July 2, 2016
Wow! Today was a powerful day! We went to the Mt. of Olives and walked the Villa Dolorosa, the path that Jesus carried His cross to Calvary. If we had lived during this time, what would we have thought? People had heard that the Messiah was coming to overthrow Rome and the evil empire, and to save His chosen people. Yet here he was, The Savior of the world riding in humbly on a donkey, going to be crucified to give His life for the sins of the world. Could we have trusted that He knew what he was doing? That he had a plan? That He would come back and redeem his people? The expectations of the masses were not met, and scripture actually says that Jesus wept because of their response. They wanted Jesus to come and overthrow Rome with power, yet Jesus came to us in humility.
June 30, 2016
If you’ve been reading thIs blog you know by now that our days are long and FULL. Today was no exception!
We began the day with a short hike to the banks of the Jordan River. The flow of the water provided a quiet, soothing backdrop as Scott began his teaching in Genesis with the story of creation. As God hovered over chaos, He created water, bringing peace. From day one, He has been about this same business, bringing peace where there is chaos. We then delved into the story of Jericho, when the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land and came to the banks of the Jordan. After being in the desert for so long, they were still learning to be FREE by living in OBEDIENCE to God.
June 29, 2016
Everyday I am reminded how the context and cultural thought process is so important to how the scriptures are read and interpreted. The Jewish culture emphasizes committing the Torah to heart and making it a part of who they are. Over and over Jesus uses our own language to speak to us; certain wordings or examples He uses in the scriptures that may not make sense to me would have been heard and understood so clearly to the Jewish people. Throughout His teachings He uses ramez (a reference) as he speaks to the people of the Bible. He used short phrases to reference longer passages of Old Testament scriptures that the Jews would have committed to memory. Jesus on the cross is riddled with the use of ramez.
June 28, 2016
What do you think of when you think of prayer? A nice quiet setting, serene music… dim lights? My mind used to go to pictures and places like that… NO MORE! Mt. Arbel, Prayer Mountain, is a main route between towns and places that Jesus traveled. We started at the bottom and traveled, or should I say, “scaled” hand over hand. We kept going up,up and up, over 121 flights (according to Jason’s Fitbit!) This consisted of huffing and puffing, finding shade, and more huffing and puffing. I have to say shade never felt so good!
June 27, 2016
Wow! Today was definitely a full day. Starting with hiking around the Sea of Galilee, we got to visualize where 80% of Jesus’s ministry took place. On the mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached the sermon on the Mount, we discussed the miracles that took place at that time. He fed the 5000, after that the 4000 in Decapolis. When his 12 disciples were fearful and frustrated that they no longer had food for themselves, Jesus was disappointed that they were not trusting what he had just done by feeding all of those people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. We learned that 5 was symbolic of the Torah, and 2 was represented by the 2 tablets. Jesus began to heal a blind man, but the first time the man was only able to see people as trees. Jesus performs the same procedure, but then the man is fully able to see. He uses this as a reminder to the disciples that after seeing all of Jesus’s miracles, there was still more to see.
Home of the Essenes- Today we visited Qumran, which is located in the West Bank of Israel, next to the Dead Sea. As we approached Qumran (desert), I was amazed at the sheer rock facings so close to the water. How did these people get water out here? As we entered the Tel, we found multiple mikvahs (Jewish ritual purification baths) with elaborate water systems or aqueducts in which the ritual baths were filled. We also came across large cisterns for their potable water, but the idea that the Essenes would devote more that 3 to 1 mikvahs to cisterns conveys the passion and intensity the Essenes displayed in a repentant spirit.
June 21, 2016
Today was awesome and amazing and hot! We made our way through what is called the Shephelah, which means low hills. It is also a place where a ton of battles took place, battles that include David and Goliath, and Senacherub. Our theme for the day was confronting evil. We though bible as we went through the land to see examples of this theme, in the places that they happened. We began our journey with a long hike up to Zorah, where Samson lived and was buried. We discussed Samson’s life and the decisions that he made. We talked about his Nazarite Vow, how he broke it, and the consequences of that.
March 16, 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!