Friday, December 31, 2010

Israel day 3 and 4

Our instructor Doug Bookman describing the details of the archeological dig at Jericho. In Joshua 5 and 6 Israel has just come from wandering in the desert for 40 years and now finally get to come into the promised land. They miraculously cross the Jordan river (about 10 miles in the distance) and go to Jericho, the first walled city of the land of Caanan. They march around it for 7 days and at the end of the 7th day the priests blow their trumpets and all the walls fall outward which does not happen usually when an invading army comes as they beat the walls in.
Jericho is the earth's oldest city with archeological remains. It is also the lowest city on earth being almost 1000 feet BELOW sea level.

This is cave 4 at the Qumran compound where the Essenes lived. They were a separatist sect that moved away from civilization to focus on purity. When they heard the Romans were coming to take over the land around 70 AD they hid all of their writings in various caves. They stayed there for almost 2000 years undisturbed until in 1946 a shepherd boy looking for his sheep found them. They contain some of the greatest information about 100-200 BC culture and some of the most important biblical copies in history. They contain every book in the Bible except for Esther and give assurance that the Old Testament we have is a faithful copy of the original writings.

Myself standing at En Gedi where David and his men hid from Saul when he was being chased in Ps. 18 and 31. This is also the place where Solomon's bride compares her husband with the pleasantness of the lush vegetation that grows in the area in Song of Solomon 1.

This is an ibex standing in a tree, eating. They are a nimble wild goat, deer-like animal which are often near En Gedi. David uses this animal thirsting in the desert for a drink from the pools of water to Davids desire for God in Psalm 42. May this always be true of us. Without our relationship with God we would be dead because it is so dear to us.
Myself, Tracy, Barrett and Chris getting ready to swim in the lowest water in the world--the Dead Sea, 1300 feet BELOW sea level! It is also the saltiest/mineral rich water in the world. So thick in fact that you can float in it until almost half of your body is above water. After about 10 minutes your skin starts to burn from the drying effects of the salt.

Masada, the last outpost of the Jewish rebellion in 70 AD. Palace of King Herod thought to be unpenetrable from the fact of its incredible highth and steepness. The Romans spent years in seige of the mount which held 900 of the last Jewish rebels. They built a ramp just to the right of this picture with which they used battering rams to knock down the wall. The wall was finally breached in 73 AD at which time the Romans came into the city and found that everyone had committed suicide.

A model of what one of the machines looked like.

Myself standing at the pinnacle of Masada in Herods palace with the Dead sea in the background. All that is left is ruins at the top now but it was an amazing feat of architecture as many of the houses had ornate tiles lining the floors.

The sun breaking through over Beth Shemesh near where Samson lived and met Delilah in the Sorek valley in the picture below. He eventually was buried after he was killed in the fall of the palace that he pushed over after his hair grew back from when he was decieved by Delilah and captured in Judges 16.
The Israeli youth hostile we stayed at last night in Arad. Clean, comfortable, hot shower, good Israeli food. Nice.

Sign that showed all the places we went to yesterday and were heading to today.

Myself, Barrett and Tracy getting ready to shoot the video from the stream that David picked out the 5 stones from when he went to kill Goliath in 1Samuel 17.

Me standing in the stream where David chose the stones, and just west about a 1/4 mile of where he flung the stone from his sling killing the 9 1/2 foot tall giant and cutting off his head in the Elah valley to my left.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Israel day 2

Tracy, Barrett and Chris at the entrance to the Temple grounds through a gate in the Western wall.

The lower level remains of Herod's palace in Jerusalem where Jesus was tried before being sentenced to death in Luke 23.
Doug Bookman, our guide and instructor for the trip giving us the details on Herod's palace where Jesus was tried before being sentenced to death.
Shooting sunday morning video for Revive on the Temple mount!
Barrett and Tracy on the Temple mount with Gethsemane in the background

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Check out my first photos from Israel and follow me on Twitter!

Today was an insane day. The first picture is of the Alps that had just gotten 4 feet of snow and the storm had just cleared the night before. I took it from my window at 35,000 feet at 606 mph from our 777 Luftansa flight. The next picture is of Chris who is at the Western or 'wailing' wall where the devout Jews go to pray for the restoration of the Temple and the return of the glory of Israel as well as their savior/messiah. The next is a shot of the Temple wall from the bottom corner where Jesus was tempted by Satan to jump from the top of to prove He really was protected by God.
The others are on the Temple mount (which once had the Temple on it that Jesus visited) that now has the Dome of the Rock mosque on it and took some pictures and video. It was an experience that can't really be described for those that love Jesus and the stories from His life. Also there is a picture of myself standing next to the stones that the Romans pushed off the Temple mount when they destoryed Jerusalem in 70 AD as Jesus prophesied. The other is of Barrett and Tracy who are along on the trip as well to see the land and shoot video.

Israel day 1 (part 2)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

the flood

Can you be allergic to water? Well, I guess you wouldn't be alive then. (Can dead people be allergic?) In fact if you really are alive you not only don't have any aversions to water but an actual craving for it. This is especially pronounced when there is a lack of it in your body. Water. So underappreciated but so vital.
Water. Without it there is death. With it there is life. So simple yet so profound. I can remember playing beach volleyball on the Central Coast in a tournament and my partner and I had been playing for almost 4 hours and I was the thirstiest I had ever been. Although I was drinking fluids, I couldn't get enough and during the last match I started to tingle all over and some of my muscles began to convulse and my mouth was like someone had stuffed cotton in it. We ended up winning but for more than a day I had no energy and drank like a fish until I wasn't nauseous anymore. (do fish really drink?)
This is similar to God. We as humans are spiritual creatures. We desire spiritual connection more than water some times. Peop People can attempt to fill it with athletics, relationships, drugs, sexual conquest, scientific ponderings or whathaveyou but it never really satisfies. Jesus said "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:37, 38) Jesus claimed to be the 'living water' and that whoever drank from Him would never thirst again in a spiritual sense. Can you say you don't spiritually thirst anymore? Are all your needs and desires for divine connection satisfied. Without Christ they will not be....they cannot be for He is God. How good it is to drink true, pure, unadulterated and freely.
Drink deeply my friend. Drink deeply from Jesus in His word the Bible. Find the nourishment for your soul that you crave.
Bottoms up!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

jude 17-25 what a great passage of scripture

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Slander is gossip armed with a knife. Let your words build others up today!
"We act out what is already playing in the theater of our heart."

act well today...
if God had a forehead…He’d slap it!
Attraction does not mean action!

i committed violence against myself today

Jesus says strange things about following Him…’Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple’ meaning ‘pick up your cross and die to your selfish desires’ and ‘If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell’. And the Apostle Paul, ‘For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.’

What does that mean?

As I was at the light getting ready to get on the freeway there was a woman walking a dog I happened to notice out of the corner of my eye. I don’t know for sure if she was particularly attractive or not but I caught myself wondering why I needed to look at all. It was a test of will to discipline myself not to even give my eyes the opportunity to find something to dwell on. Even when no one else was looking or would even probably care if I looked to observe her I killed myself. I died. Right there. That moment. What was strange was that once I murdered my will, it went away. I realized that looking at her was not pivotal to my life but NOT looking at her was pivotal to it.

Why? Because unprotected emotional desire leads to sin of the head in thought and then sin of the hand in action. Then your sinful hands destroy your physical life. Or the lives of your children. Or your friends. Sin waits in your careless moments for a chance to strike and putting that desire to death by minimizing those careless moments is a mark of godly character.

As I was getting on the freeway I changed lanes and someone else wanted to merge into my lane in front of me once I got there. I knew that if I applied my brakes I would have to slow down and there was plenty of room for me to go ahead. Plus, I have a right to be here. As I was considering allowing a potentially slower person to have priority over me in ‘my’ lane, I killed myself. I died. Right there. Instead of zooming ahead and trapping that person in the slow lane with the people who were following me, I tapped the brakes and waved them over in front of me. No big deal right? Right. Except for my selfish will. It was a big deal for that so I killed it.

Committing physical violence is easy. Any undisciplined idiot can do that. Physical mutilation has no benefit to controlling sinful actions and since you are a creation of God, self abuse is wrong on many levels. But taking up arms against your selfish will takes strength and effort. Committing spiritual violence against the part of you that takes the opportunity to sin is a tremendously difficult task that takes discipline and the power of God.

Nothing will have mastery over me except Jesus. And that includes myself.

It was a beautiful violence that will bear spiritual fruit.

Do yourself a favor and ‘die’ to yourself today. Ironically by dying to your desires you will find abundant life and a life worth living. Strange isn’t it?

Grace will never trespass onto the land of your rebellion but must be invited in through the invitation of your repentance.
Often times our worst inconvenience is God’s greatest convenience.

‘But dad, i wanted a PONY!!!’ often what you ask for and what you get is very…different! lol
you won’t see it until you believe it. believe it.

burning down the church

I can remember growing up going to church. It was a white building with a steeple on it that had a cross outside which read ‘Jesus saves’. I can remember trying to stay awake (many times failing!) when the sermon was being delivered when I was young and listening to the old lady bang away on the piano and organ during our singing times. It’s funny. Although I said I went to ‘church’ the church was never a building but was always the people inside that I remember fondly (when I was awake! lol).

For instance. You can say you went to ‘So and So High School’ and it is true you did attend there but your real high school experiences were the classmates and teachers you had. Even if the building burned down you would’nt care except for the fact those buildings represented good (or bad) times in your life where you interacted with others.

Same with the church. The ‘church’ is a people, not a building. The building just holds the ‘church’. If the building burns down the church is not gone, it will just need a new place to meet next week! When anyone falls away from the fellowship of people in the church that is tragic. It could be from their own sin they don’t want to confront or from someone elses’ sin that has affected them, but any time someone leaves the connection with the true ‘church’ it has sad consequenses. The church is a place of instruction, encouragement and rebuke all delivered in a fellowship of love to help people see their need for a Savior and help to follow Him better.

I have seen people reject good teaching. I have seen people fall away from good relatioships. I have seen people turn away from God’s love. To cheat on their spouses. To become homosexuals. To chase after money. To satisfy their desire for fame. A good church challenges you. A good church loves you. A good church will not let you remain as you are but will push you to be what God has designed you to be. A good church will never fail at helping people to see God’s glory and chase it. Because the Church is people not programs. It is an living organism not dead organization. It lives and breathes. It moves and shakes. Like Jesus.

Though the church burns down, the Church remains. Find a good church and be there. For good.
Today is your Maker’s day, so live like it!

double space interpretation

I run into it all the time. when people don’t like a particular rule or law they either break it straightforwardly or they ‘reinterpret’ that law for themselves creating ‘space’ in the law for what they feel is what the law truly means. for instance if you don’t like to drive 55 but thats what the sign says you ‘double space’ the law to add your own view to it. ‘well, thats an old sign so i’m sure the speed limit is higher now they just haven’t changed the sign yet’. or ‘whoever made that law for this highway doesn’t know me. i was born a 95 mile an hour driver and cannot change so ‘55’ is just for others’.

the same is true for the bible. genesis says God made the universe in 6 literal morning and night 24 hour days. ‘nope, its a literary device to say millions of years not a normal week.’ the bible says homosexuality is not designed or approved of by God either before the Law of Moses, in the Law of Moses or after the Law in the New Testament. ‘nope, those cultures were bigoted and unscientific and had a wrong view of sexuality. plus all those bible verses don’t take into account loving monogamous homosexual relationships.’
it is one thing to say you don’t agree with something or you will be a law-breaker straight away, but to ‘double space’ clear references and infuse your own or anothers view that supercede laws given to everyone is foolish. we follow man made laws until they are changed or suffer the consequnces no matter how we feel. we follow God’s word which will never be changed or suffer the consequences both now and later.

it is great that God has given us a manual for life that frees us to be the kind of human we were designed to be if we would just be submissive to follow it. Jesus has great things in store for us we just need to quit ‘double spacing’ his teachings and let God be God. everyone has a right to their own opinion but only God has a right to His own truth and that truth will never change and never be ‘double spaced’.

may God be true and every man a liar.