I don’t have the space or the time to go into everything that I have seen, experienced or been taught during my week in the Holy Land. I do however, wish to share just a few things that I have learned from walking and looking over this land where the Lord spent His 33 years on this planet.
First, I am so thankful that as evangelical Christians, we don’t worship a holy place, we worship a holy person. It is hard to see the places where Jesus ministered, performed miracles and even paid for the sins of all people because people have constructed their own edifices around those places. Lesson: Let’s make sure that we don’t make a building our place of worship, but let us find our worship in Him.
Second, I am overwhelmed by the lostness of this part of the world. There is a pervasive darkness that is so overwhleming that the millions who call this part of the world “home” don’t even know its dark. I do agree with our of our denomination’s personnel who works among Muslims in this part of the world when he says that he believes that there is going to be a great movement among Muslims in which millions will come to faith in Christ. The seeds are being sown as we speak. Lesson: Let’s pray and send and come as laborers for the harvest, because even though time is short, eternity isn’t.
Third, to really be a follower of Christ in this part of the world costs something. To openly, publicly declare your faith in Christ and Christ alone will cost you more that a Sunday morning or a few verbal jabs at the office. It will probably cost your family and job. It may even cost you your life. We in America know nothing about real sacrifice. Lesson: We need to evaluate our lives to see if we really are following Christ. Following Him has always cost everything we have and are. What has your relationship with Jesus cost you? If youre answer is “nothing,” then you might need to check and see if you really are following Him.
Fourth, the church in America has for the most part a Western Christianity. I mean by this that our influences come primarily from Scotland, Wales and Western Europe. This does not necessarily mean that our form of worship or Christian community is wrong, because as I look at early Christianity it always adapted to the culture of its community without compromising its basic tenets. However, there are certain things about this Middle Eastern culture in which Christianity commenced that we have lost – and we are poorer for it. Lesson: The church is not about a show or a service, it is about living together and learning together in community. This is how the early church spread and survived. We could learn a lot from the simple believers from both then and now.
Finally, Jesus really walked on this planet. He is not a figment of the imagination. He is not some sort of a fairytale. He was a living, breathing person, with all of the physical traits that we have, excetp one – sin. He got hot. He got tired. He got hungry. He had friends and intimates such as the disciples and the family of Lazarus. I say all of that to say this – He was, and is, a real person and as such desires a personal relationship with us. Not just one day a week or a few days a year. He desires to spend time with us, like those he walked with, ate with and lived with so long ago. Lesson: Is Jesus a real person whom you long to spend time with or is He simply a name that you throw around during the week and use a little more on Sunday?
These are just a few of the thoughts I’ve had over the course of this week. I’m sure that I’ll have more. Please pray for us as we travel home and more so for the ones we had the opportunity to minister to, pray with, and share the love of Jesus in practical and personal ways with.
Shalom from the Holy Land,