Six years ago, I went on a trip that did more for my spiritual life than 8+ years of seminary. I was part of a group of pastors who spent 10 days in Israel walking where Jesus walked. We climbed the hills he climbed, breathed the air he breathed, and saw the same mountains he saw. At every new site I heard myself saying the same thing, “I will never be the same again.” On the flight back one of the pastors commented, “Until this time in my life, I’ve read the Bible in black and white. Now I read it in color.”
Last month, I had the privilege of returning–this time with Hannah (my wife). Within hours of being on the ground we both agreed: we have to bring as many people back here as possible. Why? Because I know of no better way to breathe dynamic life into your understanding of the Bible. This trip will become the new filter through which you read every verse. For the rest of your life.
Perhaps the best description I’ve heard of Israel is that it’s “The Fifth Gospel.” The land itself adds details and description to every story on every page.
I was so convicted about the life-changing impact of this trip, I began planning a return before we’d even left the country. I’m happy to announce: the details are finalized and registration is open! We’re returning in just under a year, and with all sincerity: I am praying that you can be on that trip. Here are the details:
- January 24 – Feb 2 2017
- $2997 from Chicago; $3297 from Dallas or Indianapolis (earlybird savings may be available)
- Link to Registration Site
- Is this trip for me? If you are interested in just sightseeing, taking pictures, and shopping, then this trip is not for you. We do that, of course. But we do so much more! If you want to be a pilgrim and grow in your faith in Christ, deepen your knowledge of the Bible, and stretch yourself in wonderful ways, this is your time. We go as pilgrims on a journey to discover more and more about the work and life and impact of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- What if I don’t know the Bible or its stories? Well, that’s the point of this trip! Everyone is at a different place on her/his spiritual journey, and everyone needs help understanding the Bible better. Many people know about the Bible…but they don’t know the Bible in detail. On this trip you will never feel embarrassed about what you might not know. But, I can guarantee you will come home knowing far more than you did going over!
- What do you actually do on the tour? Most who know me know my passion for teaching the Bible. I love to witness the “aha” moments when someone really “gets it.” I’ve designed this trip to be an endless stream of aha moments. We will spend our time at the sites investigating its history and placing it in context of the overall story of the Bible–as well as the history of our Christian faith. The details of our itinerary are too lengthy for this post, so please download the official brochure and itinerary.
- It is boring and overly serious? It will be impossible to go on this trip and not have fun. We are in the land to learn and grow as believers in Christ, but there is a sense of joy and laughter throughout the trip. Our bus becomes our home, and we all become part of a great community of pilgrims. We eat together. We worship together. We share our thoughts and prayers together. We see and touch our faith together.
- What about the security issues? I would have never brought my wife back if I had security concerns. Our guides are in constant contact with the Israeli officials and we have complete control over the bus. Imagine Tours and Travel (our agents in the US) are extremely attentive as well. On my second trip, we asked an Israeli if he wanted to visit the US. His answer: “Why would I? It’s so dangerous over there. You can’t even go to the movies without getting shot at. I’m much safer here.”
- How can I prepare for the trip? Two things: walk and read. We don’t climb mountains, but we do walk a lot. If you’re not used to walking throughout the day, I suggest you start a walking regimen right away. After you sign up for the trip, I will send you a reading list. It is not arduous, but there are books and articles you can read ahead of time to enhance your experience.
- What is included in the price? Everything except for lunch. Taxes, tips, entrances, guides, our touring coach/bus (new and modern), admissions, dinners, breakfasts, hotels, air fare, and landing fees. You will want to bring money for incidentals and drinks. Aside from souvenirs and other things that you decide are needed, your price is all-inclusive. Israel is full of working ATMs and most places take US currency.
- How do I sign up? The entire “business end” of our trip is a handled by Imagine Tours and Travel. They’re a well established, highly respected travel agency with solid relationships throughout Israel. They manage all of our bookings. Here is a direct link to register for our pilgrimage. Alternatively, you can download the registration form here.
One more thing: the nation of Israel has a rigorous training and certification program for its tour guides, so they’re all qualified and competent. However, I was able to secure somewhat of a “rockstar” in the Israel tour guide community. For the duration of our trip we will be guided by the world renown Eli Shukron. Professor Shukron has over 25 years of experience leading digs throughout Jerusalem. As a highly respected, widely published archaeologist, he provides his tours additional access to sites not seen by the general public.
If you have further questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. If there is any way for you to be on this trip, please sign up now! You will be glad you did.
Because of Jesus,
bill & hannah