Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Shortest Poem Ever Written

Strickland Gillilan

Lines on the Antiquity of Microbes (or Fleas)

Had 'em.

Only with the Heart

Le Petit Prince, Antoine de St.-Exupéry
  • «Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.»
  • "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
           - Le Petit Prince, Antoine de St.-Exupéry

If you haven't read The Little Prince, I suggest that you do so now. (French / English)  Hurry, before the film version is in theaters.  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Safety-First Creature

C.S. Lewis
"There is one method of dissuading us from inordinate love of the fellow-creature which I find myself forced to reject at the very outset. I do so with trembling, for it met me in the pages of a great saint and a great thinker to whom my own glad debts are incalculable. 

In words which can still bring tears to the eyes, St. Augustine describes the desolation in which the death of his friend Nebridius plunged him (Confessions xv, 10). Then he draws a moral. This is what comes, he says, of giving one's heart to anything but God. All human beings pass away. Do not let your happiness depend on something you may lose. If love is to be a blessing, not a misery, it must be for the only Beloved who will never pass away. 

Of course this is excellent sense. Don't put your goods in a leaky vessel. Don't spend too much on a house you may he turned out of. And there is no man alive who responds more naturally than I to such canny maxims. I am a safety-first creature. Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as "Careful! This might lead you to suffering". 

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. I doubt whether there is anything in me that pleases Him less. And who could conceivably begin to love God on such a prudential ground because the security (so to speak) is better? Who could even include it among the grounds for loving? Would you choose a wife or a Friend - if it comes to that, would you choose a dog in this spirit? One must be outside the world of love, of all loves, before one thus calculates. Eros, lawless Eros, preferring the Beloved to happiness, is more like Love Himself than this."

- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Eternally Durable Iron Rod

The word of God is eternally durable.  (D&C 1:38, Moses 1:38, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, Matt. 24:35, JS-Matthew 1:35)  There's nothing else like it.  Though the heavens and the earth pass away, God's word shall not pass away.  All shall be fulfilled.  Whether by God's own voice or by the voice of His servants, it is the same.

I don't know about you, but that's the kind of durability that I desire to hold on to.  Everything else seems to slip away like slippery spaghetti.  Everything else vanishes like vapor.

In his 1971 talk The Iron Rod, President Harold B. Lee, a true servant of God, reminds us of the durability of the word of God and the veracity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  President Lee speaks of the same iron rod that Lehi saw in a vision.  The iron rod, he explains, is an antidote for aimlessness. It leads to the Tree of Life.

President Lee elucidates vital aspects of Lehi's vision and he emphasizes the durability of the iron rod, but he also sheds light on the nature of the mists of darkness that enshroud men.  He gives particular attention to those who speak of themselves as "liberals" in the Church.  President Lee shares several definitions of a liberal (such a slippery term) in the Church:
  • Those who speak of themselves as liberals "read by the lamp of their own conceit." (President Joseph F. Smith)
  • "A liberal in the Church is merely one who does not have a testimony." (Church educational leader)
  • "It is well to beware of people who go about proclaiming that they are or their churches are liberal. The probabilities are that the structure of their faith is built on sand and will not withstand the storms of truth." (Dr. John A. Widtsoe)
  • Liberals in the Church are "those who are blinded by the mists of darkness and as yet have not a firm grasp on the 'iron rod.'" (Harold B. Lee)
President Lee then encourages us to become truly converted to Jesus Christ and to His Gospel, which conversion includes overcoming "the tendencies to criticize and to strive continually to improve inward weaknesses and not merely the outward appearances."  As bad as it is to not have a firm grasp on the iron rod, President Lee affirms, it is even worse to cause those who are weak in the faith to lose their grasp on the iron rod.  The Lord is clear in His warning concerning those who seek to destroy the faith of others.

In the words of the Book of Mormon Prophet Jacob, President Lee warns against the universal sin of pride:

"… When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. …

"But to be learned is good if they hearken to the counsels of God." (2 Ne. 9:28–29.)

As he warns against pride, President Lee also encourages us to reduce our ignorance, or in other words, to seek learning by study and by faith.  He encourages us to be seekers after truth in many fields, and he counsels us to do so diligently, because "a person never learns anything until he realizes how little he knows":

"From heavenly instructions and added to which are the experiences of almost anyone who has sought diligently for heavenly guidance, one may readily understand that learning by faith requires the bending of the whole soul through worthy living to become attuned to the Holy Spirit of the Lord, the calling up from the depths of one’s own mental searching, and the linking of our own efforts to receive the true witness of the Spirit."

I like that.  This is the kind of learning that takes place when we continually hold fast to the iron rod. It is the kind of learning that takes place when we partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life and discover how sweet it is.  It is the kind of learning that is most joyous to the soul.  It is the kind of learning that takes place when we sincerely repent, and exercise faith in Jesus Christ.  It is the kind of learning that takes place when we are humble.  It is the kind of learning that is durable.

Recently my sister shared a beautiful video that she created for the Draper City "Tree of Life."  A lot of work went into draping over 60,000 points of light onto the tree, and a lot of work went into the filming of the project.  Thousands of people gathered to enjoy the lights during Christmas time.  This video and the light bedecked tree might serve as a reminder to visitors that there is a real Tree of Life whose fruit is the most desirable above all things.  It might also serve as a reminder that there is a real Iron Rod, namely, the word of God as found in the Standard Works and in the words of prophets like Harold B. Lee, and especially in the words of the living prophets

I know of very few people who have seen the actual Tree of Life (Adam, EveLehi, Nephietc.), but it was interesting to consider the symbolism in Lehi's dream in light of President Lee's talk and in light of my sister's video. The symbolism is even more vibrant in the temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, because each LDS Temple is like a Tree of Life.

As President Harold B. Lee taught, the iron rod, which is the word of God, is eternally durable.  It won't slip through our hands like slippery spaghetti, and it won't vanish like vapor.  All shall be fulfilled.  As evidence of its durability, the inspired and inspiring words that King Benjamin taught his sons more than 2,000 yrs ago are just as relevant today as they were then:

"I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct.

O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also that these records are true. And behold, also the plates of Nephi, which contain the records and the sayings of our fathers from the time they left Jerusalem until now, and they are true; and we can know of their surety because we have them before our eyes.

And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God, that ye may prosper in the land according to the promises which the Lord made unto our fathers." (Mosiah 1:5-7)

More posts on the Sunday afternoon session of the April 1971 General Conference:

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Vision of the Savior

Orson F. Whitney

"No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven."

Orson F. Whitney


"Then came a marvelous manifestation, and admonition from a higher source, one impossible to ignore. It was a dream, or a vision in a dream, as I lay upon my bed in the little town of Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I seemed to be in the Garden of Gethsemane, a witness of the Savior's agony. I saw Him as plainly as ever I have seen anyone. Standing behind a tree in the foreground, I beheld Jesus, with Peter, James and John, as they came through a little wicket gate at my right. Leaving the three Apostles there, after telling them to kneel and pray, the Son of God passed over to the other side, where He also knelt and prayed. It was the same prayer with which all Bible readers are familiar: "Oh my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt."

As He prayed the tears streamed down His face, which was toward me. I was so moved at the sight that I also wept, out of pure sympathy. My whole heart went out to Him; I loved Him with all my soul, and longed to be with Him as I longed for nothing else.

Presently He arose and walked to where those Apostles were kneeling-- fast asleep! He shook them gently, awoke them, and in a tone of tender reproach, untinctured by the least show of anger or impatience, asked them plaintively if they could not watch with Him one hour. There He was, with the awful weight of the world's sins upon His shoulders, with the pangs of every man, woman and child shooting through His sensitive soul-- and they could not watch with Him one poor hour!

Returning to His place, He offered up the same prayer as before; then went back and again found them sleeping. Again He awoke them, readmonished them, and once more returned and prayed. Three times this occurred, until I was perfectly familiar with His appearance-- face, form and movements. He was of noble stature and majestic mien-- not at all the weak, effeminate being that some painters have portrayed; but the very God that He was and is, as meek and humble as a little child.

All at once the circumstances seemed to change, the scene remaining just the same. Instead of before, it was after the crucifixion, and the Savior, with the three Apostles, now stood together in a group at my left. They were about to depart and ascend into Heaven. I could endure it no longer. I ran from behind the tree, fell at His feet, clasped Him around the knees, and begged Him to take me with Him.

I shall never forget the kind and gentle manner in which He stooped, raised me up, and embraced me. It was so vivid, so real. I felt the very warmth of His body, as He held me in His arms and said in the tenderest tones: "No, my son, these have finished their work; they can go with me; but you must stay and finish yours." Still I clung to Him. Gazing up into His face-- for He was taller than I-- I besought Him fervently: "Well, promise me that I may come to you at the last." Smiling sweetly, He said, "That will depend entirely upon yourself." I awoke with a sob in my throat, and it was morning."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ - Sacrament Meeting Talk Notes - December 20, 2015

Purposes of Talk: 
  • To be of good cheer
  • To help us feel God's love
  • To add oil to our lamps
  • To strengthen faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His Atonement
  • To Focus on the Savior
  • To invite us all to seek Jesus

· Pray to understand the needs of those to whom you will speak.

· Identify the key doctrine that will help meet those needs.

· Select scriptures and words from living prophets that teach this doctrine.

· Include your own experiences in living the doctrine.

· Outline your talk.

· Practice delivering your talk until you feel confident that you can speak from your heart without      reading the talk.

· Invitations to action and promised blessings that are inherent in the doctrine 

  • :) Obie Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker enter a Chinese restaurant, sit down, and order their meals. Luke begins to pick at his meal with chopsticks, and after about ten minutes Obie Wan, who is getting impatient with the young Jedi looks him in the eyes and says: "Use the forks, Luke!" :)
  • Gratitude for opportunity to prepare this talk on Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
  • Testimony of Jesus Christ… 
  • Prayer to be taught by the Spirit
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ:
  • Lectures on Faith (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, school of elders) – principle of action (like Jedi’s using the force) and of power in all intelligent beings / requires 3 things: 
  • “2 Let us here observe, that three things are necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation. 
  • 3 First, The idea that he actually exists
  • 4 Secondly, A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes.
  • 5 Thirdly, An actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing, is according to his will.—For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding, it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 
  • 3 major times in my life requiring faith – 1. Mission 2. Education 3. Marriage and Temple 
  • Nephi had deliberate trust in the Lord:
  • "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart." (1 Ne. 2:19) 
  • “Successful marriages and families are established and maintained upon principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.” 
What is faith in Jesus Christ? 
  • A particle
  • How does faith in Jesus Christ lead us to repentance?
  • Faith = Always pointed toward the future (Holland, Remember Lot’s Wife)
  • The future is as bright as your faith (Monson) 
  • Scriptures? All of them… Hebrews 11, Alma 32… Ether 12 
  • Ether 12: Ether 12:3-6 (What is faith in Christ?) / Ether 12:7-22 (What is accomplished through faith in Christ?) / Ether 12:23-41 (What does the Lord invite us to do with our faith in Him?)
  • “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4:9) 
How do we center our faith in Jesus Christ?
  • Sometimes I think we know what faith is, but we forget to squarely center it where it ought to be centered… on Jesus Christ, and how can we center it on someone we don’t know? And how can we know whom we don’t serve? (Remember talk from general conference (Elder Richard J. Maynes, “The Joy of Living a Christ Centered Life”) about the Japanese man who taught children about centering their lives on Christ through his profession in pottery) 
  • “To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience. To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it.... Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.' -- Richard G Scott
  • An old army saying reminds soldiers in combat to stay focused: “The Main Thing is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” What is the main thing? Is it scripture study? Is it prayer? Is it obedience? Is it education? Is it relief society? Is it family history? Is it the temple? Is it missionary work? Is it giving to the poor and the needy? Is it service? Is it the Sabbath day? Is it the Sacrament? Maybe it is Star Wars? Where can we center our faith? 
  • “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” – The Prophet Joseph Smith 
  • Elder Oaks – Strengthened by the Atonement of Jesus Christ
  • “In our busy lives, with ever so many other things competing for our attention, it is essential that we make a conscious, committed effort to bring Christ into our lives and into our homes. And it is vital that we, like the Wise Men from the East, remain fixed upon His star and “come to worship him.” – President Monson (1st Presidency Message) 
  • “The future is as bright as your faith.” How bright is our faith? Could it use some brightening? Be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world. 
  • “I plead with you to rise above the tasks of the day and the hurdles ahead. You can do more than the deeds scheduled in your daily planners. You can take the name of the Lord upon you and become more like Him. You can rise to your great potential. You can prepare for the future with greater spiritual capacity." - President Russell M. Nelson 
  • "Remember that the fulness of Christ’s ministry lies in the future. The prophecies of His Second Coming have yet to be fulfilled. At Christmas, of course, we focus upon His birth. But, He will come again. At His First Coming Jesus came almost in secret. Only a few mortals knew of His birth. At His Second Coming the whole of humankind will know of His return. Then He will come, not as “a man traveling on the earth,” but His glory “shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." - President Russell M. Nelson 
  • As a special witness of His holy name, I testify that Jesus is the divine Son of the living God. He will love you, lift you, and manifest Himself unto you if you will love Him and keep His commandments.” – President Russell M. Nelson 
  • Faith in Christ and in His Atonement leads us to the love of God, which enables us to center our lives on Christ and to “remain fixed upon His star” 
Examples of those who centered their faith, and their lives on Jesus Christ:
  • President Hinckley demonstrated such faith throughout his life, even beginning when he was a young boy: 
  • “When I was a boy, we lived on a farm in the summer. It was in the country, where the nights were dark. There were no streetlights or anything of the kind. My brother and I slept out-of-doors. On clear nights—and most of those nights were clear and the air was clean—we would lie on our backs and look at the myriads of stars in the heavens. We could identify some of the constellations and other stars as they were illustrated in our encyclopedia. Each night we would trace the Big Dipper, the handle and the cup, to find the North Star. 
  • We came to know of the constancy of that star. As the earth turned, the others appeared to move through the night. But the North Star held its position in line with the axis of the earth. And so it had come to be known as the Polar Star, or the Polestar, or the Lodestar. Through centuries of time, mariners had used it to guide them in their journeys. They had reckoned their bearings by its constancy, thereby avoiding traveling in circles or in the wrong direction, as they moved across the wide, unmarked seas. 
  • Because of those boyhood musings, the Polar Star came to mean something to me. I recognized it as a constant in the midst of change. It was something that could always be counted on, something that was dependable, an anchor in what otherwise appeared to be a moving and unstable firmament. 
  • Love is like the Polar Star. In a changing world, it is a constant. It is of the very essence of the gospel. It is the security of the home. It is the safeguard of community life. It is a beacon of hope in a world of distress.” 
Personal Experience:
  • Amahl and the Night Visitors, Family, Opera, Star: all of the beautiful music, the beautiful lyrics, story, everything points to Christ – at the end of the opera everything becomes quiet and the lights were dimmed except for the light in the shape of a star hanging from the rafters – symbol, like the North Star (President Hinckley) 
  • Experience: Future – traveling to the Holy Land 1st time, and again.  A man named Malcolm Muggeridge was a journalist for many years before he converted to Catholicism. He made an interesting confession after his conversion: “I've often thought that if I'd been a journalist in the Holy Land at the time of our Lord's ministry, I should have spent my time looking into what was happening in Herod's court. I'd be wanting to sign Salome for her exclusive memoirs, and finding out what Pilate was up to, and- I would have missed completely the most important event there ever was." 
  • What is the most important event there ever was? Birth, life, atonement, resurrection of Jesus Christ. Future return, Second Coming.  He is the center of the Plan of Salvation. – Testimony of Jesus Christ
Other things to remember:
  • "Thus we see, brothers and sisters, how we are justified in being of good cheer for ultimate reasons--reasons to be distinguished, however, from proximate circumstances. If, for instance, our attitude towards life depends upon the praise of men, the level of interest rates, the outcome of a particular election or athletic contest--we are too much at the mercy of men and circumstance. Nor should our gratitude for the gift of mortal life depend upon the manner in which we die, for surely none of us will rush eagerly forward to tell Jesus how we died! Instead, Jesus calls upon us to have a deliberate trust in God’s unfolding purposes, not only for all humankind but for us individually. And we are to be of good cheer in the unfolding process." – Elder Neal A. Maxwell 
  • “It is important to recognize that God’s ultimate purpose is our progress. His desire is that we continue “from grace to grace, until [we receive] a fulness”5 of all He can give. That requires more than simply being nice or feeling spiritual. It requires faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism of water and of the Spirit, and enduring in faith to the end.6 One cannot fully achieve this in isolation, so a major reason the Lord has a church is to create a community of Saints that will sustain one another in the “strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life.” - Elder D. Todd Christofferson 
  • “… I command you to repent … lest … your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. 
  • “For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; 
  • “But if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I; 
  • “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore. …” (D&C 19:15–18.) 
  • “Is there someone for whom you should provide service this Christmas? Is there one who awaits your visit?” – President Monson
  • "And now, I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." (Ether 12:41)

How to Build a Groovy Marriage

This post is sponsored by the General Conference Odyssey Series.  Enjoy.  

Gordon B. Hinckley
"Hey, check out her bell bottoms."
President Gordon B. Hinckley was a man of God, even way back when.  I guess that's how one becomes a man of God: by consistently being a man of God.  As such, President Hinckley was empowered by the Holy Ghost to teach timeless truths, even during a benighted period in the earth's history when people thought that it was somehow a good idea to wear bell bottoms. (see right)

Of course, a baby boomer would quickly point out that baggy shorts and sagging pants are no improvement in fashion, or in manners for that matter, but that's beside the point.  The point is that divorce is nasty.  It was nasty back then, and it is nasty now.  Actually, back then, it would have been more proper to say that divorce is heavy.  In other words, divorce is the opposite of groovy.  This is part of President Hinckley's message in his talk "Except the Lord Build the House."

A Rubik's Cube, not a Cornerstone
With characteristic optimism, President Hinckley quickly turns from the terrible subject of divorce to four principles that will prevent such a tragedy.  These four principles are four cornerstones upon which a successful marriage and family may be built.

"To those of you who, with glad hearts, dream of marriage and the establishment of a home," President Hinckley declares, "I wish to repeat what was said of old: 'Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.' (Ps. 127:1.)"  He wasn't just saying that as a cool cat.  He was right on, and he was a prophet of God.  Catch my drift?    

Here, absolutely free of charge, are the four cornerstones that will ensure success in marriage:
  • 1. Respect for One Another
  • 2. The Soft Answer
  • 3. Honesty with God and with One Another
  • When Gaming was Virtuous, Lovely, of Good Report and Praiseworthy
  • 4. Family Prayer
Simple.  Plain.  Achievable.  

Swell.  Smashing.  Tubular.

There's a lot more gold in this jive, so I highly recommend that you dig into it yourself.  But here are a few nuggets to weigh out in the mean time:   
  • "True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion."
  • "There is need for a vast amount of discipline in marriage, not of one’s companion, but of one’s self."
For more 70's slang, click here.  For wonder woman in action, click here.  For the Batman theme song, click here.  For a Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson Converse shoe commercial, click here.

Now.  Go forth and build.

For more groovy posts, see the following:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Israel Sample Itinerary

The actual itinerary has just arrived.

And the Philos Project has also provided a nifty journal that explains more about the trip.

Suggested Draft Itinerary
Version 3

 Sunday, Day 1
Tel Aviv – The First Hebrew City
Landing at Ben Gurion Airport. VIP assistance through Passport control and baggage claim

Meet your guide and driver and travel to Tel Aviv
5:00 pm
Begin the visit with a stop outside Independence Hall, the site of the 1948 declaration of the Sate of Israel.

Take a short walk along part of Rothschild Boulevard, one of the main streets of Tel Aviv and hear the stories of the visionaries and dreamers who established the State of Israel, as well as the culture of innovation that have created a Start Up Nation.

6:00 pm
Check in to hotel
7:00 pm
8:00 pm
Opening Speaker on “The Case for Israel” or “Introduction to Israel

9:00 pm
Program orientation; group activities in hotel
Tel Aviv

Monday, Day 2
A View From the South
7:30 -8:30 am
8:30 – 10:00 am
Jaffa – The Gateway to the Land of Israel: Explore the ancient port, the site from which the prophet Jonah fled from God, and where Peter restored Tabitha to life and stayed with Simon the Tanner.

10:00 -11:15 am
Travel to area of Sderot
11:15 -12:00 pm
Tour of Sderot and overlook onto the Gaza Envelope including a briefing on the geopolitics of the area

12:30 – 1:30 pm
Eat lunch in a kibbutz, and meet with a local resident for insight into life along the border

1:30 -2:00 pm
Travel to Beit Guvrin
2:30 -5:00 pm
Dig For a Day at Beit Guvrin - Participate in a hands-on archaeological excavation in the subterranean complexes of the ancient city of Maresha.

5:00 -6:00 pm
Return to Tel Aviv
7:00 pm
8:30 pm
Processing discussion/ Praise and worship
Tel Aviv

Tuesday, Day 3
The Mediterranean Coastline
7:30 – 8:30 am
Breakfast; Check out
9:00 -10:30 am
The Palmach MuseumThe Palmach was the elite striking force of the “Hagana” – the underground military organization of the Jewish community, its national institutions and the Zionist Movement prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. The Palmach Museum is an experiential museum, covering the Palmach legacy through the stories of individuals and groups.

10:30 – 11:30 am
Travel to Caesarea
11:30 -1:00 pm
Caesarea – Herod’s legendary Port City: Herod the Great built Caesarea around 25–13 BC as the port city, Caesarea Maritima. It served as an administrative center of the Judaea Province of the Roman Empire, and later was the capital of the Byzantine Palaestina Prima province during the Classic period. The city was first connected to Christianity according to Acts of The Apostles, when Peter baptized Cornelius the Centurion and his household. Archaeological excavations have uncovered remains from many periods, in particular, a complex of Crusader fortifications and a giant Roman city that boasted the largest harbor on the eastern Mediterranean coast.

1:00 -2:00 pm
Lunch in Caesarea
2:00 -3:00 pm
Travel to Nazareth, passing Megiddo along the way

Megiddo is an archaeologically unparalleled site where one can literally see, touch, and be inspired by monuments from biblical times. It appears in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Armageddon, Revelation 16:16), and is the only site in the Levant mentioned in all great records of the Ancient Near East: The Old and New Testaments on the one hand, and Egyptian, Assyrian and Hittite sources on the other.

3:30 -5:30
Visit Nazareth Village, reconstructing and reenacting village life in the Galilee at the time of Jesus.

5:30 -6:30 pm
Travel to Galilee; Check in to hotel
7:00 pm
Dinner at hotel
8:00 pm
Processing discussion/Praise and worship

Wednesday, Day 4
The Galilean Ministry of Jesus
7:30 -8:30 am
9:00 – 12:00 pm
Mt. of the Beatitudes – Remembering the verses of Sermon on the Mount; Tabgha, site of Peter’s Primacy (John Chapter 21) Multiplication of Loaves and Fish and calling of the disciples; Capernaum – The Headquarters of Jesus’ movement and his home during his central Galilean Ministry.

Visit the Sea of Galilee Boat, also known as the “Jesus Boat”, a fishing vessel found by two brothers from Kibbutz Ginosar dating to the Second Temple Period

12:15 – 1:15 pm
1:30 – 3:30 pm
Hike in Nahal Amud, in the valley beneath the ancient city of Tzfat.

3:30 - 5:00 pm
Leket – Volunteer alongside IDF soldiers to help pick unneeded fruits and vegetables from the fields of local farmers to be donated to Israel’s hungry.

5:15- 6:00 pm
The synagogue of Magdala, reliving the Gospel – visit the newly discovered synagogue in Mary Magdalene’s home town which offers clues about Judeo-Christian worship from the time of Jesus.

6:30 -7:30 pm
Evening cruise on the Sea of Galilee
7:30 pm
St. Peter’s Fish Dinner

Thursday, Day 5
The Golan Heights – Security in the North
7:30 – 8:30 am
Breakfast; Check out
8:30 – 9:30 am
Travel to the Golan - The Golan Heights form a rocky plateau of great strategic importance with an average altitude of 1,000 meters (3,300 ft.) and an area totaling 1,800 square kilometers (690 sq. mi.). The plateau is located at the southern end of the Anti-Lebanon Mountains and straddles the borders of Syria and Israel. Elevations range from 2,000 meters (6,600 ft) in the north, to below sea level along the Sea of Galilee and the Yarmuk River in the south.

9:30 – 11:00 am
"Who do people say the son of man is?" Visit the remains of the ancient Roman city, Caesarea Philipi, where Peter made his declaration about Jesus.  Take a walk through a Nature Reserve along the edge of one of the tributaries of the Jordan River at The Banias.

11:00 -11:30
Hezbollah, Lebanon and the Iranian connection. Understanding Israel’s strategic challenges along its northern border. An overview of Israel’s border with Lebanon from the peaks of the Galilee. 

12:00 -12:45 pm
Ascend Mt. Bental, a former IDF outpost, for an overlook onto Kuneitra and Mt. Hermon. From this point it is less than 40 miles to Damascus, and the road where Saul encountered Jesus. In addition to the ancient connection, hear a geo-political update on the current situation in Syria and their relationship with Israel.

12:45 – 2:00 pm
2:00 -4:00 pm
Travel to the Jordan River, stopping at the Baptismal site of Yardenit

4:00 -6:00 pm
Travel to Jerusalem with views of the Eastern Border with Jordan along the way.

6:00- 6:30 pm
Overview and welcome to Jerusalem and from the Mt. of Olives
6:45 pm
Check in to hotel
7:45 pm
8:45 pm
Briefing: The Pulse of Israel Today


Friday, Day 6
Jerusalem – The Center for Three Monotheistic Faiths
7:00 – 8:00 am
8:00 – 8:30 am
Praise and worship
8:30 -9:30 am
Briefing: How Wide the Gap – Negotiations with the Palestinians.

10:00 – 11:30 am
The City of David  - King David’s palace and city, and the place of Jerusalem’s historic nucleus including areas recently opened to the general public and the newly opened tunnel ascending toward the Temple Mount. 

11:00 – 12:00 pm
Explore the Southern Wall Excavations, including the steps leading to the ancient Temple and the site where Jesus overturned the moneychangers’ tables. End the visit at the Western Wall.

12:00 -1:00 pm
1:00 -4:00 pm
Visit the Jewish Quarter including the Cardo, the main square, and the city wall from the time of Hezekiah.  Continue to Mt Zion, St. Peter in Galicantu (House of Caiaphas), King David’s Tomb, Dormition Abbey and the Room of the Last Supper.

4:00 -6:00 pm
Short break
Welcome the Sabbath at the Western Wall followed by a traditional Shabbat dinner with a Jewish host family.


Saturday, Day 7
Jerusalem – The Holy Basin
7:30 -8:30 am
8:30 – 10:30 am
Join a local Jewish community for Shabbat morning services, including listening to the reading of the Torah.

10:30 -12:30 pm
Visit the Israel Museum - Among the highlights of the Museum’s campus is the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts in the world, the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, which reconstructs the topography and architectural character of the city as it was during the time of Jesus, prior to its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE.

12:30 -1:30 pm
1:30 – 3:30 pm
Walk down the Palm Sunday Road on the Mt. of Olives from Bethpage to the Garden of Gethsemane with a short stop at Dominus Flevit where Jesus stopped and wept over Jerusalem See the ancient olive trees at The Garden of Gethsemane as well as the beautiful Church of All Nations where the stone of the Agony of Christ is on display.

3:30 - 6:00 pm
Continue from the Lion’s Gate (St. Stephens Gate), and from the Monastery of St. Anne and the Pools of Bethesda, Walk along the Via Dolorosa to the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, site of crucifixion and burial of Jesus.

7:30 pm

Sunday, Day 8
Jerusalem – The New City
8:00 -9:00 pm
9:00 -1:00 pm
Yad Vashem – Remembering the Holocaust: a comprehensive tour of the Historical Museum, The Children’s Memorial and the Hall of remembrance. In addition, visit the Valley of Communities.

As the Jewish people’s living memorial to the Holocaust, Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations. Established in 1953, as the world center for documentation, research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is today a dynamic and vital place of intergenerational and international encounter.

Meet with a Holocaust survivor.

1:00 – 2:00 pm
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Tour of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, as well as meeting with Members of Knesset.

4:00 -5:30 pm
The Quest for Peace – A tour and geo-strategic survey of neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem with stops at observation points overlooking the security barrier as well as checkpoints to the West Bank. Jerusalem is a microcosm of the Arab Israeli conflict, and its human, political, and territorial dimensions.  The discussion will include possible scenarios for the future of this unique city.

7:00 pm
8:00 pm
Meeting with IDF reserve soldiers
9:30 pm
Praise and worship/Processing Discussion/Evening Activity

Monday, Day 9
Masada and the Dead Sea
7:00 – 7:30 am
7:30 – 9:00 am
Drive along the western shoreline of the Dead Sea. Along the way, pass Qumran, home of the first century sect of the Essenes, authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls and believed to be the influence of Baptism for John the Baptist.

9:00 -11:30 am
Take the cable car to the top of Masada to tell the ancient story of the 960 men, women, and children that were the last to resist the Romans during the Great Jewish Revolt almost 2000 years ago. A story that became synonymous with Israel's quest for freedom and independence in modern times

12:30 – 2:30 pm
Lunch and swim at the Dead Sea
3:30 -5:00 pm
Take a short hike to see the hidden waterfalls at the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve.

5:00 – 6:30pm
Return to Jerusalem
7:30 pm
8:30 pm
Praise and worship/Processing Discussion/Evening Activity

Tuesday, Day 10
7:30- 8:30 am
9:00 – 11:00 am
Tour of the Garden Tomb, and time for communion, reflection and prayer.

11:00 – 12:00 am
Travel to Holon
12:00 -1:00 pm
1:00 -2:30 pm
Visit the Save a Child’s Heart in Holon and meet the children at their home. This project is dedicated to providing urgently needed pediatric surgery to indigent children from developing countries.

2:30 – 4:30 pm
Discover the Biblical Landscape Preserve of Neot Kedumim, including a walk to an ancient Olive Press.

4:30  - 7:00 pm
Debrief, testimonies, praise and worship at Neot Kedumim
7:00 pm
Festive final dinner at Neot Kedumim
8:30 pm
Transfer to Ben-Gurion International Airport