Tracy Buckler's Testimonial
By Tracy Buckler
After my first visit to First Tabernacle Fellowship, I knew I'd found what I'd been looking for.
I was raised in "the Church," attending many Christian congregations throughout my life, but it wasn't until I visited Israel for the first time in the year 2001 (where I experienced TRUE Torah study and worship), that I realized how misleading and spiritually dead the Christian churches in America had become. I was so hungry for the real word of G-d and I wasn't being fulfilled by any of the churches I attended. So I was constantly searching for a place to worship that wasn't all about how cool or hip the Pastor or the music was, or if lattes were being served before the requisite hour and a half "feel good" sermon was preached. Trying to find a congregation that actually studied or referred to the Bible was becoming increasingly more difficult and very discouraging. After learning and experiencing so much in Israel, all I wanted was to learn MORE about the true G-d of the Bible; of Yahweh and His Son Yeshua the Messiah; and I wanted to really study the Torah and learn about my Hebraic roots.
I found this at First Tabernacle Fellowship.
Pastor Holman's deep intelligence and G-d-given insight enable him to teach Torah with such wisdom and clarity that HOURS can go by, yet I still want to hear more. Add to this the free reign of the Holy Spirit through the anointed music of worship and my spirit gets fulfilled every time. This congregation is such a blessing to me.
Thank you, First Tabernacle Fellowship, for giving me a place to honor Yahweh's commandment to keep His Sabbath Holy.
- Tracy Buckler
How I Came to be at First Tabernacle Fellowship - An Israel Congregation
By Neal S. Bishop
One of my favorite sayings is "Proof is always in the pudding." In other words, it’s the end result that proves the process. If the pudding tastes really good, then the processes used to get the pudding must have been properly done.
Therefore, this pudding, being in the Congregation of Israel located in the First Tabernacle Fellowship of Sacramento, means that the processes that got me here, were all necessary and properly done.
At this moment, I am sixty-seven years old.
Back in 2002 I received a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.
Even further back in 1996, my wife, Marie, and I spent a year and a half in Kisumu, Kenya (located at the northern tip of Lake Victoria) teaching "a Practical Bible Course For the New Creation Believer" to what grew to be a group of 47 students from many of the local churches; pastors, lay leaders, professional people, etc.
All of this being said to put a few of our bonafides on the table, in order to state that, Marie and I, have taken our faith in Yahweh and Yahshua seriously and have, to some degree, been obedient to His calling for our ministry.
Back in my childhood, I was raised in a household where my father’s conservative Hard Shell Baptist upbringing in Georgia, was countered by my mother’s northern Presbyterian, New York liberalism. He was a strict disciplinarian and she was of the "wait till your father gets home" discipline. My religious training as a toddler consisted of "Now I lay me down to sleep" and the Lord’s Prayer. Otherwise, my parents were mostly “hands off” about religion.
A little later, I remember thinking that all the stories I heard at Sunday School about Sampson, and the Baby Jesus, Adam and Eve and Moses, were the same kind of stories like Rumplestiltskin, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the rest of all those fairytales. So, naturally, I didn’t pay much attention to any of them…they were just stories.
Then, in my early teens, I tried to attend various churches in the Miami area, but in all cases, I always felt out of place, and had the odd feeling that most people who go to church weren’t real. So I quit going altogether.
Then at nineteen, I went through this stage where I thought that I must be totally wrong about religion. I convinced myself that my attitude about religion was just contrary and decided to "take on religion" and converted to what I thought at the time as "The Religion", The Holy Roman Catholic Church.
I was in the US Navy at this time, attached to VF-162, a fighter squadron aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany. At this time we were on our way to the South China Sea, during our early involvement in the VietNam Conflict. I had been working for a straight 28 hours preparing planes on the flight deck for sorties to take place the nest day. I was in my upper tier bunk and was trying to be a good catholic by saying my Rosary. In the middle of the second round of beads, I actually felt myself slipping into an automatic recitation; it felt like going into a trance. I stopped. I never said a Rosary again, and I never entered a Catholic Church again.
After four years in the US Navy and a couple of years trying to grapple with life in the real world, I began to search in earnest for truth. I read from all the "great philosophers" and about all the worlds religions and religious books – and the one conclusion I came to was that, none of what I had researched and read contained any real truth. There were no real answers to the questions I had rattling around in my head and I was discouraged and getting angry at life.
By this time, I had met and married my wife, Marie. We were living in Colorado Springs. She had been a daughter in the family of Avraham since she was child. And it was her quiet influence and prayers for me that finally allowed me to hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. So it was that at the beginning of 1991, I made a decision to look into the one book on "religion" that I had never seriously considered during my search for answers and truth – The Holy Bible.
Marie had an old, earmarked and highlighted and underlined and falling apart copy of a KJV of Ryrie’s Study Bible. Determined to read it cover to cover, I began reading the Bible at Matthew. When I got to "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – " in Hebrews 11:1, I knew that I had finally found the source of answers and truth that I had been looking for. I finished the New Testament and then read the Old Testament, all within one month. I then re-read the Bible cover to cover three more times in succession. By the time I finished this I was not only convinced that I was now “a child of the living God” but I also knew that I could never go back to what I had come from. I knew I was responsible for what I had learned.
In August of 1996 Marie and I sold our house and property, gave away most of our possessions and traveled to Kisumu, Kenya in order to teach that Bible Course I mentioned earlier. We also planted three churches and supported Salem Orphanage Home that was established and managed by John and Phoebe Onyango. They started with 27 children when we had initially started, and now have over 150 children with a medical clinic and school for grades 1-8.
After returning from Kisumu, I pursued a four-year Bachelors degree in Theology and graduated March of 2002.
During all this time, I had a strong feeling, without any substance, that the direction Christianity was going in and had been pointed in, for a good many years was not right. The church, as far as I could see, was always trying to find reason to move further away from God, looking for excuses to have less discipline in their daily lives rather than more. And so, the search for a Biblically Disciplined Church began. We joined several churches over the next ten years. We were welcomed with open arms by congregations and pastors. We were elected to Deacon and Trustee and Directors Boards, we were made elders and I taught Sunday Schools and Bible Studies and I preached and spoke at conferences on many Biblical subjects. But eventually, when subjects of discipline and God’s Law, obedience and tithing, when teaching the truth of Christmas and Easter and Halloween all came up, troubles began to pile up. It was never the people of the congregations who came to be upset at us for what we were teaching and preaching…it was the pastors who came against us. And not having a spirit of Absalom and not wanting to be the cause of divisions and derisions, we would leave
We even went to a Messianic Jewish Congregation where it was made plain that we first must be Jewish in order to participate in Synagogue. That didn’t seem like it would work out too well either.
By the time that 2009 was coming to a close, Marie and I had almost decided to give up our search. But one last time, I prayed and asked the Father to point us in some meaningful direction if He wanted for us to continue, because I had done everything I knew how to do and had failed miserably.
One last time I looked in the phone book. I was going to look for something…just exactly what, I didn’t quite know. But I opened the phone book to Churches and wrote down four phone numbers. Three of them were for Jews For Jesus type churches. I was willing to give them another chance. But the last one on the list intrigued me the most. First Tabernacle Fellowship. The word "tabernacle" was one that I had never seen before in listings of churches. And for some reason that is the one I called first. And after that call, I didn’t need to call any of the others.
When I talked with Pastor Holman that afternoon, he told me that not only did we not have to be Jewish to worship Yahweh, we couldn’t be become Jewish. He then explained to me that there was a difference between being Hebraic and being Jewish.
We showed up that Wednesday for Torah study. Then we celebrated the Sabbath at FTF – and we have been there ever since. We could not be happier.
We have found what God the Father has been telling us about. We have found our heritage and we know now, that our heritage is The Word – Torah – and the Torah made flesh to dwell among us – Yahshua. I am grateful to Yahweh for showing us the way home to Israel. Amen
- Neal & Mary Bishop
AliceAnn Cantelow’s Testimony of Finding Our Hebraic Roots
By AliceAnn Cantelow
When I worked at a shelter for homeless women and children, we had a Bible study every morning with the women in the house. Once a week we went over the 10 commandments in Exodus 20. Every time the 4th commandment came up, my spirit reminded me that we Christians never honored that particular one. It is the longest, most specific commandment given. Why didn’t we? Few of our women had any knowledge of the 10 commandments, especially this 4th one. Every time I took them to church on Sunday, I knew it was the wrong day but didn’t want to confuse them by "bucking the system" in such a dramatic way.
Finally, when I retired, I could at last follow our precious Savior all the way in a completed life with Him according to John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." After getting settled in my little rented cottage on a ranch in San Ramon, California, I asked Him in my morning prayers, "Do You want me to keep the Sabbath?" It was like the floodgates were suddenly opened and spilled out all over me! I was flooded with light. He poured out His Spirit over almost two pages of my prayer journal. I was convinced!
I immediately looked up the 7th.Day Adventist Church and started attending. After a few months, I could see that His Word was being compromised in too many ways so I checked out the Jewish Synagogues in the phone book and found one who also worshipped God’s Son. I have been attending "Messianic churches" ever since but First Tabernacle Fellowship has become my true home now, uninterrupted by man’s thinking but completely committed to His Holy Word and filled with His devoted children. Thank you Yeshua!
- AliceAnn Cantelow
The Truth Shall Set You Free
By Darlene Meadows
When I first became a "born-again" believer, I had many questions about things that did not come together in my mind and heart. One in particular was the Fourth Commandment, which is to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy”. According to Scripture, it is the seventh day, but yet, the "Christian" churches seemed to all go with the first day of the week. When I asked, I received different opinions – none of which seemed quite right. I thought to myself that I just needed to have faith and that in time God would lead me and teach me what I needed to know. I knew if I pursued it with all my heart, He would show me.
After a while, I could not seem to let go of this. Actually, it was something that would not let go of me. I continued to seek Him for the truth. After much research, discussion, reading, fasting, and praying, the Holy Spirit unfolded this truth and showed me that the Sabbath was very important to Father and that it is a commandment, just as the others are. I began on my own to observe the Sabbath according to Scripture (Ten Commandments).
What I came to find is that I experienced wonderful encounters and deeper spiritual fulfillment during Shabbat (Sabbath) –more intimate and different than my other times of prayer and Bible reading. What I thought would be something I couldn't possibly do ( time, lifestyle, etc.) became something I couldn't possible do without. It was during these times that I seemed to be so connected to Him, and received so much insight and direction that I couldn't wait for the next Sabbath. It is like getting ready for a big date!
This brings me to how I came to First Tabernacle Fellowship. Although I was still attending my "home church" which I was very involved in as a home group leader and other ministries, the Holy Spirit moved me to seek out others who honored Him in the Shabbat. I asked the Holy Spirit to guide me. So, just as you have been brought to this website, so was I. I saw that congregation was at 1:30 pm, so I got ready and attended my first congregational meeting. This was about a year ago (May 2010).
When I entered this small congregation, I could immediately feel the Holy Spirit's thick presence. The message that Pastor Robert spoke that day was just for me. The Holy Spirit had filled me with things that I had never heard before, and He gave me some real answers. So, what I thought would be a place where I could occasionally attend with others who knew that the honoring of the Sabbath is in fact a commandment, and that Father has not "done away with it" (as I was led to believe) has now become my congregation.
The teachings here will bring you back to Father's heart and re-connect you to Him through our Lord and Savior,Yeshua. The Holy Spirit has brought me to a place where I can begin to understand the Father's heart, and to see the spiritual implications, so that I can apply His Torah (teachings) to every part of my life. If you have lost your “fire” for your Savior, or if you have ever said, there has to be something more, or if you have questions that others stay away from because they are “controversial”, or they just can't give you a straight answer, then try First Tabernacle Fellowship – you will know exactly what I mean the first time you attend. If you believe that “truth matters”, then come, hear, and understand how to worship Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23,24).
- Darlene Meadows
Charlotte Johnson’s Testimony
By Charlotte Johnson
I met the FATHER in all HIS glory, mercy and love in February 2010 when I traveled to Africa with Pastor Holman, Bishop Young, Pastor Jones and Miss. Brown. I had only been "of the way" less than three years.
On one Shabbat, Pastor Holman announced that he was traveling to Africa and he welcomed anyone who wanted to go. He also stated that the FATHER had indicated that there were six individuals who were to travel with him. My heart began to race because I knew I wanted go. I had to go. I felt that I had no skills to offer given that I was not raised in the church, but my desire was to go. I prayed to the FATHER, "Please let me be a part of this mission and use me–let me have the joy of serving YOU and what YOU are about to do." I knew that something wonderful and life changing was going to happen in Africa and I had to be there when it did. The FATHER fulfilled my desire
We arrived in Africa and noticed how hungry the people were for THE WORD. It was a joy to see how quickly they grasped the truth. However, there was also evil attempting to hinder them from receiving THE WORD. The first time Pastor Holman taught, the day was beautiful and warm with the sun shining brightly. As soon as he began to teach, the sky darkened and it began to rain, followed by hail, accompanied by wind. The church we were worshipping in had no windows just open areas. So the wind blew the hail inside. The men from the congregation placed pieces of tin and old cardboard in the window spaces, and the hail just got harder and louder. Pastor Holman continued to teach and the weather finally cleared.
On our last Shabbat in Migori, the African pastor arranged a speaking engagement in another city for Pastor Holman. Two cars arrived to transport us. Pastor Holman, Bishop Young and Miss. Brown were in one car and Pastor Jones, I and two other African pastors were in a second car. The driver of the car that I was traveling in was driving erratically. On the dirt roads, there were no streetlights, signs or directions. I thought we were sent to Africa to spread THE WORD. But our FATHER had something else in mind.
As we were traveling down the long, dirt roads, two police officers in a truck stopped us. One had a holstered handgun; the other an M-16. They questioned Pastor Holman's driver and allowed his vehicle to continue on. Then they began to question our driver and the African pastors with us. A heated argument followed and one of the pastors was detained in their truck. In the side mirror of the car, I could see the driver and the African pastor arguing with one of the police officers. The African pastor finally jumped out of the truck and the police officer carrying the M-16 followed him and they continued to argue.
There was also a lady traveling with us who jumped from the back seat of our car and disappeared into the field of thick and tall vegetation. We were on a dirt road with no one around us but the officers carrying their guns. I began to pray and so did Pastor Jones. We knew that if fighting broke out between those men, they could kill us and no one would ever find us. But the FATHER always has HIS EYES on Israel. We are HIS children doing HIS will. The officer released the pastor and our car continued on.
While praying, the FATHER spoke to me as we were driving away. I was to give Pastor Holman a message. Once the car stopped, I jumped out and ran to Pastor Holman’s car to relay a message from the FATHER. He looked at me and said, "I know." I have learned from this experience that once the FATHER speaks to your spirit, he will validate that WORD. I said what I was told to say and Pastor Holman responded quickly.
The drivers stopped the cars and suddenly we were surrounded by people of all ages who came from everywhere. The people just stared at us. I began calling on the FATHER. I screamed HIS name, "YAHWEH." I could see the angels in the sky. They had surrounded us but they were moving off and the words in my ears rang, "Leave Now! Leave Now! We will not wait.” I could see them leaving. I begged them to wait. I yelled to Pastor Holman, "We have to go NOW. You are not moving fast enough." I could hear Pastor Holman’s voice, but I don't remember what he said. I know he was talking to HaSatan. Finally, we left in the cars and I could see the angels. They were with us, but we needed to move faster. Our driver was driving so slowly that we lost sight of the other car. I prayed to the FATHER, "Make him go faster. Push his foot to the floor." We caught up with the other car. When we returned to where we were staying, the FATHER spoke again telling us to pack and head for Nairobi.
I know that some may say, "WOW, what a fantastic story." Others will simply believe. The one thing that I want you to receive from my experience is the importance of trust. Trust him and believe in Him, no matter where you are or what you are going through.
One of the songs that we sing at First Tabernacle Fellowship which is dear to my heart has the following words, "Wherever I go, you are there." I met the FATHER in Africa and with HIS mighty arm HE brought us out. No matter what happens in my life, no one will ever be able to take that away from me. I am HIS and HIS EYE is always on me.
Come join us. We will teach you how to build this kind of relationship with the FATHER. Then you will be able to say, "Wherever I go, you are there."
- Shalom, Charlotte