August 10, 2016
Today was a good day, but it was also a sad day. It is back to reality tomorrow as we hop on long plane rides back to the lives we put on pause 17 days ago. We tied everything up in a day of church history. We spent time in an underground city where Christians hid from Roman persecution in Cappadocia, and then visited three early churches that told the story of how the Christian church we know today is the way it is. In the end we circled back to Marty’s four pillars of the trip: Text, community, discipleship, and wrestling. At the end of the day we were left trying to figure out how we each go home and take a piece of what we learned with us to make a change in the way we live. We did it. It is finished.
*We also went to a Turkish textile that had nothing to do with Marty’s teaching and learned about Turkey’s rug trade and history.
August 9, 2016
Today we had lots of bus travel, but the two sites we stopped at were definitely worth it. We were in the region of the Galatians, and we stopped in Pisidian Antioch and in the unexcavated land of Lystra.
In Pisidian Antioch, we discussed how Paul was passionate about going to Rome, but also swore he would first preach the gospel in all the provinces in which it had never before been heard. Pisidian Antioch was nearly an exact replica of Rome, from the people, to the architecture, and everything in between, so Paul was certainly there.
August 8, 2016
Hello! Here at the Richmond Thermal Spa, Marty has given us an exercise in truly experiencing luxuries that many would consider a stretch out of their Christian comfort zone. Fantastic meals, bath houses, pools, and service that models the true Kingdom of God. I’m continually in awe of the kindness we’ve received everywhere we go.
August 7, 2016
We ventured out to the city of Sardis this morning where we learned about a people who were obsessed with death. Out of the hundred thousand people who lived here, many people worshiped the god Kibula. But we discovered there was something much bigger going on here. Throughout the city we found subtle but sneaky ways the Jews showed their faith in the God of Israel. Some shops had small crosses gently engraved on the front of their store. There were even symbols in the synagogue. These people were definitely on a mission in the midst of chaos. What a great example these people have set for us because they loved the Romans they were living with and they were able to tell a different story. They believed ultimately, meaning they trusted the story God had for them no matter how hard it must have been.
August 6, 2016
Hello everyone, Tori here. Mr. Brent asked me to write the post for today, so here I am. And here you are.
Today I think it’d be safe to say we all got our minds blown… again. Marty became a character who guided us on a tour through the Ascelepion temple, and what the process of getting hospital treatment in Pergamum would look like. We were also more formally introduced to the idea of talking in Text to the culture there, so that was rad.
August 5, 2016
Today’s lesson started with the gate at Ephesus. If God is standing at your gate, what culture does He see? Order or chaos?
Like the stone we saw yesterday. Did God see the menorah defacing the cross, or the cross defacing the menorah? I believe God saw order. Two cultures living in harmony.
We ended our day at the oracle at Didyma, marveling at the dedication they had to the gods and their oracles. We hope to have the same dedication to the oracles of our God, given freely to us.
When we see things that don’t make sense, don’t be furious. Be curious. The answer may surprise you.
August 4, 2016
Today we fully engaged wrestling with what we think we know and what culture tells us. That started with the 1 am departure from our Jerusalem hotel. Today we say goodbye to Israel and hello to Turkey. We are at the second part of our journey and looking forward to what God has for us here.
August 3, 2016
Today was our 9th day on the ground in Israel, and we started it with a short bus ride to the Mount of Olives where Marty led us in our morning devotional with a view of the old city of Jerusalem behind us. From there we walked down the street where Jesus would have made the “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and were faced again with the question of what story we wanted to be a of.
August 2, 2016
Today we left the Galilee and spent the day in and around Jerusalem. Our first stop was at the temple mount where Marty taught about Pentecost and the birth of the church. We visited the ruins of a 13,000-square-foot house that could have been the house of Caiaphas where the “informal Sanhedrin” met to sentence Jesus. To think we may have been standing where Jesus and Peter stood when the cock crowed was humbling.
August 1, 2016
Today we were introduced and challenged by the world of hellenism. What kind of story are we telling with our lives? Above the ruins of Bet She’an, we circled around the four pillars of Hellenism: media, education, athletics, and healthcare. None of these four elements are sinful, but what amount of our identity have we allowed to be defined by them? Too often, God’s narrative in our lives is put in a haze behind an identity wrapped up in our social media presence and consumption (media), what kind of degree and career field we have scrambled into (education), whether we’re Crossfit-ers or marathoners or something else (athletics), and whether we are vegan, carnivore, paleo, or naturopathic (healthcare). If we were to stack our identity upon the Text and God’s story in our lives, how would we live differently?
July 31, 2016
I could tell you how today we went to Gamla to learn about the zeal of the zealots. With their zeal they became some of the most feared men and women in all the empire, and they lived on a small chunk of dirt in the Galilee. That’s impressive.
I could tell you about the god pan, but trust me, you probably don’t want me to start talking about pan. Especially if you just ate lunch.
I could talk to you about how Jesus, son of the living God, stood above the crowds at Caesarea Philippi and told them to take up their cross. I could talk for hours about how I believe that Christ’s last statement in that passage was for his disciples.
July 30, 2016
In spite of the shorter distances walked today compared to the last few days, it may have been the day with the most struggling. Today was all about grappling with Jesus’s teaching, what he truly meant to teach, and how we respond to his lessons (or, frequently, how we try to avoid responding). Marty led us to Chorazin and Capernaum, settlements which struggled with Jesus’s lessons and often refused to accept his words of unrelenting, always-pursuing love. We then traveled to the hill where Jesus likely fed the five thousand and what may have been the dwelling of Peter, James, and John, where Marty proclaimed that God uses unlikely people to change the world—if they will offer themselves and walk the path behind Jesus. The same holds true for us.
July 29, 2016
Today we hiked to the top of Mt. Carmel, the place where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal. His passion and zeal for following God was his driving force and something we should strive for. But in the end, no Israelites returned to God because of him.
As he sits dismayed over the people’s stubbornness, there is an earthquake, wind, and fire, but God is not in any of them. Then God comes to him in “a still, small voice,” or “the whisper of a lover,” teaching him that zeal and passion are great, but love is what changes the hearts of men.
After lunch we hiked to the top of Mt. Arbel to get a good view of the Sea of Galilee and to learn the geography that will help us study the ministry of Jesus in the coming days.
July 28, 2016
Today started with breakfast at our hotel just outside of Jerusalem. There was a wide variety of food, from pesto covered pasta to waffles.
Our first stop was at Tel Gezer. We walked among ancient ruins and learned about city gates. In ancient cities, the gate was where the poor and needy went to get the things they needed (since they lived outside of the city). We were challenged to be a gate to the world and people around us.
July 26, 2016
We spent the day learning the lessons of the desert the Israelites learned after leaving Egypt, such as the concepts of enough, walking the path and following in the steps of the rabbi.
As people adjusted to the heat, some stayed at the hotel in the afternoon while the rest of us visited the Ein Gedi nature preserve to talk about living water.