Newsletter Archives

It's a Terrible Day in the Neighborhood - October 27, 2018

A longtime friend, whom I met while a student at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh,
wrote in an e-mail that the horrible shooting at the ‘Tree of Life’ Synagogue occurred in—literally—Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood! The Squirrel Hill community, home to the late Fred Rogers, is in mourning— and we share in their sorrow; sadness for lives so tragically lost and concern for the condition of our national life.
Anti-semitism is an ancient and historic hatred. Still, we are shocked to see it erupt in a quiet and peaceful neighborhood on a Saturday like so many others; a day of rest shattered by gunfire, hatred and death.
This ‘terrible day in the neighborhood’ is another reminder that we do not live in a land of make-believe ruled by a beneficent and kindly king; a sweet and childlike world springing from the imagination of Mister Rogers.
But—one day—we will live in an even better world; a ‘world to come,’ ruled by ‘Sar Shalom,’ our ‘Prince of Peace!’
We who believe in Yeshua-Jesus- look for His return to this place of violence, tears and fears; we long to live in HIS Kingdom of love; an eternal ‘shabbat’—an eternal sabbath rest.
However, we are aware those eternal promises may provide little solace for the dear people at ‘Tree of Life.’ For them, Shabbat has been forever altered, and their lives will never be the same.
And so, we join with all those who pray that the God of Israel will surround the people of Pittsburgh—particularly the Jewish community—with His help and His comfort; may He speak hope to their hurting hearts and whisper a promise for a better, a more beautiful day in their neighborhood, their country, their world.

In His Shalom, His Peace,
Marty Goetz and family



 

The Rabbi Wore Tennis Shoes - Yom Kippur 2018


The ‘High Holy Days’ were always one of my favorite times of the year. My family religiously attended Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur services at Heights Temple in Cleveland, Ohio, regardless of our poor attendance the rest of the year. As autumn approached and the leaves just started changing color —and the Cleveland Browns began what were, at that time, winning seasons—we looked forward to a ‘New Year’—and an opportunity to celebrate these holidays, commencing with Rosh HaShanah; literally, the ‘Head of the Year.’ (It also didn’t hurt that, in our predominantly Jewish suburb called Beachwood, school—if not cancelled altogether—was virtually empty and non-functional!) The synagogue services were long, but engaging. We had our own young people gatherings in a hall directly below where our parents were. (That was cool in itself.) In addition—once a year—the rabbi and cantor wore white robes and white tennis shoes! I assumed, even at that young age, it had something to do with purity—though I had no concept of what THAT was!

Enduring a lengthy, liturgy laden service was rewarded by the sounding of the shofar—the ram’s horn blown at the conclusion of the observances. Then there were apples and honey and other goodies, enjoyed with the sharing of wishes for a ‘good and sweet year!’

Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement—also ended with a shofar blast. However, it was a fast day. (Strange description since it seemed to go so slow!) My brother and sister and our cousins were all in quiet and benign competition to see who could make it till sundown, when we broke the fast with food that NEVER tasted so good! (Confession: we would often sneak a few Cheerios ‘before the time.’)

Vivid in my memory is the recitation of sins against God and man, accompanied by a grasping of the tallit—a prayer shawl worn during services—and a light pounding of the chest over one’s heart. This was to signify remorse over transgression and repentance unto forgiveness, at least for a year until the holidays came around again. In those days, though I knew I wasn’t perfect—in spite of what my mother thought—I hardly understood what it was I was confessing. Now, many, many years and synagogue services later, I do!

This time of the year, in the midst of these High Holy Days, I am, more than ever, aware of how far I am from being even CLOSE to perfect. Truthfully, the chasm between the perfection of God and my own imperfection is painfully evident. That is why, as a ‘New Covenant’ believer in Yeshua—(Jesus)—I am more than ever GRATEFUL for the perfect Jewish man who showed up in Israel in the days of the ‘Old Covenant.’ He, as a religious Jew, observed these Holy days listed in Leviticus 23. But He wasn’t just an ‘observer’ of them. He IS the fulfillment of them! He had no need to beat his chest and confess His sins; He had none.

As the high priest of Israel went, once a year, into the ‘holy place’ with a blood offering—so our High Priest, Messiah Yeshua—offered His blood as atonement for our many sins; sins that would keep us out of the presence of a Holy G-d for eternity! Because of who He is and what He did—we, as believers in Him, are promised forgiveness of our transgressions.
The shofar sounds at Rosh HaShanah to awaken us to the awareness that our Messiah will one day come, at the blast of a heavenly trumpet, to bring us to Himself. Yom Kippur reminds us of what Yeshua gave—His own life—to provide new life for His people, Israel—and for all who will believe.

May these days be a reminder to you of how much you are loved by the Lord.
May your observance of these holy days—even if it’s simply in your heart—be a blessing to you.
May you and your loved ones—to paraphrase a common New Year greeting —‘be inscribed in the Lamb’s Book of Life!’
And may we all look forward to wearing—as did my rabbi—white shoes!
I have no idea if they’ll be Nikes or Adidas or Jack Purcells (Those were popular back then)!
I do know we will wear them along with the white garments, purchased by the blood of the Lamb of God, and promised to His ‘saints’ who faithfully follow Him.

My prayer for you and for me and mine is to be so clothed; finally pure and holy in the sight of G-d as is His beloved Son!
‘Hallelujah’ to Yeshua—and Chag Sameach—Happy Holy Days from my family and me!!!

Love and shalom,
Marty

 

JOIN US NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM MAY 12 - 21, 2019


A Life-Changing Journey - Israel 2018

 

This land is mine, God gave this land to me—(Pat Boone; Exodus)

This is the land of milk and honey—(Jerry Herman; Milk and Honey)

 

With these two lyrical phrases, drawn from songs I first heard in my youth, I opened a live concert with my daughter Misha in the land of Israel. On stage with us was a full Israeli orchestra;  behind us was a panoramic view of the ancient - and modern - city of Jerusalem. Conducting the musicians was the Internationally known composer, David Loden, writer of the Messianic standard, “Roni, Roni, Bat Tzion.” Attending the event at the TBN studios was a full house of believers and non-believers in Yeshua, the Messiah, all enjoying a perfect, open air evening; a night filled with music, laughter, tears, and a fabulous feeling of love and fellowship.

 

The concert kicked off a week of travel through Israel, with fifty or so companions we called the, “L’Dor V’Dor Tour.” The entire venture was proposed to my wife Jenny and me by our daughter, Misha, and her husband, Joshua. Jenny and I—reluctantly—said, “Yes” to the proposition, wondering who would want to go with us and how we could possibly pull it off. I’m happy to report, it all went exceedingly well; so well, in fact, that, as long as we are able, we intend to make the “L’Dor V’Dor Tour” an annual event. At presentwe have already planned our next ‘pilgrimage.’

 

One of the reasons we are excited about returning to ‘The Land’ is that our tour participants were amazing! We very quickly became friends, and, as time passed, became like family. I could not have been more pleased with how everyone got along, and, we all believe, deep and enduring relationships were formed. Our group was led by the terrific Tisha - a young lady I have known since she was a little girl. She moved to Israel at a young age and has grown up to be a world-class tour guide with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, a passionate love for her nation, and a fierce and fiery ‘mother’s heart’ for its people. Lord willing, we will always be able to have her as our fearless leader!

 

For me personally, the trip was a ‘revelation.’ I have traveled to Israel a number of times with various groups, usually serving as one of the music ministers, helping to lead in song and occasionally doing a concert. I have always enjoyed it, but have never thought of myself as one who could host such an adventure. Truth be told, I have always somewhat envied those who felt ‘at home’ there and desired to return again and again. With this journey through Israel, I have become one of those people, looking back on our tour with great joy and looking forward to our next one with great anticipation.

 

As I reflect on this wonderful and life-altering experience, I can see how all my days — from those with my conservative parents and orthodox grandparents in Cleveland, to my current ones as a Jewish gospel singer — have come together in a way that gives me a new appreciation of the sovereign and masterful hand of God. I give him all the glory for giving us a successful and enjoyable ‘maiden voyage’ through the land of Israel. I am grateful to my daughter and son-in-law for having the vision and courage to set it all in motion. Thankful am I, as well, for a great team of traveling companions. All of us are grateful to the Lord for His presence with us along the way. 

 

May the Lord God of Israel be with all of you in these fascinating and momentous times. Until His return to His city, His people, His kingdom, may He give us the grace and strength to return again to His land: Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. 

 

Shalom and love,

Marty (for his family!)


Chag Sameach: Happy Passover - March 29, 2018


Chag Sameach! Happy holiday to you and yours. This year, the first night of Passover falls on, what is known as Good Friday. This is a rare occurrence, though, in the beginning, they were one in the same. Passover led to the Feast of First Fruits, which Christians now celebrate as Easter, but the entire season is about deliverance. For the Jewish people, a remembrance of their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, and for all believers in Yeshua, a commemoration of our deliverance from the bondage of sin. All of it was accomplished through the shedding of the blood of the Lamb. Yeshua, Jesus, is our Passover lamb. He is "The Love of God."




 

A Note on Dr. Graham: A Life Well Lived: February, 21, 2018

 

‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.’ (Ps. 116:15)

 

My family and I awoke to the news of the passing of Dr. Billy Graham. We join the millions around the world in mourning his death as we would a member of our own family. We extend our most heartfelt condolences to his family. They are as much a testimony to his exemplary life as are the decades of ministry for which he is known. His remarkable legacy endures through them.

 

I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Graham, first at a New York outreach in Central Park in 1991, and then, years later, at The Cove, the training center in North Carolina he created, along with his beloved wife, Ruth. One of the great blessings in my life has been to serve as a worship leader for the seminars held there, as well as participating in special events, such as a ‘Cove Christmas,’ which I had the joy of doing with My daughter, Misha. To enter that place bearing Mr. Graham’s Name is to be, as it were, on ‘holy ground.’ Everything at The Billy Graham Training Center—all the precious people who serve there—are reflections of the profound faith, the unmistakable integrity, the incredible humility of the Graham family. I, along with so many others, have been blessed by the love and care shown to us there and we will ever and always be grateful.

 

Now this great man of God joins, not only Mrs. Graham, but also some of the friends with whom he, through the faithful preaching of the everlasting gospel, changed this world—and the lives of it’s people—forever. Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea and Billy Graham, and all who served with them, altered the eternal destiny of countless numbers of ‘souls’ who saw them, heard their message and came to the ‘altar’ to surrender their lives to the Lord. The earth is a poorer place now—but the kingdom of heaven is richer for this ‘life well lived.’

 

Yes, we awoke to the sad news of a death—but Dr. Graham would, no doubt, want us to think about the glad news to which he now awakens; the true and eternal life which is now his because, in his youth, he responded to God’s good news; the promise of salvation through belief in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord — our Messiah, Jesus.
Now, perhaps, this powerful evangelist, advisor to Presidents, Pastor to America—child of God—will sing, face to face with his Lord: ‘Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, And that thou bidd’st me come to thee, O, Lamb of God, I come, I come.’

 

We who now wish this much loved man farewell—at least for a moment—are certain he will hear: ‘Welcome home. Well done, my good and faithful servant.’

Thank you—and God bless you, Dr. Billy Graham.

 


 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Goetz Family: 12/19/2017

This Chanukah/Christmas season is a time for giving. As Jewish people, Jenny and I grew up hearing about the God of Israel giving the Maccabees, a priestly family, victory over the enemies who had oppressed them, forbidding them to observe their religion and defiling their holy temple. As believers in Yeshua (Jesus) we celebrate the giving of the greatest gift of all: our Messiah, the Son of God, given first to Israel and then to all people who will receive Him.

 

Both holidays are 'Festivals of Light.' We who were raised in the Jewish tradition light the candles on the 'Hannukiyah,' a 9 branched candelabrum, and give-and get-gifts on all eight (crazy) nights. (As a kid, I always thought we had it over on the gentiles, since they only got gifts on ONE day; that is, until I heard the song, 'The Twelve Days of Christmas!' Bummer!!) This time of year, neighborhoods around the world are adorned with beautiful, sparkling lights, reminding us how God gave us 'the Light of the World'; inside countless homes, gifts are given and received.

 

Needless to say, these celebrations are loved, especially by children. What child doesn't love getting gifts? But, sometimes, children are the ones who give the most. They give us constant joy, endless entertainment, spontaneous joy, heart melting hugs and kisses - (and often complete exhaustion!) This holiday, our cherished grandson, Caleb, gave us something in which our whole family shared: the gift of SICKNESS! Now, I can't prove it, but I am almost sure this adorable little germ collector brought us this gift from his pre-school in Nashville.

 

First, it hit Jennifer; then Misha; I was OK. Misha and I had singing engagements; two in Phoenix and one in Reno. Our first concert went well. By the end, though, I was feeling something coming on. We spent the rest of our mini-tour time at Whole Foods and CVS Pharmacy; we tried homeopathic remedies, popped Advil, took over the counter cold medicine, sucked on lozenges and tried not to speak through sore throats and scratchy voices. Our second event? We barely got through it! By the third event, we were doing a LOT of sing-alongs. (Thank the Lord for inspired holiday music!) By the end of the night, we were considering adding mime or interpretive dance to our repertoire!

 

As I write this, I can hardly talk and have cancelled a commitment in Denver. (My thanks to the gifted violinist, Maurice Sklar, for covering for me!) And so concludes a trip Misha and I have labeled: 'The Apothecary Tour-2017.' We will always remember it, (as will the good folks who heard us croak out their favorite Chanukah tunes and Christmas Carols!)

Okay-maybe it's not fair to blame all this on Caleb. In these last two years, that little boy has given us more smiles and laughter and joy than any of us could have imagined! He is truly a 'good gift,' who has come down 'from the Father of Lights!' (James 1:17) Though we're now well stocked with numerous remedies, we ultimately trust in the Great Jewish Physician, Yeshua, for our healing.

 

In that spirit, Jennifer and I, Joshua and Misha - and Caleb Vincent Hoyt hope all of you have a happy- and HEALTHY- holiday season.

May we be inspired to give all of ourselves to the One who gave all for us, giving freely to one another in love. (And may none of you get the gift that WE got!!)

 

Shalom,
Peace,
In the 'Prince of Peace,'
Marty and Jennifer



 

Happy Thanksgiving! From Our Family to Yours - 11/23/17

I LOVE THANKSGIVING...

It is the one holiday celebrated in our nation that is about family, friends, gratitude for blessings received, and appreciation for the gift of life itself!

I was encouraged by my daughter to reflect briefly on something for which I am grateful. In response, I have chosen to write a few words of thanks for the following thing: Truth.

Now, I love truth; nevertheless, I am not always thankful for it. On the day I am musing on this subject, I have already had to admit to my wife, Jennifer, that I sometimes don't like that she ALWAYS tells the truth, almost to a fault. I told her I was thankful for that, even when I am the one at whom that (sometimes painful) truth is directed!

Perhaps the reason I can say that to her is that I know there is PERFECT truth in the universe. That truth, in my understanding, has a name: YESHUA! That's Jesus in Hebrew, the language of the land in which He lived while on earth.
He said: 'I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.' (John 14:6)

Because I daily desire to love and live for Him, I must learn to love and live in truth, even when it requires excruciating self-evaluation and honesty, (as it often does).
Though not all who founded America, the nation in which I live, believed fully in the Man whose words I quoted, they loved truth enough to sign a document that declared: 'We hold these TRUTHS to be self-evident; that all men are created equal...'

Now, we all know that particular truth was NOT truly true for all, even when it was written. Still, the truth is a standard we strive continually to meet in this great country (for which we all SHOULD be thankful!) The world is filled with lies: political intrigue, false religions, media and internet pollution, social and cultural distortions of the truth. Yet there is hope for us in the words of a man who lived and died for the man who is truth; a first century Rabbi who even gave us a formula to serve as an antidote for the deadly viruses of deception in this age; those which plague us from without and the even more destructive ones that torment us from within.

Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul, wrote:
'Finally, brethren; whatsoever things are...TRUE...meditate on these things.' (Phil.4:8) In the Name of the One who is 'faithful and TRUE,' in this season of giving thanks, I am ever grateful for all the above---and SO MUCH more---and THAT'S the TRUTH!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Love, Marty and Jennifer


 

Yom Kippur September 2017 - STAY HUNGRY: A reflection on the holiest day of the year

Jenny and I watching the sun go down during our time together in Florida

 

I've heard it said, more than once, that the practice of abstaining from food is misnamed. It should be called a 'slow,' not a 'fast!'

 

Never was that designation more apt than back in my childhood days in Cleveland, Ohio. Every Yom Kippur, (the Day of Atonement celebrated for centuries by Jewish people worldwide,) we would try to be very 'religious,' not eating ANYTHING for as long as we could. (Even brushing your teeth was something from which you were to abstain because you might drink water. I ignored that rule- for obvious reasons!) Full disclosure: we kids rarely made it past early afternoon, when we would sheepishly sneak a bowl of cheerios. (They NEVER tasted so good, by the way, even with the guilt of having failed to endure the whole day!) After all, we had been 'slowing' since the evening before, observing Kol Nidre, the service on the eve of this most holy day in the Jewish calendar.

 

Still, in spite of the hunger-(or maybe because of it)- I have fond memories of those days. Everyone dressed up and looked 'righteous,' attending VERY LONG synagogue services, led by Rabbis and Cantors clad in white robes, yarmulkes-(skull caps)- and prayer shawls. (They also wore white tennis shoes; either Keds or Spaulding or P.F. Flyers; there were no Nikes or Adidas. I'm really dating myself!)

 

When the day was over, and, as a family, we broke the fast, one couldn't help feel something significant had occurred, even if you weren't sure what it was. Best as we could figure, from what tradition told us, if we made it through Yom Kippur, we were, hopefully, 'good' for another year. G-d had 'searched us out' in the 'Days of Awe' beginning at Rosh HaShana. The 'gates' of His judgment were closed, and we were OK. (Phew!)

 

In reality, though you confessed many sins of omission and commission and asked G-d for forgiveness, you were never quite sure of having received it. The final 'shofar,'-(ram's horn)- sounded at the conclusion of Yom Kippur services, signaling the end of the High Holy Days. We were told that, because of our prayers of remorse and repentance, (and, of course our abstinence from food,) we had been granted 'atonement,' a covering of our sins for another year, at least. Well, thankfully, I've lived many years since then. As a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) as Messiah of Israel, I now know that HE is the atonement for ALL my sins; past, present and future. More than 'covering' our transgressions, He has taken them away, 'as far as the east is from the west.'

 

This year, Yom Kippur occurs during the same week in which, four years ago, my 93 year old mother, Florence Goetz, passed away. I will be honoring her in my heart, lighting a 'yahrtzeit' (remembrance) candle in her memory. I will thank the Lord G-d of Israel for giving His Son as the atoning sacrifice for my sins, and I will pray that my Jewish people would come to believe in Him, as I have; I will thank Him for life, not just for another year, but for eternity; I will praise Him for giving me a beautiful family, faithful friends and a place in the community of believers. And- in the midst of a short season of 'slow fasting'- I will ask the Lord to keep me hungry; hungry, not just for an afternoon bowl of cereal, but for 'righteousness'; right believing, right behaving, right being; possible only through the GIFT of righteousness, offered freely through the sacrifice of the only man clothed in TRUE whiteness, (without, no doubt, the sneakers.) That Holy One is the Lord Yeshua!

 

In His Name, my family and I wish you all a blessed Yom Kippur.

'Stay hungry, my friends!'

 

Shalom and love,
Marty (for Jenny, Misha, Joshua and Caleb)


September 2017 - L'Shanah Tova 5778

'Better to go to a house of mourning, than to go to a house of feasting...for sadness can improve a person...
The thoughts of the wise are in the house of mourning.' - Ecclesiastes (7:2,3+4)

 

A photo taken with our dear friend, Carol Faulkner.

 

Rosh HaShana, the traditional Jewish New Year, is a day of joy and celebration, of feasting and family reunions. The 'High Holy Day' season is something we always looked forward to in the predominantly Jewish community in which I was raised. Besides there being no school on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, (the Day of Atonement,) it was really 'cool' to have two New Year celebrations! (Seemed to be one of the 'perks' of being Jewish!!)

 

True, we had to go to some very long synagogue services and had to fast for at least part of Yom Kippur, but it was worth it to have those special days with family and friends. I and my wife Jennifer, (who was also raised in a Jewish home,) have many fond memories of those bygone times, and we still enjoy commemorating these holidays today.

 

This year, however, Jenny and I are marking the time a bit differently. We traveled to Cleveland for a day to offer our personal sympathies to some dear folks with whom I had grown up. They are 'kind of cousins,' not related by blood but connected by common life experience. The much loved patriarch of the family had passed away, and, though we couldn't attend the funeral, we 'sat shiva.' That is a traditional ritual, in which the grieving family 'sits,' surrounded by people who come by for a number of days to say prayers and offer condolences; to share meals and remembrances of the departed loved one.

 

The young rabbi who led the 'minion,' (a gathering of praying mourners in which we participated,) exhorted us, in a final thought after the service, to consider our relationship to God. He mused, as did the writer of Ecclesiastes, upon the meaning of mourning; an opportunity to, not only remember the life of the deceased, but also to reflect upon our own life and the lives of those who remain.

 

In that same spirit, we are traveling this holiday to another city to visit a dear sister who is still with us. We want to see her, face to face, to tell her how much we love and appreciate her. Of the many people we have known in our years of music ministry, she is one of those true 'saints'; a personal assistant to an internationally known Pastor of a modern 'mega-church,' but with the generous heart and common touch of the most humble servant of God.

 

She is ready to see her beloved Jesus, but we who have loved her are still praying for a miracle of restored health. No matter the outcome, (at least in our understanding,) she will be alive indeed, and fully 'restored' in the arms of her Lord!
(Should you want to join your prayers to ours, her name is Carol, and we know she would cherish your thoughts on her behalf, as would her husband, Fred.)

 

So, 'L'shana Tova,' to a good year, as we like to say at this season! Our hope and our prayer is that 5778, (the upcoming year as calculated by the Hebrew calendar,) will be one of peace and prosperity; love and laughter; new opportunities and life experiences; dreams realized and hopes fulfilled!


And in the midst of it all, let the ancient words referenced here be a reminder to heed the advice of another writer of scripture who prayed: 'Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.' (Ps.90:12)

 

My family and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year.

Love and shalom,

Marty and Jenny Goetz...
(...along with Misha, Joshua and Caleb!)

 


January 2017

Happy New Year dear friends!

Marty and I want to take this opportunity to wish you the richest of blessings in 2017 and to thank you for the many prayers offered on our behalf in 2016. What a year it was! We became grandparents for the first time, welcoming Caleb Vincent Hoyt into the world. In addition, and unexpectedly, Marty had open heart surgery bypassing a blocked artery and repairing a faulty mitral valve. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate all of you who stay in touch with us and lift us up in your thoughts and prayers.

In 2017 we are approaching a new season as are many of you. Marty and our sweet daughter Misha, are close to completing an album of songs they wrote and recorded this past year. They have a mutual desire to sing and minister together as father and daughter, modeling and imparting 'L'dor Vador - from generation to generation'

For 33 years, the majority of our work has come through 'word or mouth', people telling people about Marty's ministry in music. We have been invited to sing at conferences, home gatherings, churches and Messianic congregations...all because of YOU!

If you would like to invite them together, or individually, please email, mishagoetz@me.com.

It is a new season and we rejoice in all that God is doing in our lives. Let's rejoice together and say PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

To order music from Marty Goetz click HERE. To make a contribution to Marty Goetz Ministries, Inc. click HERE).

marty and misha goetz

 

 



December, 2016

Hello Friends,

It’s Marty and Misha here with an update on our upcoming release, L’Dor V’Dor (From Generation to Generation). As many of you know, I, Marty, spent much of the fall in recovery mode after an open-heart surgery that included a mitral valve repair and a major artery bypass. I am so grateful for all of your thoughts and prayers and I am happy to say that I am doing well, thanks be to God.

The week before Thanksgiving we returned to the studio and began working on the album once again. We are making good progress and want to thank all of you for your patience in this process. With all the medical concerns behind us, we are ready to concentrate on the musical endeavors in front of us.

As for me, Misha, it’s been a wonderful challenge to balance new motherhood with the making of an album; Caleb has made the recording studio his own personal playground and is loving every second.

We are hoping to have the project completed by early spring, and we look forward to sharing it with all of you. We covet your continued prayers as we work to complete this labor of love. Until then, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and a blessed new year.

Shalom & peace in Yeshua, Jesus!
Marty Goetz and Misha


 

 

September 27, 2016

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your prayers over the last couple of weeks. For those of you who don’t know, Marty, Misha (little Caleb), and I, Jennifer, went to the Cleveland Clinic for Marty to have open heart surgery on September 8th. He had his mitral valve repaired and underwent a bypass of his LAD artery. Thanks to your prayers, the surgery was a success and concerns we had about him needing a pacemaker or blood thinners post surgery are no longer an issue.

We are now back in Nashville and Marty is on the mend. I, Jenny, will be his chauffer for the next four weeks, as he is not allowed to drive. As a matter of fact, he is relegated to the backseat of the car due to possible airbag explosions. He has a red heart pillow the hospital gave him to wear under his seatbelt for extra protection for his chest. He also clutches the pillow when he has to laugh or cough.

For those of you who contributed to the upcoming album that Misha and Marty are in the process of recording, we wanted to update you on that as well. All is moving forward as planned, just a little slower than expected. Marty is resting and will not be able to travel or sing for the next 4 weeks. We look forward to getting back to work on this project and can’t wait to share it with all of you.

Misha, Josh, and Caleb joined us in Nashville for a few days after we returned from Cleveland, and we’ve been enjoying their company immensely.

Below are some photos taken over the last couple of weeks.

Thank you again for all your prayers, emails, and notes of support. We feel so loved and lifted up during this time.

Shalom,
Marty and Jennifer Goetz









 

 


 

September 2016

                       

Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you know that September 8, 2016, Marty will be going into the Cleveland Clinic for open heart surgery.

He will be having his mitral valve repaired, along with a bypass of his LAD artery - commonly known as the widow maker.

All of this was discovered about three months ago because I, Jenny, was experiencing chest pain in December and January and wanted to look into it. I made an appointment with a cardiologist in Nashville and suggested Marty come along to get checked out since we are both in our early sixties.

The doctor said I was fine, but wanted to do further testing on Marty. During the testing, he discovered that Marty had mitral valve prolapse. He wanted to see how bad it was, so he performed some more tests and also put in a heart catheter. This is when he discovered that Marty had 70% blockage in his LAD.
We decided to get a second opinion, and contacted our friend, Alistair Begg, in Cleveland, Ohio. He put us in touch with his friend who is the head of thoracic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. After seeing Marty's scans, he suggested a bypass instead of a stent and was 99% sure we could fix the mitral valve instead of replace it.

After extensive research, thought, and prayer, we decided to take this route.
We are in God's hands and we have great confidence, because if I had not had the chest pains, we would not have discovered that Marty was the one who needed the surgery. How great is our God!

Thank you for praying and for standing with us during this time.

Shalom and blessings,
Marty and Jennifer Goetz

 

 

 

 


 

His Joy---My Joy---Our Joy!                       

“If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (Jn.14:28)

In reading this passage from John’s gospel, I was unexpectedly made aware of a new reason to rejoice. What is that reason? Simply this: the Lord Yeshua (Jesus), Savior of my soul and Redeemer of all mankind, is with His Father in Heaven, alive forever, His joy fulfilled!

I’m not sure why this thought---one I had never had before---was so meaningful to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a season of transition in my life. (Of course, that is true of us all, to some extent.)

The passing of my mom, Florence Goetz, has had a deep impact on me. I’ve heard it said: ‘No one loves you like your mother!’ I have some sense of that in these days. Though my mom and I agreed on almost nothing, (except the importance of Israel,) we had a loving relationship. I like to say she thought ‘I hung the moon’----but was constantly telling me how I could have hung it a little better! Though there is no lack of love in my life---thanks be to God---I can feel, at an almost molecular level, the loss of one for whom I, (along with my siblings,) was the center of the universe. At the risk of sounding narcissistic---I miss it---and had no idea I would! (Perhaps that’s why I’ve yet to remove her name and number from my phone!)

For 23 years, Jenny and I have had our world revolving around a little girl, now a young lady, named Misha. Though the center of our universe is God Himself, we are constantly conscious of her gravitational pull! And now, into her orbit has come Joshua, a wonderful young man to whom she is now engaged!

A little over a year after burying my mother, I will be marrying off my daughter! (I can almost hear Tevye singing a new lyric to his song from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’: ‘Transition…Transition…TRANSITION!’) I’m not embarrassed to admit I find it all a bit emotionally overwhelming.

Perhaps that’s why the idea of Jesus, risen, alive, and at the right hand of His Father--- a place He occupies throughout eternity---is so comforting, and a fresh and surprising source of joy. Things in this life change rapidly, unexpectedly, inexorably. Nothing stays the same and, with each turn of our world, we face an unknown future; unknown to us, but not to God!

In the passage I quoted, Yeshua is telling His followers, in essence, that He knew where He came from and where He was going. To accomplish His transition from earth to heaven, He had to endure unimaginable suffering; rejection, hatred, betrayal, crucifixion and, worst of all, separation from His Father on the cross! (Ps.22)

Another passage puts it in perspective: “Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb. 12:2)

Considering what He did for me---for all of us---I am, quite simply, happy for HIM! More than any one who ever lived, he DESERVES that joy! Yet, He also prayed for that joy to be shared with those who do NOT deserve it; people such as you and I!

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world,
that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”
(Jn.17:13)

Perhaps I was receiving some of that joy in thinking about My Lord being forever with His Father. In the midst of a life in which I think so much about myself, it was refreshing, if only for a brief moment, to share in HIS happiness, His gladness!

It has been often said: ‘I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.’

Our future---those of us who believe in Him---is to be ever with our heavenly Father and His Son, Yeshua, our Messiah. Now THAT’s some transition!

And---in the midst of the uncertainties of this life---that certainty brings me joy!

May the JOY of the Lord be YOUR strength in these days!!


 

His Joy---My Joy---Our Joy!                         

“If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.” (Jn.14:28)

In reading this passage from John’s gospel, I was unexpectedly made aware of a new reason to rejoice. What is that reason? Simply this: the Lord Yeshua (Jesus), Savior of my soul and Redeemer of all mankind, is with His Father in Heaven, alive forever, His joy fulfilled!

I’m not sure why this thought---one I had never had before---was so meaningful to me. Perhaps it’s because I’m in a season of transition in my life. (Of course, that is true of us all, to some extent.)

The passing of my mom, Florence Goetz, has had a deep impact on me. I’ve heard it said: ‘No one loves you like your mother!’ I have some sense of that in these days. Though my mom and I agreed on almost nothing, (except the importance of Israel,) we had a loving relationship. I like to say she thought ‘I hung the moon’----but was constantly telling me how I could have hung it a little better! Though there is no lack of love in my life---thanks be to God---I can feel, at an almost molecular level, the loss of one for whom I, (along with my siblings,) was the center of the universe. At the risk of sounding narcissistic---I miss it---and had no idea I would! (Perhaps that’s why I’ve yet to remove her name and number from my phone!)

For 23 years, Jenny and I have had our world revolving around a little girl, now a young lady, named Misha. Though the center of our universe is God Himself, we are constantly conscious of her gravitational pull! And now, into her orbit has come Joshua, a wonderful young man to whom she is now engaged!

A little over a year after burying my mother, I will be marrying off my daughter! (I can almost hear Tevye singing a new lyric to his song from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’: ‘Transition…Transition…TRANSITION!’) I’m not embarrassed to admit I find it all a bit emotionally overwhelming.

Perhaps that’s why the idea of Jesus, risen, alive, and at the right hand of His Father--- a place He occupies throughout eternity---is so comforting, and a fresh and surprising source of joy. Things in this life change rapidly, unexpectedly, inexorably. Nothing stays the same and, with each turn of our world, we face an unknown future; unknown to us, but not to God!

In the passage I quoted, Yeshua is telling His followers, in essence, that He knew where He came from and where He was going. To accomplish His transition from earth to heaven, He had to endure unimaginable suffering; rejection, hatred, betrayal, crucifixion and, worst of all, separation from His Father on the cross! (Ps.22)

Another passage puts it in perspective: “Jesus…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Heb. 12:2)

Considering what He did for me---for all of us---I am, quite simply, happy for HIM! More than any one who ever lived, he DESERVES that joy! Yet, He also prayed for that joy to be shared with those who do NOT deserve it; people such as you and I!

“But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world,
that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.”
(Jn.17:13)

Perhaps I was receiving some of that joy in thinking about My Lord being forever with His Father. In the midst of a life in which I think so much about myself, it was refreshing, if only for a brief moment, to share in HIS happiness, His gladness!

It has been often said: ‘I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.’

Our future---those of us who believe in Him---is to be ever with our heavenly Father and His Son, Yeshua, our Messiah. Now THAT’s some transition!

And---in the midst of the uncertainties of this life---that certainty brings me joy!

May the JOY of the Lord be YOUR strength in these days!!


 

Happy New Month! (Sept 2013)

Marty's blog....

HAPPY NEW MONTH!

Has anyone wished you a ‘Happy Rosh Chodesh’ lately?
Have any friends expressed hope that you would have a ‘Blessed Elul?’
Are you wondering what I’m talking about?

Well, it’s been a while since I last wrote; so I decided to take advantage of this new month to say, ‘hi’ to ‘all y’all,’ (as we say here south of the Mason-Dixon line!)
Of what ‘new month’ am I speaking, you may ask! (We’re already well into August.)
The month of Elul, of course!!

You probably already know that the Hebrew calendar is based on the lunar cycle. It is different from our solar-based calendar, and Elul is the name of the month we are entering. ‘Chodesh’ is the Hebrew word for ‘month’; (thus, my aforementioned greeting!)

‘Rosh Chodesh’ means ‘head of the month.’ It’s kind of a mini-holiday every time a new month begins! (You are free to hold your own personal celebration, if you like; providing the food is good. That’s VERY important, especially to ‘my’ people!)

Elul is unique, in that is a time of preparation before the month ‘Tishrei.’ The latter is the month in which we celebrate Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. These are the Hebrew names meaning ‘The Head of the Year,’ ‘The Day of Atonement’ and ‘Booths,’ respectively.

During Tishrei, the Jewish people welcome a new (civic) year, followed by ‘Yamim Noraim,’ or, ‘Days of Awe.’ These ten days lead to the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur, commemorated by a day of fasting and prayer. The climax of the ‘holy month’ comes five days later during the eight days of ‘Tabernacles.’ Jewish families build a ‘sukkah,’ a makeshift structure with a roof ‘thatched’ with fruits, vegetables and other representations of ‘harvest.’ Meals are shared in that ‘booth,’ (and some sleep in there as well.) All this is done as a reminder of God’s provision and protection during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. Sukkot is one of the biblical pilgrimage festivals, during which the Jewish people went up to worship God in the temple at Jerusalem. (Lev. 23:33-36) (It is STILL celebrated there, with great exuberance, to this day!) One day, by the way, ALL the nations will ‘go up’ and do the same! (Zech. 14:16-17)

Rosh HaShanah is actually ‘The Feast of Trumpets’ in the scriptures. (Lev. 23:24-25) It points to the coming ‘final trumpet,’ signalling the return of the Lord, Yeshua! (1Thess. 4:16)

Yom Kippur (Lev.23: 27-28) hints at a day when ‘a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.’ (Zech. 13:1) (In other words: ATONEMENT!)

Now THAT’S some MONTH!

Annually, Tishrei sets the stage for a type of ‘dress rehearsal’ for the ‘grand finale’ of history; the ‘end of the age,’ if you will!

One day, the trumpet will sound, the Lord will return, Israel will look upon Him and mourn for Him ‘as one mourns for his only son,’ and, in time, all nations will go up to worship the Lord in Jerusalem! WOW!! (1Thess. 4; Zech. 12+14)

I don’t know about you, but I would LOVE to be still alive when the curtain goes up on this final act---AND to be one of the actors on stage! (The curtain won’t be the only thing ‘going up’ a that time, as you know!) (Thess. 16-18)

Until that time, whatever happens, I want to (maybe) be the first to wish YOU---a ‘Happy Rosh Chodesh’ and a ‘Blessed Elul!’

The month of Elul provides us all an opportunity to prepare for the month of Tishrei; which provides us an opportunity to prepare for---well---the world prepared ‘BEFORE the foundation of the world!’ (Eph. 1:4)

Until that time, allow me also to say THANKS to those of you who have followed us, supported us and encouraged us ALL these years! Jenny and I SO appreciate it and are grateful to God for you!!

We do---SINCERELY---hope YOUR days of preparation are truly blessed! The best IS yet to come---as we all say, ‘Maranatha’ ---‘Come, Lord Yeshua…Jesus!’ (Rev. 22:20)

As for me, I hope to be more faithful in communicating with you who check in to see what we’re doing! Hopefully, I’ll be able to eventually say, as did Barbara Walters in days gone by: ‘We’ll be in touch, so you be in touch!’

(Barbara’s Jewish too! A ‘Happy New Month’ to her, as well!)

Blessings and Shalom, Peace,
Marty (for Jenny and Misha)

 

 

Past Newsletters

A Note from Jenny Goetz - Greetings November 2012

Hello friends!

This is Jennifer Goetz. I don't normally take to writing these newsletters but I am giving it a shot...please let me know what you think!

It has been a very long time since you have heard from us and I will tell you why...As many of you know, in January of 2010, one of Marty's best friends and our music producer and arranger for the last 21 years, Tom Howard, passed away from a sudden heart attack while walking in the hills of Nashville with his wife and some friends. The loss of Tom has been heartbreaking for not only us, but all who knew him.
In March, Marty had bad lasik surgery in Nashville, from Dr. Ming Wang, that left his eyes terribly dry, his vision impaired and his spirit discouraged because of the decision he had made to have the surgery.

Honestly, it has been a couple of hard years. His spirit was broken because his faith in trusting in himself was gone. BUT, as Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." So the good news is that God has been deepening Marty's relationship with God so Marty can now say, with Paul...(Romans 8:18) "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Because of these things, Marty found it hard to write on a computer and basically stopped his blogs and his newsletters. He recently posted a blog (I'll give you the link at the end of the newsletter) and for that I am thankful. I am one who likes to keep in touch more often so I post things on his Facebook page, Marty Goetz. I realize that a lot of people don't do Facebook so we will try to be better at writing and sending newsletters.

Our daughter, Misha, is 21 years old and finishing her last year of college at Azusa Pacific in California. She is not only part of a worship team on campus but is a worship leader at a Baptist Church in Riverside, California and shares with other worship leaders for a weekly outreach in Azusa on Sunday nights. Music is her passion but she is considering going to law school. She remains a bright light in her community and in our lives. We could not hope for a more wonderful gift from God than she.

With the holidays coming up, you may want to consider visiting our web site for gifts. If you don't have our 'FESTIVALS OF LIGHT' Chanukah/Christmas CD, it is so WORSHIPFUL and will make a great present. When you purchase the first one at full price, each additional is $11.95. Also people love to give our DVD's, 'In Concert' as gifts...When you buy 10 or more, the price drops to $10.00 per DVD. Sorry for the commercial!

To visit our Order Page, click here

To visit Marty's Blog at his blog spot, click here

To visit our Concert Schedule Page, ( and to see future concerts that are not on THAT page, click the little arrow in the far right corner of THAT screen that says NEXT and you will see more....AND don't forget to join us for New Years Eve in Scottsdale, AZ) click here.

God Bless you all and thank you for taking time to read my letter.

Love,
Jennifer (and Marty) Goetz

 

Bench Mark For A Friend (January 2011) - Bench-Mark For A Friend

In Jewish tradition, family and friends wait one year before placing a headstone on the grave of a deceased loved one. This 'stone setting' ritual is a ceremonial conclusion to a season of grieving; a kind of closure for those who are still shaken by a great loss. Though the pain of that person being gone does not go away, permission is given, in a sense, to 'move on' with life, knowing that the one being mourned would want that for you as well.
Tom Howard is a man who would have had that sentiment. In that spirit, I note his one year passing with this brief post to you who are visiting us here.

As you may know, Tom was a well respected pianist, songwriter and composer, our producer and arranger for over twenty years and, most of all, our very dear friend. He passed away unexpectedly on January 29th, 2010, approximately one year ago. I shared with you then some thoughts on his life, his death and his memorial service. Oddly, it seems a long time ago that all this happened -- and like yesterday!

Tom's loving wife Dori wanted to mark the day of her husband's passing in a special way.

It was a Saturday when she and Tom had set out on a walk on an unusually snowy weekend. The Howard's were from Minnesota and snow was their natural environment! And so it seemed fitting they would join some of their friends on a trek through a Nashville park. It was on that walk that Tom had a heart attack and passed away. What would have been a pleasant, leisurely afternoon turned into a traumatic and tragic day for her and their companions.

Yet, that terrible memory was turned into a beautiful memorial by Dori and others who loved Tom Howard.

Tom has no gravesite, so there was no headstone to be set. Instead, a gorgeous granite bench was built in his memory. A simple brass plaque bears his name, with an inscription written by his family, punctuated with a verse from the Bible -- Ephesians 2:6 -- which reads:

"...and raised up together (to) sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus..."

Strangely, it was a Saturday -- January 29th -- exactly a year since Tom's last day on earth, that a small band of friends joined his wife and his children to dedicate the bench to his memory. Quite coincidentally, it had been placed in the very spot where Tom had passed from this life into the next. Near it was an older bench, bearing the name's of a couple who had been some of the first new friends Dori and Tom had made after their move to Nashville from Los Angeles. Tom had sat on that bench before breathing his last and leaving us -- for a time.

And that was the reality of which we all spoke -- and the truth we acknowledged in our commemoration; that we will see Tom again; that we all will be together again one day in the presence of our Lord Yeshua -- Jesus!

Memories were shared; stories were told; poems were read; prayers were said; laughs were had; tears were shed. It was a sweet and fitting tribute to an irreplaceable soul. One of the realizations we all had was that, to each of us, Tom was our best friend! He made each of us feel that we were the most special and treasured person in his life, even though we knew there were others with whom he enjoyed that same closeness! Somehow, he could share himself completely with you -- encouraging you, inspiring you, building you up -- and still have enough left over to do the same with myriad others who had the blessing of knowing him -- and calling him friend!

None of us will ever have another like him -- and the loss is still palpable. Therefore, it was fitting -- and comforting -- to have the opportunity to remember him on that day and to consecrate that location to his memory. People walking there -- as he and Dori did so often -- will be able to pause and reflect, hold hands and pray, talk and laugh and embrace the moment, all the while reposing on the bench that bears Tom's name.

One colleague of Tom's commented that he thought of it as a piano bench. That was a perfect reflection, creating in all of us the picture of Tom sitting there, surrounded by the beauty of nature, playing hymns of praise to his Creator!

He would like that.

Should you ever have the chance to take a stroll in Edwin Warner Park, Nashville, Tennessee, perhaps you'll be able to sit for a spell and enjoy a moment with God and His handiwork -- courtesy of our friend, Tom Howard.

He would like that as well.

We miss you, Tom; and we will see you again -- but not yet, not yet.

Shalom -- and thanks for listening.

Marty

 

Songs I Wish I'd Written - Intro by Misha Goetz

What is it about movies that make us cry, or songs that stir in us a longing? Why does a heart-wrenching melody or an uplifting instrumentation move me to tears regardless of its origin, whether secular or religious?

Growing up in a house that was always filled with music, I heard everything from Bernstein to Bach. Having a dad who could sing and play piano was a plus, because you could bring the party with you. If we went to a restaurant and there was a piano, Dad would inevitably be on it by the end of the night, but he wouldn't be playing "He is My Defense" or kicking his feet to "Jew Born Anew." Instead, he would be belting out "Embraceable You" or serenading an audience (which would always form) with a gentle lullaby from Peter Pan.

Why, you might ask? Because these songs spoke a universal language to those who would hear. It stirred in them a longing for love, for hope, for joy, for peace, for something greater than what was right in front of them.

Our God is the creator of notes, of sound, and of music. Whether my dad's restaurant going audience knew it or not, they were drawn to more than a song. They were drawn to the heart of something deeper-- a piece of God's truth, a piece of beauty.

As you listen to this album of timeless standards and classic favorites, remember that God works how he wants, when he wants, through whatever he wants. I have seen this to be true in many areas of life, especially when it comes to music.

I hope you can enjoy these songs as I have and see the beauty that can be found "in all the old familiar places."

I'll be seeing you. - Misha

ORDER CD

 

Reflections..... Reflections from this Season of Life

My Dear Friends,

My most sincere apologies to you for my not having written anything on this site for a long time. You who know us---and keep in touch with what we are doing--- have been so faithful and supportive, expressing interest in our lives and our work through all these years. Before I share some of my thoughts, I wanted to share my feelings; feelings of gratitude to "all y'all," (as we say here in Nashville) and heartfelt wishes for the fullness of all the blessing our God has for you.

In regard to the long duration between "blogs", I must tell you that recent circumstances have affected me more than I could have imagined they would.

Sending our one and only daughter off to college, having to put our dog Maggie to sleep, mourning the untimely death of our good friend and long-time producer, Tom Howard---not to mention the problems I've had with my eyesight---have all conspired to put me a bit "on hold" this last little season. Once again. I'm sorry---and I so appreciate your patience, prayers and understanding.

Anyway, here we go.

After that build-up, I hope you won't mind the brevity---and randomness---of these musings of mine.

So, Jennifer and I were chatting after our morning prayer time. We were wondering aloud about "this new generation"---(how's that for old fogey speak?)---and talking about how many young folks have embraced "social justice" thinking and a "one world-progressive" mentality. (And this was all on our first cup of coffee!)

As we spoke, I resisted the temptation to cluck my tongue and grouse about how the world was going to hell in a hand basket and how much better things were when we were young and how our generation...blah, blah, blah...

It then occurred to me how our generation---(aging baby-boomers to be specific)---spawned so much of what we observe---and often bemoan---in these perplexing days.

It seems just a moment ago that we were ushering in "the age of aquarius"---peace, love and all that jazz! That era morphed into a time characterized by the "me" generation, which indulged all the "freedoms" unleashed years before in the tumultuous 60's. Fast forward through disco, punk, grunge-- eight tracks, cassette tapes and cd's---(to keep things in a music vein)---and we find ourself in a--virtually-- new world.

Like an agrarian society yielding to the industrial revolution, our civilization has been technologically transformed. It happened gradually--almost imperceptibly--but it's advent has seemed sudden and overwhelming to those of us who were unaware and unprepared.

I find myself--- (though I hate to admit it)---feeling often like a stranger in a strange land, scrambling to learn new languages and unfamiliar ways, trying desperately just to keep up! I'm making very SLOW progress!!

Back to our morning conversation. As my daughter Misha sat on the couch, recuperating from "wisdom tooth" surgery and my wife began planning her day, I reflected on the fact that we would all, later that day, be using sleek, efficient machines, adorned with an interesting logo; an apple with a bite taken out of it. (Where else have we heard of a piece of fruit having been bitten into?) Hmmm?!

Jenny expressed the opinion that this current generation appears to be quite self-centered. I opined that we were, as well; but we didn't think so because we were concerned about "the war" and other social concerns.

In addition, we have passed through many different permutations of the faith we embraced in the 70's---a belief in Jesus---Yeshua---as Messiah and Lord.

Some of those forms were less---or more---than the gospel of the kingdom. Many of them encouraged a self-oriented, "I can have everything I want 'cause I'm a king's kid" kind of thinking.

I do believe Jesus' words; that "it's (the) Father's good pleasure to give (us) the kingdom". (Luke12;32) However, much of our preaching and teaching seemed to emphasize personal aggrandizement while neglecting "weightier matters" such as loving your neighbor, caring for the poor, rejoicing in suffering and expecting trouble in this life "as sparks fly upward". (Job 5:7)

The deficiencies in our worldview are not lost on today's young people, it seems.

At the risk of generalizing or dealing with issues with which I am not fully conversant, permit me to say that I find myself often shaking my head in amazement as to where our world is heading; and that includes the faith community in which we find ourselves.

A current commercial on TV is an iconic representation of where things are these days. Down a busy city street walk two separate individuals, gazing down at their "hand-held devices", completely engrossed in their screen-sized world, ignoring everything around them, never looking up, even for a second. (One only has to walk through any modern airport to see how true to form this image is!)Everyone---or so it seems---is on their i-pod, i-phone or i-pad. The observation is not original with me, I'm sure: we are in the midst of the "i" generation. It's all about "I", isn't it? OY!!

Yet, the message of the young is a "we" one; the current mindset being one of equality for all, social justice, concern for the poor---all noble aspirations, to be sure. Because of the "collective" and "community" oriented nature of this ethic, it seems to be envisioning a "better" society: wealth redistributed, boundaries broken down, history redefined, everyone equal, everything environmentally friendly; a truly "smart" and "green" world.

Consequently, the aforementioned "I" obsession is obscured---but it's there---big time! and it's not new!! It's as old as the proverbial bite out of the fruit. As a matter of fact, that's where it all started, isn't it?

I can relate. Through my most recent trials, I have become aware that I don't simply have an eye problem; I have an "I" problem! Yes, indeed!! I can sit in judgment of no one, no how!!!

Still---I know there are things happening today that demand our attention and require our response. During our morning time, Misha had us read a prophetic word delivered by a powerful woman of God; a word that exhorted everyone to---WAKE UP! She exhorted us to see current crises as wake-up calls, urging all with "ears to hear" to fast, pray, vote wisely in upcoming elections and---most essentially---to not turn away from Israel!! Amen and amen!!!I write this on the heels of a return from New York City. I love it there; walking the streets and looking up, seeing sights unseen in any other place. I've included a photo from a recent stroll there.

In the midst of all these things about which I've mused, it serves as a reminder to me---and to anyone who might be simpatico with anything I've shared---to think about what was said many years ago by someone we love, whose words are supremely relevant to us today:

"And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up,and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh."(Yeshua in Luke 21:28)

Another TV commercial---(please forgive all the media references)--says, "Take the scary out of life." A good way to do that? Remember the axiom: "things are looking up!"

That's what I'll be doing.

Even so, come Lord Yeshua.

Thanks for looking us up!

Love and shalom,
Marty and his family

 

I Love You, Tommy! (January 2010) - In Memoriam: Tom Howard

"A good name is better than precious ointment,
And the day of death than the day of one's birth;
Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting,
For that is the end of all men;
And the living will take it to heart."
(Ecclesiastes 7:1-2)

The phone call came, as all such calls do: suddenly, unexpectedly, unnerving. My wife answered and screamed, "No, no, that can't be!", stomping her feet and shuffling backward; wide-eyed, as if she were attempting to flee from something horrible. And indeed she was.

On the line was John Coates, who wanted to know if we had heard about Tom. We had not.

John informed us that Tom Howard, our mutual and beloved friend, had suffered a heart attack and passed away. We didn't think he was lying---but we didn't want to believe him.

Jennifer rushed to the computer and checked Tom's facebook page. Already, there were postings of condolences and words of sympathy to his family. We were shocked and saddened. We still are.

In the midst of an ordinary day---Jenny and I were cheerfully making our bed when we got the news---our world was shaken. It's still shaking.

In fact, I haven't even been able to write anything about it. Even now, I feel inadequate to express myself in a way that would, either sufficiently express my heart, or properly honor my buddy, Tom. Allow me to simply share a few thoughts.

For two weeks, (he passed away on Friday, January 29th), there has been a hole in the soul of Nashville, Tennessee, at least for the many here who knew and loved Tom. There is a palpable sorrow in the hearts of his friends; they are bewildered by this sudden and tragic loss. In the days following the news of his death, we have shared much with his family and friends; an evening of remembrance, a Sunday service at the church where he served as an associate music minister, a moving memorial service and numerous conversations, recalling life with Tom---and contemplating life without him.

Jenny and I already miss him. Tom was a bit of a night owl, Many evenings he would drop by our house, just to talk and eat and laugh. Often, my wife would go to bed and Tom and I would stay up late, discussing anything and everything; arts, family, politics, popular culture, theology. Sometimes he would fall asleep on our couch and I would stay awake until he awoke and I could send him home!

Any time spent with Tom was a joy. He was hysterically funny, deeply thoughtful and amazingly insightful. He had the soul of a poet and could paint vivid pictures with his words, leaving you in awe at his eloquence---then crack you up with some goofy remark, accompanied with some strange, indescribable vocal affectation! When he would leave our house, I would always feel grateful for such a friend. However, I must admit, there were times when I would tell him I was too tired to get together. Fortunately, he had numerous others with whom he could hang out. Still, I would give anything for one more impromptu visit.

For you who know us and the work we do, you will miss him too, whether you know it or not. You see, Tom has been producing and arranging our music for over twenty years! We were friends in Los Angeles and our first project together was "I Call You Friend." Jenny and I were amazed at what Tom was able to do. We never ceased to be amazed.

Jennifer says he was 'the music behind my songs.' He invested himself so completely into everything we did. An inspired pianist and composer in his own right, Tom orchestrated and conducted our recording sessions as if the songs were his own. One of our greatest thrills was going to the studio and waiting for that first downbeat. With a wave of a baton, he would create a masterpiece around the sketch of my compositions, filling them with color--- and us with excitement.

He would accomplish all this, seemingly effortlessly, quietly going about his business with skill, excellence and loving care for the music. That is something I will miss so much: the love he had for what we were doing and the passion he expressed in helping bring it to fruition.

Tom was an encourager. He would give me insights into my own work that I either didn't see or fully appreciate. He made me feel that I was an important artist with a significant contribution to make to the world. (Often, I didn't share that opinion but his eloquent affirmation had a way of trumping my own insecurities!) That gift he gave me is precious and irreplaceable.

There is no other way to say it. This is a huge loss, not only to Jenny and me, but also to everyone who knew and loved Tom. His memorial service was packed with friends, family, artists, musicians, all fellow travelers with this most unique, inspiring and lovable man. The sanctuary at St. Bartholomew's was filled with beautiful music from the choir and various artists with whom Tom worked---including yours truly; I sang Psalm 23.

What was particularly stunning---and moving---was the music that Tom had written himself, underscoring the entire service. It would have brought a smile, (or embarrassment, knowing Tom), to hear the people whom he loved--- and who loved him---singing his songs. It was as if he was with us---yet, conspicuously absent.

In the fellowship hall afterward, there was a slide show of his life accompanied by yet more of his music, the sharing of stories and tributes, and a nostalgic rock and roll set by some of his brilliantly talented buddies. When it all wound down and came to a reluctant end, we all dispersed into different groups, talking late into the night about Tom, not wanting to say a final goodbye.

Tom is still alive in his wife, Dori, his daughter Katie and his son, Joseph. Their words for him that day were a beautiful declaration of his success as a husband and father. He would have been so blessed to hear that. No one was more dedicated to seeing his family prosper in every way; yet he struggled with his own ability to accomplish that. They, of course need your prayers.

He is alive in his music: his solo piano recordings, the gorgeous string arrangements he provided for countless artists and projects, and, of course, our albums. We will, of course, continue to produce our music; but we don't yet know how we will do it without Tom. (You may pray for us, as well.)

It's snowing here in Nashville as I write this; it was snowing the day Tom died. I spoke to him that morning. We were experiencing a rare snowstorm which was turning everything white, an unusual occurrence in this part of the country. I commented to Tom that it looked like Minnesota. Tom and Dori were from Minnesota, and decided that day it would be fun to go for a walk in the park with some friends. Tom never returned from that walk.

We like to think that God provided a touch of home for the day of Tom's going home. Wouldn't that be just like our Father?

Jenny tells me that, at the end of my phone conversation with my friend, on what would be his last day with us here, I said before I hung up, "I love you, Tommy!" I will be forever grateful that I said those words!!

Tom deserved to be loved---and he was.

We will not see his like again.

And yet---one day---we will! I'm looking forward to that.

Thank you, Lord, for our brother, Tom Howard.

And thank you all for allowing me to tell you a little bit about him.

Love,
Marty

 

Happy New Year! (January 2010) - Let it Snow!

"Well, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful...", goes the well-known song. It's the perfect tune to accompany this first week of 2010! Happy New Year to all of you!!

Throughout America, at the dawn of this decade, there have been records set for low temperatures, snowfall, and other climate related occurrences. (Could this be the result of increasing, man-caused, global warming? Hmm?)

My wife Jennifer and I live in Nashville, Tennessee. We hardly EVER see snow. We did this year; and it has been EXTREMELY cold. Our daughter Misha is visiting us from sunny, southern California on her college Christmas break. We have spent most of our nights huddled by the delightful fire as we experience together the frightful weather. (Maggie, our very old dog has to go outside periodically...for obvious reasons!)

I happen to like the snow. This morning, as I write this, the flurries resemble little sprinkles of sugar falling from heaven. They seem to speak silently about the sweetness of G-d's love for the world He has created. (Thank you, Father!)

Of course, we have had what is called a "dusting." I don't know how I'd feel about -20 degree temperatures and huge snow drifts bringing life to a standstill. We had one of those storms a few years ago and it was rough.

We hope this wintry season has not been too difficult for "all y'all!" I send this brief greeting to wish you and yours a blessed, prosperous, healthy and happy new year. May the sweetness of our Lord's presence surround you like blankets of freshly fallen snow...except much warmer!

And to paraphrase the afore-mentioned Christmas ditty, (written incidentally by two Jewish guys on one of the hottest days of the year):

"...as long as (He) loves us so, let it snow, let it snow, LET IT SNOW!"*

Shalom, Peace,
Marty Goetz (and family)

*"Let It Snow" composed by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne: 1945

 

 

October 2009 Newsletter - Garmin

"You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
(Psalm 16:11)

Jenny and I recently purchased a Garmin. We bought it in Los Angeles during the week of orientation for my daughter's freshman year at college. We thought a "global positioning system" would come in handy on our trips to California for both ministry opportunities and visits with Misha. Now we can navigate our way through any city or state... (while also making it possible for any overarching authority in the country to keep track of us; but I digress!)

The system is helpful, especially when it is not safe to attempt reading a map while driving. A calm and confident female voice tells you where to go and, if you miss a turn, simply says, 'recalculating.' She never yells at you or calls you an idiot or scolds you for not listening to directions. She is the perfect driving companion.

She does have one shortcoming, however. She doesn't think; she only tells you what she's been told.

During our most recent trip to the east coast we told our GPS the address of an old friend in Annapolis, Maryland. We had an engagement in Delaware and thought it would be nice to visit her on our way back to New Jersey where we were staying, as we often do, at Jenny's mother's house. We typed in the right house address but the wrong town and, upon realizing our error, corrected it. No big deal. Our GPS girl (whom an acquaintance dubbed "Garmina") got us there, and we enjoyed our time with our friend, spending the night in her lovely home.

The next morning, I stumbled out of bed and my own internal GPS said, "GO FOR COFFEE!" I headed into town, certain I would find a Starbucks or something similar somewhere along the way. I drove a while and, before arriving in the heart of Annapolis, I hit heavy traffic. Frustrated, (and still coffeeless) I headed back the way I came. In the early morning pre-caffeine mental muddle, I overshot the street I thought led back to the house. Further frustrated, I stopped to turn the car around and...voila...directly in front of me was the green, white and black of a Starbucks sign! I sighed with excitement and whispered a little thank you heavenward for divine non-Garmin guidance.

With joy in my heart and a latte in my hand, I decided to let the GPS lead me, since I was unsure as to how to find my way back. I tapped and tapped until I found the proper address and started to drive, so proud of myself that I had figured out how to operate my new device and could count myself a citizen of the 21st century!

Garmina dutifully told me to turn right on a street, the name of which I recognized. So far so good. Then she directed me to a road I didn't recognize, but I figured she knew better and was taking me an alternate route. From there she led me to a freeway and, I have to admit, I started to wonder what she was thinking. One highway led to another...and another...and another...and before I knew it, what should have been a five minute drive had become a half hour journey with no end in sight. Needless to say I was not happy with my girl's decisions and I told her so! (She didn't respond.)

FINALLY...she told me I was arriving at my destination...and I did. Amazingly, it was the correct house number and street name...but the WRONG TOWN! Then I remembered. She was reading the pre-corrected information we had given her. She was only doing what she was told. I apologized to her for questioning her decisions, admitted my mistake, sheepishly punched in the post-corrected info, and away we went.

I was embarrassed and flustered and concerned that Jennifer was anxious as to my whereabouts (since I had not taken my cell phone.) To calm myself down I started to flip through radio stations, hoping to find something interesting. I went from one to another and as I did, I heard some music that sounded vaguely familiar. As I listened, a pleasant enough voice began singing: "You have shown me Your paths, Oh Lord. In Your presence is fullness of joy! In Your right hand are pleasures, in Your right hand are pleasures, in Your right hand are pleasures forevermore, pleasures forevermore!"

I was shocked! I exclaimed (to no one in particular), "That's my song! Who is singing my song? I never heard this before! Someone owes me money!! (Sorry about that last one...but I thought it.) Then I realized...IT WAS I WHO WAS SINGING! The song was "Pleasures Forevermore" from my first album, "I Call You Friend." I didn't recognize myself because, even though I've been writing, singing and recording for decades, I had NEVER heard myself on the radio! This was the first time...EVER!!

I continued to listen to the station, (which turned out to be "Family Radio"), and hurried back, hoping Jenny wasn't upset with me and reflecting on what had just occurred.

Had I not gotten lost, I would not have heard myself sing on the radio. I hope it doesn't sound self-indulgent but...I was kind of excited to hear it! In spite of a frustrating and confusing morning, I wondered if that incident had been the finger of the Lord, tapping me on my shoulder. I don't want to read too much into it but, sometimes I think He does that; just to let us know He's there...just to let us know we're not lost...at least not really!

Garmina succeeded in returning me to our friend's house. Jenny was, thankfully, still asleep. And, as I enjoyed my early morning latte, I quietly marveled at the thought that G-d could care enough about someone like me, that He would send me a delightful surprise out of nowhere...in the middle of nowhere! When I thought I was hopelessly lost...He let me know I was mercifully found! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound...(even when it comes through the radio.)

Or perhaps it was just a crazy, random coincidence. Who knows? Whatever the case, I know this: He DOES show me the path of life and in His presence is fullness of joy! My ride back to my friend's home was a joyful one and, when I related my tale to her, we had a good laugh.

As a matter of fact, I think we need to laugh more in general. We are not lost. He knows the way we take, even when we make mistakes and find ourselves in unfamiliar territory. It's good to have a GPS girl to help us when she can...but it is our G-d who will lead us home!!

Yours on the journey,

Marty

 

Newsletter June 2009 - New Seasons

“Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls –
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord.
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

The prophet Habakkuk saw trouble on the horizon. He was concerned for the welfare of his people, aware of the strength of Israel’s enemies and of the vulnerability of his fellow Jews. In the midst of his anguish, he even wondered about the justice of a G-d who could allow the evil to prosper and the innocent—or at least less evil—to suffer. His arguments with the G-d of Israel resulted in an emphatic declaration from the L-rd, which has become the watchward of new covenant faith:

“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.”
(Habakkuk 2:4)

Habakkuk’s struggle is also our struggle! If ever the people of G-d needed to live by faith, it is now! The Scriptures once again instruct us as to how we can overcome in a time of economic uncertainty, political instability and spiritual apathy. I’m sure you can sense, as I can, a renewed call to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” (Mt. 6:33)

That word from Yeshua has become personally significant to me in recent days. My daughter, Misha, has been inspired greatly by it, and it has become a “life-verse” for her in this, her last year of high school. Jennifer and I have been blessed to observe her living out that exhortation through her personal devotional life, her passion for worship and her desire to serve. Her diligence in study and heart for G-d were rewarded at her graduation from Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville. She spent her entire academic career there and received the Valedictorian and “Soli Deo Gloria” awards at the commencement ceremony. The latter honor is presented to the “outstanding senior,” selected by the teachers. She delivered a beautiful valedictory address in which she commended her classmates for their acting on G-d’s command to “love the Lord your God with all your heart . . . and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mt 22:37 + 39)

Needless to say, Jenny and I are so very proud of her, not only for her accomplishments, but also for the fine young woman she has become. We are amazed to see how she has conducted herself in her life thus far and we’re thankful that the grace of G-d has more than made up for our imperfect parenting! All praise be to Him!!

Of course, this joy is mixed with the sadness of knowing that she will be leaving us very soon and heading off to college! It’s been very emotional in our home. Jennifer periodically finds herself weeping involuntarily and I feel generally undone by the whole thing! She, after all, is our “one and only” and we’ve been almost “partners” as much as parents and child—a virtual “three-fold cord” for 18 years! (Hallelujah and boo-hoo!) Please include Misha in your prayers as she embarks on this new phase of life. (And pray for us as well!)

I write this little greeting to simply connect with you who faithfully follow what we are doing and have been friends to us and this work through the years. The summer presents a unique challenge, as we are combining our usual travels with our first—and last—college preparation activities. In the midst of all that, we will take the opportunity to visit our mothers—Gloria Yaffee in New Jersey and Florence Goetz in Cleveland. (We would appreciate your prayers for them as well!) Please check our schedule to see what we’re doing. Perhaps you could keep us in your prayers and maybe catch up with us at a concert or a conference. May you all have a blessed summer. Thank you for checking in with us, and we continue to be blessed by the interest, concern and support so many of you have shared with us through many different seasons and times.

As for the seasons and times of all our lives, our hope is “that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John :2) These are strange and trying days and I’m sure you have been affected by recent events in some way. I quoted Habakkuk to remind us that G-d knows all and cares about us all. Nothing surprises Him or causes Him concern. However, this doesn’t mean he isn’t intimately involved in our earthly affairs or that He doesn’t have a strong opinion about what’s going on! It is clear we must seek Him, obey Him, trust Him and—again—live by “faith” in Him!

As I close out this installment in our continuing conversation, allow me to proclaim:

“The L-rd G-d is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.”
(Habakkuk 3:19)

May the faith-filled proclamation of this ancient prophet be a promise we can all claim in these modern times! And may the L-RD bless you, keep you, make His face to shine upon you, be gracious unto you—and give you—PEACE! (Num. 6:24-26)

Shalom and Love,
Marty and Jenny and Misha
And Maggie the dog

And greetings from Jessica, the typer and sender of this letter, to you all!

 

Newsletter February 2009 - The Changing and Never Changing

“One generation passes away, another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose…
And there is nothing new under the sun.”
Ecclesiastes 1:4-5,9

Marty, a follower of our L-rd, Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus, the Messiah, to all our friends, supporters, and visitors; Hello and welcome! My wife Jennifer and daughter Misha greet you as well, and we all thank you for keeping in touch.

G-d is good all the time and sits as King over all the earth. That’s good news in the midst of troubling tidings on every side. Have you been aware of these things in your world? Of course you have!It seems we’re all in some sort of transition in our lives. As a nation, we have a new president and his new administration. Economically, we are facing situations many of us have never encountered before. Our culture is moving so fast…(notice I said moving, not necessarily progressing!)…it causes our collective head to spin! Spiritually, we are all seeking to know how to think, act and pray during these times. I wanted to simply renew my conversation with “all y’all” by means of this short greeting in order to reconnect with you who have been faithful to me, my family and our work through all these many years.

We hope and pray you are doing well and navigating these present storms. Yeshua was certainly telling the truth…(imagine that!)…when He said…”in this world you will have tribulation” (Oy!) Nevertheless, he also said, “but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!” (Jn 16:33) Isn’t it great to know He is aware of all that is happening, is not uncertain of what to do and is in no danger of losing control?!

Still, it seems we’re all a bit unnerved by the things we are seeing and experiencing!

Without a doubt, we must keep believing that our Father in Heaven will care for us as He does the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Our prayer life and time in His word must not be abandoned and, indeed, I wouldn’t doubt that these things are increasing in quantity and quality! We must love and care for one another in more intentional ways as no one is exempt from these current struggles.

As fellow citizens of this great nation, let us pray that our country does not abandon it’s first principles; freedom of speech, enterprise, exercise of religion and all the other values that have distinguished America. May we not turn our back on Israel and remember G-d’s promises to His first-born nation. G-d loves all people but honors his promises to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and has never looked kindly on those who have forgotten that.

As believers, well, we are being challenged as never before to make our “calling and election sure.” (2 Pt. 1:10) In so many ways, our faith is being... and will continue to be…tested. What seems like “the worst of times” for the world…could, and should...perhaps be “the best of times” for those in the body of Messiah Jesus. To add to a previously quoted passage, He also said, “These things I have spoken to you that in me you may have peace.” (Jn 16:33)

And so, shalom, peace to you and yours. We are always blessed by he interest you show in what we are doing and are perpetually grateful for you support, both spiritually and practically. Thank you for all of your purchases of our recordings and other materials and bless you for the financial gifts. May G-d continue to “supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Messiah Yeshua.” (Phil. 4:19)

Please pray for us as we continue to travel and minister in churches, messianic congregations, conferences and other venues. Remember us as we dream of new recordings, projects and other opportunities in the days ahead. May G-d help us to remember you in our thoughts and prayers. We hope in Him that, in spite of what we see and hear in the news and through other means, that the best is yet to come in your lives as we ALL prepare for the immenent return of the King of Israel and the Lord of all the earth… Yeshua, Jesus! “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the L-rd!” (Mt. 23:39)

To be sure, transition and change have presented themselves to Jenny and me and our household. Our daughter, Misha, graduates from high school this year and heads off to college at the end of the summer. We have no idea as to how we will react, not to mention how she will deal with this new season in her life. (Something tells me she’ll handle it better than I will!) Misha has been such a wonderful child, loved by her friends, commended by her teachers, a blessing to all who know her, and she has humbled and impressed us by her love for G-d and her desire to seek first His Kingdom.

She has served Him by leading the chapel at her school, singing and playing piano and cultivating what we believe is a true gift of worship. Hallelujah! She persevered in classical piano lessons with her instructor, Mrs. Carol Boeing, even in the midst of a heavy scholastic schedule. With all of that, she is a co-editor of her school’s yearbook and her hard work on her studies has been rewarded by her being named Valedictorian of the Class of 2009. We are so very proud of her…and will miss her delightful day-to-day presence in our house!

Yes, the generations continue to come and grow and go their ways, and all our ways continue under the sun. Nothing is new…and yet all is new! History repeats itself…and still we find ourselves in places we’ve not been heretofore! Praise G-d that Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah, is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) We can truly trust in the steadfastness and faithfulness of G-d!

I want to thank our new helper, Jessica, for typing this message and we welcome her in our midst. She is a fine young lady and I’m sure she would appreciate your prayers as well.

By the way, Jennifer remains healthy and cancer-free. We never forget how you all blessed us during the time of her trial. Bless you again and again!!

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him Be glory in (His people) by Messiah Yeshuah to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph. 3:20-21)

Shalom, Peace and Love,
Marty Goetz and Family