“I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there.”
That was one of the favorite songs of the minister of music at the church where I grew up. And there were so many times over the past two weeks when the words to that song came alive to me. Whether it was walking on paving stones that were over two thousand years old, kneeling in the Garden of Gethsemane, walking down the hill from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, or standing in the bottom of the cistern underneath Caiphas’s house, something profound happens to your spirit when you walk in the footsteps of Jesus.
But maybe the most profound sense of God’s presence happened in the most unexpected place: Concourse C of the Frankfurt airport. As you may know, our trip did not start well. A snowstorm cancelled our flight from Atlanta to Toronto. After a night in Atlanta, we flew to Frankfurt, where some of us had a twelve hour layover. In the middle of that layover, someone from the other half of our group (the group whose flight was not cancelled) posted some beautiful pictures from the first day of their tour. And I, your pastor and spiritual leader (cough, cough), had a good old fashioned pity party. It went something like this: God, I’m supposed to be in the Holy Land right now! This isn’t fair! I’ve been waiting all my life to walk in your footsteps. To be among your people. To walk where you walked. Why am I stuck in an airport, with very spotty wifi, eating a Burger King hamburger that DOESN’T EVEN HAVE BACON?!?
And that’s when I felt God saying to me, “James, is there anywhere on earth that I don’t walk? Is there any place on the planet that shouldn’t be considered the Holy Land?”
That was maybe the biggest lesson from the trip. Friends, I loved Israel. I learned so much, and I look forward to going back in a couple of years, and hopefully taking some more of you with me. But we miss so much the Lord has to show us if we think we have to travel thousands of miles to walk where Jesus walks. As the Dutch theologian and politician (yes, there are such things) Abraham Kuyper said way back in 1905, “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” So whether you are shopping at Wal-Mart, sitting in the carpool line, at the soccer fields on Saturday morning or the baseball fields Monday night, you are in the Holy Land. Just open your eyes.
Tolerance sounds like a good thing, until you realize what it can cost the church.
February 10, 2019, Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville, AL
James Jackson, Lead Pastor
Text: Revelation 2:18-29
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’[a]—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
February 3, 2019
Glynwood Baptist Church, Prattville AL
James Jackson, Lead Pastor
Text: Revelation 2:12-17
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith[a] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
During the teaching time, I referenced the excellent video series from Joe Stowell’s Day of Discovery program. Dr. Stowell went on location to each of the seven cities mentioned in Revelation. Here is a link to the series.
Another helpful video I came across is this one, from the Christian Broadcasting Network. This is where I got the information about the altar of Zeus and the healing rituals in the Asklepion. See you next week!