Thursday, March 25, 2010

An Open Honest Ramble of Words...

I am so confused...

Ever since I've gotton back from Israel somethings been different in my spirit... but I can't tell you what it is... I dont even know what it is. He is TRULY starting to change my desires... and its royally freaking me out. Thinking about thing that use to bring me much joy and happiness which I should not have been thinking about at that time now... its hard for me to get pass a fleeting thought of it. Its really REALLY crazy to me... and I feel this deep seeded excited feeling most of the time. And my doctrine... yeah I dont even know the specifics of what I believe anymore. Its a mix of every Christian denomination and Judasim... lol. Whats even more strange and unbelievably encouraging to me is... I think God is impressing me that its ok to not have all that stuff figured out at this point... What is happening??? I think everyone who went on this trip (especially Holly... at least Im guessing so because I've talked with her the most about it) feels about the same way... Praise God for His soverignty is all I can say!

And tell me something... WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY?? Yes the healthcare bill passed.. and I dont know enough about that subject to have a huge oppinion on it... I know my family isnt too happy about it... but today a headline on the news read something like "US Conflict with Israel"... that is the absolute last thing I wanted to see on the news today... dont we understand?
"Cursed be anyone who curses you, and blessed be anyone who blesses you" Genesis 27:29
Want anymore proof? Just look at the HUNDREDS of people groups... not just people... people GROUPS who cursed Israel who are not in existance anymore... I had a feeling growing up that I would live to see the very end of the world... And no I'm not saying Obama is the antichrist or all that it says in the Left Behind  series is going to come about... I'm not saying thoes things at all. And who knows, I might not see the very end...


The end is well underway. Earthquakes in various places, nations rising up against other nations, "all these are the beginning of birth pains." Matthew 24:8

Good news and bad news... trail, pain, PERSECUTION, suffering unlike anything ever felt before

Good news?

GOD IS COMING, in His fullness and Glory...

And one of the biggest things I've learned... is that... now I havent mastered this by any stretch of the imagination... if I am saved forever or not... if I am damned to Hell or not... I can REST ASSURED because God is Holy, God is Soveriegn and God is going to do what He is going to do. All I am truly called to do/be/accomplish in the small, short, seemingly insignifigant life I'm given is to
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Poem... In between Israel entries

Heres a poem from my sketchbook about Mt. Arbel

Another Israel blog coming sometime soon...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Israel: Part 1

I need words
As wide as sky
I need language large as
This longing inside
And I need a voice
Bigger than mine
And I need a song to sing You
That I've yet to find
I need You,
Oh, I need You
To be here now                    I Need Words: by David Crowder


I am not the same

Something in me has changed

But I can't explain it to you... I can't even explain it to myself

People everywhere would tell us, if you thought that you decided to come here you're wrong. There is no free choice in that. God has invited you here to His country.

I've been trying to think of many different ways to go about writing this down... because of the amount of information and its 7:00 right now and I am spiritually and physically exhausted I am going to use a journal entry of mine from the next to last day of the trip as kind of a template. About that time I had realized that I hadnt really journaled enough on the trip so I spent a good part of that night writing down absolutely everything I remembered... which turned out to be 20 pages! So I know for a fact this is going to be in two sections... (I've came back up here from writing and I've been writing for and hour and have only gotton through 3 pages) So next page should hopefully happen sometime tomorow. I hope I can be thourough enough... as you might have guessed I believe God in the working out of this trip has begun a paradime shift in not only my life but the world. Here it goes:

God has begun to speak to me. Despite my sinful, jealous tendancies even durring this trip. I'll try now the best I can to remember all that I've seen & what has happened... the first couple sites which had an impact on me were the old Cannanite village, the mountain where the crowds tried to sone Jesus because of what he said was prophecy about himself in Isaiah and Mount Arbel. The Cannanite village (along with a speach Anthony gave) reminded me just how far people can become separated from God with just small compromises.. and how God gives us over to the sickness that are these vile sins (in their case human sacrifice and idol worship). This lesson came about numerous times over the course of the trip.

The mountian where Jesus was almost stoned really began to bring the landscape of scripture alive for me. I was beginning to be able to picture the events being described to me from the Word... making scripture that much more alive. It also began to really reveal to me even more what I had already felt, God knew this place... God has an intimate affection for it that is easily perceived and felt... He claimed it for Himself. His dwelling is here.

Mount Arbel is where Jesus supposedly came to pray alone before he saw the disciples in a storm and came to walk on the water. This place taught me worship. I was in awe of everything there. The experience of this trip, the quality of people I was with, the gradure of the mountian itself, the gradure of its significance... I was overall in complete AWE of my Creator. We worshiped Him in song and I could have stayed there forever in the embrace of the Most High on that mountain... I could feel Him telling me this was home & my spirit kept telling my body not to leave. It was arguably one of if not the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life.

A quick note on driving through the valley of Armegedon. It also helped to make the Bible come alive to me but in a very sobering way... This was because the final events described in the Word to take place there have not yet occured and I must be sure I am not apart of them. The end times & their very obvious presence was another reacurring theme throughout the trip... there is so much I need to meditate on and pray about concerning that...

The beginning of another day (It could have been when we visited Bet She-an a town where they worshiped the Greek god Pan.. but I could have my days mixed up) Anthony gave a talk in the bus before we left on his veiw of the Trinity. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard, so sensuous and beautiful. I might have to ask him again for the details but he described God and us made in His image and Jesus being Gods words and the Spirit being Gods breath. Both coming from God and proceeding from Him. One carried by the other. His words as what makes up who He is and His breath as what (for us) keeps us alive and surrounds us. Us being created in His image and better understand that when we look at our own breath and words... it was quite beautiful.

We also went to what is now called the Mount of the Beattitudes... we sang again and Oscar read aloud the famed sermon... it as was so sobering to hear the Saviors words of how we are to live aloud seeing the surroundings where He himself read them. It again brought scripture to life... he saiys consider the lilies, I glanced over and considered them. He says the same about the birds, I hear them chirping. Oh I should have meditated more on the weight and value of thoes words in that place!

One other cool event, there was a ruin we were in of a city captured and run by the Romans, in the city they had a big ampitheater where plays and concerts were held. Abraham (our AMAZING guide) asked me and Holly to sing it it :) it was a wonderful experience to hear the natural accoustics.This city was another reminder of what God wants us to stay away from: excess. Oscar and Sandra stood inside a real vomitorium. This was an alcove at the entrances of the stadium where you would force yourself to barf to make room for even more food that would be served at the ampitheater itself... scarry to see how old these sins are.

One of the most incredible experiences was at the Jordan River baptismal site. No, I didnt get baptised myself (that would have been number 3 lol) but I'm almost happy I didnt because of what I was able to experience. Ike Needens, a 86 year old amazing many of God was the oldest person on our trip. Anthony Lutz who was one of the leaders of our trip is Ikes gradson. Ike was baptized as an infant in the Luthren church, which has been his only time being baptized. The place we were was the JORDAN RIVER. It was the place where JESUS CHRIST was baptized. Put all thoes amazing things together and you get the picture below. One of the most powerful experience I will ever have and a sight I'm sure not many or maybe no one has ever seen on this earth.

Another incredible experience was going to a place whos name I cant remember but I will call Davids spring. It was the place David supposedly hid when he was fleeing from Saul, a place where he wrote some of the Psalms. Another one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my life... there was long spring running down which formed a few waterfalls and pools. Katie and I swam in one of the pools, clothes and all. It reminded me of a place in a dream which I would escape to when life would get to hard... enclosed and cool. So much joy, peace and laughter was soaked up there. What a moment that was!

Then heading up towards Jerusalem, Holly Oscar and I began reading various Psalms of Ascent as pilgrims of old had done heading up to Israels eternal captial... we then arived at the Holy City!

We went to the church of the Garden of Gethsemene. Beautiful church with the rock where it is believed Jesus prayed to his Father before his trial and excecution located at the very front... a very Holy spot. We then walked to the garden itself which included olive trees from that very time period. As we walked through I could picture vividly Jesus stumbling, searching trying to find a place to pray yet so very weighted with the agony of anticipation of the events set before him that he could not walk straight. That mood was set up perfectly for communion which we had on a little outlook to the right of the garden... it was so sobering to think of the anguish of Christ... so humbling to think of the pain, which can hardly be described because of the magnitude... all of which I rightly deserve. Next was arguably the most powerfull.... experiences... of my life. They took us to another church... which was Caiaphas's house around where Peter denied Jesus... and where Jesus was held before trial after he was beaten. You could tell that the house was a kind of holding place for prisoners by the way it looked, looking like there were cells in it. They had another place of holding which was only accisible by lower the person through a little hole in the floor. We desceded to that room. It was an all stone room carved out with only a circular hole in the top for light. They had since put a lightsource in there. Abraham has Oscar stay at the top of the stairs. I should first tell you of a practice I had began doing durring the trip. I would close my eyes and meditate on the fact that all of time is before the eyes of God every moment and every place... Abraham had Oscar turn the lights out so that the only light was from the bit of sunlight coming from the hole above. He said something like "Think now... you know in the back of your minds you will be able to easliy leave this place... also you are surrounded by people who care for you... but imagine the hopelessness you would feel being left down here in a place like this with no one." I could hear him sobbing in my mind, I could see his frame. Abraham had Anthony read the 88th Psalm, but we were told to veiw it as from Christs perspective... I will never read it the same again. God brought me there... I could hear him saying thoes words to his Father... Abraham had a person on the left stand against the wall with their arms outstretched... after they walked away from the wall there was an impression of old blood marks left on the stone wall. I lost control... sobbing overtook me... how could they do this? How could he do this? How could I do this. The sharp unfiltered real pain of Jesus my Christ was right before my eyes... all of my sin, failure and punishment strewn... strewn out all over Him... the white hot Holy wrath of Almighty God was close... all I could do was weep over the agony of the loss of his intimacy with the Father... oh the burning passion of the Fathers hatred of my sin... he took it all so I wouldnt have to... I had my back rubbed by a few different people while Anthony held me as I cried. All I could think of as he held me there was that Jesus didnt have this... there was absolutely no comfort... no solice durring this time of unheard of greif... Jesus was completely alone. Something I SO much deserve... poured into Him... oh the eternal significance and power of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ!

The next day we went to where the temple once stood and experienced the most sacred place in all of Judaism: the Western Wall. We went in excited and cheerful then became rather somber... it was one of the most interesting, sacred, strange yet familar experiences I've ever had. We all wrote prayers on slips of paper to stick in the wall as tradition. Then we walked into the courtyard. SO MANY PEOPLE mostly orthodox Jews but definatly not all that. Much activity was going on. Lots of movement, there was singing in the place where the men could touch the wall because they were initiating a new Torah scroll. As we separated men from women to go up to the wall itself, we entered the womens part where many white chairs with people praying in them and some wooden stands standing in a row where people could set their Bibles and read and pray. Some were crying with their faces in the Bible, many were rocking back and fourth and almost all were praying or reciting scripture. I felt, and believe that collectivly we felt, a little out of place right at first. Almost feeling as I was in the wrong place or something. Then an interesting phenomena. I looked up and a feather floated down and landed right infront of my feet. I felt rather clearly that this was from God, a sign of His Holy Spirits presence amid that place. I began to look at the people differently, they began to remind me so very much of how any Christian would act durring a worship service in deep adoration of God with filling of the Holy Spirit... they were moved by their God.... and God was moving them. I waited my turn to touch the wall... feeling like I was constantly hearing "you are grafted into this"... then finally my turn came to place my prayer request into that ancient Holy wall and bend my head down amongst Gods chosen ones, I lifted my requests and became still. Abraham says that whnever he goes there he feels the "Divine Presence". The Holy Spirit was amongst that place.

Part two coming soon...

*XTRA* Random fun photoz

Holly and the first lady!!! (Jersey Airport)

Sponge Bob.. just wont leave me alone

Hamuudi!!! (ask me and I'll tell you more!)  

Late night adventure to the Dead Sea

Offer the Shoffer!!!! So so so so great!