What’s the importance of Israel for the Lord’s people? Israel is the beginning place of the Christian faith. Jesus was born there; Jesus called His first disciples there; Jesus served His Father there; Jesus defeated death and the grave there; Jesus birthed His Church there; Jesus ascended back into Heaven from there; and Jesus’ return will be there. What a special place to walk, witness, and worship!
Let me list for you 10 things we pray to experience in the Holy Land.
1. Study the Bible. Bible study is a foundational discipline in the Holy Land. It’s powerful to be at a location and study what God’s Word says about that sacred place. The way each person studies his or her Bible will forever change after this trip.
2. Talk to God. Prayer gets deeper and personal in the Holy Land. Imagine talking to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane! Our group will have that opportunity. Holy Land pilgrims will have deep, personal conversations with the heavenly Father each day. Thank God that He is approachable and available!
3. Explore the land. We’ll see the land by motor coach and foot. Our group will never see a Bible map the same again. Once our plane lands in Israel, we’ll go through customs, get on a bus, and begin seeing the land. The first day’s schedule has us visiting the Valley of Elah and Joppa before retiring for the night. We stay one night in a hotel on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, two nights in a hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, one night in a hotel near the Dead Sea, and several nights in a hotel close to the Old City in Jerusalem.
4. Worship the Lord. Our group will have seven corporate worship times. We’ll adore the Lord in music and proclaim His Word. And yes, we have printed outlines with fill in blanks (smile). The locations of the worship services are Caesarea by the Sea, Sea of Galilee, Caesarea Philippi, Jordon River, Southern Steps, Upper Room, and the Garden Tomb. May the Lord show us His glory!
5. Learn historical facts. During our travels in the Holy Land, we’ll have a tour guide. He’s educated and trained to teach people the historical background of the nation, culture, and sites. We look forward to meeting him and spending eight days with him in Israel.
6. Deepen personal relationships. Most individuals in our group are Bradfordville members. We have a few people from other churches and states. We look forward to meeting them. One aspect of our vision statement is to “love inward.” I believe our group will get to know one another better and deeper during our Holy Land journey.
7. Grow in Christ. As we travel to the Holy Land, we’re more than tourists. We’re disciples (followers and learners of Jesus). The way we read God’s Word will be changed; the way we see a Bible map will be different; and the way we live the Christian life will be transformed. God desires to grow us and deepen our faith.
8. Share the Gospel. As we travel to, in, and from Israel, our prayer is to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). I’m asking the Lord to lead us to people. We have a story to tell. May the Lord use us to engage people in spiritual conversations!
9. Help one another. Moving around in Israel isn’t easy. Terrain is rocky and uneven. Many walking paths at the various sites aren’t paved. Therefore, it’s easy to slip and lose footing. It’s important for our group to help one another. One prayer for our group is for no one to fall and experience an injury. It’s wonderful to see fellow Holy Land pilgrims putting the needs of others before their own.
10. Leave Israel changed. Our group will see sights, hear sounds, and experience smells that will move our hearts to worship our great Lord and King. We’re going to walk where Jesus walked, pray where Jesus prayed, worship where Jesus worshiped, teach where Jesus taught, weep where Jesus wept, rejoice where Jesus rejoiced, and surrender where Jesus surrendered. To God’s glory, our lives will forever change as a result of our time in the Holy Land.
I rejoice that “what happens in the Holy Land doesn’t stay in the Holy Land.” We’ll return from Israel and share stories and show pictures.
Many of you have asked if I plan to lead future Israel trips. I’ll keep you posted about that decision in the days ahead.
I welcome you to follow daily Israel updates (print and video) at bradfordville.org. The updates will begin tomorrow.
Thank you for praying!