Israel Study Tour with The Forge, Pine Cove

Mar 12-24, 2016

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The (Pita) Bread of Life

Shalom family and friends!
It’s been a very BIG day as we continue our tour of Israel. We have definitely seen the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness in the form of waking up to the Sea of Galilee another day, pita bread and hummus, and a Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner where we enjoyed lots of food and fellowship, which coincidently happens to be the theme of our day! So what better way to talk about community than co-writing a blog?

Our first stop was at Capernaum also known as “The Town of Jesus.” There are numerous different mentions in scripture of this crossroads and fishing city. The setting of our first teaching took place at a synagogue that was built on top of a first century one, we discussed Jesus being the bread of life (John 6), the faith of the a Roman centurion (Matthew 8), Jesus’ healing of a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1), and the provision of the temple tax from the mouth of a fish (Matthew 17). It’s not everyday that you get to wakeup and SIT in the text- what a morning!

Capernaum

Jesus made Capernaum his home during the years of his ministry: “Leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum” (Matt 4:13).

Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen living in the village. Matthew the tax collector also dwelt here.

Capernaum is one of the three cities cursed by Jesus for its lack of faith.

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Our next stop was at Qatzrin where we walked through a replica of a house from the first century, which helped us better understand the story of a paralytic man being lowered through the roof found in Mark 2. Our third stop of the day was to Bethsaida where a blind man was brought to Jesus to be healed (Mark 8) and we discussed how blindness is a metaphor for lostness or neediness and how our faith helps us to see what our eyes can only perceive. Our final stop of the day was to the Jordan River where we discussed how baptism is a name ceremony in which one gets rid of the name of Adam and gains the name of Christ (Romans 6). We also celebrated with four of our brothers who were baptized in the Jordan right in front of us! We discussed the Jordan River being a place of declaration. We each had the opportunity to get our feet wet (Joshua 3) in the Jordan River and make a declaration of our own.

Katzrin

The ancient Jewish farming village of Katzrin was built around a spring, which still flows. Although there were standing ruins on the site, archaeological excavations have increased the number of accessible ancient buildings. An ancient synagogue was discovered in 1967 and excavated between 1971 and 1984. Other parts of the village were excavated beginning in 1983. Some of the buildings have been reconstructed on their ancient foundations and furnished with replicas of household goods and tools

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Overall, today’s theme was an opportunity for faith together. We focused on how community plays a vital role in our individual relationship with the Lord because as Dietrich Bonheoffer says it best, “the Jesus in your brother is stronger than in yourself.” At all three sites the scriptures we reflected on all exemplify how a community of faith should function- the glue of the relationship being the continual bringing the message of salvation to one another. In talking about community we have realized that our strength is not our own and we have been introduced to the Hebrew phrase, Hazak Hazak Venit Hezek, meaning strong, stronger we all grow stronger. This is something that the Forge has been teaching us since August! In talking about community, we discussed Jesus being “The Bread of Life.” This is a phrase that I’ve known most of my life growing up, but never truly knowing what it meant. One of the Hebrew words for Life is “Zoe” which essentially means “this is the way life should be/ought to look all the time.” Jesus being the bread of life means that He is life the way that God intended for it to be lived. We then discussed the question “What are you eating everyday” and “What are you giving your friends to eat.” If we are not feeding ourselves (or others) THE BREAD OF LIFE then we are feeding/being fed something that will not sustain us and will continue to fail us and spoil. If we are not feeding one another the Bread of Life, we cannot make one another stronger (as Mackenzie discussed).

We really appreciate all the prayers you all have prayed for us throughout our travels. We would really appreciate if you could continue to pray that all 59 of us would be of optimal health to be able to enjoy all that the Lord has for us the next five days that we are here!

By Sam Victor and Mackenzie Herring

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Man. Today. My heart can't handle today. We went to Capernaum (in a synagogue that was built on top of the foundation of the synagogue that Jesus taught in), Qatzrin (more to come on this site), Bethsaida (one of the most frequent cities mentioned in the Bible), the Jordan River, and ended the day hanging out at the Sea of Galilee (which is pictured) and celebrating Shabbat. Qatzrin was an amazing site and the part that struck me the most was not a Biblical site at all. We had an opportunity to sit inside a house modeled after what a house would have looked like during the first century and talked about Mark 12, when 4 friends brought their paralytic friend, lowering him through the roof, to be healed by Jesus. While reading through these scriptures and talking it out, it hit me like a ton of bricks on how community is meant to be lived out. So often I am worried about being a burden to others that I choose to walk through difficult times by myself. I don't like asking for help because I don't like being an inconvenience to those around me. I wept as we sat in the house imaging the faithfulness of his friends to bring him to the Healer and how important our community today is in doing the same. A community IS important, burdens are NOT meant to be carried alone. When our faith is lacking, the faith of our friends do more for us than we know to bring us to Jesus. The community is meant to carry one another's burdens but I so often choose to carry them myself, which is both prideful and damaging. This moment in the house was so eye-opening and heart tugging as I see how much I struggle with relying on my community. Man. This day, guys. This day. I don't want to forget what I learned this day. #forgeisrael #isthisrael

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I can't explain how special it is to be experiencing this with my @laceyjervis. Makes this all exponentially more meaningful. -- This is a part of the wilderness where Jesus was led by Spirit to be tempted. Man, I'm thankful for God's Word. Living, active, incarnate. #ForgeIsrael #jervisrael

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Super thankful to be learning from this guy on our trip. An excellent teacher, guide, and friend. His ministry is sharpening mine. If you go to Israel, you go with @matt_lantz. #ForgeIsrael #jervisrael

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"You are standing in the Bible!" - @matt_lantz -- We visited the Mount of Beatitudes yesterday. The Sermon on the Mount. Jesus making his "state of the union" for God's Kingdom, that there are changes coming, that this is the new, best way of life. #ForgeIsrael #jervisrael

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Seeing our Father's relentless pursuit of His people manifested even in his design of this country. The desert, the living water, the vine and branches, mountains that speak his name and so much more - all for His magnificent, relentless pursuit of US. Woah. Photo at Bethsaida, a place that I've often imagined heaven looking just like. To know it's even more beautiful?! Crazy. #forgeisrael

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2 years ago we were standing by the Jordan river where God parted the waters for the Israelites |Joshua 3|. They stepped out in faith as their feet hit the water, believing God would do what he promised...and He did, as He always does. Remembering to {get my feet wet}. #remember #forgeisrael #forgenation #4g14

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The Jordan River is a place of declaration. 4 brothers today declared they are in Christ. It is a place for faith and obedience. If you get your feet wet, God will part rivers. #ForgeIsrael #4G16

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Galilee. Where the Lord has taught me so much about how life was intended to be lived. My notions are a cheap picture of the reality that is in Christ. #4g16 #forgeisrael

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Today was spent at Capernaum, what could be Bethsaida, and the Jordan River. Many lessons about faith being done in community. #forgeisrael #isthisrael

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On top of Mt Arbel or the Mountain of Prayer. Hard hike and great lesson about prayer. #forgeisrael #isthisrael #hikeyeah

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