Come To Israel With Me in 2018!

Two years ago I took my first trip to Israel to film and learn and it inspired me to go back every couple of years.  I’m going again – this next February, and I invite you to go with me.  Here is a quick rundown of the trip.  I hope you’ll consider traveling and studying with us.


What is the trip?

This is a great opportunity to study the Bible for yourself on location.  You will be able to see for yourself where many of the events of the Bible took place.  We will visit places like Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee and many more.

 When is the trip?

We will be traveling in February of 2018.  Our official dates will be here soon!

How much does it cost?

The cost depends on where you are flying from. If you fly from Kansas City with us the cost is going to be right at $3,000 (Final numbers will be available later this week) for everything on a 11 day trip.  It really depends on where you live. But the tour group that I work with does an amazing job of finding the best rates. In fact, you can call Pilgrim Tours (800-322-0788), and ask for Rob Hamm. Tell him you are interested in the trip with New Story Church and want to know how you could get there from your city. They will help you. A $300 deposit is due on October 20th to reserve your spot.

What does the cost include?

The trip includes 4-star hotels, all breakfasts and dinners as well as entrance to all sites that have entrance fees. The only things not covered are your daily lunches as we travel and any souvenirs that you may want to purchase. A lunch typically will cost you $10 US per day. Everything else is included.

Who is the trip for?

I honestly believe that if you are going to understand the words of the Bible you need to understand the world of the Bible.  Because of that, I long for every Christ-follower to get to travel to Israel at some point in their lifetime.  To have the opportunity to visit the only places on earth that the only one who died for your sins ever lived – is an opportunity I don’t think you should pass up. I can’t think of a greater honor than to experience a visit to Israel with a group of Christ-followers.

We are opening this trip up to those inside and outside of New Story Church.  You are welcome to join us no matter where you are from.

How can I get more information?

I have a few hundred printed brochures that we can share with you and we will have a website up quickly with registration and more information. If you want to organize a group to go from your church, let me know. I will send you some packets of information.

And I’m available to talk about the trip. Just email me ( and we will find a time to connect to talk about the trip. I’d love to have you join me in Israel.


Come To Israel With Me in 2018!

Not So Black and White But Red

I tend to be fairly slow to respond.

Ok, now let me explain – for the past 15 years I’ve served in leadership positions where I’ve had to be careful with my words.  That fact alone has caused me to pause and think comprehensively before I speak and especially before I write.  So, there are times where I have thoughts and want to respond to things and I usually pause.  Yesterday, due to the protests in Charlottesville, VA  I took a different approach because something has been stirring in our country for a long time – there is racism rampant, but it’s not a black and white issue it’s a red issue.

Maybe my statement is a stretch but here is what I mean – our hearts are the real culprit causing so much strife, division and hatred.  I’m convinced there are several issues going on inside that drive and even feed the racism:

  • Pride
  • Fear –
  • Bitterness
  • An unchecked desire for comfort and lack of difficulty
  • Self-centeredness
  • Uncontrolled anger

All of these are heart issues feeding into the racism and divisions all across our country, but more specifically across our cities, our neighborhoods and our homes.  Yes, these are the issues leading to the divisions in my home and yours.  So now what?  If this is true this isn’t just an issue in Virginia or some far away city.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed now, in our homes, our churches, our cities.  Doesn’t it scare you that we could respond to the events of this week with the same vitriol that it all started with.  Doesn’t it scare you that we might not even look at ourselves?

Doesn’t it scare you that we could respond to the events of this week with the same vitriol that it all started with?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think we should speak out against the racism and openly ethnocentric ideals spoken by white supremacists and others, but I think we should also look in the mirror.  In fact, I think we can take a page from the words of Jesus to the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were a very exclusive and often judgmental group.  I think we have a few of those today.  Here is what he said:

Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.  – Luke 11:46

So, since this is a heart issue, it’s not just someone else’s issue, it’s a humankind issue, which means I can start to make a difference by starting with my heart.  I can begin to repent of the anger, self-centeredness, pride and so on in my heart.  I can begin to sacrifice for those who might be very different from me.  I can choose to give of myself to help ease the load of those around me.  And here is the real kicker: if you are a Christ-follower, these actions can all be summed up in one of the greatest commands ever given: love your neighbor as yourself.  (Just a side note, it doesn’t say love your white neighbor or black neighbor or even love your friendly neighbor)  But that requires a change of heart…

Not So Black and White But Red

Lessons From History

Ok…I confess, I am really enthralled by history.  I love reading and learning about history.  I wish that I could say that I love history because I always want to learn from it, but that’s not entirely true.  I just find the actions of others in the past to be very interesting.  But, there have been times where I’ve learned from history.  I’ve learned from my parent’s experiences.  I’ve learned from the experience of others in ministry.  I also want to learn from the history of Israel because I feel that I can at times go down the same paths that they did.  This morning I read one such verse:

When the Lord heard them, he was furious; his fire broke out against Jacob and his wrath rose against Israel, for they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance. – Psalm 78:21-22

The 78th Psalm was designed to use history to teach the upcoming generations of Israel to continue to trust the Lord.  Verses 21-22 are talking about how the Israelites struggled to trust the Lord as He led them out of Egypt.  So when it says “they did not believe in God or trust in his deliverance” I can identify with at least one part of that.  It is at times really hard to trust that the Lord will work in your situation.

Trust when you’ve been hurt and you want to hurt

Trust when the fear is mounting beyond belief

Trust when you know the pain is coming

Yes, it is hard to trust God when He’s called you to live in a way that could produce pain. Yes it is hard to trust God when you are walking into fearful situations.  Yes, it is hard to trust God when you know that your choice will produce pain.  But this is where history comes in and it’s one of the reasons that I love history:

God’s history of keeping promises is flawless!


Now, let me share with you a list of things you can do to build your faith and trust in God’s ability on your behalf.

  1. Make a list of the mountains God has already moved in your life.
  2. Read the Old Testament – maybe start with Exodus to see the power of God clearly on display.
  3. Start a specific prayer list and write down God’s answers.
Lessons From History