Monday, March 31, 2008

Study Sabbatical Reflection #1

NOTE: I'm just back from a short study sabbatical in Egypt and Israel with some of my Cadre compadres. To find out WHY I accepted the invitation to do a short study sabbatical, you need to read, "It's time I took my own advice."

WOW! What a life-changing time of study, learning, growth, friendship, community, walking, coffee, and fun! There is NO possible way I can (or should) give you a drink from the fire hose of what God did in my life in ONE blog entry, so I'm just going to unpack little by little what God did in my life from time to time here at Cup O' Joe with Bill. I'll include some fun pictures and some specific learnings... let's just say I will never read the Bible the same again. [Above: Investing in another day of study/prayer/worship at The Garden Tomb—right outside Jerusalem's Old City walls and right next to what was believed to be Golgotha (the place the Bible says Jesus was crucified). The Garden Tomb was so peaceful—even during times that large groups of believers from ALL over the world came to worship (in every imaginable style, tongue, and culture). The Garden Tomb quickly became one of our favorite places to study.]

We flew out of O'Hare to London's Heathrow Airport. We flew through the night (hardly getting any sleep) and when we landed, we had about seven hours before our next flight to Cairo, Egypt. So Dave and Rennie Garda and I—operating on pure coffee (yes... from Starbucks) and adreneline—jumped on "the tube" and headed out for a few hours of exploring London. Though we were tired, we were energized by the adventure.

We left London and arrived in Egypt to stay with a friend of a friend who lives and works there. The next day we promptly went to see the pyramids (what else would we do?)—and then spent the rest of the afternoon at the world-famous museum in Cairo (no cameras allowed in the museum). The next day we met up with some more friends from around the various parts of the world and—together with them—drove across Egypt's Sinai desert into the most southern part of Israel. (I did lots of thinking about the forty years of wandering in the desert that the children of Israel did... simply because they rebelled against God. All that hot, barren desert inspired me in a new way to want to obey God : )

Though we arrived in Jerusalem at a very late hour, once we were settled, there was only one thing we could do: walk 45 minutes to Jerusalem's Old City and spend some time in prayer at the Western Wall! (It must have been the caffeine... or perhaps my child-like sense of adventure... I'll let you decide.) The small visible portion of the wall (see picture above) would have been the foundation of the temple in Jesus's day. My experience praying at the wall almost every night of the study sabbatical was surreal and somewhat emotional... as I came to tears the first night during prayer. [Above: I'm on the far right.]

If you're going on a study sabbatical, you gotta have study tools. Here's a picture of Team Cadre's study tools we collected before and during our study sabbatical—from top left to right:
  • The Holy Bible... both Old and New Testaments.
  • A Cadre Sabbatical Study Guide—complete with maps... created by Dave Garda.
  • A map of Israel—one side was modern day Israel and the other was Jerusalem in Jesus' day... our constant companion.
  • With Christ in the School of Disciple Building by Carl Wilson—the no-longer-in-print-gold-mine study of Jesus' strategy of making disciples who made more disciples who made more disciples, ad infinitum. (Try to find and read this book... it's a rare but possible find.)
  • New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus: Insights from His Jewish Context
  • How to Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus and the Prophets (Figure out where you are in Israel... look it up in this book... and it will tell you the various biblical stories that happened there! I LOVED this book and constantly referred to it on our sabbatical adventure.)
  • John and Jamnia: How the Break Occurred Between Jews and Christians (Purchased in Israel for $5!)
  • Listening to the Language of the Bible: Hearing it Through Jesus' Ears
  • The Rise and Fall of Alexandria was my text for Egyptian history. VERY readable.


  • In addition to the right tools, I had the honor of experiencing this study sabbatical with GREAT friends... and that makes ALL the difference... because Ministry IS Relationships. [Above: Dave Garda, me, and Rennie Garda... take a moment to sip a latte inside the Old City of Jerusalem... and process what God was teaching us that day.]

    Thank YOU so much for reading... and stay tuned for another study sabbatical reflection... and maybe even some video clips!

    15 comments:

    cmcgill said...

    Thanks for sharing! I'm looking forward to reading more about your trip!

    Mateo said...

    Welcome back my friend. You were missed. The IL was much bleaker while you were gone... of course that could have just been the standard overcast March weather for Illinois... hmm, the world may never know.

    Melissa said...

    Welcome home! Your reflections are inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing. I look forward to reading and seeing more from your trip.

    ringels said...

    welcome home...looking forward to hearing all about it!!

    love the pyramid photo, and my middle son will love big ben. :)

    Jeff said...

    It sounds like it was all we were praying for and more!

    Pheaney Lindell said...

    Bill... I don't know if I'll be traveling to the Middle East anytime soon, but if so, I assume that those Cadre resources would be available?

    No hurry on getting together, but sometime before May we need to connect about the Ministry is Relationships training that Rumby is holding for COCUSA.

    Joe said...

    I've been looking for the book "With Christ in the School of Discipleship" by Carl Wilson. I haven't found it anywhere! Do you know of a place to get it?

    Bill Allison said...

    JOE and others interested: You can get the out of print WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF DISCIPLE BUILDING used at Amazon... cut and paste this:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/031034591X/ref=sr_1_olp_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1206993268&sr=1-3

    I see five right now...

    Bill Allison said...

    Pheaney...
    Call me when you can... and we can chat... it may be a while before I can respond... but if you wait a week or so.. I may be able to.
    Blessings...
    BA

    Cathy said...

    Bill, I have, on more than one occasion, been brought to tears while 'praying at the Wailing Wall" I go there virtually. http://www.aish.com/wallcam/
    Cathy

    floorguy said...

    Glad your back my friend....you were missed!

    Bill Allison said...

    Wow Cathy... that is very cool website...thanks!

    Lisa Marz said...

    Wow! What an awesome trip. I look forward to reading more. You are always inspiring and fun to read. Miss you guys!

    Ron Klabunde said...

    You look so studious in the top picture. I've got to go buy glasses now. Just want to be like you.

    Trent said...

    Glad to see you made it back home... it was great to have a few lunches with you during your travels here in this part of the world. Waiter bring us another round of crunchy fish eyes (hahaha). Blessings Always.