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Elizabeth's Invitation

ISRAEL / THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME

Inspirational thoughts from Elizabeth

You have heard the stories many times in your life. Perhaps you have imagined the feel, the smell and the sound of it. Maybe it’s even been one of your lifetime dreams to experience it. And now…your dream can become a reality.

September 20th, you’ll land in Tel Aviv on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The next day, you will travel south, where you’ll feel the stifling-hot, desert wind blowing on your face on the top of Masada and sense the courage it must have taken for the Jews who fled there to escape Roman oppression. Most importantly, during the entire trip, you will walk in some of the same places Jesus walked and re-experience in living color all the Bible stories that mean so much to you.

The next day we will be at Ein Gedi, worshipping with thousands of other believers from all around the world, participating in a desert feast and an open-air worship service. The sight of the bright full moon reflecting off the Dead Sea will grip your heart. That night, your feet may look like David’s when he hid from Saul, covered with the dust of the desert. But not to worry, you can wash them in the Dead Sea. That unique body of water, with its mineral content, is known to have healing properties. Float away your cares there, the next day.

Where to next? The Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River. Close your eyes for just a minute and imagine what it was like for the early disciples, when the winds were blowing violently, and the waves were crashing forcefully, over their little fishing boat. As we ride across the sea in an authentic “Jesus boat” to land near the Mount of Beatitudes, you will surely hear the echo of your Savior’s voice saying, “Peace be still” to the storms of your life. You will realize that no matter what you face, He will always be your Peacemaker.

After such an awakening moment, we will head to the Jordan River. You will walk to the shore with holy awe, then step into the water and be baptized. As you rise out of the waters, you will re-experience that moment when John baptized Jesus in the same river, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. You may even hear the echo of the Father’s voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved child.” We pray you have an amazing, spiritual encounter in that place.

Then, we are off to the holy city, Jerusalem. You will be able to write your prayer requests on a piece of paper, walk up reverently to the Wailing Wall, and place it in one of those ancient crevices, just as thousands of others who have gone before you. You may sense the host of heaven overseeing your prayers near that sacred location where the glory of God filled the temple in such an astounding way in Solomon’s day.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, you will see the olive press and wonder, “Could that be where Jesus prayed until bloody sweat oozed from his pores?” As you smell the olive trees, you will imagine what it was like to spend many nights sleeping outdoors in that location, with the disciples and the Son of God Himself. Questions will rise—Is this the place where Judas betrayed our Savior with a kiss? Is this where Peter cut off the servant’s ear and then Jesus healed him? (What an amazing display of the love of God!) As we walk around the Garden, these images will fill your mind. But all the dreadful thoughts will fade away when we walk into the beautiful enclosed area of the Garden Tomb. There, you will have a sense of the great power of the resurrection that rolled the stone away for the whole human race.

There is so much more we will do. I hesitate to even try to explain. This one thing I do know—your life will be forever changed. You will never be the same. The memories will be richer than I can describe.

Call our offices and schedule a phone appointment with me (423-478-2843 / 9:30am-5pm), and I will gladly answer all your questions the best I can. Let us make this pilgrimage together.