Apr 21 2011

HOLY LAND TOUR, October 7-16, 2011


Dr Richard Fredericks (my dear friend and mentor from Damascus Road Community church) and myself are leading a Holy Land Tour this fall.  Prices will be finalized in the next few days.  This itinerary has been worked on extensively, based on learning from multiple trips we have both been on.  This is the best I have ever seen.  This will be the spiritual experience of a life time.  There is limited space.  The Grace Place spots are already half-filled.  Let me know soon if you are interested:

DAY 1 – Friday, October 7th:


Tour members are welcomed for our departing flight from Washington (Dulles) or Denver to London via wide-body aircraft arriving the next day.

DAY 2 – Saturday, October 8th,
This morning we arrive in London at 9:15 AM and wait for our friends from Denver to arrive at 12:30PM. We will go to our motor coach for a half day tour of London. We will then stop for a fish and chips dinner before going back to the airport for our 10:30PM flight to Tel Aviv.

Day 3 – Sunday – October 09, 2011
This morning we will have an early arrival in Israel. We will transfer for our hotel a brief rest and breakfast with a mid morning departure. We are met by our co-guide, Gilbert, who will be with us for our entire time in the Holy Land. Our first stop is Jaffa (Joppa in Acts 10), the city of Jonah, location of the house of Simon the Tanner where Peter had his roof-top vision of God’s inclusion of the Gentiles into His salvation in Christ. Drive to Herod’s architectural wonder Caesarea Maritime (on the Mediterranean) with its Roman aqueducts and amphitheatre. Then we go on to Mount Carmel (the site of Elijah’s face-off with the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18) and overlooking Haifa (port city) and the gorgeous Bahai Gardens.  Next to Megiddo (a royal city of Solomon), then Nazareth (Luke 4) where Jesus grew up (Church of the Annunciation).  We end the day with a baptism service in the Jordon River and hotel in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee.

Day 4: Monday, October 10th:
A long day!  Drive north to Caesarea Philippi for early arrival (around 8:00 am) and a quiet time reading Matthew 16: Jesus’ great question: ‘Who do you say that I am?’ asked near the Roman Temple dedicated to Pan cut from the Rock containing the Gate of Hell cavern.  Stop at Dan (the site of the high altar to the Golden Calf), then back to Korazin (Seat of Moses). After Korazin, go to Capernaum (Matthew 4:13-17: Jesus’ home base during His Galilean ministry) and share a Bible study in the “Jesus-synagogue”, see the millstones (Matthew 18:5-6) and see Peter the fisherman’s house on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 1:21-34; 2:1-12).  Lunch, then Tabgha (feeding of 5000 recorded in all four Gospels) and the Mount of Beatitudes (Matthew 5-7) for a time of worship and prayer.  From here we go to the Sea of Galilee boat trip (more time for reflection) ending back at Tiberius at dusk, for time in town.

Day 5 – Tuesday, October 11th:
Leave Tiberius late morning and head south around Sea of Galilee to Bet Shean, the largest Roman city ruins in Israel, site of OT final battle for King Saul.  Continue south to Jericho (Mark 10:46-52; Luke 19:1-10), the oldest city on earth and site of many Biblical stories, then on to our resort on the Dead Sea.

Day 6: Wednesday, October 12th:
Morning swim in Dead Sea, then early to Masada to avoid heat (those that want to hike down from top can).  On to David’s wilderness home at En Gedi (1 Samuel 23:29) for several hours: swim in David’s waterfall pond, then study time in Psalms.  Late lunch near Qum Ran, then drive up to Jerusalem, as we read together the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134), arrive at Jerusalem Hotel at dusk, and into city for shopping and sunset at Western (wailing) Wall.

Day 7: Thursday, October 13th:
Begin first day in Jerusalem entering through Jaffa Gate to Christ’s Church Mission for worship and history of Christian missions in Jerusalem. Then go to the Citadel for history of Jerusalem.  Dome of the Rock (previous site of Herod’s Temple) and Wailing Wall by day including the Rabbi Tunnel tour, the Archeological park and South Steps of temple.  Share lunch in the Old City.  Upper Room for communion (Luke 22:7-37), David’s Tomb, and drive to Model City and Shrine of the Book (Dead Sea Scrolls).  Back to our Hotel in Jerusalem.

Day 8: Friday, October 14th:
Early to Bethlehem, begin at Shepherd’s Field for worship, then onto Church of the Nativity (Luke 2) and to Grottos of St Catherine’s Church.  Lunch then shopping at Joseph’s Gift Shop in Bethlehem.  Back into Jerusalem to Pool of Bethesda, St Anne’s Crusader Church, then to St Peter at Gallicantu (Peter’s denial) for Bible study and coffee break.  Return to Hotel in Jerusalem. Evening free for visiting the city.  But tomorrow is crucial, so get some sleep!

Day 9: Saturday, October 15th:
Another long day! Begin early 7:30 am: walk down Via Dolorosa (way of suffering) to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (Golgotha Chapel, Tomb, Syrian Chapel, St Helena Chapel) for first worship.  Then to Lutheran Church Tower (view), and the Alexander Russian Orthodox Church (Passion paintings) for quiet time.  Lunch.  Then on to vista of the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24-25), walk down to Dominus Flavit (Our Lord Weeps, Luke 19:37-44) and on to the Garden of Gethsemane for worship (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18) and the All Nations’ Church.   Arrive at Garden Tomb for tour/reflection time, till 6:00 pm.  We then go to a special final dinner/evening in Jerusalem and time to share best memories.

Day 10: Sunday, October 16th:
This morning we will transfer to the airport for our morning flight to London continuing on to Washington or Denver.  Forever there will be new depth and insight to our Bible study, especially when we read the life of Jesus in the Gospels.

Apr 10 2011

A Radical Change



At Grace Place church our mission statement indicates our desire to be: Changed People Changing the World. The change God wants to bring in your life is not a slight adjustment, but a radical one!  God intends for you to experience a three-fold transformation in your life:

1. HEART Change

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)


Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

3. PURPOSE Change

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

The heart change happens when we accept Christ as Lord and Savior.  The character change is ongoing for the rest of our life as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit who is making us more like Jesus.  The purpose change is about us choosing to live our lives for God’s purpose instead of our own—the only way true and lasting fulfillment is found.

If you want to be challenged to rethink the prevailing view of “American Christianity” versus the biblical call of true discipleship, I recommend a book by David Platt that I’ve been reading called “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.” But I warn you, don’t pick it up if you want be a casual and comfortable Christian. This young 32-year old Christ-follower will rock your world.

Platt boldly challenges believers in Christ to consider how different the call of Christ is from the “American Dream.”   For example Christ claims that:

  • Real success is found in radical sacrifice.
  • Ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of God.
  • The purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live.
  • Meaning is found in community, not individualism.
  • Joy is found in generosity, not materialism.
  • Truth is found in Christ, not universalism.
  • Ultimately, Jesus is a reward worth risking everything to know, experience, and enjoy.

If you read the Red Letters (the words of Jesus) in the Gospels and try to remove western 21st century American eyeglasses, they are sobering, disturbing, even shocking.  The call and claims of Christ are indeed radical.