Every Christian who takes a journey to the Holy Land experiences life change—especially if they prepare for the tour. I don’t mean we learn some secret that stops our struggling. The change occurs another way.
A Holy Land tour exposes us to the context of the Bible in a way we never imagined. We gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Word of God. And God uses Scripture to change us.
But then . . . we come back home. We face the stack of bills. The yard that needs mowed. The bloated inbox at work. And our luggage has two weeks’ full of dirty laundry. Suddenly, the benefits of your trip to Israel get shoved to the back of a full plate called “life.”
You’ve invested a lot in your Holy Land tour—both in finances and in time—far too much to lose those benefits to the tyranny of the urgent.
After taking and leading many trips to Israel, I have discovered these 7 ways to keep the benefits of a Holy Land tour.
Some of these tips assume you did your best to prepare for your Holy Land tour as well as did your best to make the most of your tour while you were there. If you haven’t read those posts, you’ll want to do that before your journey.
1. Reread your personal journal and apply its lessons to real life.
Your personal journal and the notes you took on site will be one of your most treasured takeaways from your journey. Read back through these scribblings and note special passages or applications God impressed upon you. Meditate on those truths each day.
God revealed them to you for a reason—to change your life.
2. Label your pictures in the first two weeks.
You’ll never be more familiar with the hundreds of pictures you took than in the first weeks you’re home. Otherwise, eventually each photo will look like the other.
- Hopefully on your tour you used a system to label your photos during your tour. If not, then label each photo as best (and as soon) as you can.
- You can upload your photos to Picasa and share them with fellow tourists who may be able to identify the site. (You’re also welcome to contact me and I’ll do my best to help.)
- iPhoto allows you also to label your photos manually by location. It’s a bit clunky but better than nothing.
- As you label pictures, be sure to note the names of your new friends before you forget them.
The benefit of labeling your pictures is that they become a valuable Bible study resource in years to come. Want to see what Capernaum looks like? Just search your pictures.
3. Get a good atlas and make a study of the places you have been.
Part of preparing well for your Holy Land tour in the months beforehand included implementing your tour itinerary into your quiet times. Do the same again after the fact. It will mean much more the second (and third) time around.
Now that you know the value of including the Holy Land in your spiritual life and Bible study, an atlas can help you take it to the next level. It is a lifetime investment, worth every penny.
- Get a good atlas, like the Zondervan Atlas of the Bible by Carl G. Rasmussen, and look up the sites you visited. Read the informative text, see the places on the maps, and see how it adds value to your understanding of Scripture.
- Keep your atlas handy and make it a habit to look up locations and information about sites you run across in your Bible reading. Do this for the rest of your life.
- Here are some other good resources I recommend for studying Bible lands.
4. Share with people what you have experienced and learned.
Have people to your home, show them your pictures (not all 871 of them), and share what God taught you on your tour.
The best way to learn something is to teach it. Ask your pastor, Sunday School teacher, or small group leader if you can have a few minutes to share how your tour changed your life.
I know of one couple that attended our Israel tour with Insight for Living and purchased the DVD and study guide set (I serve as the “guide” on these DVDs). This couple led a small group through the study and enjoyed a meaningful experience. Here’s a quick overview I give of the study:
5. Stay connected with the friends you made on your tour.
You likely made a few close friends on your trip. Don’t lose those connections! Get together with them (or Skype), and share memories, pictures, and insights. Some of our dearest friends came from our tours to Israel.
6. Encourage others to go.
Someone likely encouraged you to go on your first tour. Now, YOU be that someone who encourages others.
Has your pastor been to Israel? If not, here’s why you should send him.
7. Pray about going again some day.
Anyone’s first trip to the Holy Land is a “deer-in-the-headlights” experience. It’s like drinking from Niagara Falls.
On your second tour (and your ninth) you will be even better prepared to soak in more information and be open to more transformation from the Word of God.
Tell me what you think: What have you found helpful following your trip to the Holy Land? To leave a comment, just click here.