The last few days have been spectacular here in Israel. Too much, in fact, for words (especially since I’m completely exhausted tonight). So I thought I’d blog “This Week In Pictures” to start the week and give you a little taste of Israel. This week in 20 (ish) pics:
We battled our day one jet lag at the beach. The Mediterranean Sea that is, on the coast of Israel’s capital Tel Aviv.
We visited the only 18 hole golf course in the entire country of Israel (but unfortunately didn’t have our clubs).
We visited the ancient city of Caesarea, built by Herod in honor of Caesar Augustus. Some historians believe Jesus carpentry skills could have been utilized here.
We stumbled upon a wedding at the Roman Aqueduct. This should be an advertisement for the iPhone 5.
We shared the importance of mentoring men toward an authentic connection with God with Messianic Jewish leaders from across the nation (under the leadership of my good friend Dr. Mike Elmore). This is the reason we came, and Mike and Lyndon will be staying two more weeks to continue this life-changing mission.
We celebrated my friend Lyndon’s birthday (I won’t tell you that he’s 45).
We worshipped with a Messianic Jewish congregation.
We drank Jewish coffee on the balcony just a few blocks from the Old City of Jerusalem.
Took in the Mount of Olives and Kidron valley from the City of David.
We were reminded this isn’t just a religious site or tourist destination, it’s real people.
We stopped by the Western Wall, the only remaining portion of the Temple from Jesus day and an extremely holy site for Jews and Christians alike.
We got completely ripped off in the Arab markets. I’ve never met anyone better at getting you to hand them more money. Do they work for the IRS?
We stood in awe at Golgatha, the place Jesus was crucified (likely on the main road below). Do you see the face in the rock? It’s now the backdrop for a Palestinian bus station.
We stopped by the empty tomb. (Not sure if you’ve heard, but there’s really nothing to see here).
We witnessed a group of South Africans spontaneously break into song in the Garden Tomb (just push play).
We took in a stunning light show at the Citadel of David.
We chuckled as two Orthodox Jews took money out of an ATM (we probably shouldn’t have laughed, but come on it does kinda look funny).
We drove to Galilee via the West Bank and spent an hour having all our belongings and rental car checked over by people with large guns at a security checkpoint (don’t tell my wife). I’d show you a picture of me with the the armed guard, but he discouraged me from taking one. I agreed.
We gazed at the same hills where Jesus lived, prayed, and taught.
And we watched the sunset over the Galilean hills from the same spot Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
But as awe-inspiring as it is to experience all these places – to absorb the history and the scope of all that happened here – the most overwhelming revelation is knowing all this was done by a God who loved us so much, He made a way for you and me to walk with Him regardless of geography.