Today we are visiting with Mordechai Wiseman, founder of Israel First Fruits. They come highly recommended by our friend John Lockwood of Kingdom Builders in Australia who introduced us. Both organizations are worth you knowing about, so check them out. Be sure to watch John’s video on the Israel link. It’s an eye opener.
We’ve had some wonderful God connections here in Israel. Too much to mention at the moment, but the biggest highlights of our trip have been the God encounters. For Judy, one of them happened at the Magdala Center which is where a first century synagogue in Mary Magdalene’s home town was recently unearthed. They have recently completed a church dedicated to women, in honor of New Testament women mentioned in Scripture.
They are still excavating the 1st century synagogue but the founder allowed us inside the roped off area and we had the chance to stand in the place where Jesus most likely stood and taught some 2000 years ago. To think that our Savior stood right there and taught! Wow!
It was a moving experience, especially for Judy as the founder took us and a Swedish reporter on a private tour. As it turned out, the Swedish newspaper reporter was there that day to do a story on the Magdala Center and interviewed Judy about the topic. She did great on the interview! (Roll Tide!)
Another highlight for me, and perhaps the best so far was the boat ride on the Galilee. We hired a private covered boat for about an hour. The owner (Joey Smader) took us out on the lake and then began playing a CD with beautiful worship music. Turned out that he produced that album and sang along with us. He made the excursion above and beyond our highest expectation.
For me, as I sat on the bow of the boat powered silently by electric motor, with the cool waters of Sea of Galilee tickling my feet, the gentle breeze and warm sunlight in my face, I was quite frankly overwhelmed. On that day, I had my entire 30/30 worship experience on the Sea of Galilee. And what an experience of God’s presence I had! Can’t explain it. Won’t deny it. Just happened.
Yesterday, we spent an extended time at the place of Peter’s Primacy. It’s where Jesus asked him, “Who do you say I am?”. It’s also purported to be the place where Jesus restored Peter after the resurrection and prepared some fish and loaves on the shore. For us, we spent quality time under the shade of beautiful trees, watching the waves of the Galilee resound crisply as they spent themselves on the tireless shore.
Combined with the cool breeze and warm air, the song of countless songbirds and the beautiful fragrance of Spring flowers, we were once again deeply touched. We spent time observing, soaking in His presence and praying for loved ones. There’s something about the keys of the Kingdom that I believe God wants to help me understand more about.
Jerusalem was it’s own powerful experience! Perhaps the most notable for me, was the visit to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus agonized in prayer and sweat great drops of blood. Like most Christian sites in Israel, there are often multiple contenders for which site is the authentic site. Often times, only separated by very small distances.
Nonetheless, as we surveyed the garden overlooking Jerusalem and recalled what Jesus went through that horrific day, I experienced something entirely new for me. It was the first time in my life that silent prayer made sense. I was utterly speechless. What words of gratitude could I offer my Savior? The very best of them seemed like disheveled rags. It seemed like an insult to offer them, so I remained silent… and wept.
Going over to the Temple Mount was an interesting experience. We were taken to the exact spot on the grounds where the Jews believe Adam was created. They call it the center of the Universe. There is another spot on the grounds called the Dome of the Tablets, that is most likely the place where Abraham offered up Isaac. Because I was wearing knee length shorts that day, I was required to wear a covering over the rest of my legs. Our new friend Richard Harris and Judy both got a kick out of seeing me in a “purple skirt” as we toured the Temple Mount.
In future blogs, I will share with you some important lessons I learned from an orthodox Jew named Moshe. He really helped me understand a lot about the Jewish perspective. Maybe also I will share with you about our visit to Succoth Hallel, a 24/7 prayer center overlooking the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. What an experience to pray about Christ’s return when He will split the Mount of Olives and be looking right at the actual mountain about a kilometer away! We were able to worship there with our new friends Richard and Michele, who have made us feel very welcome in Israel, and we count them as dear friends now!
Just for fun, I rode a camel from the Mount of Olives to Tel Aviv… Well, not all the way… (o-:
More updates later my friends.
Until next time, be fruitful and multiply!