2 Kings 10:32-12:21, Acts 18:1-22, Psalms 145:1-21, Proverbs 18:1
Today is the 27th day of June welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian and it is wonderful to be here with you today. And I want to invite everybody to kinda hang around until the end, all the way until the end today to have a little family gathering, little Global Campfire chat. I need to tell you a story and make an announcement and see if anybody is interested. And, so, how’s that for set up. But stick around until end. It is…It’s important. But that will be at the end because we’re at the beginning. There’s something even more important. And that is that we have gathered here for a purpose, to take the next step forward together in the Scriptures. And, so, let’s dive in. We left off yesterday in the book of second Kings. So, that’s where we will pick up the story. We are reading from the Christian Standard Bible this week. And today second Kings chapter 10 verse 32 through 12 verse 21.
Alight. So, in the book of Acts we are traveling along with the apostle Paul. And he was in Corinth speaking in the synagogue. That was the custom. He would go to a new city, find out where the Hebrew people were, where the synagogue was, and that is where he would begin, with the Jews sharing the gospel. But invariably there would be all kinds of dispute and eventually the Gentiles would also hear the message which at times caused an uproar because the Jews would cause a riot against Paul. But in this case, Paul has shared the gospel with the Hebrew people. It has been rejected. And he finally has to like tell them that your blood is on your own heads. Like I have told you what I came to tell you, what God told me to tell you and you have not received it. So, I have given the message. I’m innocent of this. Your blood is on your own heads. I’m going to the Gentiles. And it’s such a fascinating story because going to the Gentiles wasn’t like to leave Corinth and go somewhere else and it wasn’t even to go to another part of town where the Gentiles were. It was to go next door to the synagogue to the home of the person named Titius Justus who was a Gentile who believed. And, so, Paul moves next door and continues to share the same message that he had been teaching. Again, we have another example of what it looked like at the time of the development of the church and the initial spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. And again, I point out that we often have this rose-colored view of the book of Acts as the time that we need to get back to. And that is fine and good, but we often idealize the time. Once again, we are being shown that pretty much wherever Paul goes, it’s sort of the same thing. He’s being opposed, which means the gospel is being opposed and rejected even as it’s being accepted. And everywhere he goes, there is conflict that seems to arise around it. Sometimes he gets run out of town. Sometimes he gets beaten up. Sometimes he gets put in prison. Sometimes he gets away clean. Like, but it’s always a bit of an uproar everywhere that the gospel is going as things are developing. We can understand some of the things that people who were hearing the gospel would need to face and would need to wrestle with in their own faith to come to faith in Jesus, but we also need to understand that this is what it looks like when one kingdom pushes up against another kingdom. What we’re watching is a spiritual battle that ultimately manifests itself in people’s actions and decisions and choices. And, so, as we see the kingdom of God advancing in the book of Acts we also see that it is opposed in the book of Acts and throughout the rest of the New Testament which should give us at least a little bit of context and interpretation in our own lives. We’re a part of the same mission, like the exact same mission, to go into all the world and preach the good news to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is the good news. It is the hope of humanity, but it is bringing light into the darkness and what is in the dark wants to remain hidden in the dark and not exposed to the light even though being exposed to the light is the pathway to freedom. Like there’s nothing left to hide, which is freedom. Let’s not forget this as we continue our journey through the book of Acts, but let’s not forget this as we live our lives when we find ourselves opposed, especially when it’s for the gospel. Like we’ve been told over and over and over that that’s generally what we should expect. Let’s not forget that as we continue to be a light in a very dark world.
Holy Spirit, we invite you into that. And certainly, we can boil this down to the fact that we need to share the gospel more, anything like that. But it’s more that we become aware and understand what is going on here and become more and more aware of how truly utterly dependent on you we are as we walk this journey of faith. We are lost without your leadership and guidance, and we are confused when we run into opposition. And, so, come Holy Spirit bringing comfort to us as we begin to open our eyes and see what’s really going on here. Help us to stay focused on that we pray. In the mighty name of Jesus we ask. Amen.
Okay. So, I was mentioning for everyone to kinda hang around here to the end for a story that leads to an important announcement. So, here’s the story. There was a year, it was a year called 2020. A year probably unlike any other year that any of us who are alive today ever saw before. There had been rumors of a virus going around. There were also rumors that it was starting to spread and was potentially dangerous. But other than it being just kind of it being in the news and an awareness of it the year began like any other year. We started a new journey across the year and through the Bible on the first day of January like we do every year. And for about the previous decade, the way that the year shaped up, we would be spending a couple of weeks in the land of the Bible, in the land of Israel and broadcasting from Israel and hosting all kinds of pictures from all the different places in Israel. And 2020 was no different. We got on the big plane that takes human beings across oceans and landed in Rome for a couple of days to do some filming there around the apostle Paul, and these rumors about this virus had a name, Corona, Corona virus, the thing we call Covid 19 now, like as…as a routine was called the coronavirus as I recall it. And there was…there was a bunch of buzz about this in Italy. Like…like the rumor was this virus has made it to Italy and is like taking over, just spreading really, really fast. And didn’t think much about it, just kind of went through the couple of days that we had there and then were able to board another big plane and fly from Rome to Tel Aviv in Israel and prepare for our pilgrimage, our annual journey through the land of the Bible. Within a couple of days of landing in Israel, Italy was on lock down. Like nobody in, nobody out kind of thing, which was sort of a first for me ever really seeing that before. But we were all thinking, wait a second, we were just there. Like we were just there. What are the implications here? What is…what is going on? What are we supposed to think? And at the time there wasn’t a whole lot to think. There wasn’t a whole lot to know. There wasn’t some kind of test. It was like the beginning of something that I think most of us didn’t think was gonna be that big of a deal. And, so, we went about our business, the journey of a pilgrimage through the land of the Bible and we began to travel through the land, even as news of this kind of coronavirus continued to…to build momentum. But we’re on this pilgrimage and we’re all over the land of Israel. So, it’s not like we’re constantly tethered to technology, where we’re constantly checking the news and hearing all the latest because everyone was immersing themselves in what we were doing, which was to immerse ourselves in the Scriptures where the Scriptures happened. So, we ended up successfully completing that journey. And obviously you got to go home. So, everybody got on big planes and went back to where they came from. We got on a big plane and ended up back in the rolling hills of Tennessee in Nashville where we live. And it’s typically at that point that the jet lag begins, it pounds you for a couple of days. You just don’t know where you are anymore and your whole-body clock is twisted off a little bit and…but this was still in the news. But within a couple of weeks, it was the news and the United States where I live was going on lock down. We were going to take a two-week break. We were all going to try to do the best we could to distance ourselves from each other and just kind of stay in our own family units. And it was for an introvert like me sort of exciting, sort of like, I don’t have to feel guilty about this, can just be here where I am and clear the calendar. And everybody has to do this. And, so, let’s do this. And it was like interesting. And you could go out, right, all over the world like for essential things. Like you could go out, but for some reason we couldn’t find…like there was nowhere to get any kind of paper products - paper plates, paper towels, toilet paper - empty shelves across the country, probably across the world, but across the country. And it was just this weird thing where the general thought was this is a weird thing that’s gonna last a couple of weeks. We just need to let this kind of blow over. And as we now know it didn’t just blow over. And, so, we spent a good portion of 2020 isolated in some way or another, and the effects of what were going on were certainly changing the way people work, the way people interact. All kinds of things are being changed and I think we’re still kind of…kind of feeling some of those repercussions, but it…it changed things. And as 2020 got into its latter portion of the year, 2021 looked pretty uncertain, especially for something like a pilgrimage to the land of the Bible. And, so, for the first time we cancelled, we called it off, we had to postpone thinking that we would punt a year. And that year became two years and we decided not to continue in 2022. There were just all kinds of rules and regulations and like all over the world. Like everything was kinda discombobulated about how you could leave the country you were in and arrive in another country and how after you left that other country you would be able to arrive back in your…in your homeland. And these things were sort of shifting and changing quite a bit. It was kind of unstable. And within the Global Campfire community with the Daily Audio Bible here we’re all over the world, we’re all over the map. And, so, just trying to handle those kinds of logistics was overwhelming. It was just like, this isn’t wise. We should try to be wise and caring and loving and compassionate and wise. And that was going to continue, actually indefinitely. I was not going to go back in 2023 and I was starting to just settle into maybe…maybe that season…maybe we’ve done a decade of that season. It’s all lot, incredible amount of effort and energy. And it felt like just there’s still so much uncertainty about, if I go can I get back. And all these kind of moving things that we have no control over and it just felt like we’re not going to have the answers, they’re changing all the time. This is not…this is not the time. So, about a month ago I got an email from one of our travel partners who help coordinate the logistics of a pilgrimage like that and it was just a little. It was like everything’s confirmed, all the hotels, all the guides, like everybody that is the team, everybody is confirmed for 2023. And I looked at that email and I was like I don’t remember that we scheduled anything. And, so, my initial sort of reaction was just a quick email back going, I didn’t know we had scheduled anything, but we don’t have any plans, and so I’m not sure exactly what that’s all about. But I didn’t do that. I like to sometimes sleep on things. I can be slow in some of my decisions because I need to find a place of peace, like a place where I’ve seen all the angles that I can see and made the wisest choice that I can make. So, I just kinda sat with that for a week, started talking about it with my wife, Jill and just kind of considering, what do we want to do here? We can just keep kicking the can down the road and…and never return to the land of the Bible. We…we’ve been, we’ve seen, we know, we understand and it’s monumental in shifting how we understand the Bible, but we’ve been, and we’ve seen, and we can explain, and we can show pictures and we can show videos. And, so, maybe that season is over, but something started to ignite in our hearts, something sort of caught fire. And, so, I mean in a couple of years, when you have kind of a routine that you do, then there is some sort of underlying system in place, it keep things on track. And when you stop doing those things for a couple years than that sort of falls apart, but this was a situation where most…almost all of the logistics, like all of the things and all of the people and all of logistics are reasonably in place. And, so, some discussions happened and one of my concerns was the moving target of being able to go and being able to get home and what are the different requirements and how are we gonna be put in a position where we have to answer for a foreign government when we have literally no control whatsoever about who decides what for a nation. But as it turns out during the space of a couple of weeks of discernment and consideration the regulations changed to be essentially no regulations, like sort of full circle back to where we were before this ever happened. So, going to Israel doesn’t require testing, doesn’t require vaccinations, and getting back home even during last couple weeks that’s sort of shifted and it’s the same. No testing, no vaccinations, no nothing. No…no nothing. Its regular. You go, you come back home. And, so, that was like a bit of confirmation. Like, alright, we don’t have to answer for people who are making decisions that are above our pay grade that we have no influence over. And, so, that was good. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed through this whole time period like things have gotten really expensive, and costs of everything have risen, and supply chains up have been slowed down and all kinds of disruptions, little disruptions that add up to all kinds of changes. And with a nation like Israel, where tourism is a…a…a big deal, that whole industry had been decimated. So, it was like, what…what is this gonna look like?Aand it was then that I began to realize we did book this trip becuase we were trying to have a stable team in place which requires looking out several years to make sure that everybody that is the team, especially on the Israeli side is involved. And we had done that to keep a cohesive team together and Covid had canceled some of that reservation, but 2023 was the last year we had locked in. And what we had locked in was just the average normal pre-Covid increase in pricing that happens all over the world as things increase. And, so, that was…that was kind of it. Was like, we should. We may…like I have no idea how that industry, the tourism industry will change itself and how it has changed itself over the last couple of years, but we had already locked in hotels, we had already locked in all of the logistics all the stuff. And, so, long story short, it is our intention to take a Daily Audio Bible pilgrimage to the land of the Bible February 6th through the 19th of 2023. I do not know what lies beyond that. I do not know that there would be 2024, 2025, and so on and so forth. I’ve learned a lesson over the last couple years, disruptive things can happen that completely sideswipe your best laid plans. And when I first began going to Israel over a decade ago I would always hear people say, go well you can, you never know you just never know how things are going to be there or how things are to be in the world or whatever. And…and I always just kinda dismiss that. Like that’s just marketing. But I’ve seen it now. And, so, I don’t know. None of us know. What I do know is that we are intending to go back one more time. We may go back for 10 more straight years for 20 more straight years. I don’t know. I know that the only intention that we have at the moment is that we’re going to go and take advantage of what we had arranged for before we even knew the name Covid-19. And the truth is, I don’t know. We’re gonna kinda can step out in faith here. I don’t know if the Global Campfire…like I don’t know if anybody wants to have this experience. I don’t know if we will be having a small intimate trip or if we’ll fill up. The maximum we can do is to buses because of the kind of trip that we do. There’s all kinds of ways to experience Israel but we’re the Daily Audio Bible here around the Global Campfire. And, so, immersing ourselves in the places where the Bible happened and rooting ourselves in the soil while rooting ourselves in the Scriptures, that's…that’s what we do. That’s what the Daily Audio Bible is. And, so, that’s what we do when we tour the land of the Bible. And I’ve been there a bunch of times and seen a bunch of different ways that it can be done. And over the course of many years, we developed our own way of doing it. For example, there’s a generous generous portion…in fact I think it’s like 60% of the land is wilderness land, is desert land in Israel. And Israel, believe it or not, as small as it is is geographically diverse as a place like the United States, we’re you have deserts and canyons, but you also have fertile valleys. And like the Galilee is an oasis. But going to the wilderness takes some effort. But so much of the backdrop of the Bible and so much of the backdrop of our lives take place in the wilderness. How can you be there and not see that? And, so, I began to think, like how can we see north, south, east and west? How can…and central…and the lowlands…like, how can we see the different regions? All of this land is biblical. How can we see all of the different regions knowing like if this is the only chance, I ever get to be in this land I go home feeling like I understand, like I saw…I saw so much? There isn’t a typography that I don’t understand. Like I get what’s going on here when I read the Bible. Well there are some really really large ministries that will take like 12 buses full of people and just be this kind of massive, massive production, but that’s not really a pilgrimage and that’s not really my thing anyway. And I get my hands in the soil. Like I like to be together as a community experiencing this together. And, so, that…there’s only so much capacity for that to even be able happen. So, I don’t know if we’re gonna be just a couple of us or if we’re gonna have a couple buses but we’re gonna go. At least this one more time while we can. So, I am announcing that we will be going to the land of the Bible on a pilgrimage, February 6th through the 19th to the land of the Bible. And if you have had that desire or have even been waiting for an opportunity that made sense, maybe this is that opportunity. And you can find out all of the details, things that I probably can’t go through and take up another hour or whatever it is, just go through. We’ll talk about this over the next days and weeks. But if you want to check it out. Space will be limited. I mean, it has a cap. But if seeing this with your own eyes while you are in the land of the living and smelling what it smells and like being able to feel the soil crunch under your feet and realize I am where, what I have imagined my whole life, I am where that happened. If that tugs at you, if that awakens something in you then you can check it out.
Couple ways to check it out. You can go to dailyaudiobible.com and look for the Initiatives section of the website. And in the Initiatives, you will find Israel 2023. If you are using the Daily Audio Bible app you compress the Drawer icon in the upper left-hand corner and go to Initiatives look for Israel 2023 or you can go to dailyaudiobibleIsrael.com and you can find out what you are looking for there, which is what this with the tour looks like or how the pilgrimage is shaped - where you’ll go, what you’ll see, how…where you will stay, all the kinds of stuff that people want to know. And, so, there is the announcement. Registration for Israel 2023 is now officially open and I look forward. It’s funny. Like I…really when I first thought about 2023, when I first got that email my initial reaction was I don’t want to do it. It is so much work. I’m not sure we’re ready for all of that. But now, now as I’m like saying this out loud and telling everybody, yeah, we’re gonna do this, my heart just comes alive thinking about all of us jetlagged, weary from a lot of travel across the world, but showing up all in one place on our first evening, our welcome dinner together where we all get to see each other for the first time all together as a community in Ashdod, which is an ancient Philistine stronghold, but a city, a modern city of Israel now right on the Mediterranean coast. So, to be able to kinda land in Tel Aviv and then make our way to Ashdod and all finally be able to have our first meal together and get acquainted a little bit and be able to look across the street and go, that is the Mediterranean Sea and I am somewhere that’s different than where I normally am. I am now in the land of the Bible and to just kind of feel all that energy. I’m looking forward to it. So, if that tugs at you then you know where to check it out and I will look forward to seeing many of you on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in February. So, check it out.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I will be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise: