Day 2 almost in the books here in Israel. I would describe the trip thus far as “loading me up!” Having the Bible go from black and white to COLOR, VIVID COLOR I might add, coupled with passionate teaching from God’s word by Perry Noble, Brad Cooper, and a lady named Gila (Ph.D. in Biblical Studies) who was born and raised in Israel, for lack of better words has…”loaded me up!” I have prayed for God to shake me and that started the minute we touched down in Israel…..and I am stilling “shaking!”
I love fellowship so when I was extended the invitation to go on this trip, thankfully, the one thing I didn’t really struggle with was NOT knowing anyone. Out of 40 people I knew one person and knew of two others through my sister and dad (but never met in person). Other than that, the other 37 people were strangers.
Relationships are KEY in life. I write about it and speak about it all the time. People are valuable and meeting other Jesus lovers, some experiencing their first trip to Israel as well, has been a blast.
I really want to talk about the people who joined us on the trip. There are veterans like Shaun who we sat with at lunch today. He has been to Israel 60 times. He produces films in Israel for Christine Caine, Lysa TerKeurst, and Perry, among many other biblical teachers. It was amazing to sit and learn from him. He lives in Atlanta, GA, but travels to Israel constantly and will be filming in Israel again in the next three months. Just having him share with me his personal accounts of being here so many times….the friends he has made and the sites he has seen….was better than any movie I have ever watched. COMPELLING:)
Next, I finally got to meet Davey Blackburn, someone I knew of and have prayed for but never met personally. You might remember seeing his story on national TV back in November of last year. His home was invaded and his pregnant wife Amanda was brutally murdered. I will never forget seeing Davey and his father-in-law give such a heart-moving testimony of grace, forgiveness and love in the midst of sheer evil…on national television.
Now that I have had some great personal sharing time with him, one on one, I can say I have been so encouraged. By the way, if you don’t know his whole story, google him. It started with him and his wife Amanda being called by God to move to Indianapolis, IN, to plant a church.
After worship this afternoon by the Sea of Galilee, Davey and I walked together discussing being on Mt. Arbel this morning where we studied John 14:13-26. This is where Jesus fed the 5,000. I wanted to “encourage” him by reminding him that Jesus fed the 5,000 right after John the Baptist was beheaded (see John 14:1-12). While Jesus was in the midst of grieving for John the Baptist, the gospel grew and people were saved. He stopped and looked at me and said that was exactly where God took him in the Word when we all had a quiet time of reflecting this morning. We both just smiled and shared a God moment.
Davey is going to be launching a blog to document the events of his life as he walks through his pain while in the “game”. This is what he said, “I am in the game and I am playing hurt!”
I cannot wait to share his blog. Knowing that we are all hurt at times, I know we can learn from Davey “how to play being hurt!”. More to share later. Readers, would you please pray for Davey and his son, and the church that he and Amanda were obedient to start and that Davey is committed to leading?
God is great. He is faithful and, today, through Davey, I was “encouraged”…that …..”Sometimes you have to play hurt.” That is when we sometimes can see God the clearest.