Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

What are you grateful for today?

What things can you offer God thanks for?

I was having trouble pin-pointing one thing to write about so I think I will just make a list. Her are a few of the things that are on my heart today that I am grateful for.

1. You
2. My family, church family, and friends (I have won the lottery here!)
3. Friends who listen to me
4. Friends who I can be vulnerable with.
5. Friends who keep me focused on God and challenge me.
6. Prayer (God want me to spend time in his presence)
7. Grace
8. Music
9. Forgiveness
10. Second chances
11. Bonus Scripture
12. The looks a child gives their Dad (or mom) that melt our hearts.
13. The looks my children give me when they think I am nuts.
14. The looks my wife gives me that say so much with no words.
15. The kindness of strangers
16. God's presence that is there even when I don't feel it.
17. People who show me that God is with me.
18. High Speed Internet access (uploading pics overseas makes you appreciate what you have)
19. Community
20. Those that teach
21. Those that lead
22. Reconnecting
23. Tears
24. Laughter

One for every hour of the day today. 24 things that I give God thanks for today. Big things. Little things. All gifts from God. The could, and should, go on and on. Thank you God for each and every one.

What is on your list? Make a list today. Count your blessings today! Give God thanks!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Forgiving Ourselves

Sometimes the hardest person for us to forgive is ourselves. When we fail to forgive ourselves we are imprisoned by things like guilt and shame. When we fail to forgive ourselves we are weighed down by poor self image and low self esteem.

God does not want us to be imprisoned and weighed down by these things. He wants us to live lives free of this stuff. That is why Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead. God is not going to hold things against us so why should we? Why do we? The good news says that "you are forgiven." Hear the good news today. Forgive yourself, forgive others and be set free to live.

I could not help but think of this song as I thought about this post. It is another great reminder for us from Casting Crowns.



"You are Forgiven"

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The "F" Word

"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15

"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:21-22

"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." Luke 17:3-4

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:38

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossi ans 3:12-14

The "F" word that I am talking about is forgiveness. This is the word. It is central to our relationship with God and our relationship with others. It is an easy word to say. It is easy to talk about. However, forgiveness, like we are called to, is not easy to do. But it is necessary.

When we forgive we are freed from the prison that unforgiving places us in. When we forgive others we are set free from the weight of carrying grudges and anger. When we forgive we are living in, and by, the grace that we have received from God.

My computer background has the saying "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you." Not forgiving others imprisons us. The person that is effected and hurt by our not forgiving-- is us. The person imprisoned and oppressed is us.

Thanks be to God that God loves us and forgives us. Thank God that he is a God of second chances, third chances, seventy times seven chances. And God invites us to live lives free of hurt and imprisonment of holding on to the wrongs down against us. God invites us to forgive. To be people of the second, third, forth, and seventy times seven chances. To set ourselves free. To live lives of radical grace. Saved by grace, living by grace, and extending grace.

Forgiveness isn't easy. It will take time. It will take prayer. It will take grace. Let go and let God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Jesus with Skin On

I don't completely remember the story or where I heard it. But, I think I remember something about a child contemplating the presence of God and the promise that she heard of God being with her always.

I think the story is that the girl was in difficult time in her life and she was feeling alone and felt is if God was no where to be found. Her mother was explaining to her that God was with her even in the moments that we feel alone and even when we can't see or feel him.

Have you been there?

Well, the girl says to her mom, "I know Jesus is with me, I understand that, but sometimes it is nice to have Jesus with skin on."

She is right. Sometimes we just need to feel a touch. Sometimes we need arms wrapped around us and shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we just need someone there, in a real, physical, tangible, way to help us to see that God is with us. We need people to be Jesus with skin on for us.

The good news is that God has created the church to be Jesus with skin on. To be the body of Christ as Paul describes it. I know that as the church we don't always embody (pun intended) this idea or act like Jesus. But it is God's desire for us in the world.

Maybe we over complicate it.

I am sure we do. Maybe, if we just looked for ways to show people that God is with them, that God loves them, that God cares for them. Maybe, if we just offered shoulders to cry on, arms to lean on, and our presence in the dark times and the bright shinny times of life than they could know that God is there. Maybe, we just need to find ways to make God's love tangible and real. Maybe, bring the good news of the Gospel and Jesus teaching to life.

We live in a world that desperately needs to see Jesus with skin on. I need Jesus with skin on and want to be a person that God can work through to show others that God is for them and with them. I want to be real about my relationship with God so that God can become real to others.

God is with you today. You are not alone. God loves you. I love you.

Is there someone that God might be calling you to reach to today so that they can feel His touch in their life?

What can you do today to make God real to others.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, January 26, 2009

Holy Places

Since returning from my trip to Israel I have been thinking a lot about the Holy Land. I have talked about this a little at church but I think I need to put in writing.

I believe that the Holy Lands are everywhere. I think that God wants us to see that he is everywhere and to recognize that the Holy Lands are all around us.

The place where you are right now can be a Holy place. God is with you. The Spirit is present.

Our homes.
Our work places.
Our neighborhoods.
Our communities.
Holy places.

These are all places where Jesus walks. If we will give them to Jesus they become holy places. Our relationships can be holy when given into the hands of Jesus. Our work can be an offering and our desks or places of work an altar. The holy lands are everywhere.

As I have said during our worship services recently, "We don't have to set on a plane for 13 1/2 hours, or travel 7000 miles to get to the Holy Lands." The Lord is present right where you are right now and where Jesus is that is Holy.

Look for Jesus where you are today. Make the places that you go and the places you visit holy places by recognizing that Jesus is with you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

What are you thankful for today?

I was watching American Idol, last night (DVRed, alright, I admit it I watch this show, please don't tease.) and Simon said something that I have not been able to stop thinking about. Please, don't think that I am suggesting that Simon is a great theologian or we should follow his teaching. However, last night there was a girl that was trying out for the show and after Randy (one of the celebrity judges) said yes to her audition she said that she loved him. Simon said "that is not love, that is gratitude." I certainly don't think that Simon meant this in any deep or profound way but what he says is very insightful as we think about love and gratitude.

Gratitude is a response to someone for something that we receive from others. Gratitude is often conditional. Love, true love, the love that we are called to share, the love that we receive from God, has no preconditions. It is unconditional. We just love because we love.

That is how God loves me. That is the love that God has for you. God loves us not because we have done anything to deserve his love or to earn it. God loves us even when we are unlovable. God loves us when we don't love in return. God loves us and there is nothing that will change this. Nothing we can do about it. That is love. And this is the love that God desires I have for all of his creation.

Today, I am thankful for unconditional love. I am grateful that God loves me and everyone else no matter what. I thank God that he is at work in me causing me to love like Jesus. Creating in me a heart that loves unconditionally. I know that I am not there yet. I know I got a long way to go. But, I thank God that he continues to love me and love through me.

Ultimately, I think that we express our gratitude not with words, but with our lives and with our love for others.

Love today. Give God thanks!

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, January 22, 2009

We are all Cracked Pots

Hello, I am Doug and I am a cracked pot.

(Everyone: Hello Doug.)

What a beautiful community the church is. It is a community of people from all walks of life, all kinds of backgrounds and upbringing. The church is full of people that are colorful and carry with them amazing stories of life. We all are different and diverse yet we are called to be together and hold things in common. A common love for God. A common desire to live in relationship with Jesus. A common love for one another. And a common brokenness.

Each one of us are cracked pots. Paul says,"that we hold this treasure in jars of clay." The treasure is Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that dwells, and lives in each of us. We are all clay pots holding the most beautiful, powerful, life changing, treasure within us. This image that Paul uses is a wonderful image to me. I am a real visual person, so I can see this pot, with cracks in it and through the cracks shines the brightest light. You see if not for the cracks and the brokenness, then the light is hidden within the pot. It is through that brokenness and through the cracks that the power and the treasure is seen.

We are all cracked, all broken, all of us needing the light and the love of Christ to shine in our lives. I think that it helps us to focus on those things that we hold in common, rather than our differences. We need to celebrate our differences as a wonderful and marvelous thing. And we need to remember what makes us one in community. Our common love for God, our desire to live in relationship with Jesus, and the treasure that is inside each and every one of the cracked pots. When we do this we become less judgemental, less selfish, and more loving. It is hard to hate someone or cast judgment on someone when you understand that God loves them in their brokenness the same as he loves you and me in ours. We are all broken. It is hard to hate or judge when we recognize that others are made in the image of God.

We need to look for the light that shines through the cracks. We need to focus on the light and not the brokenness. Try it today. If there is someone that you are having difficulty with first understand that you share a common brokenness and a common need for God. Try to see them as someone who Jesus loves enough that he died for them and understand that God calls us to love them in the same way. look for the light that is shining through. Look for Jesus. They are created in the image of God. See the beauty that there is in the family of God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

This morning I was thinking about the hymn "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus."

As I was singing the hymn in my head it hit me that the words are saying that I need to turn, look, and focus on Jesus. We need to be intentional about our relationship with God.

We can't just set back and expect our relationship with Jesus to blossom. We can't set back doing nothing and expect to grow to be more like Jesus. We have turn our attention and our focus to Jesus. We have to be intentional about our relationship with God if we want to grow.

At this point the questions started rolling through my head.

What am I doing, intentionally, to help me to grow closer to Christ?

What are we doing, intentionally, to help us to put the old ways behind and to live a new life in Christ?

What are we doing, intentionally, to focus our daily lives on the things of God and what Jesus would have us do?

What are we doing, intentionally, to turn our eyes from ourselves, our problems, our wants, our agenda's, so that we can look full into the wonderful face of Jesus?

To me the word intentional means that I am doing this on purpose with a clear goal in mind.

What are we doing on purpose to help us become more real about our relationship with Christ?
What can we do today, on purpose, that will help others see that God is real in my life and in the world?


"Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of His glory and grace."

Be intentional today about turning and focusing on your relationship with Christ.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

This morning I got to take my kids to school again. I am thankful to Freddie and Carrol, who took the kids to school while I was on the trip to the Holy Lands. It was good to be back in the routine of my life. I noticed this morning, while we were heading to school that there was a beautiful sunrise over the city of Trenton. I felt I was in a special place as me and the kids prayed together our morning prayer that we pray before going to school. It was so good to be back in the routine and into the swing of things. Routine at time is comforting and good.

However, I think that I see the routine today with new eyes.
I am thankful that I noticed the sunrise here at home like I did the sunrise on my trip to the Holy Lands. I think I have a new perspective and greater gratitude for the things that God give us everyday. I love that my children want to pray with me in the morning before they go to school and that I can pray with them. I am thankful that I can take them to school.

I am thankful that I get to serve God by loving his people. I am thankful that I get to share in the lives of others everyday. I am thankful for the relationships that I get to work on and build everyday as I serve as the pastor of Dockery Chapel. I am thankful for the routine of my vocation and for the interruptions to the routine that are most often the places of greatest ministry. I am thankful for the conversations and the interactions that I have everyday with the people of my church family and community. I am thankful for the opportunity to use the gifts that I have to build up the body of Christ. I am thankful that I get to stand before people every Sunday and tell them about my Jesus.

It is great to be back into the Swing of things and the routine of life. May we all see God active and alive in our ordinary, everyday, routine.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dream the Possible Dream

Whew! Jet lag is still hanging on and if it were not for the Spirit and the joy of being home I think that I would just be completely out of it. (I know some of you think that I am completely out of it anyway. Or is that full of it?)

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day and as I woke up this morning I was thinking about dreams. The type of dreams that we have when we are awake. The type that compel us to reach farther and reach beyond ourselves. The type of dreams that call us to bigger and better things and make us better people. The type of dreams that lead to growth as individuals and as a community. The type of dreams that lead us deeper in our love and relationship with God and others. Real dreams. Great big, hairy, audacious, dreams for our lives and for the world. Dreams that require us to look to God to make them possible.

What are your dreams?
Do you have a dream that is stretching you to go farther and deeper?
Do you have a dream for you life that is God sized?
What I mean by that is it big enough that you need God in order to make it possible. The scripture says that all things are possible in Christ.
What is the dream that you have for your life, for the church, for the world?

Today, lets not get caught up in whether it is possible or impossible. Just dream today and know that all things are possible in Christ. Dream the possible dream for your life, for the church, and for the world.

I would love to hear your dreams.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, January 16, 2009

A 32 Hour Day-- I'm Home-- TGIF

I have made it home and boy it is good to be home. The views here are just as great as the views in the Holy Land. After a few hiccups, nothing major, just a car ride from Chicago instead of a plane ride. We got caught in baggage claim so we didn't make our connecting flight. And at the end of a 32 hour day I am home.

There really is no place like home.

Today is Friday and I will return to my tradition of thanking God in my Friday post.

Thank you God for a wonderful experience. Thank you for the moments that I encountered you. Thank you for the new friends that I made. Thank you for the thin places where I felt the separation between you and me was very minimal. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for safe travel and a return home. Thank you for being with me in my home land just as you are in the Holy Land. Thank you for the opportunity to bring others along on this journey through this blog. Thank you for there encouragement and support. Thank you for the way that your people surrounded Nicole and the kids in my absence with your love. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for home!

What are you thankful for today?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Indiana Jones for a Day

Today was the last day of our tour. Tomorrow we get up and we head for home. It is good to be going home. I really have enjoyed this trip and I am so blessed to have had this adventure but I am ready to come home. There is no place like home.

On our final day we crossed the Israeli border into Jordan and took a 4 hour bus ride to the "lost city" of Petra. If you are an Indiana Jones fan you might know this place. It was in the movie that had Sean Connery in it. This amazing city is one of the oldest cities on the face of the planet. It is called Petra, which means rock, and the entire city is carved into a sandstone mountain. These mountains were the Asr Mountains in biblical times and Moses brother Arron is buried on top of them. However, this city is not mentioned in the Bible and this mountain range is now known as the Petra mountains. It was an incredible place.

The whole time I just kept thinking about how creative the people who built this city into the rock were and how creative our God is. God is a God of creativity and he has created us to be creative people. I don't have the ability to create things out of rock like the people who built this city but I do have creativity for other things. Too often we stifle creativity. Too often we just color inside the lines. Too often we just do the same thing over and over. We do the expected. God has given us creative minds and we need to encourage creativity in one another.

When you see this place you can see the possibility when human creativity is unleashed. When we look at a sunrise or a sunset, when we look at a neighbor, a child, we can see just how creative God is. Let's color outside the lines and think outside the box.

What creative and new thing is God calling you to do?

Take a look at these pictures and remember this was done over 2000 years ago by people who did not have the tools that we have today. But we do have something in common, we were each created by a creative God and given the gift of creativity. Unleash yours.
You get bonus pictures today. I snuck in a few from yesterday and I have some without people in them. Enjoy









Love today.
In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mountains & Gardens

Today was our last day in Jerusalem. Tomorrow we will load up early and head over to Jordan and down to Petra. We spent our last day walking around the Old City. This is the old part of Jerusalem in and around the city wall. We walked a lot. But, It was all worth it.

We started on the Mount of Olives. We got to walk into the city along the path that Jesus took on his donkey on Palm Sunday. They have paved the path for us. It was not asphalt in His day. Despite the asphalt it was still neat to enter the town in through the same way and gate as Jesus.



We then went to Gethsemane and prayed. It was a great time of prayer and connection to Jesus. There were several churches that we visited today. One Church was built on the rock where Jesus prayed in the garden. Another church was built on top of a tomb that some say Jesus was buried in. We visited a church where Jesus was held as a prisoner and we walked on steps that Jesus himself would have walked on in his final days. It was a great day.


We ended our day at the Garden tomb. We celebrated Holy Communion together as a group and reflected on the meaning of the resurrection for our own lives. Do you know that God is a God of new life? In Christ we are new creations, the old is gone and new comes. I am not the same as I was a week ago. I hope that you are not the same either. The promise of our lives, in Christ, is that we will be changed, and transformed that is why the tomb is empty.
Today I pray that I am more loving, more caring, more compassionate, more gracious and more thankful than I was last week. Today I pray that I am less selfish, less judgmental and less arrogant than I was last week. I pray that there is less of the old me and more of the new me evident on my life.


How about you?


I visited the tomb today. Jesus wasn't there. He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Enjoy the picture. I had a lot of trouble with the connection so there are just a few. Sorry.




Love today.


In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Monday, January 12, 2009

Dr. Pepper Day

I like Dr. Pepper.

I had gone without it for the past 7 days and was starting to believe that they, for some unknown reason, didn't allow Dr. Pepper in the Holy Land. Today was a good day!! I found Dr. Pepper and it only cost $3.50 for one 12 oz. can. What a bargin! Thank you to Connie for buying me one.
However, it was not the Dr. Pepper that made the day great. It helped. But, It would have been a great day without it. It was a bonus. I love it when God throws in bonuses.

Today, we got to tour Mesada. This is an over 2000 yr old Palace that was built by King Herod on top of a huge mountain. We walked all the way down the mountain. This is a remarkable, breathtaking, awesome place with incredible views of the Dead Sea. We also visited the place where the Dead Sea scrolls were found (Qumran) and the En-gedi wilderness where David hid from Saul. But, this is not all. Today I swam, well floated, in the Dead Sea. This was a remarkable experience. They claim that the mud has anti-aging properties and that the waters are healing. It was such a neat experience.
Lets see. I climbed a mountain, touched history, visited the place of the Dead Sea scrolls, smeared age defying mud on my body and swam in the Dead Sea. I would say that it was a good day. Did I mention that I found a Dr. Pepper too.
But, you know the best part of it all was that God was with me all the way and I could feel his presence. I laughed with God as I laughed with others. I ate with God as I ate with others. I experienced God in the breathtaking views and the mountaintop experiences. And I saw God in others I we climbed down the mountain. I had fun, and enjoyed God's presence and creation. I played like a child. Like a child of God. It was a good day. Enjoy the pictures. Enjoy your day with God. Look for his bonuses.







Love today.
In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Praying in Jerusalem

I think that prayer was the theme for today.

Today was not a day that was filled with great excitement. Today was a somber day. Maybe it was because I am missing Nicole and the kids so much. You know, the truth is, even on such a special trip that is filled with things to do from morning to night there is time to miss my family. Even though, we have been blessed to talk with each other every day.,I really was missing them today. Maybe it hit me today because it was Sunday. I missed being at church and with my church family also.
Our morning began at the Western wall. This is a remaining wall from the temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. We prayed at the wall and placed our prayers in its cracks. It was a special time of prayer. We then traveld along the length of the wall and walked on the street that Jesus walked on in his day. We touched a guard rail that most likely Jesus had run his hand down as he walked on that street.


We then visited the Via Del Rosa or the "Way of Sorrow/ Way of the Cross." This was another somber experience. We spent time in the place where Jesus was sentenced by Pilate to be crucified. We prayed here as well. After this it was on to the pool of Bethsada where Jesus perfomed a healing miracle and then we went to visit the new part of the city before lunch. We are not going to the tomb for until Tuesday so today kind of left us on Good Friday.

The theme of prayer and sorrow continued in the afternoon as we went to the Holocaust Memorial and Museum. This is an incredible museum marking a terrible time in history. The museum is dedicated to the over 6 million Jews that lost there lives and the heroes that faught to save the lives of Jews during this time. This was a moving experience. As I left the memorial to the children that were killed during the holocaust I just wanted to hug and hold my kids. Did I mention that I missed them?

Tonight when we arrived back to the hotel one of our friends on the trip, Bill Gutshawl, had to go to the hospital because he was not feeling well. We continue to pray for Bill. Thank you for praying for him and Carol.

I think what I take from today is that life is real and even when we are on an amazing pilgimage there is sorrow and there are moments that bring us to tears. This is life. Sometimes the tears are because we are just overwhelmed by the experience and our gratitude. Sometimes they are tears because we miss those we love. Sometimes they are tears because we feel the pain and hurt of other. Sometimes the tears come from laughing really hard with a friend. Through all of it and in all of it is God. God is present, he is just a breath away. We pray. The theme for the day is a theme for our lives. And we know that soon we will visit the tomb and it is empty. Are lives don't have to be. We pray. God hears. God comforts. God heals. God transforms Good Fridays into Easter mornings. It was a good day. We prayed.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Can anything good come out of Nazareth?...YES!

Today was a big travel day for us as we left our hotel on the sea of Galilee and moved toward Jerusalem. We will be staying here for the next four days visiting this Holy city.

Our day started with, of course, sunrise on the sea of Galilee. Jim and Karen, some new friends from Pennsylvania, took in the sunrise with us
this morning. It was a beautiful cloudless sky.


We traveled quite a ways today. It started with a trip and a stop at Nazareth. Our tour guide played one of the disciples in a movie about the life of Jesus and the disciples and he had the line in the movie, "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" This was an awesome time. We went to cliff outside of town that Jesus as a child probably climbed and played on. But, it was probably the placed that they chased him to and wanted to throw him off of after he announced his ministry in his home town. I just spent time on that cliff reading my bible and talking to God. It was pretty cool to think about the radical stuff that God is calling us to and how at times that may lead some people to want to throw us off a cliff. But we must do what we are called to do.




After Nazareth we traveled on to Magedo, the place where the battle of Armageddon is going to begin. We then moved on to Capernaum, along the Mediterranean Sea. The cool thing for me about this place was that this is where Paul was imprisoned for 2 years and where he wrote some of the books of the Bible. Our trip then turned towards Jerusalem.

The moment that we came into Jerusalem for the first time was special. Did you know that no matter what direction you enter the city from you “go up to Jerusalem?” The city is on a hill and it always a trip up, even from the north. We went to Bethlehem and to the Church of the Nativity and visited the sight of Jesus’ birth. We also went to the shepherd’s field. On the way back to our hotel I really did see a single star above the town of Bethlehem. Wow. Tomorrow we begin to tour Jerusalem.

Right now, as I write this, I am setting in a piano bar type area of the hotel lobby. There are people all around me talking about the stuff of life. There are different languages being spoke and people from all over the world contemplating the Holy. I am setting in Jerusalem, in a piano bar, hearing multiple languages spoken and music. This is holy ground. Today is a good day. God is good all the time and all the time God is good. I am having trouble getting any more pictures uploaded but it is still a good day. We will try again tomorrow.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, January 9, 2009

Standing in His Presence on Holy Ground

This morning I woke up the song "Holy Ground" running through my head. I sang it in the shower. Yes, it is true, I sing in the shower. Good acoustics. Anyway, this song was what greeted me as a started my morning. I thank it was a gift from God and a promise about my day.

I started the day out in the same way as yesterday. After wishing the kids and Nicole good night, (Tucker, my oldest, thinks it is weird that I am getting up as he goes to sleep) I went down to the sea of Galilee to watch the sunrise. Today, my friends Richard and Connie went with me. It was a beautiful sunrise and for the second day in a row I had trouble with the camera taking pictures that early. I did get some shots but I think Connie got the good ones on her camera. Our tour today was all about walking in the places where Jesus walked. It is amazing, the sense that I have of Jesus presence around the sea of Galilee. This area is where Jesus spent much of his ministry.


We went to the Jordan River and a couple of people from our group remembered their baptisms by being immersed in the river. I chose to allow the water to run through my fingers and i drew a cross on my forehead with my wet hand to remember my baptism and be thankful. I filled a bottle with water so that I can mix it in with our baptismal water at home. Maybe a bit for Brown's lake?
The next thing that we did was get on a boat and sail across the sea of Galilee. We had worship in the middle of the lake and we were challenged to keep stepping out toward Jesus all the days of our lives. Thanks Richard. This was a beautiful, Spirit filled time of worship.
We then visited Bethsaida & Capernaum. Capernaum is the city where Jesus lived with Peter and his family. It is where the house is that four friends brought their paralyzed buddy and lowered him down through a hole in the roof so that they could get him to the feet of Jesus. This city also has a synagogue that Jesus taught in. We also saw the place that Jesus fed the 5,ooo and where he reinstated Peter after the resurrection. We ended our day atop the Mount of Beatitudes. This is the place that Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.

It was a day spent standing in his presence on holy ground.

When we were on the sea shore at the place where Jesus reinstates Peter there were several different tour groups there at the same time. It was incredible. There were groups of people from, I believe, Nigeria, Korea, the USA, Belarus, and probably other parts of the world. All there walking in the footsteps of Jesus. A beautiful thing happened in this diversity on this holy ground. I was getting my picture taken by the rock that they believe Jesus was standing on when he waved to the disciples on the water. A man from a different tour group came to me and asked me if I would take a picture with him. I had never met him before. I may never see him again. But he came to me and ask me, not to take a picture of him and his friend, but to be the friend with him in the picture. He threw his arm around me and we got our picture taken.


The body of Christ. It is a beautiful thing.
Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug