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Day 4: Bethlehem

Shalom! Today we said goodbye to Northern Israel and headed South to Bethlehem, about a three-hour drive. Along the way, the terrain began to change. The green countryside became sandy brown and the mountains sharpened. They look as though God

Day 3: Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights

Hello from Israel! We all enjoyed yesterday’s nature walk so much that we once again began our day outside in God’s creation, hiking through Tel Dan Nature Preserve. The Dan Stream (pictured top left) is the largest and most important

Day 2: Valley of the Doves, Sea of Galilee, Jordan River

This morning began with a walk through the Valley of Arbel or The Valley of the Doves. This route is the path Jesus walked three times a year when he had to travel from Capernum (his home) to Jerusalem. Mustard

Day 1: Petra, Caesarea, & Mount Carmel

Hello from Israel!  The majority of your church family arrived here yesterday after a 10-1/2 hour flight. But a lucky dozen arrived three days before and visited Petra: a Nabatean city that was lost for thousands of years. You may

How Will Your Journey End?

Malcolm Muggeridge started out a doubter. He was an acclaimed reporter for the BBC and he viewed British Christianity as lifeless and dull. It did not excite him. In fact, to his reasoned, calculating way of thinking, Christianity made very

Looking Beyond the Literal

In our Protestant religious culture, it’s fascinating to me that such strong emphases are placed on the literal interpretation of the Bible. Why? Jesus rarely spoke literally. He spoke in allegories, imagery, and parables. He painted word pictures. Instead of

Ash Wednesday – A Day to Feel Miserable? Hardly!

Today is Ash Wednesday. This marks the beginning of the holy season Lent, that period of the church year in which many people think we are supposed to feel miserable. After all, just prior to Ash Wednesday is Fat Tuesday

What If I Don’t Agree with the General Conference Decision?

In this segment of Ask Me Anything, where Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Kip Laxson answers questions about life and faith with Asbury parishioners, Janet Hall O’Neil asks about the latest United Methodist Church General Conference decision not to allow gay

A Crucial Part of a Healthy Faith

I once heard about a self-professed, unashamed atheist named Fred who regularly attended worship services. Someone finally got up the nerve to ask him about it one Sunday after worship.  “Fred, we all know that you are not a believer

Do We Really Love God?

Comedian Jay Leno had a long run as the host on the Tonight Show following the iconic Johnny Carson. Leno has always been a fascinating character. But one story out of his past is particularly memorable. When Leno was growing up, there