November 8, 2017
We started this morning on the Mount of Olives overlooking the Kidron Valley and the Eastern Gate of Temple Mount. After reading about Jesus’ last week and observing communion among the Gethsemane olive trees, we walked down the path that Jesus took as he entered Jerusalem amid hosannas and praises.
Once inside the Lion Gate, we walked through the different quarters of the old city, smelling the spices, hearing the calls of merchants, and watching the busy life of people from three separate faiths. After reading from John 5 at the site of the pool of Bethesda, we headed to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
November 7, 2017
We started the day in Jerusalem early by heading to Temple Mount. The enormity of the platform Herod created is hard to fathom. The walls were 80 feet high and the eastern & western walls were 500 years long. This was an unbelievable feat from a man who wanted to show who was king. The grandeur and splendor Herod produced & demonstrated had more to do with power & prestige than faith. We learned that this site was significant because it is the same site that Abraham had almost sacrificed his only son Isaac, but God provided a substitute. This was not the most strategic location in Israel, and it didn’t have all the necessities (water, food, defense) that most ancient civilizations required. But for millennia, this was the place where God called His people to recognize Him & walk by faith.
November 6, 2017
We were sad to leave Galilee- “The Land of Jesus”. We had magnificent sunsets and moon rises. BUT we had a joyous event before our departure. One of our own, Nathie, was baptized in the Jordan- Sea of Galilee. No doves appeared, but it still was a spiritually uplifting experience. She had a compelling testimony.
Then onward to Har Megiddo! The view of Jezreel valley was spectacular. This is the site of the FINAL BATTLE. Mount Tabor to the East; Lebanon to the north; the mountains of Samaria to the south. The valley is expansive. The location is prime real-estate. There is evidence of 26 civilizations on the mountain.
November 5, 2017
We started off day 6 in the area known during Jesus’ time as the Decapolis/pagan region. Pastor Eric started us off with reading from Mark 4:35-41 about Jesus calming the sea emphasizing His sovereignty over all creation. Pastor Eric continued the teaching into Mark 5 about Jesus healing the man with an unclean spirit in the country of the Gerrasenes. We learned from this passage in Mark 5 that numerous people from the surrounding areas came to be healed by Jesus as a result of the man who had been demon-possessed going away and proclaiming in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him. Pastor Eric challenged us to share our faith stories with those outside our comfort circle.
November 4, 2017
Our day began very early this morning. Wake up call was at 4:30 am due to a bicycling race around Galilee. The roads were going to be closed by 6:00 AM so we headed away from the sea of Galilee for another amazing day.
Our first stop was to Mt. Precipice. This mountain stands between two major sites. Behind us was the city of Nazareth, the city where Jesus was raised. In front of us was the Jezreel Valley. Jezreel means “Where God Plants His Seed.” We opened up our Bibles where Ross Strader led us through a study of Luke 4:14-30. Jesus has previously been presented at the temple, baptized, and been tempted in the Garden. It is from Nazareth that he stands in the synagogue and reads from Isaiah 61, hands it back to the attendant and says, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” It is from here that Jesus then began His public ministry around the sea of Galilee. It is from here that God plants His seed of redemption.
November 2, 2017
We began our day at En Gedi – the “spring of the young goat” or the “spring of the ibex.” This is where David hid from Saul and was betrayed by his countrymen, the Ziphites. And so, it is here where he mournfully & sorrowfully writes psalms like Psalm 42, 54, & 63. It is a desert climate, and so water is in short supply, while heat & dryness & desperation are in abundance. One can hear the roar of a waterfall from far off, and almost irresistibly, one is drawn to the life that it offers. David drawn to his God in the same way, and so we are invited to experience the living waters that Jesus brings to those who will receive. Not only that – astonishingly, Jesus tells us that streams of living water will flow from us because that is precisely what this world needs, and precisely what God offers in abundance through us.
November 1, 2017
We started this morning at Masada, the ancient complex built by Herod the Great on a high plateau in the desert overlooking the Dead Sea. Here, zealous Jews made a final, tragic stand against the Roman Empire, choosing death over surrender; and Masada still remains in the hearts and lore of Israeli Jews today.
After discovering for ourselves that it’s almost impossible to ride a camel gracefully, we visited a Bedouin tent for tea and fresh flatbread. Hospitality has been foundational to the Bedouin culture in the Middle East, and the experience expanded our understanding of the lives of Abraham, Sarah, and Lot. Then we ourselves became wanderers in the desert by hiking down the treacherous canyon of Zohar.
October 31, 2017
This morning we began our adventure near Kiriath Jearim, where the Ark of the Covenant was returned to the Israelites by the Philistines. We learned about how the Lord demonstrated his own trustworthiness through the people’s most basic needs: food, living water, shelter, and protection. Each of the major products of the land—wheat, barley, pomegranates, figs, dates, grapes, and olives—told a story of God’s goodness and blessing, if only his people would trust him.
October 30, 2017
We arrived safely & soundly on Monday evening, October 31st in Tel Aviv, Israel with no issues or significant challenges at all. All are in good spirits & looking forward to what The Lord will show us in His Word while we walk through the land. We will not get a lot of sleep tonight, but are starting off EARLY tomorrow to take in as much as we can on the 500th anniversary of The Reformation. We are praying for peace, safety, and for The Lord to impress on our hearts all that we can receive. Shalom!
October 28, 2017
Our trip to Israel will be here before you know it!
Once we’re on the ground in Israel, we’ll post periodic updates and photos. Check back often or get update notifications using the subscribe options on this page.
We’ll be sharing our travel experiences online with you, our friends and family, to not only bring you along on the journey with us, but to also solicit your ongoing prayer and support. Most of us on this trip have been preparing mentally and spiritually for what will be a life-changing experience in the land. We’re also preparing physically as we train our bodies to handle all the time we’ll spend on our feet walking. So please pray that we would be diligent in our preparations and we would all be ready to learn what God has to teach us!