Reinvigorate Your Bible Reading And Preaching With A Pastors Bible Tour Of Israel

Imagine being able to experience places of the Bible while on a tour of Israel with your church family where you can tangibly witness everything you’ve learned through your studies of God’s word. On a January tour in 2022 we will take you along a variety of sites like that of the first miracle in Cana, along the Sea of Galilee in a boat replica like one that was used in Jesus’ day, the Garden of Gethsemane, Mary’s Well, the Church of All Nations and the remains of the Second Temple, amongst many more.

Mary’s Well

Also known as ‘the spring of the Virgin Mary’, Mary’s Well is the place believed to be where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary announcing that she would bear the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It is located in downtown Nazareth along the main road. Today sits a modern version of the well as the original well house structure was demolished and rebuilt in the 1960’s. The ancient trough was used by women and animals for drinking water which came from natural springs and was an important source of running water during that time. Having fresh water was crucial for the villages and later in Roman times, a series of tunnels was constructed into the rock so that water could be distributed to the homes within the surrounding area. This fresh running water system was used throughout the ages.

Cana- Site Of The First Miracle

The site of the first miracle happened in Cana during a wedding. During this time frame, weddings were celebrated for seven days and were considered a family honor. Food and wine were supplied by the bride and groom’s families and flowed freely over the period of seven days. To run out was considered a dishonor to the family name as it implied that the hosts were thoughtless or impoverished. When Mary noticed that the wine was running low she went to Jesus and asked him for help knowing that if she couldn’t find a solution her family name would be shamed. As the bible tells us, Jesus took six jars filled with water and turned them into wine that was better than the wine that had already been served. This turning of water that was traditionally used for ceremonial cleansing into the best wine was a representation of the blood of Jesus that would later be shed for the forgiveness of man’s sins.

Sea Of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is a lake set amongst the hills in northern Israel. From a distance, it resembles the shape of a heart. It is also one of the lowest-lying bodies of water on earth. Other names for it include the Lake of Gennesaret, Lake Chinnereth, Lake Kinneret and the Sea of Tiberias. The Sea of Galilee is a freshwater lake that is fed by the Jordan River as well as drained by it and serves as Israel’s main water reservoir though it can be limited based on the year’s water level. During the time of Jesus, more than 200 boats were known to fish its waters and export their catch-all over the Roman world. This is also the same body of water where Jesus is known to calm the storm and walk on water.

Garden Of Gethsemane

This garden is most famously known as the place where Jesus would spend his final hours in prayer before he was betrayed and arrested. To this day, olive trees line the garden and are a mark of history’s past. Olive oil was of great significance during this time as it was used for anointing oil, in oil lamps, for cleaning, cooking and medicinal uses. The name Gethsemane is composed of two words, Gat and Shemanei, which literally mean olive press. To this day olive oil is still pressed annually from the ancient trees that grow in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Church Of All Nations

Antonio Barluzzi was the Italian architect that built the Church of all Nations in 1924. Incorporated within its design is Islamic architectural features along with a Christian basilica in the front. On the same grounds of the church are remnants of a Byzantine church that were built in the 4th century and was later converted to a basilica by the Crusaders. Traces of this church can be seen inside through the most prominent aspect of the church is the presbytery and high altar which are behind a large piece of rock that is believed to be where Jesus prayed the night before his betrayal.

Remains Of Second Temple

The Second Temple played a major role in the life of the Jewish people as it was considered a holy site. Originally constructed by King Soloman in the mid 10th century upon the Temple Mount, a hill in Jerusalem known as ‘the place that the Lord will choose’, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. Cyrus the Great later decreed about half a century later that the temple be rebuilt so that exiles who were driven out by the Babylonians could return. Construction of the Second Temple began in 521 B.C. and was completed in 515 B.C. Around 20 B.C. Herod the Great enlarged and refurbished the temple only to again be destroyed during the time of the rebellion against Rome leaving us today with the remains of the Second Temple; most prominently the Western Wall.

This is just the surface of everything you will learn and experience on this tour of Israel next January on the 17th through the 25th in 2022. Click the link below for more details.

Pastors Bible Tour of Israel

Tips For Doing A Family Bible Study From Home

Now that almost everyone is home with their families because of Covid-19, many are taking the time to be intentional with their relationships. Outside of taking care of the daily responsibilities of work and online schooling, families are spending more quality time with their loved ones. One way of doing this is gathering together as a family and doing bible studies in their home. Since going to church is not an option currently, families are watching online church services and spending more time studying the word of God. How each family member does this is unique to the individual family but here are some tips for doing a family Bible study from home.

Go Into It With Purpose

Purpose is key in everything we do. Our purpose as Christians is God’s will and design for our lives. To be productive, fruitful and thriving, it’s important that we walk with purpose and that goes for every area of life and in everything that we do. Coming together as a family unit to study the Bible and its truths allows for us to engage in powerful moments as a family. We want to be intentional and purposeful with how we engage so knowing our families dynamics will help us to strategize a plan that will fit our families personalities, needs and desires with intention and purpose.

The main objective is to grow in our relationship with Jesus but how we go about that will look different from one individual or family to the next. Before sitting down for a Bible study with your family ask them some questions. Find out what they want to learn or questions they have of their own. See what interests them. This will help you decide where to start. Incorporate a time of reading, discussion, worship and prayer with a start and end time so everyone knows what to expect. There isn’t one rule of thumb on the order of how you do things but because everyone experiences the Holy Spirit differently, it’s important that this time offers a variety of ways to engage in God’s presence. Having a course of action that is tailored for your family will allow for this time to be interactive, relational and productive.

Be Creative And Have Fun

Let’s face it. Our kids don’t always want to sit down and do Bible studies as a family. It’s common for children of all ages to look at this time as ‘boring’ or a time where they express they would rather be doing something else, but as parents we see the bigger picture of what this time holds for their personal growth and relationship with Jesus which is why creativity may be necessary in order to get our kids involved. When we sit down with our family and ask them what they would like to learn we may also want to ask what ideas they have to ensure this time together as a family is fun for them. Incorporating their ideas will cause them to naturally engage versus them feeling like they are forced to.

Depending on your family unit, creativity will vary. If you have very small children then incorporating games, music, drawing or coloring may be necessary to keep them engaged. Young children often learn best through forms of music and games that incorporate memorization skills. Family units that have large age gaps between children may need to incorporate these ideas while engaging older kids in discussion times. Younger kids can work on coloring pages or drawings that have to do with the central theme while the adults and older children have deeper discussion. Even playing games like Bible trivia can be incorporated with older ages, providing a relaxed and fun atmosphere that they are more likely to engage with.

family bible study

Don’t Be Rigid!

However you go about starting your family Bible study from home, be sure that as you start to settle into a routine that you change things up along the way. It’s helpful to have an expectation of what this time will look like but sometimes routine can cause us to lose interest which is why changing things up can prove to be beneficial. Point being….don’t be rigid! God does not live in a box and neither should we. There’s freedom in Christ which enables us as followers of Christ to move freely in our relationship with Him. As we seek to deepen our relationships we must be willing to try new things.

God has so much for us that He wants us to discover and being able to experience those new found discoveries with our family is certainly special. Ultimately it is God’s plan that prevails so while we go into things with our own plans it’s important that we always leave room for flexibility and change. As we spend time together as a family during these unprecedented times we have an opportunity to go deeper into our relationships with each other and with God. Choosing to allow God to direct our paths along the way is essential in discovering what it is that He is saying and leading us to. We can read the Bible front to back a hundred times but without God’s direction we will most likely not hear His truths the way He intends us to, so creating routines that provide space for the Holy Spirit to move is key as we do Bible studies from home with our families.

God’s Agenda

God’s agenda is always to bring His kingdom here on earth. As we press into our relationship with Him both intimately and as a family unit we will find that how God moves in our lives is never just for us but for others as well. The graceful work He does in our hearts is always with the intention that we would be able to take the same love that Jesus pours out on us and pour it out to others. Our lives are meant to be an example of Christ-particularly His love which supersedes all human understanding. As we spend time doing Bible studies from home with our families lets always remember to place God’s agenda as the priority. It’s not just about our growth and blessing but how those things can bless others and help them to grow in their walks with the Lord too.

This is a very interesting time in which we live. We will find that even though we are home more and have less distracting us in life, we can always find things to keep ourselves busy. However, the hope is that this time can be productive as we take advantage of opportunities like we never have before; specifically in our relationships. There will come a day when we are able to go back to work, school, the gym, sports, events, etc but will we enter back into those things with thriving, healthy relationships or will we enter the future with what we had before which left us feeling unfulfilled, lost, alone, disconnected and possibly broken. We often feel like we don’t have enough time in our days to pour into what’s most important to us and now we find ourselves with that opportunity. An opportunity that will not go on forever. Taking the time that we now have to feed our relationships is vital. Whatever the future may be, a fruitful and thriving future is what we all long for.