Paul Bernard

Follower of Jesus, husband of Carol, dad to Samantha, lead pastor at Lake Almanor Community Church.
Living in: California, United States
  • Day10

    Days 5 & 6

    November 18, 2017 in Palestine ⋅ 🌙 52 °F

    We're finally in Jerusalem after a long couple of days. We've been up in the Sea of Galilee Region, Golan Heights, Caesarea Phillipi. Yesterday we went through Bet Shean (Schyothopolois), Mt. Carmel and over the Caesarea Maritima on the coast.

    I haven't been posting too much here because I haven't found the time to sit down and hammer it out. I'm taking photographs for the team, so getting those up is my priority.

    Please make sure you check out our team blog at http://gtitours.org/online-tour-journal/almanor-171162. You'll see my photos and be able to hear from several people on the team

    I hope I can post more in the days to come, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.
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  • Day8

    Capernaum

    November 16, 2017 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 55 °F

    Wonderful layered stories of the miracles of Jesus here in Capernaum. The centurion's servant, the bleeding woman, the calling of Matthew. All examples of outcasts and unloved being brought into the light of Jesus Christ.

    As we stood in the ruins of an ancient synagogue (likely a synagogue Jesus was in as he taught in this region), I thought it would be a good place for some portraits of our group. As Gentiles, every one of us was an outcast and a sinner who would be brought into the Kingdom only by the grace and love of Jesus.Read more

  • Day8

    Sea of Galilee

    November 16, 2017 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 57 °F

    The boat ride on the Sea of Galilee is an Israel classic, but Ronen (our tour guide) brought it up a notch. We won't get into all the details here, but I'll just say the boat-ride turned dance party as we celebrated the land (and water) where Jesus walked.

    May your day give you some reason to do a little jig step (if not a full blown dance party)!Read more

  • Day8

    Mt. Arbel

    November 16, 2017 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 55 °F

    The story of Mt. Arbel is another story of the brutality of Roman rule and the various attempts at rebellion by the Jews of Israel. An important thoroughfare ran through this region and the Jews saw it as an opportunity to exert some small modicum of control. By lobbing stones and other objects on travelers from nearby cliffs, they were able to sufficiently disrupt the flow of people and goods that the Romans got involved. Young Herod came as a general to rout the rebels as he established his power sometime around 47 BC. He lowered soldiers over the cliff in huge baskets and they used hooks to grab Jews out of the caves, dragging them over the cliff to their death.

    A little over half a century later, Jesus would likely come up onto this mountain as a place to get away and pray. He must have known the story. He must have, as he sat by himself on the hillside to catch his breath, thought of the world that the church would grow up in. It wouldn't be an easy journey for new believers. Many of them would die at the hands of these same Romans. "In this world you will have suffering." "This world will hate you as it hated me."

    It wasn't that Jesus would try to protect them, it was that he would give his Spirit to be with them as they walked the long and dangerous road of discipleship.

    It struck me that the Spirit within us is all we need to endure any hardship of this life.

    (Obligatory jumping shots in high places may seem a little out of place, but after thirty minutes of prayer and contemplation, our spirits were sufficiently lifted for a little fun to be had.)
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  • Day7

    Ein Gedi

    November 15, 2017 in Israel ⋅ 🌙 66 °F

    I won't talk much about this because I want to give time to the Scriptures to tell the story. I was so blown away, not by the same stories we've all heard about David hiding from Saul, but by a prophecy in the book of Ezekiel. Take a moment to read the picture of redemption that God presents to Ezekiel.

    Ezekiel 47:1–12 [1] Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. [2] Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. [3] Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. [4] Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. [5] Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. [6] And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this? Then he led me back to the bank of the river. [7] As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. [8] And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. [9] And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. [10] Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. [11] But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. [12] And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

    The Dead Sea will no longer be dead. It will live once and for all.
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  • Day7

    Jordan River

    November 15, 2017 in Palestine ⋅ 🌙 70 °F

    I’m typing in the morning after a full day’s journey up the Jordan river valley along the west shoreline of the Dead Sea and along the west bank of the Jordan River. Of course, that name might ring familiar because it’s in the news quite a bit. The West Bank is an area of Israel that is under Palestinian authority for “civil affairs, internal security and public order,” but is, according to Israel, part of the state of Israel. The Palestinians would argue that wording of course, but that is the way it stands. Much of the unrest in the area in years past is experiencing a lull right now, but one gets the feeling that everyone is simply regaining energy to take up the fight again. Lord, may it not be so. Psalm 122:6 says, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.”

    We should take that seriously.

    The Israeli/Arab divide was made clear as we made our way down to a famous site on the Jordan River. This site is at least close to the place where Jesus was baptized, where Joshua crossed the Jordan as they entered the promised land and where Elijah passed the mantle to Elisha. On one side of this site is where Israeli tourists come to be baptized in the Jordan and on the other side is where Jordanian tourists come to be baptized.

    Even with all the hustle and bustle and chaos of the moment (think hundreds of tourists off dozens of tour busses coming down to the river for baptisms), there was something tremendously powerful about it. The power came from seeing Israelis, blacks, Asians, Russians, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, denominational and non-denominational followers of Jesus Christ submerging themselves in water as hundreds of thousands of Christians before them have done.

    We are part of something so much bigger than ourselves and our church. We are part of a worldwide movement to see the power of the gospel transform lives.
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  • Day6

    Bedouin Culture

    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 97 °F

    Besides the riding of the camels, we were treated to a cup of hot sweet tea and coffee by a man in the Bedouin community. The Bedouin used to be a nomadic people, but have since largely settled into modern political states. Just like many cultures before them, their way of life is slowly giving way to the pressures of the modern times.

    We were reminded of the importance of "desert hospitality" and how in our modern culture, this is disappearing (don't talk to strangers, lock your doors, etc.). The Bedouin who live in this hard land, depend on the hospitality of others, and there seems to be a sense of community, even among strangers, that should resonate with every Christian who witnesses it.
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  • Day6

    Masada

    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 97 °F

    I won't go into the whole tragic story of Masada here (you can google it), but suffice it to say that this place has a weight that goes beyond the story of a Jewish revolt. It is a place of inspiration for heart, mind and soul. One look over the edge of the cliff to the Dead Sea below and you're filled with a sense of the vastness of this place. Some brave souls opted for the hike up the "Snake Path" and were given the sense of the impenetrability of the fortress. Some of us walked through the chambers that Herod built, but rarely used, and were struck with the lavishness of the accommodations. All of us saw the balls of stone hurled by the Romans and were struck by the weight of importance of this placeRead more

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