The Israel Encounter Program for Pastors
Wherever you go in Israel the weathered stones tell a story. And this past year I’ve had the incredible privilege of taking people on five different occasions to walk among the stones and to hear the stories of Tel Dan.
Dan – known to the Canaanites as Laish - is one of oldest of all the biblical cities, in a peaceful, lush and fertile valley fed by the largest of the headwaters of the Jordan. It is a place of covenant: close by the hillside where God Almighty walked between the pieces of Abram’s sacrifice in Genesis 15. But it’s also a place of apostasy: where the tribe of Dan fled after abandoning their allotted ancestral lands on the coastal plain. It’s where Jeroboam set up a replica of Aaron’s golden calf and where Ahab built an altar to Baal.
Judges 18 tells us that the Tribe of Dan felt forced to seek their own inheritance, because the one given them by God “had not fallen to them.” This was despite Moses’ charge that the tribes should fight for each other “until the Lord has given rest to your brethren as to you” (Deut. 3:20). There’s a principle here for us all.
We fight for each other because in the end we inherit together!
No one fought for Dan, and so they gave up, abandoning their land to the Philistines – and the whole nation suffered the consequences.
2016 saw the launch of the ICEJ’s Israel Encounter program – a new initiative in which we’ve helped over one hundred pastors, spouses, ministry leaders, and Bible school students experience Israel for the very first time. By March of this year, we’ll have extended this opportunity to over a hundred more. Throughout each of these trips our goal has been to invest in those who pour out their lives to serve the Body of Christ not only to give them a heart and understanding to stand with Israel in these days, because we recognize the truth of Tel Dan: We Inherit Together.
In just a few days we’re going to begin a new season of tours our annual Envision Pastors and Leaders Conference and tour. Among those coming are young urban ministry students serving in central New Orleans. These are young people making difference in one of the darkest neighborhoods in the nation, shining the light of Jesus amidst the rampant darkness of New Age and Voodoo. We can only help people like them due to the faithful support of our friends and supporters throughout the USA.
Help us invest giving the next generation of pastors in this nation a heart for Israel remembering that we inherit together.