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Now that I’ve shared the experiences of my Middle East study tour with you, I look forward now to sharing some of the faith lessons that Pastor George De Jong taught our group.  I will be doing that by sharing a series of messages with you entitled “Lessons from the Land.” Every day of our two-week study tour in Jordan, Israel, and Egypt, Pastor George taught us faith lessons related to the specific places where we traveled.  Pastor George explained relevant Scriptures related to the particular geographical place where we happened to be at that time.  He also shared with us important geographical and historical information related to the place where we were.  Pastor George’s ministry, Under the Fig Tree Ministries, gave us a pen and notebook along with our hydration packs and other supplies for our daily hikes.  I tried to write as many notes as I could in that notebook during Pastor George’s faith lesson talks.  Unfortunately, there were times when I couldn’t write down the information that he shared due to our circumstances at that time (for example, I couldn’t bring my notebook with me when we hiked up the Arnon River Gorge where we climbed up rocks with ropes and were sometimes chest deep in water).  From the nearly 60 pages of notes that I did write, I gleaned some of the most significant teaching that we received from Pastor George and will be sharing it in a 6-part series.  Due to missionary visits in September, a family vacation in October, and Mission Emphasis Week in November, this series will be shorter than I’d like.  However, I hope to continue to share other faith lessons in future messages beyond this series. 

During one of Pastor George’s first faith lessons that he taught in Aqaba, Jordan, he shared with us that the Hebrew word for “obey” is “hear.”  He told us that on that study tour we needed to have eyes to see and ears to hear.  He encouraged us to set our hearts on what God would have us learn.  He also encouraged us to then go and tell others about the things we had learned.  That is what I desire to do with this message series and in future messages that relate to biblical places that I have now personally experienced.  I believe I’ve shared with you already the teaching that the lands of the Bible were called “the fifth” gospel by early church father Jerome.  In order to truly understand the Bible, we not only need to grasp the four gospels and the other books of the Bible, we also need to know the lands of the Bible and how each page of Scripture is tied to its geographical, cultural, and historical context.  Here is the schedule for the “Lessons from the Land” series:

September 11 (AM) – “Preparing to Cross the Jordan” – Joshua 3:1-17

October 2 (AM) – “Egypt” – Exodus 2:1-10 and Exodus 14:13-31

October 9 (AM) – “Petra” – Psalm 49

October 16 (AM) – “Sinai” – Exodus 34:1-11, 29-35

October 30 (AM) – “Jaresh” – Acts 19:23-41

November 20 (AM) – “Zedekiah’s Cave” – I Peter 2:4-10

I pray that this message series will give you deeper insights into the Bible we so love as I share with you these lessons from the land of the Bible.

Pastor Mark

“Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here.  Tell the people of Israel everything you see.”

(Ezekiel 40:4)






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