From Your Pastor, May 2014

Dear church,

It is hard to describe how Lynda and I felt to walk in the same places that our Lord and Savior walked. We know it may not have been in the exact same places, but the experience was indescribable nonetheless. On one occasion we stood at the top of Mt. Arbel, where our guides told us that Jesus may have stood to pray alone and to possibly see the disciples as they got caught in one of the storms on the Sea of Galilee. It was awesome to look out over the whole Sea of Galilee from this vantage point and know this is where Jesus lived and preached for most of three years. So many of the places we went were filled with crowds of people and at times it was hard to imagine what it must have been like in Jesus’ day. We were fortunate to be there while all of Galilee was clothed in beautiful green grass. We were told that the countryside would be brown in just a few weeks, as the grass would have less water during the upcoming days.

One of our favorite places was Masada. It is not critical to Biblical history, but it is to the Jews in the first century right after Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. As I look at the pictures and remember the unbelievable scenery while standing on the plateau of Masada, I thought of the three hundred Jews who kept the Roman soldiers at bay for three years before they were able to break through to the top of the plateau. I would love to tell you the rest of the story later!

While standing high in the Judean barren wasteland, you can see the Dead Sea beaming in the sun light and even see the oasis in the distance at which David stayed with his men while running from King Saul. There is not enough time nor adequate words to talk of all the places in Jerusalem that brought our minds and hearts to think of Christ.

Let me mention just two places…Gordon’s Calvary (named after Gordon who first recognized this place could be the actual site of the crucifixion because of the skull like shape of the mount), a rock rise right outside the walls of Jerusalem where some believe that Jesus died. It is a rock formation on which you can actually see the form of a skull (Golgotha, the place of the skull). And then, not more than about 500 yards away, is the place many people believe is the garden tomb of Jesus. Here is a tomb carved right out of stone in the side of a rock cliff. We experienced such a wonderful time of peace and worship in that beautiful garden!

Friends, what an amazing opportunity Lynda and I were given by someone who loves us; we will be forever thankful. Since our return, we continue to process the things we learned and experienced. We realize more and more every day how much our Lord loves us! We would love the opportunity to share more about our trip any time you would like to hear!

Loving you and the Lord, Bill and Lynda