Holy Land 2013 – Day Three – Family Connections and Hotty Toddy

Someone asked me before I left for this trip was I nervous. I said no, other than my dislike of flying, travel in general, hotels, and being away from home, it should be fine.

It’s all about attitude, you know!

I really haven’t been sleeping too good, but that’s nothing too uncommon for me.  This last night, though, for whatever reason, I didn’t get more than a couple of hours sleep. So, I was dragging when I got down for breakfast.  I knew we had a big day.  I knew I had to wake up.

Today, we started our day off by taking a boat out in the middle of Sea of Galilee. If you know me, you know that I’m not a big fan of all of water, so going out on a boat is never my idea of fun. But, it was a beautiful day and we even go to see one of the men on the boat cast his net to fish with, just like the disciples would have.

From there we went to Kursi.  This is the village where Jesus cast the demons out of man, an into a herd of swine.  From there we went to Bet She’am.  This was a Roman city, part of the  Decapolis.  It is one of the most extensive sites that show what a first century Roman town would look like.

After that, we went to Harod Stream .  This is the location of Ahab’s palace. From this spot, you can also see the Mountains of Gilgal, where King Saul was killed.

After that, we went to Jericho and after giving my beautiful wife Holly a tough time for many years aboutcamel riding a camel, it was my turn.  Yes, I rode a camel.

Our day finished at the Wadi Qelt and the Monastery of St. George. This monastery is built along a wadi, which is a cavern. This wadi has a stream, and it is believed that it is in this area that Jesus walked during his 40 days in the wilderness where He was tempted.

But, for me, the thing I took away from today was this. Connections.  At breakfast, knowing all this was coming and knowing I didn’t sleep well, I knew this.  I needed lots of coffee.  So, after drinking my double shot of espresso, along with another cup of coffee, I was looking for at least one my cup of coffee.  I walked to the back where the coffee was, and I didn’t see any.  As I walked sadly away, I a guy said, hey, we’ve got some coffee.  And he offered to share.

gandyI sat down started talking. This group was from Tennessee and asked where I was from.  I said Hattiesburg. I assumed most folks that aren’t from Mississippi, if they hadn’t heart of Petal, have heard of Hattiesburg.  He said he had family from that area, in fact one of his family members was buried around there.

Evelyn Gandy.

I said, yeah. I live off her parkway.  How crazy is that?

But wait, it gets better. Since he knew the area, I said, well, I’m really from a little town outside of Brookhaven.  He said, well, his father was born in Hazlehurst. I was speechless. I said I met my wife in college at Wesson, he said Co-Lin?

I mean, wow.  Here I was, halfway around the world, in Tiberias, Israel  and I meet a guy whose family is from my neck of the woods and who has family that have the street I live off of named after.

Ok, one more.  Walking to Kursi, I see a guy walking out of the church area with a black jacket.  And olemisswait, does that say Ole Miss?  So, I do what any Ole Miss fan would do.  I scream out, Hotty Toddy!  To which he responds Hotty Toddy!  There I am, in the middle of this holy Christian site, in Israel, and I meet a guy that’s an Ole Miss fan.

But, there’s more!  He lives in Jackson, and we were talking about what he was doing there; he said, yeah, my dad is a retired minister that is leading a group here, Willis Britt.  I know Willis.  Have for years. And what do you know, there is Willis. So, there are three Mississippi boys, in the middle of the place where Jesus cast the demon into swine just standing there talking

Wow.  You never know who you may meet, where you may meet them.  You never know the people who will come into you life, and you never know the impact you may make on someone’s life.

It is a small world. And we are all connected, through Christ.  No matter where you are, through Christ, we are connected. I am typing this out on a laptop on a bed in Jerusalem.  You may be reading this on an email, through a blog, or on your phone.

That’s amazing!  That’s connection. And through Christ, that’s what we are.

Today, we are connected to each other.  I need you.  You need me. We need each other.  Let’s be there for each other. Let’s support each other.  Let’s be as Christ to one another.

I didn’t have to come halfway around the world to know that truth. But today was a great reminder of that great truth.

Through Christ, all of us that believe, we are connected! Go out today, and be salt and light!

We Need Each Other

We are all connected to each other. Through Christ, we are connected.

He is my Father. And if you are His, you are His child as I am. That makes him your Father as well.  And if He’s your Father, that makes us family. That makes us siblings. We need each other. We are connected. That’s just the way that it is.

None of us were made to walk this path of life alone.  None of us were made to walk it without someone beside us.

No matter how unworthy you may feel.  No matter how little you may feel.  No matter how unimportant you may feel.  You matter.  You are important.  You are important to God, important to the Body of Christ, important to us all.

You matter.  You do.  No matter where you are, we need you.  Listen to what Paul says today in 1 Corinthians 12:21-26:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

Every part of the body is important. The hand. The foot. Each matters.  Each is vital.  Each is needed.

As it is with us. We matter. Each of us matters. To God. To the church. To each other. And, we need each other.

To love each other. To hold each other accountable. To help each other. To challenge each other. To grow each other. To disciple each other.

We are a body. We are family.  We need each other.

Today, is my deepest prayer that you are plugged in somewhere where you know that and you feel that.  That you know that you matter. That you know that you are needed. That you know that you belong.

Today, you matter.  Today, you belong. Today, in Christ, are you family. Today, we need each other.  May we not live along.  May we love, plug in, help, and care for each other.

We are part of a body, Christ’s body.  May we never forget that we need each other.

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