The last time I was in Israel was 20 years ago. We saw the historic, biblical sites, and the story came alive for me.
My favorite part of our trip was staying for several days near the Sea of Galilee. I got up early each morning and walked along the shore, talking with Jesus. And I wondered what it must have been like for his first disciples.
Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake... As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:13, 18-20
The disciples hung out with Jesus on that beach, which was more rocks than sand. They fished those shores together. They tried to understand his stories. And their lives were changed forever.
So I found myself standing on that same rocky shore, imagining what it must have been like to hang out with Jesus, and I started skipping stones on the water (it's just what you do on a beach like that). I grabbed a handful of smooth stones, the kind that are good for skipping, and I put them in my pocket to bring back home. Those stones remind me of my trip to Israel, and my time with Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
Let's be praying for our Hopevale Israel trip team. Pray that they would connect with Jesus in new, fresh ways, and that his story would come alive for them.
And let's all be looking for opportuniities to skip some stones this week.
For the Great Lakes Bay Region,
Paul Miller, Executive Pastor