Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 3: Spent the day in Jesus' mission field....

Again I write to you from a Kibbutz (hotel) in Galilee. I’m sitting in my spot in the lobby and drinking a cup of Israelite coffee. It’s no Starbucks, but it does the job. I’m really tired after today because we spent the day going to places where the Savior of the World, Jesus Christ walked, lived, ministered and poured himself into to thousands of people. We are staying close to the city of Tiberias. Jesus did most of his ministry on the Northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It’s amazing to see that Jesus, who is the greatest missionary in the history of the world, worked in such a small territory in comparison to what we try to do today. The lesson I saw was that Christians should seek God’s call for a place, maybe just one part of a city, then plant their life there and devote everything that they have to reaching everyone in that section. It’s the model we see from Jesus.

Today (Saturday) is the Sabbath in Israel. They do as little work as possible. Breakfast was a very lite compared to yesterday. There were several different types of raw fish, I didn’t try any. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that yet. The orange juice here is AMAZING!

First thing on today’s agenda was taking a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. On the way to the ride I climbed a Sycamore tree and saw a boat that they have recovered from the Sea of Galilee that dates to the time of Jesus.

On the boat they played the USA national anthem, I feed the seagulls and some even crapped on Tony Merida. The president of NOBTS, Dr. Kelly and his wife joined us for the day. I sat next to them on the boat. Dr. Kelly is a living hero of the faith and always shares nuggets of truth that are so insightful. We stopped in the middle of the Sea and had a time of devotion, singing and prayer. Then a modern day fisherman tried to catch us some lunch. Sadly, he didn’t catch a single thing.

We docked at Capernaum and loaded our bus headed to a place called the Mount of the Beatitudes. This is the site on which Jesus preached the greatest sermon ever, The Sermon of the Mount. His words are so rich and have such depth that we will probably never grasp the full meaning this side of heaven. I shot a video here so that you all could experience a little of what I did. The connection is low so I will have post it when I get back.

After the Beatitudes (Matt 5:2-11) Jesus talks about a city on the hill (Matt 5:13-16), which you can see the exact one that He was talking about behind you when you are on this mount. Being here changes the way I read this section of scripture now. As a group we prayed the Lord’s Prayer where it was originally prayed. This left me awestruck.

From there we headed to a city called Korazim. I had no idea what this city was before we got there, but after our trip it became so meaningful for me and my ministry. This is a 1st century town that is mentioned in Matthew 11:20-24 (Chorazin). This is a place that Jesus visited and taught at. The people did not repent so Jesus denounces them. I would love to share several important things about our time here. #1- we saw the tree like the one from which Jesus’ crown of thorns was made. This was probably the first time it sunk in that I was where Jesus had been. I touched thorns like the ones that pierced the head of Jesus while He was paying for my sin.

#2- One of the assignments for my class was a group project that we would present for 48 people sometime on the trip. My group was assigned to present at this place. We dressed like the disciples and acted out a skit from Mark 6 when Jesus walked on water. We did this in the same synagogue that Jesus himself taught the citizens of Korazim. Standing in the same place that Jesus had been I debriefed the scripture and applied the text for the people in relation to our trip so far. I basically preached in a place that Jesus himself had over 2,000 years ago. The two other girls also shared other scriptures that related to our lesson and led us in a time of prayer. If I had to pick a highlight of the day, I would probably say this would rank very high.

#3- I sat in a Seat of Moses. In the time of Jesus, the preachers of the day sat down in these chairs when they taught. I sat in the one for the Synagogue in Korazin, with my handlebars still on my face. HA!

Lunch was a Falafel, which is like the Israelite hamburger. It was delicious.

We spent 5 minutes at the place of the feeding of the 5,000. We did this so we could spend the rest of the afternoon at two very important places. The first place was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus reinstates Peter one morning after cooking him a fish breakfast. Maybe I should have had some of the fish this morning at breakfast. This encounter is recorded in John 21. One of the pastors on the trip gave a quick devo about this. It was very powerful. I shot a video and will post a blog later on my thoughts from this site and the devotion that was given.

The last stop of the day was at Capernaum. This is a very important city. Jesus grew up in Nazareth, but moved to this city sometime before his ministry. This was his home base from which he launched to minister to people all over the northwest shore. Peter actually had a house here, which is the site of where the men dug through the roof and lowered the paralyzed man which Jesus healed. (Mark 2:1-12) I also sat in the Synagogue in Capernaum which is where Jesus told us that He is the Bread of Life. (John 6:22-59) A majority of his miracles happened in this city. Again I made a video and will post it along with thoughts later.

Today was a big day and I just posted a long Blog. Thanks for reading it because what you are reading is my journaling and fleshing out of what I saw today.

Until tomorrow, live fully in your “today” which you have been given by God.

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