Ahh…the anticipation…the excitement…the emotions…the tears…
Israel…where my Lord was born, grew up, and gave his life…for ME! Here I am…1997.
I always remember loving Jesus. I heard the stories about him as a toddler; I read them in my child’s Bible. I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior when I was in the third grade. I remember receiving my first “adult” bible in the King James Version, from my Aunt and Uncle when I had my 12th birthday. I began to grow in my understanding of Jesus’ life and love for me. In high school I received my first modern paraphrase, “The Living Bible.” The Bible began to come alive! I began to underline, highlight and write in the margins my understandings, thoughts and dreams as a follower of Jesus.
I had seen many pictures of the “Holy Land” as a child from visitors to our church who came to share their “experience.” I saw the pictures, but they were hard to “picture.” I remember one Sunday evening when the reality hit me that Jerusalem was a modern day city! I wanted to go there and see for myself.
1997…Israel…Here I am on the Mt. of Olives, in a bus, overlooking the ancient City of Jerusalem. The anticipation, the excitement all mounting. And as our guide played a song over the bus’ sound system, one I had heard as a child, “The Holy City,” the fountain sprang up and in that Holy Moment my emotions took over and the tears flowed. This is real! I love Jesus!
“I love seeing the many ‘Ah Ha’ moments, the Holy Moments, the life-changing moments experienced by those we host.” ~Linda Gingerich
I grew up a PK (pastor’s kid); I am married to a pastor. I’ve taught children, women and men with passion about Christ’s love for each of us. But in this moment, I felt as if I had met someone I loved for the first time. Now I knew why all of those people I heard share their “experience” were so anxious to tell their story. But this is an “experience” only YOU can “experience.” Not only was it an “experience,” it became a life-changing event. While listening to our guide expertly teach the culture, the political arena, and society of the time of Christ while standing in the very places Jesus stood and taught himself, my eyes were opened to a new vision and reality of who Jesus was, the radical positions he took, the open resistance to the current “religious” leaders he verbalized and confronted, all the while teaching and living the most important lesson…to “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind…and to love your neighbor as yourself.” And then then he modeled his words by laying his life down for me! He experienced the most torturous and heinous execution known to man in that day. And Jesus did it for my freedom, my joy, my peace and the anticipation of living forever – with me! (See this video of Dennis and I in Jerusalem)
It is 2017. I have been to Israel eight times now. I love seeing the many “Ah Ha” moments, the Holy Moments, the life changing moments experienced by those we host. And each and every time I re-enter the earthly home of my Lord Jesus, I am changed. On each visit, I see new evidences unearthed that only confirm Jesus lived, he taught, he died, and his grave is empty! I “always” finally “get it,” new “Ah Ha” moments, a fresh understanding of who Jesus was, is and wants to be in the life of every person on this planet. I can’t wait to go again.
Will you go with me… and fall in love…again?
A transformissional learning from my visits to Israel