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The Journal for Jesus' Sheep - Volume 9, No. 1

Walking In the Garden with God

Published by:
Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.
1543 Norcova Ave.,
Norfolk, VA 23502

© Copyright 1998, 2010 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.

Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, registered in the State of Virginia, USA.

Gerald T. Johnson, President
Gerald T. Johnson, Editor
Dar Johnson, Assistant to the Editor

Laura Olmstead, Assistant Editor
Jeff Hadsell, Contributing Editor


This Journal is dedicated to the work of Jesus Christ.  The goal of this ministry is to provide a vehicle for believers to improve their relationship with each other and with Him. 


"Only Christ can enable men to live in a right relationship with each other. It is this unifying power of His which must dictate your every decision, for you were meant to be one united body."
Colossians 3:15 BARCLAY


Each believer has faith and experience in Jesus Christ. This personal treasure multiplies in our sharing it with others. We invite you to write down what the Lord has given you. Send us your Christian poem or prose to encourage others in their faith in Jesus Christ. Please click here for details and more about Christian poetry on our website. 


From The Editors:

Dear Friends, in this issue we are focusing on the inward, spiritual relationship between God and someone just like you, His child, His sheep, His friend. These poems, insights and testimonies are written by those who, just like you, have known many changes of life. They have penned their reflections along the way for us to share in their lessons and their feelings. Some lessons were learned in the furnace of trial and temptation, some were learned in the dry wilderness, some were learned along the cool riverbank . . . some were learned peering into the absoluteness of the Gospel, but we suspect all are lessons learned at His feet in the garden of the heart . . . away from the fiery blast and the screaming tempter. We invite you to listen carefully for His still small voice in your garden as you meditate hereon.

And we urge you to look at your walk with our Creator in the light of His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane. Several of these works offer a unique view on this drama between Father and Son. Walk THERE with Him also.

Gerald T. Johnson



Table Of Contents

Pamela L. Orton

He Sings
Laura Olmstead and John

Will God Always Be With Us?
Mary Mummert, age 15

Psalms 27
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

Waiting Still
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

The Life We Wish
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

Give Me A Mountain
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

My Garden Owns No Olive Tree
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

Unto The Hills
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

Gethsemane Garden Trees
Shirley Nesbit Sellers

Easter Glory
Rachel Lee, Family & Children's Services, Adult Day Center, Bel Air, MD

Song For The Bride
Angel M. Howard

Songs Of Victory
Angel M. Howard

Angel M. Howard

Church With Wood Chips Floor

Pastor And Members

The Ministry of Christian Concourse


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Pamela L. Orton


I know God will test our faith in Him, but sometimes I don't understand why He does in a way of children. Maybe, it's to get our attention and keep our mind on Him and not on the world. This year, 1997, was the year God got my attention, and He kept it.

On January 24, 1997, my youngest daughter, Amber, 4 years old, became very sick. I thought at first it was something minor, and she would be alright in a few days. I had no idea what would lie ahead. On January 25 my Mom, Dottie Evans, took Amber to the doctor's office for me, as I was working. The doctor called me at work and said, "Amber needs to be in the hospital." We talked for awhile and agreed to send Amber home, but if she got worse to take her to the hospital.

That night Amber did get worse. She had blood coming out all parts of her body: kidneys, intestines, mouth, etc. The next morning, January 26, I took her to the hospital. After eight hours in the Emergency Room, they decided to keep her. The doctor couldn't find out where all the blood was coming from. For several days they ran numerous tests on her. But no one knew what was wrong. While all this was going on, I noticed that she was getting worse as the days went by.

On Wednesday morning about 5:00 AM, the nurse came in to take her blood work again. I made the remark that Amber was getting worse, "What's wrong with her?" All Amber did was just lie there, not a word did she speak, and if she did talk it was very soft. The nurse said to me, "I don't know!" Two hours later her doctor came in. After examining her, she said, "I'll be back in a few minutes."

When she came back in I knew then that something was wrong. She said, "Amber's blood is down to a 7 and her kidneys have stopped working." They called in a Kidney Specialist and a Hematologist. The doctors explained to me that Amber had E-Coli, which caused her to have HUS (Hemolytic-Uremic Syndorme) and TTP (involving the blood platelets). TTP untreated is almost always fatal. Treatment is blood transfusions. Treatment for the HUS is kidney dialysis. The doctors explained step by step what was going to happen to her. They also explained that there was no medication that could help her.

That day my world turned upside down. The hardest part was all the waiting for blood work and tests to come back. The next morning the doctors came in to see me. I wasn't quite awake, because I had been up all night with Amber. They started telling me that Amber's blood had dropped to 3 and they would have to give her a blood transfusion and they were going to have to move her to PCU (Progressive Care Unit), where they could watch her more closely. We were told that she could not take a full bag of blood, only half, because it would cause her to go into Cardiac Arrest. She also developed heart problems because of her illness.

Then, they said the worst thing in the world that a Mother could hear: "Your child may not live much longer." I sat there for the longest time, not understanding why my child was going through this. I got myself together and took a shower. While I was in the shower, I started crying like I had never cried before. I had this awful fear come over me that I had never felt before. I started praying and asking God not to take her. I didn't care about the problems she would have later on in life, because all I wanted was for my baby to live. Then, came more bad news. Her kidneys had stopped working. They only gave her one more hour and if they weren't working by then that she would have to go on kidney dialysis.

Meanwhile, people, not only in our church, but other churches and people around the world in other states and countries had been praying for Amber since the day everything started. Then, they called a "special prayer meeting" for Amber and several other people that were very sick at our church. The news got out around the church about her kidneys and people started praying more. I was shocked to know that God had answered the prayers so fast, but God is not fast, He is always on time! Her kidneys started working within the hour. The nurse couldn't hardly believe it when she came back into Amber's room.

The next several days were touch and go. From one hour to the next her blood work was up and then it was down, which caused her blood platelets to break up and her kidneys would stop functioning and then, would start working again. About 2:00 AM on Saturday morning, I woke up from a bad dream. I happened to find Amber watching cartoons! I asked her if she was alright and she said, "Yes, I'm fine Mommy." At this point, I had not cried in front of Amber or even talked about the problems she was going through.

As I sat there by her bed, I started crying. Amber reached over and wiped the tears from my eyes. She told me that she was going to be alright, that Jesus was going to make her better and that He wasn't going to take her to Heaven right now and that my ANGEL would take care of me! I asked her, "How do you know that?" Her reply was, "Jesus told me, and I believe Him." The next day Amber was beginning to get better. Her blood work was going up and her kidneys were working fine. She has to go to the doctors quite often and still has problems with her blood, but that's alright with me. She's still alive, that's all I ask for. THANK GOD!

I have learned that God will get your attention any way that He can, and that we need faith like a child. Believe that God will always be there in the good times and in the bad, no matter what you're going through.

This year is almost over and Amber is now 5 years old (Nov. 13), and is in Kindergarten and doing quite well. I look back over this year and see what Amber and our family have been through. I know God had a reason why Amber went through all of this, and one day, I will find out! And, when I do, it's going to be so wonderful. AND, I CAN SAY FOR A FACT THAT GOD IS STILL PERFORMING MIRACLES TODAY. I SEE MINE EVERY DAY OF AMBER'S LIFE! THANK YOU GOD FOR BEING THERE!

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He Sings

Laura Olmstead and John


What was I clinging to when I clung to anything but you?
What strange vine intoxicated my ailing soul?
What enchanting voice bespelled me and took me
From the only pursuit worth my time, my heart?
What sort of body eclipsed the shine of you?
What stole my eyes from the beauty of your glory?
How foolish now it seems, that for a moment,
For a flash of time - did rotten meat taste fresh?
What insanity possessed me to seek the living
Among the dead? The sweet from a bitter root?
Why, any fool would choose to eat a well cooked feast
Rather than rotten garbage.
Why ate I garbage?

What once attracted me has lost its savor
When set beside the bread of heaven, the light of life,
The song of the Father, the dance of Heaven.
The crass, insipid garbage of the world
Stands out in sharp relief.

The Life of Christ, the life in Christ, Christ my life
- He beckons me.
Bubbling like a joyful stream, He sings.
So I join Him, skipping, a calf from the stall;
And behind, the phantom voices fade to nothing.


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Will God Always Be With us?

Mary Mummert, age 15


"Will God always be with us", a young girl once asked.

"Of course", her mother replied.

"But how will I know if He is with us?"

"When you hear the songbird in the tree, singing the lovely tune to praise God. When you feel the cool breath of wind on your face, you will know that God is whispering to you to grow in beauty and grace."

But again the young girl asked, "Will God always be with us?"
And the mother replied, "When you see the rain clouds forming, you will know that God is sending His love and wisdom upon the Earth. When the sheep call for their shepherd, God will lead them home. God will always be with us as long as we believe and pray."

The young girl replied, "God, if you are up there in the great heavens above, I want you to know that you will always be in my heart and that you are my leader from injustice and evil. You deliver me from the hands of my enemies and lead me from the shadow of death with no fear in my heart."

John 3:36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him"


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Psalm 27

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


Oh, Lord, thou art my life and my salvation,
Whom shall this radiant heart of mine now fear?
Thou art of life my strength and my elation,
Of whom am I afraid while thou art near?

The foes I have must fall while He is guiding,
In grief or trouble my great shield He is;
His rock will hold me close to Him in hiding,
High, high above my enemies and His.

And, knowing this, I now can seek His beauty,
His truth discover and His nearness feel,
And after earthly life, its joy and duty,
Go there before Him and in glory kneel.

When thou said, "Seek my face," my heart was near thee,
And I replied, "Thy face, Lord, will I seek."
So as I cry to thee in love now, hear me.
I need thy strength, without thee I am weak.

Be always near me, Lord, and ne'er forsake me,
Teach me thy way that I may do thy will;
Along a beauteous, humble pathway take me.
That leads me upward to thy holy hill.

Yes, I had fainted if I had not known Him,
If His great goodness I had failed to see;
Life would be nothing if I did not own Him,
If He had not bent low and called to me.

Wait on the Lord, ye weary and ye lowly,
And be of courage, ye that fainting art;
To you is given strength and all things holy--
Wait, I say; He enters yet thy heart!


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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Waiting Still

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


That Judean world that waited, draped
In stricken yearning, quiet stress,
The day of change, of prophecies
Fulfilled, looked not for happiness
Of spirit and of mind. Pled-weary,
God-wanting, it but sought relief
From bonds that bowed the flesh to grief,
That flayed the mind to unbelief.

What, then, of changing thought has charged
Our world until today we drift,
Not creedless, but unsated still--
Blind, worn, left waiting for a lift
Of spirit in a flood of earth's
Unfettered pleasures, free from pain?
Oh, God! Reach through our creeded stain
And show us your still stars again.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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The Life We Wish

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


The life we wish all men could live,
The things we wish all lands could know,
A world at prayer--all can be so,
For He will use, if we will give.
To be of use in regions dim,
And help win others to His side,
We must our own cares take to God,
For He needs us when we need Him.
There is no need to stand outside
And wonder how great life would be
Could we our Savior truly see;
If we but knock, He opens wide.
To see Him we need only yearn
For truth and knowledge, peace and light.
Through longing, we'll be granted sight,
For He will teach, if we will learn.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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Give Me A Mountain

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


Give me a mountain, God,
A mountain created for scaling;
Let the upward climb
Take the whole of my time,
Leaving no thought for turning or failing.

Give me a mountain, God,
That will help me to look above,
That will bind my soul
To a higher goal,
To the teaching of truth and love.

Help me find a mountain, God,
On which others will trace my feet
And will follow me there
To sweet, fresh air,
Where heaven and humans meet.

There must be mountain, God,
Close by, that I pass day by day.
So near must it stand,
I could take your hand
And begin my ascent right away.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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My Garden Owns No Olive Tree

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


My garden owns no olive tree,
No sandy Eastern hills,
But I have tasted agony
And bitterness that fills
The cup in challenge offered me
With deep compassion, lovingly.

My head has never worn a crown
Formed of brier and thorn,
But I have felt life's weight press down
In mockery and scorn.
Yet, with it, sweet relief I've known,
As mists from morning's brow are blown.

My hands the nails have never felt,
Nor hammer's piercing pain,
But with hope-crushing toil I've dealt,
And known small earthly gain--
While heaven's blessings wrapped me 'round
To prove the riches to be found.

Though mortal breath, so sweet, so dear,
Has never been denied me,
I've heard above the din and fear
A gentle voice beside me,
A plea that I in love forgive,
His Cross-way in the world to live.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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Unto The Hills

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


The mountains upward draw my searching eyes.
I know that deepest valleys cannot stay
My soul from reaching up toward the skies
Where hills, unchanging, guard my lowly way .

Where I still tread the paths of earth below,
The shadows round me thicken and dismay.
Only deeply shadowed paths I know,
And seek in vain the brightness of the day.

But far above my winding ways of shade
The mountains rise from out the earthly night;
I know that from those hills there comes my aid,
From Him who crowns their peaks with heaven's light.

Reach down your hand, oh God, and lead me there
Where heaven meets the earth, and both are one;
Where I may deeply breathe your purest air
And, looking far, behold eternal sun.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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Gethsemane Garden Trees

Shirley Nesbit Sellers


The winds rustled softly the whispering leaves
In the Master's lone retreat;
And the trees sighed low at the Savior's woe
As he knelt in prayer at their feet.

Gethsemane's darkness could not conceal
The drops of blood on his brow;
Nor could the sound of the night winds drown
The courageous words of his vow.

The trees spoke softly, lest Jesus hear
And feel he was not alone,
For who could know that the winds that blow
Bring to all trees word and tone?

The thorn tree spoke from an inner source
Of wisdom, sad and deep,
"If they press me down on his brow--a crown,
I forever and aye shall weep!"

"I remember his smile," said the olive tree,
"When he tasted my fruit in the morn,
When his lovely face showed peace and grace;
And now it is sad and worn."

The oak tree swayed and seemed to bend
In its helplessness and grief,
"If I could but fight, I would set things right!
I would alter their unbelief!"

In the darkness they could not see the tree
That spoke then in whisper low,
But they heard it say, "That is not the way
The Master's way to show.

"We must be like him, both brave and strong,
Yet silent must we be;
We must trust our friend, knowing grief will end
When they nail his hands to me."

The Master rose from his place of prayer,
and his smile turned night to day,
While the silent trees and the sighing breeze
Heard his footsteps fade away.


Copyright 1997, Shirley Nesbit Sellers.  All rights reserved.


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Easter Glory

Rachel Lee, Family & Children's Services, Adult Day Center, Bel Air, MD


On Easter Eve from my bed He took me
And made me to sit and ponder.
He touched my head and made me see
That there was a story of Easter wonder.

He wanted me to write of the burden He carried
With a cross on His shoulder, too.
How He fell under the cross and no one worried
How heavy it was or who would give Him water
or wipe His brow.
Have you ever wondered, too?
Have you tried to see just how
the heavy trod Calvary's way,
With weary feet and head bowed low
so we could look up to Easter day?

To the cross He had to go and die
That we might live forever more.
Have you ever wondered why
To us poor sinners who in dirt have rolled and
in bondage been?
That through Christ to Heaven we were called
Yes, now all this I have seen.


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Song For The Bride

Angel M. Howard


"My heart aches. How I long to hold you
my beautiful one, my betrothed.
My desire for you runs deeper than the rivers wide;
more vast than the endless horizon.

How valuable, how precious and priceless.

Your glance captivates me.

I have watched you grow into a graceful, royal lady-
elegantly gentle.

My emissary has made you presentable. So I may
present you to my Father -proudly displaying one fitting.
I watch you - longing.

I've been watching and longing. My desire growing
with each passing.

Know my dearest how deeply your love has
captivated me.

I am enraptured by the love within your eyes,
the depth of it growing.

You grow in beauty and stature.

You were created to be by my side.

It is my Father's pleasure to see our love growing strong.

It will be my overwhelming joy to present you
at the feast.

Radiant - clothed in my glory,
Clothed in fine, soft, shimmering linen.

The bridal chamber awaits
Will you run , run over the mountains,

Thru the valley?

For I call to you, my love,
My bride.


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Songs Of Victory

Angel M. Howard


A battle rages on inside, my soul is dying -
my spirit is singing songs of victory.
My mind screams out the logic and reason
that mankind has spoken.
The foolish, simple things
transcend beyond comprehension.

My Lord calls
in the stillness I hear.

The storm assails with winds and rain
my eyes seek Jesus
for I know He is in the midst of the storm
asking me to reach out and take His hand.

I hear the Spirit of God, calming me softly -
yet at time so soft...
I cannot hear amidst the whirring of the wind
so I call out to my Lord
and I hear His voice
simple and direct;
"do not fear, do not be afraid for I am with you"
though I cannot see Him
just hearing His voice, I am comforted.

I scream out - I seek you my Lord, Almighty God
How awesome you are, mighty,
magnificent, all powerful
You are in the midst of the storm calling to me
asking will I still praise you, will I still seek you,
even though the rain runs in my eyes
and the wind howls in my ears,
Yes! I praise you - for even in this
I know that indeed you are with it
You are in the storm -
you have sent the storm,
to test, to strengthen, to refine me-


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Angel M. Howard


The winds howl so loud I can hardly hear my thoughts.
For clouded darkness shrouds and looms,

What is this I scream at the deafening wind-
can you hear me Lord? I know you must.

In a panic I search myself . Did I allow this?

Did I not obey or was it that I didn't ask you first,
or simply a hard strong lesson to learn
to trust in you more deeper?

Search my heart I cry - check me Lord,
convict me, - forgive me.

I command the storm to be still in your name
and still I don't feel the peace -
it must be me - forgive me Lord.

Did I fall off somewhere? Did I wander off?

My heart pleads "I need you, Lord,
I know I need you -
what must I do to feel your arms about me again?"

Or is their anything - or is it rest?,...
And still the dark clouds thicken
and weigh upon me -

I grope for you, my Lord.

I plead to you my savior - rescue me,
grant me wisdom and understanding.

I cast aside all earthly knowledge...
or are you closer than I think?

For you are shrouded in darkness, it's said,
or do I simply struggle on the surface
when I should rest and dive down deeper.

Where beneath the water
storms do not toss as much and
in the quiet deep beneath the waves
the silent peace and warmth of
the deep current flows.

Do I need air - not if you're there;
need I to struggle or just drop and sink?


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Church With Wood Chips Floor

LEOJO, January 13, 1996


What joy forty four years ago when I was one of four,
To go each night to build a small church on ground floor.
Plywood for walls was on cinder block foundation fitted just so,
Through the church door there you found wood chips for the floor.
At the altar, down on my knees ""God's" blessings did flow,
While praying in a revival it was thanksgiving night 1954.
Christians told me there was a glow over head like a halo,
"God" saved my soul in the church with wood chips for the floor.
Getting up with that special feeling as never before,
Learning of "God's" love how it did flow.

As years passed kinder words easily began to grow,
In my church that had new wood chips for the floor.
A new Christian is like a baby, each day we grow,
It is the Love for "God" we tell others so they can know.
In my Christian life my prayer is that "God's" love will show,
From my first church that had wood chips for the floor.
"God" loved me long before down on my knees, how I know,
From that beautiful night as years have seemed to really flow.

Yes, "God's" love, healing and supplying all our needs does show,
My love started for "Him" on my knees with wood chips as the floor.
Learning about sweet "Jesus" born in a stall with straw for floor,
Knowing how "Jesus" loves every soul born to Rich or Poor,
"God's" love for the soul will last for now and ever more,
"Praise God" my New Life began in a church With Wood Chips For Floor!


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Pastor And Members

LEOJO, April 14th, 1997


Today as you were preaching I was saying a prayer,
Asking God to give to you the words while up there.
As the words from God flowed through the air,
So all souls would be in tune with love and care.

As the preacher is preaching, our prayer is an uplift,
Making his message strong as the words leave his lips.
They will work on the devil like a long leather whip,
And into the hearts of sinners with a zip.

Please think of how strong your prayer will be to him,
So a lost soul may have the feeling and turn from sin.
The devil is saying No, sitting on your shoulder with a grin.
Your heart is now beating fast, yes this is the time to begin.

Do your best, make your life one that is willing to win,
It is so easy, each Sunday morning, have a smile and begin.
Pray for the preacher, you two should be the best of friends,
God's words will always give you blessings "that never end".

For many that are in church and do not unerstand,
This message from the preacher is one from God's plan.
This can be for many souls with blessing that is so grand,
Years to come, will put your soul "on the road to glory land".


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The Ministry of Christian Concourse


In the name of Jesus Christ, this ministry is dedicated to God for the development of practical tools with which we may harmoniously enhance our relationships and our service within the greater interdenominational Church. As the full-time Director, the President and the founder of this ministry, I seek to follow our Lord in each step of our progress. In prayer and consultation with other Christians, we have established an organization that is flexible yet faithfully focused on our goal of promoting The Good News of Jesus Christ and Christian Accord among believers.

To that end, our labor encompasses activities in three distinct areas:

Nursing Home Ministries
Christian Publications
Small-group Bible Studies

The long-term care facility arena is a perennial opportunity for Christian service. My wife, Dar, and I conduct "church services" in several care centers each month, and we have been instrumental in helping many others start. The ministry collects and distributes "care packages" for nursing homes year 'round.  There are over 130 facilities in Hampton Roads. It is our goal to see all of their Christian volunteer needs met.

The publication of "The Journal" answers our burden to offer Christian writers the opportunity to share their work. We minister to them by providing the opportunity to be in print and, in turn, they minister to the Christian community that reads them -- both without fees or subscription costs. We know of no other publication of its kind. The criteria for consideration of an article is that it should magnify Jesus Christ or encourage others in their faith in Him.

Our inductive Bible study format, Chapter & Verse, has been developed especially for interaction with a small-group. The type of study we have designed does not impose on someone what we think they should believe the Bible means. Rather, we guide the serious Biblical student toward discovering for themselves what God meant when He recorded it. We also present the Focus On The Family video series, "That The World May Know." This suite of seven volumes, with several lessons each, is a Biblical teaching tool for the spiritual growth of believers, using the historical, cultural and archeological settings of Ancient Israel.

All of our ministry is provided without cost. We are supported solely by freewill offerings.

As you can readily see, each of these areas of endeavor incorporate tools that bring Christians together in meaningful activities. I strongly believe that in God's eyes, though there are many assemblies, there is only one Church in each locality. And I am equally convicted that our Heavenly Father wants us to act like it! It is my prayer that these efforts will, in a great way, effect that reality.

Gerald T. Johnson
Director of Ministry



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© Copyright 1998, 2010 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

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