Israel Study Tour with Riverside Community Church

Apr 13-23, 2016

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Challenging the Status Quo

After a great challenge from Scott on serving ourselves and others, we headed to Gamla where we would spend the first half of our day. We began by sitting in an outlook over looking the city of Zealots that was conquered by the Romans in 67 AD. We then went among the ruins and worshipped God in the first century synagogue, a synagogue in which Jesus most likely worshipped and taught. That was an experience that I am sure moved each of us deeply.

From Gamla, we headed on to the Armistace Line between Syria and Israel. To be honest, it was a little disconcerting to know that we could possibly see ISIS fighters who had taken the city just across the border. However, we were challenged to ask ourselves the question, how would Jesus see these fighters? What is His desire for these people?

From the border, we went to Caesurea Philippi where the temple to Pan is located. The area was beautiful with trees and streams, but once we learned of the horrible religious practices of the community as the worshipped Pan, we immediately felt different about this place. This place is also where Jesus took His 12 disciples 25 miles out of the way just to say boldly that He is the Christ and the gates of hell will not prevail against His church planted right amongst the ungodly practices of this community. Jesus just declared war in this place. Wow! Scott challenged us to think of the places that are like this in our day and community and think of how we can scream of Christ's Lordship at the top of our lungs with our words and deeds in those places.

by Brian Gunter

Caesarea Philippi

This abundant water supply has made the area very fertile and attractive for religious worship. Numerous temples were built at this city in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

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