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Archive - November 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -TH- 25 NOV 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -TH- 25 November 2010

Our time in Israel sure has passed fast. It seems just yesterday we were leaving New Orleans for Israel and now that was a week and 1 day ago. The weather has been very nice the entire trip. A couple of days it was warm but for the most part it has been fine each day. We have also had very clear skies and atmosphere. We’ve been able to see without the sand or whatever in the air making things that are a few kilometers away to appear fuzzy. Crystal clear so my pictures in the desert and elsewhere should look great.

We left the Lutheran Guesthouse at 8am and met Gilla at the Zion Gate. Our first stop was the David’s Tomb and then upstairs to the Upper Room. The building is a Crusader building but tradition has it that this is the location of the Last Supper so it is a special place for us to have a devotional and sing. Stan did an exceptional job again as he led our devotional. It was special.

St. Peter in Gallicantu where Peter denied the Lord Jesus was our next stop. Mel shared in the courtyard about his life and faith and tied it in with the struggle and heartache Peter experienced when he denied Jesus. We took pictures of the Roman Stepped Way and sang hymns in the church. A few minutes in the Gift Shop and away we went up to the Mount of Olives Overlook. We had a fantastic view of the entire Old City of Jerusalem. If you stood still and thought hard you could almost envision how it would have looked at the time of Christ. We traveled from the Mount of Olives to Mount Scopus and had lunch at the Hebrew University Aroma Coffee Bar. It was very good!

Haas Promenade located on the Hill of Evil Council, the traditional site where Judas met with the Pharisees to finalize his betrayal of Jesus, was our next stop. Ironic that the British would have their headquarters here during their period of the mandate and later the UN would put it headquarters here. The view of the City of David and the Temple Mount are spectacular. We left the Haas Promenade and traveled down to the Pool of Siloam then back up to the foot of the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. Dr. Dukes led our devotional here. We left the Mount of Olives and went up to the Herod Gate (the Flower Gate) and walked down to Saint Anne’s Church and the Bethesda Pool. Don Richard led our devotional.

We were all tired. We came back to the Jaffa Gate. Some went to Aroma Coffee while others went to the Jewish Quarter to shop and some went back to the Lutheran Guesthouse.

Avner, our driver, picked us up at the Jaffa Gate bus stop at 5:30pm for our evening meal at the American Colony Hotel. The meal was very good. Dr. Dukes finished our Bible study –Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John.

THE LORD IS GOOD

Rev. 4:1-11 THE LORD IS GOOD

It’s not about me Lord
As much as I try
It’s bad and getting worse
Everyone has a hard time

It’s not about me Lord
I know this now
Every thought of my spirit
Is focused on Christ

It’s not about me Lord
Worthy is the lamb
Jesus my Savior
Has carries me now

It’s not about me Lord
It is a hard lesson to learn
Evil incarnate
Shrouds a self centered life

It’s not about me Lord
Help choose your way
I make a decision
Then go astray

It’s not about me Lord
Consequences demand
That I give up being hard headed
And become yours to command

It’s not about me Lord
How beautiful the day
When I recognize this place
Will only be a brief stay

It’s not about me Lord
Heaven soon I’ll see
The LAMB is the center
I surrender Lord today

Clay Corvin 26 November 2010
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ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -WE- 24 NOV 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE –WE- 24 November 2010

We don’t focus on relationships when we are at home. Work, church, family and many other things clamor for our attention. On a Pilgrimage (mission trip) you spend a lot of time with people. I really enjoy the interaction and relationship building on our trips. People get to know each other. Coffee times after the day is done, Bible study completed and dinner over are the very best events. It is a real joy!

Today was a busy day. I just looked at my pedometer and we walked 24,000+ steps. What a day and my feet feel it. That’s okay though because we criss-crossed the Old City of Jerusalem a multiplicity of times. I am tired though and will lay out our day for you.

Devotional at 7:30am and then we walked straight to the Temple Mount. We got there before 8am and were on the Temple Mount quickly. Gilla took us through the complete review of the Temple Mount visiting the precipice on the south east side of the Temple Mount, the Eastern Gate, the Dome of the Rock platform, the various special buildings in that area, the bedrock and then out on the South west side of the Temple Mount and back down to the Western Wall area.

We visited the Western Wall and then took the Kotel Tunnel Tour. Even though it is a bit tight in the tunnel it is an excellent tour highlighting the Temple Mount construction process and the related things through the length of the Western Wall. It is a very interesting and informative tour and will explain a lot about the Temple Mount. Everyone was impressed. Our guides were excellent.

We visited the Southern Steps of the Temple and the Davidson Museum. The virtual Temple Mount that UCLA has built is amazing. The detail of the hows and whys are visually presented and facilitates the understanding of what was built and how they did it. Really a worth while visit.

Lunch in the Jewish Quarter and then a 1 hour visit with Moshe and Dov Kempenski at the Shorashim Shop. Both men are orthodox Jews that openly discuss their Jewish faith with Christians and others that would like to ask questions about Judaism. We had a very good visit and I think we had a better understanding than before our conversation. If you are every in Jerusalem be sure to visit with Moshe and Dov. It is a good experience and will encourage you in your faith if you are a Christian.

We made the long walk across the Old City to the Ecce Homo at the Sisters’ of Zion. The group sang some heart touching songs and discussed what happened on the Lithostratos. The beating and crucifixion of Jesus is a heart rending experience. The Romans were cruel, very cruel taskmasters. When they disposed of someone they did it as inhumanely as possible.

The walk across the Via Dolorosa was not difficult. After the visit to the Lithostratos we had much to think about as we passed the Stations of the Cross on our way to the Holy Sepulcher. We did stop at the Russian Orthodox Church and saw the judgment gate then on to Calvary and the burial tomb in the Holy Sepulcher.

We finished our touring after we completed visiting the Holy Sepulcher. I think we have the best guide in Israel. Gilla Treibaich (gilla@zahav.net.il) does an excellent job of keeping the group organized and focused and works well with the group leader to accomplish the maximum amount of detail and sites in Israel. She develops historical discovery and ties it in well with the development of the nation of Israel and its religious and political situations especially as it relates to the Bible. She does a really good job as a tour guide.

Some of the folks shopped awhile in the Christian Quarter until time for our Bible Study at 6pm. After dinner most of us went to the Aroma Coffee Bar at the Jaffa Gate. Great day and enjoyable evening.

Blessings from Jerusalem. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Clay Corvin

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -TU- 23 NOV 2010

Israel Pilgrimage –TU- 23 November 2010

We packed and loaded the bus and bid adios to Maagan. We had enjoyed our excellent rooms, great food and our time on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. I love the Galilee. It is a shame we couldn’t spend more time. In our four days in the Galilee we were only able to hit the highlights but we did cover all of the high points but there are more wonderful things to discover there. A friend of mine in Israel has just purchased a home in Karmiel. They live and work in Jerusalem. I’ve noticed that they seem to have lots of reasons to go there as much as possible. They too love the Galilee! Before we left the sea shore we visit Yardenit a traditional baptismal site on the Jordan River. Jim Parker did our morning devotional on the Jordan River.

We climbed up from 600 plus feet below sea level to a 100 or so feet above sea level and drove to Zippori (Sepphoris) which was a Rome Administrative town about 4 miles outside of Nazareth. It was built in the time of Jesus and in fact Joseph may have worked there. This is a splendid site. Its claim to fame is the its beautiful mosaics. The Mona Lisa of the Galilee is in the Governor’s House. In an administrative building are several superb mosaics including the Nile o meter and Greek and Roman mythological characters. We visited the site comprehensively and then departed for Caesarea by the Sea.

Avner, our bus driver does above and beyond the call of duty. He does an excellent job of driving and maneuvering the bus. In addition he knows times form place to place, where to find anything you need including batteries, phone cards, a good place to eat, all of the Aroma Coffee Bars, and does a really good job of getting our stuff on and off the bus, coordinating getting our stuff into and out of the hotel, making sure everyone is taken care of and helping when anything goes awry. A great bus driver is a necessity on a cross country march like we do. Avner works very well with our great guide Gilla. The two of them are an excellent team.

Caesarea is a spectacular archaeological site. It is Crusader, Byzantine, Herodian period and is arranged over several 100’s of feet along the seashore. Herod had a wonderful palace that extended into the Mediterranean. Roascoe led our devotional and sang at the end of the devotional. He has a professional voice and has done a lot of singing with Gospel Quartets. For the few moments of our devotional we were the only group in the Caesarea Theater.

Our weather has been superb. It is another picture perfect day. One of the great joys of our trip now is that coffee has found Israel. There are Aroma (wonderful) Coffee bars everywhere and we visit more of them than we miss. It is as good as home and we have great coffee at Café New Orleans at home.

We sprinted from Caesarea and Akiva Or Aroma Coffee Bar where we had lunch to Bethlehem. It took us 2 hours and we got there a few mintues after 4pm. The Church of the Nativity closes at 5pm so we had no time to waste. Avner has his permit to go into the West Bank so we crossed the border and stopped for Gabriella our guide. I must say that Bethlehem is as noted in the Bible a place that is a bit forbidding. You never know quite what to expect. The visit to the Church of the Nativity is tense and walking from the bus to Manger Square is a bit anxious. We had a good time in the church. Gabriella does a good job of guiding us. We shopped at BSC, Edward Tabash’s Souvenir Store and departed Bethlehem about 6:30pm arriving at Jaffa Gate where we left our bus and walked into the old city of Jerusalem to the Lutheran Guest House on St. Mark Street. Dinner, devotional and a trip up to the Jaffa Gate Aroma Coffee Bar and our day is done. I’m tired and going to bed. Blessings to all.
Clay

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -MO- 22 NOVEMBER 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE –MO- 22 November 2010

Another beautiful touring day, which was, low 50’s this morning and rising into the high 70’s by the end of the day. Our drive back to Maagan was under a gorgeous whole moon. The moon glow fell beautifully on the Sea of Galilee as we wound down the Poriya descent to the sea. The road is a very winding road from which you can see the entire Sea of Galilee. But I’m starting at the end and we need to go back to the beginning of our day.

Our day began at Aroma Coffee at the Sea of Galilee junction at the south end of the sea. Amazingly they served all of us in about 15 minutes and we were back on the bus and headed for Bet Shean. The drive down the Jordan was informative. We discussed a multiplicity of issues and geography. The rain hasn’t started yet so everything looked dead. The first big rain will transform the area to a beautiful flowered paradise.

Bet Shean is the premier Roman site in Israel. They have a carefully recreated Cardo, bathhouse, theater, latrine and shopping mall. We traversed the site front to back and side to side. Jim Ennis led our devotional in the theater. Brooke Newsom sang.

Bet Alpha located in Heftziba at the foot of Mt. Gilboa was our next stop. They have a great video about the development of a mosaic floor in this early 6th century synagogue. It was rediscovered in 1928 by Israeli pioneers. The mosaic floor shows a significant synergy with the gentiles that lived in that area.

Our next stop was Ein Harod the Spring of Gideon that is mentioned in Judges 7. The water was low because the rainy season hasn’t begun. The park that surrounds the spring is excellent for picnics and family events. Rick Funderburk led our devotional and Brooke Newsom sang. Several folks knelt down and practiced bringing the water up in their hands to drink. Gideon whittled down his fighting force to just 300 men. The Lord said they would have to give the glory to Him when they defeated the Midianites and they did beat them. The victory belonged to the Lord.

We had lunch at Mizra Kibbutz and then on to Megiddo. This is a premier site in Israel and we could really spend all day there. We traversed the tel and especially noted the Solomon steps, the Ahab gate, the Solomon gate, the granary, the stables and the water system. This is an excellent site that has over twenty-five different layers of towns. Megiddo was fought over by every group that lived in this region for more than two thousand years. Its location is in the middle of the Jezreel Valley.

We turned back towards Maagan but had one more stop for the day on the way. The Nazareth Overlook affords an excellent view of Nazareth and Mt. Tabor and the Jezreel. Carl Scroggs led our devotional. It was cold and windy on the mountain top. We looked, listened and then returned to the bus for our trip back to Maagan on the Sea of Galilee. The moon glow accompanied us back down to the Sea.

Dr. Dukes led in Bible Study continuing our study in Encountering Jesus in the Gospel of John. Jim Parker began our day with a devotional on the sea shore. It was another great touring day. I think we are all tired. We covered a lot of ground and history today. Tomorrow we set our face for Jerusalem. Tomorrow night we will be in Jerusalem.
Clay Corvin

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -SU- 21 NOVEMBER 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE –SU- 21 November 2010

Sunday morning worship service on the Galilee southern shore. Jim Parker was our preacher.

Kursi the place of the demoniac was our first stop. It was a beautiful drive around the east side of the Sea of Galilee. We pointed out one of the towns of the Decapolis, Hippos, which is very near En Gev Kibbutz. We stayed at En Gev several times before we discovered Maagan. Kursi was a Byzantine monastery that ended in 631AD when the Ottomans invaded and conquered Palestine. Dr. Butler led our devotionals.

Our driver, Avner took us north to Tel Dan via the Hula Valley. Today we were going to go all over northern Israel and the Golan on back roads. I love taking the back roads and Avner was willing to travel through the back country in his 52 passenger bus. The Israelis have done a wonderful job in dealing with the Hula Valley. They are in the process of transforming a swamp into fish farms, arable farmland, cattle ranches, bird sanctuaries and a host of other activities.

Tel Dan is an exciting archaeological site. A lengthy nature walk alongside rushing waters, The horned altar from the Northern Kingdom, the Abraham Gate that dates back to ancient Laish and the time Abraham chased Chedorlaomer and got Lot back. This arched doorway dates back more than 3,800 years. Stan Watts led our devotional. He illustrated the importance of living the Christian life all the time instead of just at those times that it was convenient. He shared how a good water source made for healthy vegetation. If we live our life as a fire engine, only watering the vegetation when it was dying we wouldn’t have strong, solid growth.

Caesarea Philippi was our next stop. This place of Pan worship was an evil place. The place where all of the worship took place was accurately called the “Gates of Hell.” Dr. Harvey led our devotional. Dr. Duke’s students did a practicum related to the Biblical era at Caesarea Philippi. Lunch was at the restaurant next door to Caesarea Philippi.

Our return trip included a Ben Tal and Café in the Clouds, backroads of the Golan, locating and identifying the major Kibbutz on the Golan, the development of the Golan since it came into Israeli hands and other related Golan history. It is a beautiful, industrious area of Israel. It would be sad indeed for it to leave Israeli control.

Dr. Dukes continued his Bible Study series on Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John. This is an outstanding series and enjoyed by all of us.

Clay Corvin
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ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE -SA- 20 NOVEMBER 2010

Israel Pilgrimage Sat 20 November 2010
It doesn’t seem like Saturday but it is and we are beginning tour day 2 (day 4 since we left the US). We left Maagan our guesthouse at 7:45am so that we could make our boat trip time of 8:15am. The boat ride on the Sea of Galilee is from Tiberias to Nof Ginnosar. The Galilee was calm. Dr. Tolbert led our devotional and Brooke Newsome sang – wow to both. The boat captain had a young man from the Czech. Republic who played the violin and Brooke accompanied him singing. It was stirring for the soul. Our trip took about an hour and we landed at Kibbutz Nof Ginosar.

Nof Ginosar was a good stop. They have a good gift shop and a restored boat from the time of Jesus. They also have an excellent coffee shop where we enjoyed some of their coffee.

Our next four hours were spent visiting Mount of the Beatitudes, Chorazin, Capernaum and the Primacy of Peter. All four sites were impressive and the site devotionals were stirring. I enjoy visiting these sites where Jesus was active. Each site challenges our mind and heart and enhances our understanding of the Scripture.

We had lunch at Hilik’s Falafal at Migdal. The meal was basic and didn’t take a lot of time. Usually our Galilee day we eat there. The folks are friendly and helpful. Many of our folks had a magnum ice-cream bar for dessert. They are superb.

We took the high road to Rosh Ha Nikra and visited the Lebanon border then traveled down to Akko. Unfortunately in Akko there was a holiday celebration in process and we couldn’t get into town. Oh well, we consoled ourselves at an Aroma Coffee shop on the edge of town.

We traveled back to the Galilee and arrived at our hotel, Kibbutz Maagan. Dinner and Bible Study and conversations and Saturday had come to an end.

Clay Corvin 20 November 2010

Israel Pilgrimage Fri 19 Nov 2010

ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE- FRIDAY- 19 November 2010

We left New Orleans on Wed. 17 Nov and flew to Atlanta, five-hour layover and then on to Tel Aviv. The trip was very long and I slept about 6 hours of the 11-hour flight.

We arrived at Tel Aviv about 5:30pm on Thu. 18 Nov. I think I was just slow after so much sleep because I left my Tilley Outdoor hat on the plane. I need my wife to keep me straight. Each morning when I go to work she grills me checking if I have keys, phone, wallet, etc. If she doesn’t invariably I leave something behind. By the time we got to baggage claim I realized my error and had thoroughly chastened myself and wasn’t sure if I was going to tell my wife back home in New Orleans that I had lost my hat. I felt a bit embarrassed and not being a hat person had grown attached to my hat. Anyway, words to the wise, don’t ever mentioned you’ve lost something at the airport in Tel Aviv. I went by lost and found and 1 hour later we finished with security, the bus was loaded and we were on our way. The gate enclosure at the airport wouldn’t let us out. That took another 10 minutes. As we left the airport heading south with a 2-hour drive ahead of us I was feeling a bit low because we had wasted so much time but the Lord worked it all out. We arrived at Ramon Inn at Mitzpa Ramon about 9:20pm and they had a great meal set out for us. Our rooms were very good and we had a good nights sleep.

Friday morning was beautiful. It was cool outside in the high mountain desert. A great Israeli breakfast and off we went. Today would be a long touring day. We left Mitzpa Ramon and went first to the Ramon Crater. It looks like a beautiful, wild, huge crater and is stunning. Not unlike the first time you see the Grand Canyon. Pictures and oohs and aahs and on the bus.

Comments and prayer on the bus and it was time to get off at the ancient Nabataean site of Avdat. We visited the two churches on the site and discussed its history and accomplishments. We especially talked about the Roman period of ownership. It is an interesting era and a unique people group. They had caravan cities that stretched from Yemen to Egypt and later as Roman cities were significantly advanced in their agricultural accomplishments. We had a short first stop at the Avdat Aroma coffee shop for very good coffee. Then we loaded the bus and off we went heading north. We would drive north all day.

Beersheba was our next stop. A place of the Patriarchs., Abraham arriving here from ancient Ur in modern day Iraq. The well, the ancient tel, group pictures, and J.P. Cox giving an outstanding devotional and then back to the bus for our trip north.

We had a very good lunch at En Boqeq on the Dead Sea. This was our second Aroma coffee shop stop and we had salads and sandwiches for lunch and of course coffee.

Masada was our next stop. It is a formidable desert fortress about 90 or so kilometers from Jerusalem. Our group was properly impressed and overwhelmed by the massive outpost. Gilla did an excellent job of its history and future. Never again is the heart cry of those that have returned to Israel. Never again.

Now, it is 3:30pm and we are just leaving Masada. Qumran closed at 3pm but when we got there at 4:15pm we were able to get in and see the site. The place where the ancient scrolls were discovered is a special place to visit. Jim Parker who did his doctoral dissertation on the people at Qumran gave an excellent presentation of his thoughts on what happened, who did and why. The group then finished our site visit by walking up through the community and seeing the location of cave 4. A short period of shipping followed. Back to the bus and then a 2 hour drive to Maagan at the southern end of the Galilee. We got there about 7pm just in time for dinner.

We had several devotionals on the bus today and Dr. Dukes began our Bible Study, Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John. We enjoyed part two tonight after dinner. Rex Butler gave a presentation on Masada as we drove to it. Dr. Parker did our morning devotional after our visit at Avdat and will lead us in devotionals each morning this trip.

I’m tired and it has been a good day. Pray for us as we continue our Israel Pilgrimage tomorrow. We will return home on Sat 27 Nov and would appreciate your continued prayers.

Clay

THE WITNESS

I believe in Jesus Christ
Son of the Living God
Foretold in Scripture
Coming as one of us

I have eternal life in me
A precious gift from Christ
He shed His blood for me
Dying on Calvary cleansing me from sin

Every day He lives in me
I have fellowship with Him and He with me
Experiencing the presence of God
His love for me that sets me free

All of the 7,000 plus promises in God’s Word
Available for me
So that I might live a life of victory
Overcoming the world

My witness is this
Christ died that you might live
His offer is to any one who believes
He will forgive our sin and give us life

Every day in many ways
I will declare His love and gift
I believe in Jesus Christ
Son of the living God

Clay Corvin November 13, 2010

SUFFERING

Why me Lord?
Suffering doesn’t seem fair
I’ve worked so hard
Life is so unfair

You know those that cheat get ahead
The mighty wander to and fro on the earth
Pronouncing from Olympus how things are or will be
Grabbing anything they want they live a life of ease

Do you see what they are doing Lord?
Evil nations and people destroying mankind
Are you going to intervene Lord?
Surely you will stop this senseless murder

Then I went to worship
I saw the Lord and experienced His divine presence
He gave me eyes that could see
He revealed to me His dealing with evil

I saw the end of all of those that flaunt the Lord
Evil has a limited time
God’s wrath is exploding against evil
One day Jesus will return in judgment and there will be no escape

Jesus spoke His love for me
He will always be with me
He will not forsake me or forget me
I am the focus of His saving mercy and grace

The Lord is good and worthy of all of my praise
He is great and mighty and there is no one like Him
His eye is on me and He will not leave me alone
His hand will guide me His strength will protect me

Clay Corvin Nov 6, 2010
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