Posts Tagged With: Israel

The Wonders of the Wilderness

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

While I am both honored and humbled to teach some precious people at camp, I have not left you PODCAST-less.

THIS is one of the most powerful and profound messages in all of Scripture: How to Survive—Yeah, verily—to THRIVE in the desert.

You are in for a life-altering, paradigm-shifting tour of the biblical stage that will change the way you read and understand your Bible.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Gethsemane

Easter is almost upon us. Consequently, for the next four weeks, I would like to take you on a virtual tour of four places that factored most prominently in Jesus’ final hours.

In this PODCAST, we will visit the Garden of Gethsemane together.

From there, we will move in the coming weeks to the house of the High Priest, the Antonia Fortress, and finally–on Easter weekend–we will walk together on the stones of the Via Dolorosa.

I will be privileged to serve as your humble, awestruck tour guide. My prayer is that with every step we take, we will again and again be reminded that the Bible is God’s written record of…

Real people who lived in real places, who had real experiences, all of which point to a real God.

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Etched in Stone

Of all of the things that Peter could have told his unsettled refugee readers, why in the world would he challenge them to “Be holy”?

Oh my friends, as you are about to hear in this PODCAST, the answer may just blow your mind.

Seriously.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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“And Just When You Thought All Was Lost…”

“And just when you thought all was lost…”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, after his customary-yet-warm greeting, Peter could have begun his first foray into his rather short-lived, two-letter, dual-epistle-writing career with these words:

“And just when you thought all was lost…”

Because for Peter’s original readers, All.Was.Lost!

For these now-“scattered abroad exiles” had just been forcibly removed from their homes, had their lives permanently disrupted, and their families dramatically displaced.

Many-if-not-most of them were barely holding on, more surviving than thriving. Precious people precariously perched on the precipice of the abyss of uncertainty, just trying to make it through yet-another threatening day.

All of that to say that Peter could have begun this First Epistle of Peter with the words,

“And just when you thought all was lost…”

Because that was how they felt.

Just.Like.Some.of.Us.

Our challenges may not actually be as dire as theirs. But it sure feels that way some days, doesn’t it? Like we’re just barely hanging on? Like we’re more surviving than thriving? Like we’re maybe one step away from giving up?

“And just when you thought all was lost…”

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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Israel 2018

We’re going to Israel. February 21 – March 3, 2018.

I would LOVE to have you go with us. 

Here’s a link to the itinerary and brochure, with all of the facts, figures, and registration form: Israel 2018.

And here’s a little video for your enjoyment!

PLEASE get your $300/person deposit into the tour company quick, as spaces are VERY limited.I am so excited.

Believe it or not, I LOVE this stuff!!!

And I would LOVE it if YOU came with us! 

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A Minor Prophet with a MAJOR Message

Welcome to Peter’s first-ever sermon.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this fisherman-turned-preacher’s initial foray into the world of sermonizing is memorable in extreme.

And whether you realize it or not, Peter’s first sermon out of the gate is all about… Grasshoppers. As in locusts. Lots and lots of locusts.

A plague of locusts. A past-plague of locusts. A coming plague of locusts. And a future (even future for us) plague of locusts. See it there in Acts 2:14-16?

Listen as I read it to you, and see if you can hear ominous chomps of locusts:

Then Peter stepped forward with the eleven other apostles and shouted to the crowd, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. These people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel.”

See any locusts in that? No? Well, then, keep listening. Because as you are about to hear, it is vital that we do.

His name is Joel. He is one of so-called 12 “Minor Prophets.” But make no mistake about this: Joel may have been a “Minor Prophet.” But there was absolutely nothing minor about his message.

Let me ever-so-briefly remind you of structure of the Old Testament…

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Great Tribulation

coming_backAs you are about to hear in this PODCAST, with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:15, words that describe a singularly hair-raising event, the Great Tribulation will begin.

A 3½-year period of unprecedented spiritual defection and oppression, along with its resultant worldwide suffering on a scale never seen before on this planet.

Don’t take my word for that. Take Jesus’ word for that. In Matthew 24:21,

“For then there will be great tribulation, greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again.”

The Great Tribulation, that will begin with the singular event to which Jesus alluded in Matthew 24:15, and will end with the climax of human history as we know it — the glorious Second Coming of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Permit me the briefest of reviews. It is absolutely vital that we keep the end-times timeline straight.

The next event on God’s prophetic timetable is that wondrous event we commonly call The Rapture, where Christ-followers throughout the world will “meet the Lord in the air.”

Nothing needs to happen before the Rapture, that awesome event described so vividly in 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15, and alluded to by Jesus in John 14. The Rapture, or as Paul called it, Our “blessed hope.” Titus 2:13,

“While we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Please note that Paul described our “blessed hope” as Jesus’ “appearing,” not His “coming,” a distinction of monumental importance.

Now again, nothing has to happen before the Rapture, where Jesus will appear in the clouds and we meet Him in the air, all of this near the beginning of Tribulation. Yes, you can indeed wake up every morning of every day with the hope-filled words flooding your troubled soul, Perhaps Today! Nothing has to happen before the Rapture.

That said, much, much has to happen before the Second Coming, where Jesus will literally come down to the earth, setting foot on the Mount of Olives, this at the very end of the Tribulation.

Most notably, what has to happen before the Second Coming? The event described by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, and by Daniel in Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11.

Hear it from Jesus’ lips to our ears:

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains” (Matthew 24:15).

“Let the reader understand.” Why that particular exhortation? Precisely because there is so much confusion about this prophecy, and so many who therefore do not understand.

Confusion which we will bring to a conclusion in this podcast.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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THE House

JEWISH_TEMPLE00000018Welcome to Monday of Jesus’ last week, His Passion week, the final few days leading up to His coming crucifixion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, At the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry, way back in John 2 (Podcast #21), Jesus cleansed the Temple for the first time. Now here in Mark 11, at the very end of His ministry, Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

A display of uncharacteristic anger, rare to be sure. But a shocking display of anger nonetheless. Quite out of character for a Jesus who described Himself, and who consistently showed Himself to be a Very.Gentle.Jesus.

As Jesus walked through the Temple courts that day, something set Him off.

Yes, He was understandably upset about the fleecing of the flock that was going on here. To be perfectly pointed about it, these religious leaders were making bank by selling God. Religion had become big business. By the time of Jesus, the Temple Industrial Complex was alive and well and oh-so-lucrative.

Sadly, they had discovered in that day what so many Christian leaders have discovered today: God sells. Jesus sells. Then and now, there is money to be made in Jesus’ name. A boatload of money.

That being said, there was something of even greater offense to Jesus going on there in the Temple courts. You might not see it at first blush. But trust me, it is there, front and center. As you will soon see.

I’ll give you a hint: God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. That is a thread that is woven throughout the pages of the Bible.

God desperately longs to dwell among His people, literally. All of His people, Jew and Gentile alike, “from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5).

From the very first pages of the Bible (Genesis), through to the very last pages of the Bible (Revelation), God desperately longs to dwell among His people.

That theological thread that ties the entire Bible together runs right through this story here in Mark 11, as Jesus cleansed the Temple for the second time.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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A Fox in the Henhouse

Jerusalem-4There is No.Clearer.Picture in all of the Bible of the heart of God towards sinners — I’m talking the hardest of hardhearted sinners — than this one right here in Luke 13.

A Scriptural snapshot that will go a long way to defining your biblical view of God and your biblical understanding of Jesus, both as a man and as God.

If you think of the Bible as a picture book, Luke paints for us a portrait of Jesus that is, quite frankly, irresistible, and most refreshing to my soul. It will be to yours as well. Guaranteed.

One that comes to us, ironically enough, thanks to a small cadre of good Pharisees. Yes! Heard me right. Good Pharisees.

The Pharisees as a group, as we have discussed in weeks gone by, and as you therefore understand, were historically among Jesus’ chief tormentors. That being said, there were in the minority some good Pharisees.

  • Nicodemus comes to mind as a good Pharisee, one who lovingly cared for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.
  • In Mark 12, Jesus told a good Pharisee that he was “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
  • In Acts 15, reference is made to a number of good Pharisees who were committed Christ-followers.
  • And here in Luke 13, we find a small group of good Pharisees who traveled likely from Galilee to Perea to warn Jesus about the murderous intentions of Antipas.

This, my dear friends, is quite a gripping story.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Man Who Crucified Jesus

Good-Friday-proces_1386504bHe is the forgotten figure in the Crucifixion-Resurrection drama. A remarkable man who came to a most-remarkable conclusion.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, I am referring to the Roman officer who actually crucified Jesus.

At the conclusion of the crucifixion, this Roman officer — who had literally just killed Christ — made this stunning statement:

“This man truly was the Son of God!”

Now, I have to ask these questions:

  • How in the world did he come to this conclusion? This Roman? This executioner? This worshipper of many gods? This witness to, and participant in, more crucifixions than he could count?
  • What was it about this crucifixion that set it apart from all the others over which he, as a commander of 100 elite Roman troops, presided?
  • What pushed him over the line from a polytheist to a monotheist? A worshiper of Caesar as god into a worshiper of Jesus as God?
  • And what was it exactly that convinced him beyond the shadow of any doubt that the man he had just executed was in fact Almighty God?

I am profoundly grateful to professors Schmidt, Vanderlaan, Gundry, along with author Lloyd C. Douglas who wrote a wonderfully insightful historical novel, The Robe, for gently nudging my thinking in the direction to ask and now answer these intriguing questions.

Questions about what-in-the-world convinced this Roman Officer to conclude that the man he just crucified was not just a god, but as he exclaimed,

“This man truly was the Son of God!”

What did he see that we, not being Roman, might miss?

In order to answer these questions, I need to take you on a little trip, back in time many centuries, and to the East many thousands of miles, to Rome itself. There, we will attend the grandest, gaudiest, and most glorious of spectacular events. All to answer the question, What caused this elite Roman military officer to conclude that the man he just executed was indeed “the Son of God”?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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