Thursday, January 19, 2012

Returning and Reflecting

As many of you know, I’ve been away from home for the last two weeks on a biblical study tour of Turkey and Greece.  I got home about 10:00pm on Tuesday night and am slowly returning to regular life here.  Returning while also reflecting on what I’ve seen and learned.

In my experience, I’ve got about a ten-day travel ‘window’.  Generally, I can be gone for about 10 days and not be too phased by it, but after that the travel starts to take its toll – hotel rooms, eating out, packing and unpacking the suitcase, and missing family.  I wouldn’t say I get homesick, I just get sick of not having a home.

All that said, if given the chance to have a ‘do-over’ and not take the trip, I wouldn’t take it (the do-over that is).  The experience was exceptional.  This was my first trip overseas and it was a great one – both personally and professionally.

Personally, I had a great time just being with all the fine folks that we travelled with. We all got along great, we enjoyed each others company,  learned from each other, watched out for each other.  In addition, this was an easy way for me to see another part of the world.  All of the logistics (transportation, lodging, food, itinerary, etc.) were all taken care of for me…all I had to do was be on time and learn.  Not a bad way to travel if you ask me.

Professionally, I came home with a lot of information and knowledge that will inform my study, interpretation, and exposition of the New Testament as it relates the church of the 1st Century.  However, I want to be careful to stress that while what I learned on this trip is helpful for understanding the biblical text one does not have to travel to these places to ‘get’ the Bible. 

It’s my hope that as I reflect more on this trip and what I’ve learned that it will not inform my study and preaching, but not define it.  It’s my hope that this trip will help me develop into a better and more faithful interpreter of the Word so that those who hear what I say understand the Bible better than they did before, because I understand the Bible better than I did before.

I will reflect on this trip for months and years to come and you will likely here about more of it in this blog in the coming months.  Hopefully, you will hear about it in a way that is not just informational, but informative and helpful as well.

So I’ve returned and continue to reflect.  Thank you to all who prayed for me and my family while I was away.  God heard your prayers.

I’ll write more about what exactly we all saw and learned later.  For now, I’ll leave you with a couple of the more than 900 pictures I took.

Our group on the main road leading into ancient Ephesus (I’m not in the pic, since I took it):



The Meteora in Greece – a Greek Orthodox monastery built high in the cliffs of central Greece:658


The Parthenon in Athens, Greece:796


The view from ‘Acrocorinth’ in ancient Corinth.  The body of water on the right is the Aegean Sea:878


“Eating” in a dining room in Pergamum (check out that view of the city below!):466

Friday, January 6, 2012

Update from Pamukkalee

Right now I am writing from and a resort hotel in southwest Turkey. Today was our first day of sight seeing and learning and it was fantastic. We started out in Izmir and traveled to Sardis where we saw a huge temple to the Greek goddess Artemis. We also saw a large gymnasium and the largest Jewish synagogue ever discovered. We had a lesson about the letter to the church th as found in Revelation inside the ruins of that synagogue.

From there we traveled to Philadelphia and had lunch at a cafe there. I had lamb kabobs and Turkish coffee. After a brief stop at a site there we traveled to the site of ancient Laodecia and there was a lot to see there. A large temple, a famous east/west road called the Syrian road, and two large roman theatres. It's amazing to sit and look down at a stage where gladiators fought and executions occurred over 2000 years ago!

It's only been one day and I've already learned so much. I am excited to be here and looking froward to more. I cannot upload photos now, so that will have to wait until after I get back. Thanks few,