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Israel Study Tour

February 29 - March 8, 2016

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Authentic Community

After spending our first two days in the desert, it was refreshing to move to a cooler environment. We began our morning taking a boat across the Sea of Galilee. We stopped in the middle of the lake to experience the peace and stillness. Ronan explained how quickly storms could come and disrupt the peacefulness. Regina led us in singing “It Is Well”. A good reminder that no matter what storms arise in our lives, His presence brings peace in the midst. Ronan taught us some Jewish songs and dance, and we laughed hard as we danced and sang on the boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. I don't think we'll ever look at each other the same way again.

We drove through the city of Tiberias and then hiked along the upper part of Mount Arbel. As we took in the expansive view of the Sea of Galilee from the top, we reflected on Luke 11 and the Lord's prayer. Jesus went to the mountains often to pray. Perhaps Arbel was one of his prayer spots. Yesterday, the focus was on thirst and the Living Water. Today, at Arbel, our focus was on the Bread of Life. We hunger for food. How much do we hunger for God?

After some time of prayer with our "families" we feasted on some local filafel for lunch, then headed to the Mount Of Beatitudes. Our guys read the Sermon on the Mount as we watched a storm start to blow over the sea of Galilee. You could picture what it must have been like as Jesus taught.

Our next stop was Chorazim. Ronan explained their community life, and how the courtyard was the center of their community. It made us long for that type of community today.

After Chorazim, we went to Capernaum, where Jesus performed most of His miracles. We walked through the synagogue where He walked and taught, and walked down to the Sea of Galilee.

Our last stop of the day was Tabgha, believed to be the place on the Sea of Galilee where Jesus called Peter, James, John, and Andrew, and where Jesus might have cooked breakfast for the disciples and gave His final charge to Peter: "feed my sheep."

We each had time alone by the Sea of Galilee and reflected on ordering our loves, one of the highlights of the day. We ended by holding hands and singing “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. A great way to end our third day in Israel. One of the highlights of this trip is getting to know people we worship with regularly in a more authentic way. Community was a theme today.

What are we doing tomorrow? As we have learned to say here, "hold your camels!"

—Crickett Keeth

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