Israel Study Tour with The Forge, Pine Cove

Mar 12-24, 2016

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Sea you later, Galilee!

Some people may say that as the Fast and Furious movies have progressed in number, they have decreased in quality. However, this assessment is far from the truth as it pertains to the time we’ve spent here in Israel. As the number of days spent in Israel have come to pass and fatigue has set in, our spirits are still very high and our eyes and ears are still attentive to the lessons God wants us to see and hear. Each morning we wake up with the expectation that the new day cannot possibly be better than the previous but these expectations are quick to be shattered from location to location. As of today, we have come to close of our visitation to the region of Galilee. While we may look back at the vital lessons learned here in Galilee, we look forward to the new truths God will reveal to us as we approach the end of our trip.

This morning, we packed our bibles, journals, and life vests as we set sail on a boat across the Sea of Galilee! We continued to live in the text as we had morning devotional centered on the story of Mark 4 where even the wind and the waves obeyed Christ’s command. We responded to this in worship and a celebratory dance party. We packed up our sea-legs and headed over to the Tel of Jezreel where we studied 1 Samuel 28 focusing on Saul and what consequences can come from when you are discontent in the Lord. Next, we made our way to Harod’s Spring, which was a crucial site in the story of Gideon, and got to talk about the faithfulness of God despite Gideon’s lack of faith at times. Just around the corner lies the historical Tel of Beth She’an, which oversees the pagan city Scythopolis. As we toured the city we got to see temptation through the eyes of first century Jew that mirrors the world in which we currently reside. Although it had already been a big day, it was not over as we hopped in the bus one last time to the city of Susita. For some, this may have been one of the most impactful stops so far on the trip.

From start to finish, a theme of the day was the authority Christ has over all of creation. At Susita, we opened our Bibles to Mark 5 and read the story of Jesus casting Legion from the possessed man into a swarm of 2000 pigs. After Jesus cast the demons out, he tells the demon-possessed man to go home to his friends and proclaim what God had done in his life and the mercy that God had shown! After reading the story, we walked to a portion of the city in ruins only to find out that we were standing in the remnants of a Christian church in a once pagan city. The lesson to be learned is that when Jesus has changed our lives, it should be our joy to go and tell everyone what He has done for us. This is especially important in light of our understanding that we tell people about a God who saves; the same God who commands the winds and calms the seas. Once we as Christians realize that God is the only one deserving of our fear, than nothing can hinder us from proclaiming the good news of the Gospel.

We thank you again for praying for us and our safety on this trip. Please pray for God to continue to reveal that which it is he has for us in Israel and that the lessons here will be heard and acted upon in our daily lives as we return home. Amidst these lessons and challenges, the one truth that stands above the rest is that for the rest of our lives we get to spend everyday with the one who has authority over all creation.

By Matthew Meyers and Colton Venner

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Today we started our morning off on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, then went to Tel Jezreel (one of the most important crossroads of the world at that time), then to the Spring of Harod (this is where God commands Gideon to narrow his armies), then to Beth She'an (a Grecko Roman city that was destroyed in 7 seconds by a massive earthquake in 749 AD), and finally, ended the day at Susita/Hippos (the place where this picture was taken). Susita is likely the city that Jesus was talking about when He talks about a city on a hill. While at this site, we learned about the man possessed with the legion of demons. Jesus cast out the demons into 2,000 pigs, which then run into the Sea of Galilee. At the end of the story, the people asked Jesus to leave because they are afraid of what He will do to their city. The man whom He had just performed the miracle asked to join Him on the journey but Jesus tells him to go back to his country and tell them what the Lord has done. Because of this one man's faithfulness to tell his story, the entire Pagan city of Susita was transformed. We stood inside one of the four Christian churches that was built in the city and were challenged on this: "How are we allowing God to use our stories to further His Kingdom? Where is He leading us to be a light for Him in the darkness?" As weird as it is to say, I hope for a boldness like the demon-possessed man. To speak on how the Lord has transformed my life with those I'm around and those whom He has called me to minister to. Our stories of life-transformation in Christ are nothing to be ashamed of! #forgeisrael #isthisrael

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Studying the Text while sitting IN the Text! #ForgeIsrael #4G16

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Susita or Hypos was part of the Decapolis in the first century. In the 1st century it was pagan. By the third century they had four Christian churches. All because of one mans story. We asked to think about what God could do with faith, obedience, and your story. Big day. Hard lessons. Still processing. #forgeisrael #isthisrael #hikeyeah

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