Israel Trip, Day 1

Good morning from Israel!

I am leading a tour of 315 people from our church and our A New Beginning radio audience in the Holy Land. We have been having a great time together, and I wish you all could be here! Perhaps someday in the future.

We visited a number of sites yesterday, including Joppa, where Jonah (the original “Chicken of the Sea”) attempted to run from God. You have to be pretty old to get that joke!

Joppa is also the place where the Lord first showed Simon Peter that the gospel message was to not only to the Jews, but also the Gentiles. That’s good news for most of us. I speak, of course, as a Gentile who has been “grafted into the promises of God.”


We then went to Caesarea. It was here that Peter went after hearing from the Lord about bringing the gospel to Gentiles and he shared the good news with a godly Roman centurion named Cornelius. I stood in the amphitheater and preached a short message from Acts 26, where the apostle Paul boldly proclaimed Jesus to the gathered crowd (including Herod Agrippa II) in this very city!

Agrippa came from a wicked family of Herods going back to “Herod the Great.” That Herod is the king most responsible for building many of the ancient sites visited in Israel today, including Caesarea, Masada, and the second Temple. He is also the wicked king who tried to kill the infant Jesus when the mysterious wise men from the east came looking for the one who had been born “the King of the Jews.”

Then there was Herod’s son, Antipas, who had John the Baptist beheaded and sent Jesus back to Pontius Pilate. His descendents included Agrippa I, who killed the apostle James and had Peter imprisoned. Finally, there was Herod Agrippa II, who heard the great apostle Paul preach the gospel in Caesarea.

Agrippa II arrived with a lot of pomp and circumstance to hear the controversial preacher. He was accompanied by Bernice, with whom he was having an incestuous relationship. Paul hit him and the others with the penetrating truth of the gospel.

As he was talking about the death and resurrection of Jesus, his message was coming to an end, Paul looked directly at Herod and said,

And King Agrippa knows about these things. I speak frankly,
for I am sure these events are all familiar to him, for they were not
done in a corner!
King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do–”

Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can make me a Christian so quickly?”
Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and
everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except
for these chains.”
Then the king, the governor, Bernice, and all the others stood and left.
(Acts 26:26-30 NLT)


Paul was bold, that’s for sure. He could have been executed on the spot for saying that to a man like Herod. What a great example to all of us.

Let’s all recommit ourselves to the proclamation of the gospel today. We all have “Herods” in our lives that frighten or intimidate us. It is our job to proclaim the gospel message and leave the results in the hands of God.

Here is a photo of my granddaughter Stella and I at the “Pontius Pilate stone.” People often challenge the inspiration and truth of Scripture. For many years, critics noted there was no archaeological evidence for Pontius Pilate, yet he played such a key role in the gospels. During digs from 1959-1963, they found a reference to him here in Caesarea. This is a reproduction of that stone.

Greg and Stella

More to come tomorrow. Until then, Shalom from the Holy Land!


9 thoughts on “Israel Trip, Day 1”

  1. Nataly says:

    I wish i was there… hopefully next year my prayers are with all of you…

  2. Victoria says:

    HI all! It is amazing to hear from you, from that land! My friends are there also on this trip and we pray for all of you! Please post more pictures of the group and the places around!
    God bless you all

  3. Pennee says:

    Thank you Paster Greg for taking the time to send us this Blog,so we can join you on your trip to Holy Land. I wanted to go, but was not able too. Now I can follow along with you. Praying for you all….Stella is so precious.

  4. Debbie says:

    Glad your enjoying Israel. Don Mc Clures Mother’s day message was amazing! Thanks for inviting Don out!

  5. Lisa says:

    Wish I was there. Stella is DARLING!! God Bless and Keep you all.

  6. Teri says:

    Thank you for keeping us up to date on the Israel trip. It’s so interesting and amazing too. The picture of you and Stella together is great! She is adorable! I will continue to pray for all of you. Have a safe trip and God Bless you.

  7. Gail says:

    Great update on your trip! My friend and room mate is there with you on the trip! She has been sending me texts with a few updates. Great to hear what you are all actually doing. Boy Stella is getting big and is so beautiful! Love your Stella Stories on Sunday mornings at church. Can’t wait for the next update as a lot of us here at home are waiting to read your blogs!!


  8. Jamie says:

    So glad to hear that the group is learning so much! It must put things into a great perspective to walk and visit these sites where such great people have traveled and preached the gospel. It continues to amaze me on how much people will continue to go out of their way to try and disprove the gospel and biblical scripture when so much evidence exists of its truth. I loved the picture of you and Stella at the Ponchius Pilate Stone. She looks so much like you..(except with more hair), and she is much cuter! (just joking) These are such great memories to share with your family! I hope your daughter in law is feeling and traveling well. All of you will continue to be in our prayers!

  9. Anne says:

    I really enjoyed reading about the trip getting a mini-history lesson, although I’m sure it’s nothing like actually being there. Thank you for taking the time to share that with us.

    Nice composition with the photos (to whoever shot the pictures).

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