January 17, 2016
Now that we’ve returned from our study tour you’ll hopefully be able to talk to one of us in person about what we saw, heard, learned, and experienced!
Below is a wrap up video that serves as a nice summary of the trip and a reminder of all that we did.
January 14, 2016
I awakened today with the awareness that it was our final day for in the land of Israel. There are so many expectations and desires I’ve had each of the three times I’ve traveled to this incredible place. I can honestly say that each time my expectations have been exceeded.
I began the morning with my Bible reading, (coincidentally?), in Matthew 24:1-31 where Jesus talks about how the magnificent stones of the Temple will be “thrown down.” I envisioned immediately the pile of massive stones left by the Roman General Titus’ forces in 70 AD at the base of the SW corner of Temple Mount that we saw yesterday. Our first stop today was the Mount of Olives, where Matthew 24 says Jesus predicted just what we witnessed of the destruction of Jerusalem and the time of the end still to come.
January 13, 2016
God’s Word continued to come alive today. The day started below the southern wall of the Temple Mount, at the site of the City of David. The terrain revealed a city where David’s palace at the top of the hill looked down over many homes, and ultimately over the home of Uriah, one of his trusted and faithful mighty men, and his wife Bathsheba. It grieved me to understand the intentionality with which David went about his sin, and the extent to which he went to cover it up. Of course that forced me to think of how many times I’ve been just as intentional about getting into sin and relentless in covering it up, rather than avoiding it at all cost in the first place.
January 12, 2016
The word that embodies today most is contrast. Everything we saw today was a strange juxtaposition: ancient and modern, Judaism and Islam, worship and politics, Israel and Palestine, hubris and humility. It was an overwhelming day to process to say the least.
We started our exposition into Jerusalem by visitng the temple. Everywhere we’ve gone thus far has had some sort of commercializations in the form of a souvenir shop or coffee place at the entrance, but not at the Temple Mount because the Temple Mount is for worship. All around you see people in fervent prayer, but in the midst of all this worship you have armed guards.
January 11, 2016
This was another fantastic day. Each day it is hard to say what was most significant, with each site being more impressive than the last.
We began the day by visiting Beit Shean/Scythopolis. This dramatically illustrated the spiritual battle between the Hebrew worldview and the Greco/Roman culture. To imagine a Jew coming from the simple life of Capernaum or Chorazin and traveling only 25 miles to the impressive Roman city of Scythopolis with its bath, Gymnasium, Theatre and pagan temples and 80,000 people is a contrast in black and white. This also illustrates the continuing struggle between Jesus’ Gospel today, in contract to the temptations of the world.
January 10, 2016
Before we got on the bus this morning, after enjoying an extra fifteen minutes of sleep and a delicious breakfast, we all walked down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee and reflected on Mark 5:1-20 and Mark 7:31-8:10. The first time Jesus visited the eastern shore he was greeted by a single demon-possessed man, whom he heals and sends back with the instruction to tell everyone what the Lord has done for him. The next time we read of Jesus visiting the eastern shore a group of 4000 people have gathered to hear him speak. The first visit must have seemed crazy to the disciples: all the work of rowing across the lake just to help a single pagan man. On the second visit, however, it seems that the apparent craziness has borne great fruit.
January 9, 2016
Today was the first day that we got to walk where Jesus walked. This was very exciting and humbling at the same time. It was exciting because the Bible moved from print to a visual reality. It was humbling because we got to see where Jesus performed the miraculous. We started with a boat journey across the Sea of Galilee and were able to see where various stories of in the Gospels took place. One highlight was hearing how crazy the storms can get on the lake with wind blowing in different directions and sand making visibility very hard. It was a reminder that Jesus calms the fiercest of storms.
January 8, 2016
My time in Israel has been unlike any other. I have to keep reminding myself that these places we are visiting and the sites we are seeing are actual places where Biblical characters have walked, lived, and encountered God. We are only on day three and I find myself having a tough time choosing highlight of the trip thus far.
Today in En Gedi I was able to understand and view the Psalms of David in a way that I have not before. I was standing beside a tree looking up at the massive rock structures including caves where David could have quite easily hid, and that was a surreal moment. As I gazed down at the trees below where a stream of water used to be, the whole concept of a “tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1) made more sense than ever before. In the middle of a desert God has provided trees and a stream of water. As the stream of water sustains the trees, so God sustains us today. In our very own lives we can often feel dry and even lost, but God is faithful and He continues to give us just enough, and we need only to trust Him. The desert can be a frustrating place for us, but it is where God works in his people and reminds us of who He is.
January 7, 2016
After collapsing into bed last night, we woke up this morning feeling very refreshed with an extraordinary view of the Salt Sea (Dead Sea) from our hotel window. Melinda (my wife) and I thanked God over breakfast for getting to come to Israel because this is the fulfillment of a dream of experiencing the Holy Land together. Following our fantastic breakfast, we were on our way to Masada, the famed fortress and site of one of Israel’s best-known and most tragic moments of national identity and fidelity to God.
January 6, 2016
Today has proven to be a gorgeous first day in Israel. From the rugged mountain country, to the lush valleys and now driving toward the aired desert we’ve experienced the diverse topography of this special land.
Our Israeli guide Ronan has exposed our group to symbolically significant objects like a threshing floor, watch-tower, and even tombs. Our adventures have allowed us to explore an under ground city full of cisterns and olive presses, in addition to a mountain top walking tour of a Biblical garden. Throughout each location we are given the opportunity to open up God’s Word and see for ourselves the correlation between ancient text and present day.
January 5, 2016
Just a quick update to let everyone know that we made it to Israel safe and sound. The Huston and Chicago group caught an earlier flight to Tel Aviv and are already resting at the hotel. What a long flight with a few delays but as they say, once you board an airliner to the Middle East your trip to the Holy Land begins. Too many stories to tell but let’s just say it was fun to experience so many cultures right from the start as well as drinking a lot of Turkish coffee.
January 4, 2016
We are excited to tell you that all the California crew have arrived at LAX airport and have finished the fun check in process on Turkish Airlines. We are all here, besides our friends flying out of Houston and Chicago who will be meeting us in Israel. While our group is not all together we are having fun getting to know the West Coast crew for the first time.
While we all might be strangers at this point we have a lot in common as everyone works in some form of vocational ministry. Truly this is going to be a trip of a lifetime and we look forward to seeing how God will use this group of men and women to help shape our time together. Keep following this blog as we will be updating often. Here is to the 12-hour flight ahead of us with a small layover in Istanbul and then another few hour flight to the Holy Land. Use the links below to follow our flights.
January 1, 2016
Shalom friends and family,
I can hardly believe that the time has come for this trip to begin. We at Hume Lake and GTI Tours are very excited for the experience these men and women are about to partake in. Within their busy ministry schedules they have spent the last 4 months studying through a 9 lesson GTI curriculum that goes through everything from basic Hebrew to geography of the land as well as Biblical locations and concepts.
September 25, 2015
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!