A Trip to Change Your Life

Many years ago, the top item on my "bucket list" (though I didn't call it that back then, in the "olden times") was to visit the Holy Land. It seemed a nearly impossible dream. So far away, a volatile region, and too expensive. But we talked to friends who had made the trip, and learned that none of those impressions were accurate. So we decided to save, and borrow, and make the trip. It was probably the wisest investment I ever made, and the safest trip (see here for more about safety in the Holy Land).

Now, the lovely Robin and I are excited to announce the dates, itinerary, and cost of our March 2014 pilgrimage to the Holy Land (see the full brochure here)! Sure, it's a year away, but it's not at all too early to begin planning for such a life-changing experience.

There is no way to adequately describe the difference in perspective, appreciation, and understanding a person gets from discovering the land of Jesus, the apostles, prophets, and patriarchs. It is like the difference between reading about being born again...and BEING born again.

Words cannot describe what happens to your Bible reading, studying, and preaching once you have sailed the Sea of Galilee, and been baptized in the Jordan. Or prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane and celebrated communion outside the Garden Tomb. Or taken an early morning journey starting at the Gihon Spring, in the City of David, and traversing the actual tunnel of Hezekiah (dug underneath the Ophel in Jerusalem about 701 B.C.) and ending up at the Pool of Siloam. Or the side trip Robin and I and a half dozen good friends took one morning in Jerusalem, when we took a cab to the village of Bethany, and walked the Palm Sunday route Jesus took from the traditional site of Lazarus’s tomb to the Temple Mount (see photo above). The topography and scenery of that three-mile walk will stay with me forever, and springs to my mind, of course, every time I read of Bethany or Palm Sunday or Lazarus, Mary, and Martha in my Bible.

You can't imagine the way Scripture and the past come alive after you have stood on the teaching steps of the Jerusalem Temple (on which Jesus’ feet undoubtedly trod, and where he would have sat to teach on many occasions) (see photo above).

And there's just no way to convey the depth and emotion of such statements as "Our feet are standing in your gates, O Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:2) and "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion" (Psalm 125:1) and "the city of our God, the mountain of his holiness" (Psalm 48:1) until you've encountered such things in the very places the Biblical writers experienced them. It is, for me, an indescribably rich experience that is renewed every time I read such passages.

This trip will be even fuller than the previous four we've enjoyed. We will be spending more time than ever before (eleven days) and visiting places we have never yet been: Jacob’s Well, Samaria, Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim, Emmaus, and the Valley of Elah, where David slew Goliath (in addition to Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, the Sea of Galilee (photo below), Jericho, Qumran--where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered--Jerusalem, Caesarea, Capernaum, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo, and more)!

The brochure (click here) describes the high points of our tour, but it can’t even begin to capture all the memorable moments in this journey of a lifetime. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me here. If you want to reserve your spot right away (and get the best possible price with an $80 discount per traveler for registering by April 18), simply fill out the registration form on the brochure and send it (with your deposit) to me, or directly to the address on the brochure.

And, for those in the Hamilton, Ohio, area, you can attend an informational coffee in our home at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, to answer questions, meet other travelers, and share the excitement. If you need directions, shoot me an email. And start planning now for a trip like no other...one that will ignite your comprehension and enthusiasm for reading the Bible, enlarge your perspective, deepen your faith... and change your life.

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