Category: Valerie (page 1 of 11)

The Doctor Is In!

Bradd Morgan grabbed me on the way to the bus leaving the waterfalls of En Gedi. The news he had for me was so unbelievably and surprisingly wonderful, I almost got emotional. I’m getting a little emotional typing this right now.

Yesterday morning eight of us climbed the ancient Snake Path up the face of Masada in the Negev Desert. Bradd and I almost died together on that rock. We finished the climb in about 50-minutes, but it was brutal. Reagan Crossnoe told both of us at the top that neither of us will have to take a stress test for the next five years. We passed, but barely.

The weather here in Israel is like it is almost everywhere: about 15 degrees hotter than normal. The highs every day since we arrived have been in the 100s. And even after soaking our feet in the pools under David’s Fall, I was still extremely hot and dry and thirsty. And Bradd says to me, “Hey, they’ve got Dr Pepper in the gift shop.”

He said it casually. Almost a little too casually. So much so that I wasn’t exactly sure what he had said. So I asked, “What?” And he said it again, “There’s Dr Pepper in that gift shop.”

And I thought, “Don’t lie to me now, Bradd. Don’t be messing with me right now, brother. Don’t lie to me. Because if you’re lying to me, well, you know, you and I won’t be able to be friends anymore.”

He wasn’t lying.

They were ice cold, I mean freezing cold, way in the back of the cooler. Twelve shekels each. I grabbed four. And Valerie and I were good all the way to Qumran.

Shalom,

Allan

Yala!

It means, “Let’s go!” in Hebrew. “Yala!” And we hear it a hundred times a day in Israel from our wonderful tour guide Anton and our super-skilled bus driver Gesan. We’ve arrived at our destination, “Yala!” It’s time to load up and go to the next place, “Yala!” We’ve conducted the head count, we’re all here, “Yala!” We’re running behind on our schedule, “Yala!” And by now, day three of our sight-seeing tour in Israel, we’re all saying it. For everything. It’s time for the meeting, “Yala!” I’m going back for more dessert, “Yala!”

 

 

 

 

I may write more about our bus driver later, but I’ll give you this now: Our Lord said it was impossible for a man to drive a camel through a needle; but that was before he met Gesan.

We began our day with a treacherous ride in three taxis to the top of Mount Tabor, the supposed site of Jesus’ transfiguration. I’m increasingly convinced of the authenticity of this place as the true location of the divine revelation of Jesus with Moses and Elijah. Both historical and traditional evidence keeps rolling in. We scoped out the walls of the fourth century church and the baptistry that was built there and toured the current Franciscan church that was erected there in 1921.

 

 

 

 

We also spent some time in Nazareth, ate a picnic lunch under ancient olive trees at Sepphoris, and hit the ruins of Chorazin, the fishing village on the north side of the Sea of Galilee that Jesus famously condemned.

Because today is Sabbath, the roads were mostly empty and we had the sites mainly to ourselves. Of course, that also means the little store next door to our hotel is closed so I can’t find any caffeine. But we had another great day in Israel. We leave the region of Galilee tomorrow for the Negev Desert where, hopefully, it’ll be a little cooler than the 105 and 107-degree days we’ve had up here.

Shalom!

Allan

Shabbat Shalom!

The Sabbath has begun in Tiberias and we are avoiding the far left elevator at our hotel on the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Day Two of our sight-seeing is under our belts and I’m posting pictures here as fast as I’m able. As you know, you can click on the pic for the full size and click again to really blow it up.

 

 

 

 

We began the day at the Church of the Beatitudes on the north side of the Lake and then made our way north to the ancient city of Dan where Jeroboam constructed his ill-advised high place. We spent  a great morning hiking the trails along the headwaters of the Jordan River on the way to one of my favorite sites, Caesarea-Philippi, where Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, Son of the Living God.

 

 

 

 

 

We also toured the remains of King Agrippa’s palace and government buildings and drove through the middle of the Golan Heights.

 

 

 

 

Then we giggled as Anton pronounced Jesus’ hometown as Ca-FER-na-Hoom! And we wrapped up the day with a windy boat tour around a choppy Sea of Galilee.

 

 

 

 

Dale is spoiling Valerie rotten, buying her ice cream bars after every lunch. And Anton says she has a happy face. She does.

Peace,

Allan

Shalom from Tiberias!

We are at the end of Day One of our ten-day tour of Israel — slightly sunburned, almost exhausted, and more than ready to tackle all that Day Two promises to provide. I’m mainly just going to post pictures here for the next week or so; there’s too much going on to do any deep reflecting in this space right now. As always, just click on the picture to get the full size and click on it a second time to blow it up. Just know that we’ve got a great group — 18 from Amarillo (Brice and Becky are from Amarillo, NOT California), 8 from Colorado, and 2 from Tennessee — and we’re having a blast.

 

 

 

 

We began our day at Herod’s palace and government center at Caesarea on the Sea, taking in the massive theater and hippodrome, the palace and swimming pool, the Byzantine and Crusader structures, and the eight-mile aqueduct from Mt. Carmel. Then we drove the eight miles to see the site where our God sent fire to burn up Elijah’s soaking wet altar, ate lunch at a Druze restaurant on the way down, walked around Megiddo, the traditional site of the final war between good and evil, and spent some time at the Church of the First Miracle in Cana.

 

 

 

 

Our middle daughter, Valerie, is here with me in Israel — first ever trip over here for her. So, as you can imagine, a lot of the pictures you see here over the next several days are going to feature her. What a great blessing it is to share this wonderful land and its inspirational sites with her!

 

 

 

 

Now we’re in our hotel in Tiberias, right on the west banks of the Sea of Galilee! We’ve had a nice dinner, some of us have strolled the boardwalk by the lake and had some ice cream, and now we’re getting ready to turn in.

No late night Dr Pepper for a while. No Mexican food or Seinfeld or cell phone calls or texts. But it was 104-degrees today, the wind was blowing at 35-miles-per-hour, and it’s dusty. It still feels like home.

Peace,

Allan

Since Thursday

We gut-laughed until we were both crying. We laughed so hard we were hoarse the rest of the night and into the next morning. Jerry Seinfeld went an hour-and-fifteen-minutes Thursday evening in Midland/Odessa breaking our common everyday lives down to the finest hilarious details as only he can. The only way it could have been any better is if he had gone longer. Bathroom stalls, marriage as a game show, texting abbreviations, Swanson Hungry Man TV dinners, bucket lists, the U.S. Postal Service, buffet restaurants — he’s a genius! We were dead center, 50-yard-line, on the twelfth row; they were the best seats in the house! What a wonderful Christmas present from my fabulous wife!

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I was honored to speak at Oklahoma Christian University’s chapel yesterday, the most excruciatingly nervous 15-minutes of my year. I love public speaking — you know I do. I like speaking to small groups of a dozen or so in intimate settings, I like speaking in front of a couple thousand in a conference atmosphere, I enjoy speaking every Sunday at Central. I love speaking to little kids and older adults and people my own age. Speaking to a roomful of preachers, to the homeless people at Loaves and Fishes, to business professionals at a Rotary lunch, or to a ladies Bible class never gives me a problem. But talking to college aged young people in the middle of their school day is brutal. They let you know in no uncertain terms exactly how they’re receiving the message. They don’t hide anything. There’s no pretending.

It felt a little better this time than in previous years. I kept it much shorter than normal and I specifically mentioned some key buzz words that spoke to particular hot-button issues in society and tied my message as directly to those issues as possible. Valerie gave me some good advice. It looked like they were paying attention.

I was blessed to get caught up with my sister Rhonda and her husband Geoff. I was privileged to eat dinner Sunday night at Ted’s (!) with our middle daughter Valerie, her friend Paige, and my nephew Asa. And then yesterday it was lunch at The Garage with Rhonda, Valerie, and Delta Gamma Sigma sponsor Chris Adair, who sent me home with OC and Delta gear for the whole family.

I appreciate Jeff McMillon’s kind words of encouragement and affirmation; if I were an OC recruiter, I’d make sure every high school senior spent an hour with Jeff. And I’m blown away by our Lord who thinks it’s a good idea for me to speak at OC chapel. His grace reaches even me!

Peace,

Allan

His Presence is the Proof: Part 3

I asked Valerie last night if she did anything special for her 21st birthday. She told me that she and one of her good friends, Paige, had gone to Chick-Fil-A for lunch and Valerie had a Dr Pepper for the first time in over a month. See, Valerie is trying to eat healthier, she’s trying to exercise more — just like her old man, she’s really good at it during January and February. She ordered a water with her lunch, but Paige told her, “No, you’re getting a Dr Pepper.” Valerie replied, “I want water.” Paige insisted, “No. You want a Dr Pepper.” So, she got one. And it was amazing. I told Val, “You know, a lot of dads worry about their daughter turning 21 and looking for beer. You’re just craving a Dr Pepper.” She answered, “I love the burn.” Good kid.

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“He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was reclined at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” ~Luke 24:25-31

Jesus calls these followers on the way to Emmaus foolish and slow of heart to believe the Scriptures. “This is God’s design,” he says. “This is how it has to be!” And when he opens the Scriptures, it’s not just a couple of isolated passages or a few random texts. He explains all of Scripture to them, it says — the whole story! He tells them that salvation can only be found when God’s anointed Son takes on our suffering, when he takes the whole world’s suffering into himself, when he dies under the crushing weight of that sin and suffering, and rises again as the beginning of God’s new creation, God’s brand new eternal people. This is what had to happen, and now it has!

At the Lord’s Meal, Friday turns into Sunday.

Their eyes are opened when Jesus breaks the bread. They recognize Jesus at the table.

Now, allow me to say this about that:

Knowing the information is one thing. Getting the correct content into our brains, understanding the logic, engaging the truth with our minds — that’s very important. We shouldn’t neglect that. But let’s also nurture the emotional experience at the table. Let’s pay more attention to the tangible, touchable, tasteable proof we experience in the Church’s Meal.

The future reality of resurrection of us is experienced in the present reality of the risen Lord around the table. He’s here! He’s with us at the table!

Some days it can feel like our sin or the devil has more power than we do. Some years it can feel that way, I know. But we have direct access to the Holy One of God who has already overcome whatever Satan throws your way. He has already defeated everything the devil might possibly use against you. And we have direct access to him! We eat and drink with him all the time!

Peace,

Allan

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