Israel, bin Laden, and few other thoughts from a jet lagged brain…

I’m back from an incredible trip to Israel and somewhat recovered from jet lag. Actually, some effects of jet lag are good.  I’m waking up earlier and getting more work done.  Not a bad thing…so far.

A few things I wanted to comment on:

  1. I posted the last of my pictures from Israel in a Flick’r collection. You can see them HERE.  I may post a small, “best of” series if I get around to it.
  2. Being in Israel during the bin Laden episode was interesting to say the least. The response varied along political lines as you would expect.  Our Israeli guide greeted us that morning with “God Bless America”.  Many in Israel were measured in their response, happy that a terrorist had met his demise, but conflicted over rejoicing in death.  One response from a Rabbi in the Jerusalem Journal was of particular interest: “This is a time to say ‘mazal tov.’ It’s a time of great jubilation,” Hier said, noting God’s sense of humor in bin Laden’s death occurring on the same date that Hitler’s death was announced in 1945. Some Palestinian groups were somewhat supportive, while others, such as Hamas condemned the killing and mourned him as an “Arab holy warrior”.  It was a bit tense, but we never felt threatened.  I’m extremely grateful for the bravery of our troops and pray that this somehow helps turn a corner in our war against terror.
  3. After being there, I think I will be more diligent about praying for the peace of Israel.
  4. It’s great to be back in Carolina. God practiced on Israel, but got it right when he created Charleston :-)
  5. I met a presidential candidate in church yesterday. Is it that time already?
  6. Speaking of presidential candidates: We’re starting a new study next weekend on the life of David, and I’ll be talking about “How to Choose a King” (or a president, or a spouse, or a business partner, or a friend). If a grizzled old veteran like Samuel almost got it wrong, I’m pretty sure people like you and I can learn something from his experience.

That’s all for now,

Shalom

Highlights from my 2nd day in Israel

I’m about to wrap up my second full day in Israel.  Here’s what’s going on…

[slickr-flickr tag="BlogIsrael1" type="slideshow" size="large" sort="date" direction="ascending" delay="7"]

Wednesday afternoon we arrived and stayed our first night in Tel Aviv.

  • We stayed close to Joppa, the city that Jonah caught a boat going the wrong direction and also the city that Peter saw a vision to eat things that he thought were unclean.  Because of Peter’s vision, Joppa might be called the city where outreaches to Gentiles began.
  • I slept thru the night. (Praise God!)

Thursday we visited several sights:

  • First stop was Caesarea, a beautiful city with a port built by Herod the Great not long before Jesus birth. Peter went to visit Cornelius there, preaching to the first Gentile converts. Paul had a hearing before Felix in Caesarea before going to Rome as a guest of the Roman government.
  • Second stop was Mt. Carmel, where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice by faith.
  • Next we visited Megiddo and Tel Yizre’el, where Ahab and Jezebel had a summer palace.  It is also the place where Jezebel was thrown off the walls to her death.
  • First days learning: If Ahab was judged on his accomplishments he would be considered a success.  The Bible says otherwise.  It was never the intention of God for the King to become powerful and famous.  He wanted him to just be obedient and dependent on him.  God’s metrics are different than mine, most of the time.

Today we visited several more sights:

  • First, the ancient synagogue of Arbel, located on the road between Nazareth, Jesus boyhood home, and the Sea of Galilee. The fields were full of wild flowers.  As I spent time reflecting this morning, I could imagine Jesus teaching his followers not too worry and using the wildflowers as examples.
  • Next we went to Zippori, an ancient city where Jesus father Joseph may have helped in construction
  • We spent the afternoon with an Orthodox Jewish community, making bread and learning about life 2000 years ago.  Absolutely one of the most fascinating experiences in my life.
  • In the late afternoon we visited Nazareth and the church that sits where the boyhood home of Jesus probably was.  We received a private tour of excavations not normally seen.  It will change how I approach preaching on Christmas.

I am now back in our hotel on the Sea of Galilee.  Hoping to get another good nights sleep then it’s off for more adventure tomorrow.

If you’d like to see more pictures, you can click HERE.

Shalom.

I'm on my way to Israel

I’m sitting at JFK airport in NYC waiting to board a flight to Tel Aviv. To say I’m excited would be an understatement! I’ve never been there before.

20110426-082559.jpg

Well, I’ve been close.

For those of you who know us, you will probably remember that we were headed that way two years ago. And we got close.

Real close.

Like a hundred miles close.

Then the boat caught on fire. (You can read about that HERE) I felt a little like Moses. We could see the promised land but we couldn’t get in.

This time I think it’s going to be different. Here’s the deal: I’m going with several of my friends who pastor ARC churches, as guests of the Israeli government. I’m not sure if they felt bad about my experience last time or are just interested in promoting good will between our countries. I’ll take it either way!

Seriously, this seems like a wonderful opportunity to grow in my faith and understanding of the Jesus story. After having celebrated Easter I’m looking forward to experiencing it first hand. I want to bring back a fresh understanding and a renewed passion to share the Good News.

You can do two things:

  • Pray for us over the next few days. I really covet that.
  • Check in regularly here as I post photos and tell you what I’m seeing.
  • That’s it for now.

    Shalom

    I’m on my way to Israel

    I’m sitting at JFK airport in NYC waiting to board a flight to Tel Aviv. To say I’m excited would be an understatement! I’ve never been there before.

    20110426-082559.jpg

    Well, I’ve been close.

    For those of you who know us, you will probably remember that we were headed that way two years ago. And we got close.

    Real close.

    Like a hundred miles close.

    Then the boat caught on fire. (You can read about that HERE) I felt a little like Moses. We could see the promised land but we couldn’t get in.

    This time I think it’s going to be different. Here’s the deal: I’m going with several of my friends who pastor ARC churches, as guests of the Israeli government. I’m not sure if they felt bad about my experience last time or are just interested in promoting good will between our countries. I’ll take it either way!

    Seriously, this seems like a wonderful opportunity to grow in my faith and understanding of the Jesus story. After having celebrated Easter I’m looking forward to experiencing it first hand. I want to bring back a fresh understanding and a renewed passion to share the Good News.

    You can do two things:

  • Pray for us over the next few days. I really covet that.
  • Check in regularly here as I post photos and tell you what I’m seeing.
  • That’s it for now.

    Shalom