June 28, 2016
We began the final day of our pilgrimage in the Holy City of Jerusalem with a visit to the Pool of Bethesda. The site where Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. The site of the pool is on the grounds of St. Anne’s Church, so after we had taken in the pools our Rabbi Tim led us into the church. There we stood in a circle and closed our eyes. After a moment the sound of one beautiful voice began to sing. Echoing on itself, resonating in the building’s unique acoustics our dear Christine sang a love song to Jesus. As she continued, Tim joined. Following his lead, we as a group joined and the building reverberated with our song. It was a powerful experience.
June 26, 2016
Opulence…this is the only word that kept coming to my mind today! We visited the ruins of Megiddo and Caesarea, two great cities boundless in comforts, wealth and pagan worship, and so driven by passion to appease their Gods that in Megiddo children were raised to be sacrificed. These cities were ruled by kings who found resources to build amazing structures to honor themselves. Herod the Great built Caesarea and because it rivaled the city of Rome he proclaimed himself “great”! What a humble guy!
June 25, 2016
The day started with visit to the Beth Shean tell. The Romans built there a very sophisticated city. Jewish culture of the time had built a beautiful templein Jerusalem. In Tim’s message, given while overlooking the ruins of the city, God wants us to be living stones chiseled to fit into the temple of God. We all are important to the temple. God wants to live in our temple. The presence of God is among us. God wants the whole world to know who God is by how we love each other.
June 24, 2016
Golan Heights- We traveled north into the Golan Heights to an area where the Zealots were attacked by the Romans. This area is known as the “Camel Back” or “Gomla”. We walked among the ruins of one of the oldest first century synagogues where Jesus may have visited.
We drove near the Israel Syria border where we could view Mt. Hermon which is the highest point in Israel. We saw United Nations buildings below in the valley. It was very moving as we said the Shema together and prayed for peace to come about in this area.
June 23, 2016
My prayer for our team has been that we would see and experience this trip as pilgrims and not as tourists. Today I felt we entered fully into that “Jesus centered” focus as true pilgrims.
We began the morning on a beautiful part of the rolling hillside of the Sea of Galilee. The area is where tradition says that Jesus proclaimed his “Sermon on the Mount”, recorded in Matthew. 5-7.
A surprise to us was that five members of our team had memorized this entire section of Scripture. They stood and recited these words of Jesus with conviction and passion.
June 21, 2016
East of Jerusalem, the rugged Judean wilderness drops steeply toward the Dead Sea. It’s striking in its beauty, but it is also dusty, dry, and hot. It makes you resolve never to take fresh water for granted, ever.
Like so many wildernesses in the Bible, the Judean wilderness is a place of testing. Traditionally this is the place where Jesus fasted for 40 days, and where the devil tempted him to take an easier route to accomplishing his mission. As we hiked, many of us were tested by the heat, by the terrain, and by our own tired bodies.
June 20, 2016
Today we visited Tel Azekah looking out over the valley of Elah. Somewhere nearby in this valley David stood in the name of the living God and brought down the mighty Goliath with a mere slingshot and a stone. God had prepared David with the skill and with great confidence in the living God. We were left with the awareness that God has provided us with “stones” and skills. There is another passage where Jesus says not to throw stones. Listen for guidance – when am I to throw a stone and when am I to drop my stone on the ground?
May 31, 2016
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!