April 6, 2009
Dear Byron, John, and Father’s House,
Thank you so much for sending me to Israel. I have tried to wait to write a thank you until I had time to process more of what we saw, heard, and experienced. The truth is, I am still in something of a state of awe at the wonder of God manifest by the whole trip.
It has been a long-standing desire of mine to go to Israel and see the places where biblical events took place. I could never have imagined the impact that being there would have on my understanding and perspective on the Word of God. There is a deep, spiritual stirring in my soul that is like a revival meeting but much deeper and longer-lasting in its influence. There is new fire in my preaching and new depth in my teaching. People here at First Baptist have commented about the difference they hear and see in me.
The things I have learned and believed for years have been re-formatted by the trip. I know them in a way I could not have known them before. It is in a small way like what our transition from hope to sight will be when Jesus comes: We hold to the reality, but we have not experienced it in its completeness. I know that I have yet to experience the fullness of Who God is and what redemption is, but there is a greater appreciation for the revelation of God in His Word and in His Son that makes the present reality so much sweeter!
Thank you, thank you, thank you for answering God’s call to send pastors to Israel. John, thank you for being with us and making the trip more wonderful with your songs and your servant heart. Byron, thank you for your heart to help move us toward revival through the experience of biblical places in Israel. You have blessed my life and enriched my ministry more than I can express.
I am encouraging every believer to go to Israel and experience the wonder of the land of Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and the disciples. We are praying and working on details to try to take a group back in 2010 because the excitement of the group that went has taken hold of the church!