Tag Archives: jesus

Day 4: This is Home

 

     Cana was our first stop which is where Jesus turned water into wine. It was awesome to hear one of the pastors talk about the symbols of wine and water in Jewish thought. Water being related to physical cleansing and wine related to spiritual. Afterwards, we traveled to Nazareth which features little archeology but a beautiful church commemorating the angel coming to Mary. It is crazy how small Nazareth was at the time of Jesus only having about 200 people living in it. It was awesome though when we sat in the 1st century synagogue that they reconstructed and hear Isaiah 61 read.

     Next on the list was Megiddo which was interesting because most of the finding there were related to King Ahab, and it shows a very different side of him. It shows his intelligent building and bright defense strategies.

     Also, I do have to say that my impression of the Israelis has changed a lot on this trip. They really just want peace. It seems we American Christians are the ones who are continually shouting, “Don’t give back any land!” and such.

     We ended the day driving to Israel, but as was custom in Jesus’ time, we stopped outside the city and entered on foot. Once we saw the Temple Mount, we said three blessings to God as we ate a small cracker and a small cup of grape juice. Our tour guide then explained that after these next few days in Jerusalem, we will not leave the same because the city will change us in a way that cannot be explained in terms. It begins to feel like a sort of home. As we entered the city, we were coming to our spiritual home. I can already tell I am not going to be the same after this trip. I think everyone feels the same way.


Day 3: Boats and Beatitudes

A Boat Ride

We started today by seeing what is called “Jesus’ Boat.” It was found on the shores of the Sea of Galilee during a very dry year. It dates back to around 35 AD and is very similar to the type of boat Jesus’ disciples would have used for fishing. Archeologists theorize that the man who owned the boat built it himself and it ended up leaking.

After seeing the boat, we went on a boat ride ourselves on the Sea where we had worship led by an Israeli. It was an amazing experience. Seeing Jesus’ world from the point of view of his disciples as I imagined what it would have been like to look up at the shore line and see a man calling me to follow him.

I do have to say that the Israelis are a people of remarkable faith and blessing. Our tour guide, Ronnie, told us about how the Israelis have been trying to solve their problem of having enough drinking water. He said they finally decided, “Why don’t we just ask the Lord.” So they prayed for rain and he gave them a raining season like no other. Then they prayed to him asking for it to stop because they then had too much and it ended. What a remarkable people of faith and God of blessings!

Church of Beatitudes

We then traveled to the Church of Beatitudes which “marks” the place that the Sermon on the Mount took place. The actual location is a little farther down the hill than the church closer to the sea. It is a gorgeous church and garden. You could hear people of all different languages singing praises and prayers up to the Lord. As one of the pastors said, “It is more than the location, it is about His teachings.” Unlike a lot of other biblical sites where many sects of faith claim different locations, this is one of the very few that everyone agrees is the generally correct location.

Capernaum

This is the very home town of Jesus during his ministry. He grew up in Nazareth but did not remain there for his entire life. Capernaum is the most important site on the Sea of Galilee uncovered so far. Out of the 33 miracles performed by Christ, 10 of them occurred in Capernaum. A church is also build here over the home of Peter. It was awesome because this was not simply the site that tradition believes is Peter’s home. It is confirmed as his home in Capernaum. It was here that Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law. Then not too far from Peter’s home was the synagogue which was ruined but beautiful. They know it is a synagogue and not a church because every church in Israel faces east while this building faces Jerusalem. The ruined synagogue that stood was not the one of Jesus’ time but a later one which was built most likely to commemorate Christ as a rabbi. The synagogue from Jesus’ time is beneath the present one.

Pastor Paul then read Matthew 11:16-24 while we were in the synagogue.

20Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Then Ronnie told us that later on after Jesus’ time an major earthquake occurred around the Sea of Galilee, yet every city was rebuilt except Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. When God gives warns, we tend to believe he is talking to everyone else besides us, but He is not playing around when it comes to warnings.

Gideon Springs

I loved this one especially because it was connected to the Old Testament. These springs are the very same place where Gideon tested his soldiers in Judges. They know it is at this spot that he did so because it is the only spring in the area. The springs are near the foot of Mount Gilboa where King Saul and his sons were killed in battle.

Bet She’an

This city was very interesting. It had two parts the first was the tel (or hill) which is where the old Canaanite city stood. It was in this place that King Saul and his sons’ bodies where hung after being killed. At the bottom of the hill, the Roman city was uncovered in remarkable condition. It would take me forever to go through all the sections of the city we saw but it really gave you a view into the Roman society of Jesus’ time.

I do have to say though that my favorite part was the public restrooms cause they were so awkward. I had hoped to put up a last picture here but was not able to because my picture uploader isn’t working.

It was really interesting seeing a shepherd walk through the ruins herding about fifty sheep with two sheep dogs.

 

 


“There’s no one in my church that deals with homosexuality”

I think one of the biggest things the enemy has used to keep the Church from ministry in the area of homosexuality is the lie, “No one in our church deals with it so we don’t need to do that kind of ministry.” In relation when churches say things like the comment above, they are unknowingly saying “and we will make sure no one in our congregation will deal with it.” Research shows that one-third of gays and lesbians regularly attend church, going to churches across a wide spectrum of denominations and backgrounds. This means that it is very likely that there are people in your church who secretly deal with homosexuality along with the multiple people who are affected by it as a family member or loved one of a struggler. Surveys also suggest that between 60 and 70 percent of churchgoers know a loved one who has homosexual attractions. As W.P. Campbell said, “If those who experience same-sex attractions don’t sense compassion within us, why would they choose to risk themselves by opening up to us?” When a church decides not do deal with the issue or thinks that other ministries will take care of it, then they leave people to be washed away by a culture without opening up about their attractions.

Ministry to those with same-sex attractions is one of the weakest sections of church ministry. Many churches who have members with SSA send them outside the church to deal with the issue when in fact outside ministries should be sending them to the church for help. This is an area that cannot be left only to those who have dealt with homosexuality. It needs to be embraced by all of the Church. There are people silently suffering in your church who don’t know who they can turn to about their struggles. They need both the truth and grace of Christ. We need to stop being ignorant and begin acknowledging that people in our churches are greatly affected by the issue of homosexuality, whether as friends, family, or strugglers themselves. Yet it is not enough to simply acknowledge that people like this exist because many people acknowledge it and then try to thrown them into some group to shut them up. Ministry begins when we connect the brokenness in our own hearts with the brokenness in the hearts of others. If we could have a humble heart, acknowledging that we don’t know everything about the issue, and then be willing to come along side people and help them through their struggles, we will shine like stars in a dark world.


Hollywood Biased Against Conservatives? Never!

Of course, the title is a joke because no one can deny such a statement as that which says Hollywood is biased against conservative. I try very hard to stay out of the whole conservative vs. liberal war because I am Christian and neither conservative or liberal. Obviously being a Christian, my views parallel those of the conservative more than liberal. I won’t denied it. Yet, I just had to post something about this article. It talks about a bunch of interviews with TV executives who admit on tape there biased feelings towards conservatives even to the point of refusing to hire them. I have to say that I think this is really ironic because of how much liberals push that conservatives are racist, sexist, and homophobic. Of course, both parties are very prideful. Who isn’t? We all deal with pride as probably the center of the human fallen nature. In the interviews shown, an illogical idea that the more liberal you are, the smarter. Such as one statement by Susan Harris, the creator of “Golden Girls” and “Soap”, saying: “At least, you know, we put Obama in office, and so people, I think, are getting — have gotten — a little bit smarter.” I mean that is a pretty ridiculous statement. I don’t say this because of any disagreement I have with Obama. It would be just as illogical and ignorant for a conservative to have said, “People in our country are getting smarter because Bush was elected twice.” Of course it is not limited to the liberal party. People of all groups act really stupidly. I continually see Christians saying things that just sound ridiculous. Many times I am one of those Christians.

There are two reasons why I decided to post this. First of all, we can complain as much as we want with the current state of Hollywood but it will only begin to change when someone decides that they are not going to let it stay that way. Some people are starting to step up to the plate such as the makers of “Fireproof” and the new movie coming out in September called “Courage”. The second reason is that we as Christians need to make sure we do not gain such an attitude. Everyone falls into it at some point. The first step on the road to humility is realizing how prideful you really are. It is the sin of judgment and pride as you think, “O those awful non-Christians. Well at least we are better than them.” We are not better than them. We are all sinners just the same the only difference is that our sin has been taken away by the Lord Jesus. Praise God.


The World’s Last Night

This whole prediction made by Harold Coming on the end of the world has made nationwide news especially  as the day came and left like every other day. End times prophecies is a very touchy subject in both Christian and nonChristian circles. Many Christians fall into one of two issues man times which both cause problems. Some become obsessed with prophecy as they attempt to decipher every little detail while others end up neglecting prophecies all together.

I have never found another holy book which emphasized the end times as much as Christian Scriptures. We, as Christians, cannot deny its importance in our faith. An entire book of Scripture deals with it for goodness sake. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 says, “Don not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”  In this way we fall into the rut with people who say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” This can cause many problems such as blinding people from the reality of certain Scriptures and drain the emphasis out of the urgency for evangelism.

The other end of the spectrum is equally as dangerous. Many people spend days and years arguing over views on how to interpret prophecies. Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:23, “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.” In this way we turn away nonChristians who see how pointless and stupid it is to argue how many fingers the Antichrist will have. In this over occupation on prophecies, we also lose the point of the prophecies all together. The point of it all is to bring hope and judgment. They are all about Christ returning and therefore how are we going to live. “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,” 2 Peter 3:11. Jesus will return and we will be judged, and not just nonChristians but Christians as well. I do not mean judgment of salvation, but Scripture does say our deeds will be examined. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.” Therefore even we Christians need to have a healthy fear of judgment day.

The prophecies also are meant to bring hope to Christians. Revelation was originally written to persecuted Christians to give them hope that one day judgment would come and their persecution. Yet it does not only give hope to persecuted Christians but all Christians. Romans 8:23 explains, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ” I myself wait eagerly for the day when Christ will come back and release me from this body and sinful desires. It could happen at any moment and I say the sooner, the better.

So let us look forward to the day when Christ will return with eagerness and caution. It could come any second for the Lord isn’t slow to fulfill His promises.


Was Jesus Tempted With Homosexuality?

The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way yet did not sin and therefore he can relate to us in our struggles. But the question is, does that mean Jesus was tempted with homosexuality? John Piper gave an awesome answer here that I wanted to share with you guys.