing that I didn’t have a clue.
“Looks like its October 14 -20th,” I said. “And when is our Friends Around the Table scheduled for next year in Israel?”
I checked back to our office calendar. “We arrive into Jerusalem on October 13th and depart on the 20th.”
Then I heard him give me his classic Mark Geppert-style, “God is up to something” response: “Hmm.”
I’ve heard that “hmm” many times in my life, and that little “hmm” has moved me into some very powerful moments of faith on the earth. With the “hmm” in mind, I began to dive further into the Jewish calendar and specifically the Feast of Tabernacles.
Sukkot is a feast of the harvest. It is a time where we remember God’s provision, consider those who sacrificed before us to bring us into this time of blessing, and gather the nations in Jerusalem to witness the Glory of God. Certainly seems fitting for Friends Around the Table and even more so for us in this tremendous and mightily undeniable season of opportunity and transition within the global Church.
We, at SEAPC, are called to pray for government changing revival. So we go as God leads us into nations desperate for righteousness, peace, and joy—the UK, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Hong Kong, Kashmir, Korea, and China to name a few in just the past year. We go in a timely manner by faith and through obedience, never sure of how God will make a way for us but ever confident that He will bring nation-changing revival to where we go. Now is the right time for us to go to Israel. It is the right date, it is the right time, and it is the right moment.
We go this month and gather the nations to Israel with a simple promise in our hearts: “God make us abound in all the work of our hands, in the fruit of our body, in our livestock, in the produce of our land for good. He will rejoice again over us for good as He rejoiced over our fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:9)
We believe that from this gathering, God will position this great global community of friends into the place of promise intended for us. From that place, we believe that the nations will rejoice in His Glory as they turn in righteousness to prayer and begin to meet each other’s health, education, parenting, and economic needs. This promise we are receiving transcends generations. It is from Father to Son, and we want your family and ministry to receive it as well. Let’s walk together into the opportunities and transitions that God has put before us at this time.
See you in Jerusalem!
“Hmm,” that sounds good.