Archive for February 2013

Walking In Israel

I just returned from my first trip to Israel. From Galilee to Jerusalem to Masada, this trip was absolutely stunning and filled with those “Oh, wow!” moments. I would love to tell you everything I learned, but plenty of books have been written describing the exact things I saw.

My expectation in going was that this would be an emotional trip. Sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane. Walking the Via Dolorosa. Staring at Golgotha. Peering into the empty tomb. Many of these sites were breathtaking and generated contemplative thinking. I knew it would be amazing to walk where Jesus walked.

But I found something more amazing than trekking in His probable pathway. I found myself recognizing that the “magic” is not putting my foot in the same place He put His. The greatest value of the trip to Israel became for me the desire to walk LIKE Jesus walked, not WHERE He walked. Imitating Him. Abiding in personal holiness.

Honestly, there were a few things which disappointed me. The Orthodox church has turned several of “the locations” of Jesus into shrines. The Church of the Nativity. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The place is worshiped. Their is expected “magic”.

I guess this is why my favorite places where different. Galilee. Tough. Blue collar. You can imagine carpenter’s hands at work here, along with fishermen at their trade. Gethsemane. Plain. Rugged. Lonely. Jesus struggled in this wooded garden. Golgotha. Rocky. Ugly. A bus barn that transports would-be travelers nestles at the foot of the mount. Just like the people who would have walked by the three men hanging on the crosses would have been displayed to demonstrate the might of Rome. The Garden Tomb. Cool. Damp. Average. Also empty. “Nothing-in-it Tomb” as my son Seth calls it. That’s right buddy. Nothing in it. It’s still empty.

The trip exceeded my expectations. Not because I felt closer to God. But because, now that I am home, I want to live more like Christ than ever. Walking in Israel was great. But I have to walk in Ponca City, Oklahoma. In His footsteps right here. I can’t wait to go back. Between now and then, I have some walking to do.

February 24, 2013

Feb 24, 2013 from First Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Choir Survey

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February 17, 2013

Feb 17, 2013 from First Baptist Church on Vimeo.

February 10, 2013

Feb 10, 2013 from First Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Time to Re-energize Your Bible Reading?

One week into February.  Usually by now resolutions have been forgotten or even discarded.  Many Christians make a new resolution each year to be more consistent in reading the Bible.  One week into February finds many well-intentioned believers right back in the doldrums of being behind in their Bible reading.  Check out this recent Gospel Coalition post that may help you re-energize your Bible reading.  Don’t give up!


Day 33 of the 21 Days of Surrender.  Stick with it.  You can do it.



February 3, 2013

feb 3, 2013. from First Baptist Church on Vimeo.