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Showing posts from December, 2008

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem...

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A Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year. Or as they say in Greece, "Kala Christougianna!" As millions of people across the globe pause this day to reflect on the birth of Jesus the Anointed One by Mary, the elect, chosen one of God, I felt it appropriate to skip ahead in the Israel recap and tell of our experience in the Little Town of Bet Lekhem. Bet Lekhem, or as we say "Bethlehem", is one of the most hotly disputed cities on the face of the planet. It's only 10km south of Jerusalem and is located within the West Bank. No Israeli citizen, whether Jew, Christian, Muslim, or atheist, is allowed to enter the city limits. We had to unload the bus and get on another one with a Palestinian driver and a Palestinian Christian tour-guide. The entire city is surrounded by cement walls about 15ft high with barbed wire across the top. After passing through the checkpoints it was as if we had entered another world, and in a way we did. Bethlehem is a Muslim city. …

12 Days of Christmas

Some of you may have heard it already, but Straight No Chaser has a Christmas album out that has my favorite version of "12 Days of Christmas." Here it is if you want to hear it.

Holy Land Saga, pt. 2.1

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Day 3: Tue 11/18/08Tel-Dan:When thinking about historically/biblically important cities and/or archaeological sites, the ancient city of Dan might not make the top of your list. However, as I found out today, it is actually very important for several reasons.First, from the archaeological evidence in the layers of the city, we can tell that there were three distinct times when the city was completely destroyed and then rebuilt. The first dates back to the time of the Exodus/ Conquest of Canaan (ca. 13th Cent. BC). The second dates back to the 11th Cent. BC, which lines up perfectly with the biblical account of the tribe of Dan’s moving from southern Israel to the northernmost territory and destroying the city of Lashish. The third destruction layer dates to the approximate time of the Assyrian invasion of Israel.Secondly, it confirms the account in the Old Testament of King Jeroboam’s construction of two cult centers for Israel, one of which was right here in Dan. The remains of the f…

Holy Land Saga, pt. 2

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Day 2: Mon 11/17/08Bethsaida:This was the home town of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. It was a small fishing town off the coast of the Sea of Galilee with a population less than 800. I say “was” because Bethsaida is one of the three cities in which Jesus preached that is no longer a city. Bethsaida, Capernaum, and Korazin are the three towns that Jesus actually prophecies against because of their unbelief, and none of those three towns are functioning cities today.One of the coolest parts about the site is the location. From the hill upon which the town was located you can see the Mount of the Beatitudes, the Mt. of Tiberius, Capernaum, and most of the rest of the Sea. I would like to have seen it in the days of Jesus.Sea of Galilee:After seeing Bethsaida, we went down to the Sea of Galilee and were able to take a boat out onto the water. The feeling of being out on the very Sea that played such an important role in the ministry of Jesus was incredible. Words cannot accurately descri…

Holy Land Saga pt. 1

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Day 1: Sun 11/16/08Caesarea Maritime:The first stop on our journey through the Holy Land was Caesarea Maritime, the famous port city established by King Herod the Great, as well as the location of Paul’s trial before being sent to Rome (Acts 25).We learned a lot about Herod the Great. As far as his kingship goes, he was a very successful leader. He remodeled the Temple, he built great palaces and fortresses (e.g. Massada), and he also constructed the first and largest man-made port in ancient Rome in the city of Caesarea. Politically, he had a very successful run. Morally, however, he was a vicious man. After marrying his wife and bearing two sons with her, he decided that anyone in the bloodline of the previous royal family had to die because they were seen as threats to his throne. Thus, he had his wife and sons murdered. When Caesar Augustus heard this news, he is recorded as saying, “It is better to be one of Herod’s pigs than one of his sons.”This is the same king, as you might r…

Good Ol' US of A

Well, 3 plane rides, 6 hours worth of layovers, and one 30-hour day later, I am back in the United States. I must admit, I am going through a bit of reverse culture shock. America is so different than any place on earth if by nothing more than the fact that we have by far the most diverse population demographics. I was used to looking around Greece and seeing Greeks. I looked around Italy and saw Italians. I looks around Israel and saw Jews and Palestinians. Not a whole lot of diversity around, save the tourists (like us). But when I look around America, I see people of all descents, races, nationalities, ethnicities, religions, color, body build. So much diversity leads to a very unique way of doing things. Here are some of the key differences I see between America and the rest of the world: On the whole, Americans do not realize how much the US effects the rest of the worldAmericans care way less about the environment than most of EuropeAfter being overseas for so long, it's s…

The time has come

It's hard to believe, but our time here in Greece is almost up. We leave tomorrow morning, flying out of Athens to Rome to begin 13 days of travel through Europe. Along the way we will see Rome, Florence, Pisa, Paris, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London. It's going to be a lot of fun but very stressful at times. Please keep us in your prayers for the next two weeks until we get back home to Columbia. I will try to update all about Israel and free travel when I get back home. God bless. PS - I added my calendar to the bottom of the blog page so you can see what's coming up on the schedule and when we'll be where.