A Travellerspoint blog


Day 7

There is a Jewish saying that once you come to Jerusalem you will never be the same. This is never more true that with a group of believers who love God and His Word. As we learned from one Jewish man today, coming to Israel is about you encountering God. It seems as though the people in our group encountered God in a very unique way today. We began the day by visiting the actual site of the judgment chamber of the Antonia fortress where Jesus was tried and beaten before Pilot. It was the most moving experience to sit on the cold stones that literally beheld our cruel treatment of the Lord Jesus as He took our sin judgment on Himself. Leaving that room we walked the Via Delarosa (the way of suffering) which is a good chance to stop and pause along a proposed site of Jesus walk to Calvary. The hustle and bustle of the market place atmosphere added an element of authenticity.
After lunch (pizza in Old Town Jerusalem), we stopped by the small Judaic shop of a man I am learning to love more and more with each visit. He closed the door and gave us some individual time to talk about the genuine misunderstandings and differences between Christianity and Judaism. He also had some commentary on the church today that was extremely insightful. Wow! I think we were all so amazed at what a kindred spirit we feel with godly and sincere practicing Jews. God is surely drawing us together.
The last place we went to was Caiaphas’ house. This is the High Priest that sent Jesus to be tried by the Romans. It was also the place where Peter denied the Lord three times. We had a very clear view of all the places that Jesus walked to in the last 24 hours of His life. It was a very sobering experience.
We ended the day back at our hotel with a lecture from Susan Marcus who is a friend of mine (the guide that led my last two tours). She talked to us about modern day events and Israel’s recent history. She also allowed the group to ask any question they have ever wanted to ask a Jew. It was also very informative. We had a wonderful time with her.
Tomorrow is huge! We will take the group up early for an extended visit on top of the Temple Mount. Again…life changing.Tuesday_001.jpgTuesday_003.jpgTuesday_008.jpg

Posted by Budwenzel 11:47 Archived in Israel Comments (1)


Day 6

There is nothing like walking around in Jerusalem and seeing this wonderful city. Today we started the day with a perfect panoramic view of Old Jerusalem and the temple mount from the top of the Mount of Olives. Gilla showed us all the Biblically significant sites from the south to the North. This included David’s city, Caiaphas the High Priest’s house, the Southern steps to the temple, the temple mount, the Herodian palaces, the three valleys that form the letter Shin representing God’s ownership of this holy mountain, and many other sites.
We then, walked down the Palm Sunday route as Jesus would have when he descended the Mount of Olives stopping half way to weep over the city of Jerusalem. We took some time to trace his route. Then, we had the blessing of hearing from Scott as he shared why he and Wendy are going on an extra trip extension at the end of our tour. It all has to do with the Israelites escaping the coming destruction in the tribulation and going to Petra (or Bozrah) in Jordan. He made some amazing connections about the route that they will take and why all this will happen. It was so cool to see Scott verify his convictions based on the Geography. He and Terry then talked about the Olivet Discourse and the implications of a compromised state to our church age today.
From there we went to the Garden of Gethsemane where we had some time to sit among the ancient olive trees to pray and reflect on Jesus’ agonizing in this place of “pressing”. Wow, it was so incredible to sit and reflect on the depth of Jesus’ love for us knowing that He would experience that temporary separation from the Father on the Cross. This was a meaningful time for all.
We ate lunch in a cafeteria at the world famous Hebrew University. It was good to get an espresso and/or cappuccino (some got the kind with ice cream in it, but I won’t say who). After a brief stop in a beautiful olive wood carving shop, we headed for the Museum of Israel. Everyone absolutely loved the 1/50 scaled model of the city of old Jerusalem. It really helped put everything in context. Some of the ladies were just so thrilled to make some connections from a recent Beth Moore Bible study they did about the Psalms of Ascents. I love it!!!
The last stop was the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea Scroll parchments are on display. It was a real treat for a group that is full of people who love Scripture. The day ended a little early for some much needed rest. Tomorrow holds some very powerful experiences for us. Stay tuned…

Posted by Budwenzel 06:04 Archived in Israel Comments (1)


Day 5

Just when the group thought it couldn’t get any better…day 5. I just want to start out this blog entry by saying that this is such a wonderful group of people to travel the Holy Land with. They are so intent on their relationship with the Lord…they love the Scriptures…and they are eager to learn. I think Gilla (our tour guide) has really enjoyed teaching our group because of their desire to learn. She has been such a blessing to us as well.
Our first visit this morning was Masada. Of course, this 41 acre fortress at an elevation of 1500 feet is historically significant. It was the site of the last stand of the Jewish zealots as Jerusalem and Israel fell to the Romans in 73 AD. But, the group was also pleased to discover that this place is also the source of Jewish pride and resistance to opposition. I believe the people from Crossover church have received a new sense of encouragement to remain strong and unwavering in the face of cultural compromise. I look forward to hearing of how this trip has given this small group a vision to share with the rest of the body.
Our second stop one of my personal favorites. We hiked up to the spring of En Gedi. It is a desert oasis that is fed by a spring in the middle of lifelessness. En Gedi means the spring of the goats because it is the favorite home of the Ibex (indigenous wild goats). You can read in the Bible that this is the very site that David found King Saul doing his business in a cave. David cut off a piece of Saul’s garment and spared his life. It is also the place where David was hiding out from Saul and wrote several Psalms. We had a great time of Psalm reading and reflection. These goats have been hanging around this spring for over 3000 years, but we did not get to see any of them today. However, our incredible bus driver was determined to find one for us on the drive to lunch. Sure enough, he found one along the side of the road as we drove away. God is so gracious!
As we began our ascent to Jerusalem I paused asking everyone to think about what they were about to experience. The atmosphere on the bus was a unique reverence balanced with anxious anticipation. Then, we crested the top hill of Jerusalem to see the city of God. I cried all the way up the last third, and most of the people joined me by the time we saw the temple mount. We broke bread with Gilla (our guide) and Aaron (our driver) who are Jerusalem residents. Then, we stood in awe at the most incredible site you have ever seen. There were tears, laughter, and even some anger at the dome of the rock sitting on God’s spot. Ahhh, what a day.
We will be taking a brief walk on Ben Yahuda Street tonight to see some authentic Judaic shopping. Everyone is doing great. Shalom.Sunday_001.jpgSunday_003.jpgSunday_008.jpgSunday_014.jpgSunday_019.jpgSunday_022.jpgSunday_021.jpg

Posted by Budwenzel 12:14 Archived in Israel Comments (0)


Day 4

Well, it is time to enter the desert. We started out this morning heading south along the Jordan River towards the Dead Sea. Our first stop along the way was at the ancient city of Bet Shean. This is primarily a Roman site that was destroyed by an earthquake in around 749 AD. However, we did hike up a steep hill to see the old Canaanite version of the city where King Saul and his son’s bodies were hung from the city wall. It was quite a bit of work out to get up to the top, but it sure was worth it. It also gave us a chance to work off some of all that ice cream we have been eating. Hey, your loved ones have just been forcing me to eat all this ice cream every day (really honey, its true!) Well, ok so maybe I have created a bunch of ice cream monsters.
We headed south toward the Dead Sea stopping at where we think Gilgal might have been. This is the spot between the Jordan River and Jericho where the children of Israel stopped after crossing over into the promise land. It is a highly significant site for the Crossover group because it is the event that the church is named after. We got out of the bus and walked into a rocky desert spot where Terry talked about the place being where the children of Israel left behind their past. This is where God rolled away the reproach of their shame and hopelessness (Gilgal means to roll away). He then challenged everyone to continue moving forward in faith and obedience. We prayed, picked up rocks, and headed on further south.
The next stop was at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. I don’t think the people really expected very much from this stop…but there were surprised. After eating lunch, walking through a nice little gift shop and museum, we walked out the back door to see the actual site of the Essene community. We walked through the ruins of the site and stood face to face with the actual caves the scrolls were found in! They were about 50 feet from us. Everyone was deeply moved by this.
Today was really hot. We ended it by a nice relaxing float in the Dead Sea and a great dinner in a super plush resort hotel. We will be here for one night and then on to more desert discoveries tomorrow.
Here is my contact information in case there is an emergency or you need to get a hold of someone one here on the trip. 052 280-6127. You will have to dial internationally to Israel so check with your local operator to find out how.
Everyone is doing very well. There have been no problems. And of course, all of our friends and loved ones are missed very much. Keep praying!Saturday_003.jpgSaturday_006.jpgSaturday_020.jpgSaturday_014.jpg

Posted by Budwenzel 10:42 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

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