After four visits to the Holy Land, with many highlights along the way, the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem is still one of my very favorite places.
We gathered here this morning to hear the Good News, that Jesus is risen!
While most historians don't believe this is the place of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, it is simply THE most lovely spot in all of Jerusalem - a place where you feel the presence of God, and can rejoice in the empty tomb.
I don't know what it is about going into that tomb, and then coming out again, but if you're ever there, do it! It's a powerful reminder that "He is not here - he is risen!"
I took pictures of our group coming out so didn't go in myself.
Until I walked away and remembered that I hadn't done it last time either! So I called out to Dave to come back over so that I could go in, and come out, and have it recorded in a photo.
HALLELUJAH! He is risen, he is risen indeed!!
On this whole trip, we hadn't taken a picture of the four of us either! I'm so glad we remembered to do it in the Garden Tomb!
These two had the vision for this trip, to make a lifetime investment in the lives of their faculty. What a privilege to join them in building into these dear ones!!
Dave ended his series of teaching (he just counted...he taught 19 times on this trip...I SO admire him for that!) on the Southern Steps, the place where it is believed that the early church began with the preaching of Peter and 3000 coming to faith in one day just two months after Jesus' resurrection.
His challenge? Be centered on Christ, changed by Christ, and courageous for Christ!
That's been our heart for ourselves for many years, and we pray that it will be the same for this amazing group!
We finished our day in Bethlehem, having a special dinner altogether.
We have come to so deeply love these people! I look forward to seeing how God is going to use them for his Kingdom purposes in the years to come!!