Archive - January 2011



Thursday is our next to last day. We had much to do today and most of it involved walking uphill or down at an outrageous slant where it feels like you are going to fall off.

Dr. Dukes led in our devotional at Haas Promenade. The Bible Study and the view of the Old City were stirring! It was a good start of our day.

Our next stop was the Aroma Coffee on Mt. Scopus. Great coffee and great stop. It only took a few minutes and we were off to the Mt. of Olives Overlook. Many of our group immediately went to the camel ride. Others of us were busy taking pictures. I never tire of taking pictures of Jerusalem.

We staggered down the hillside of the Mount of Olives to the Dominus Flavit Church. Dr. Lan Leavell led our devotional at this site. We were challenged to have seeing eyes, hearing hearts and questing spirit. Excellent!

We completed our walk down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. Rev. Jason Dukes led our devotional. His focus was on the reality of our faith.

We visited the Church of All Nations and the ancient Olive trees in their garden. It is an amazing experience to see these two thousand year old trees.

The view of the Old City and the Temple Mount is stunning as we walked down the Mount of Olives. You can think about the thousands of years of activity that has been in this area. It began for us with Abraham at the foundation stone on Mt. Moriah (Temple Mount.) It continues to this very day with the Moslem control of the Temple Mount. The thing we can count on is that one day all things will be summed up by the Lord, Jesus the Messiah will return in the twinkling of an eye and everyone will experience the knowledge of Him. His children will be with Him and those who are not in God’s family will be judged. The early church was empowered with this knowledge that Jesus is coming back. I submit to you that Jesus is coming back!

Avner picked us up in front of the Church of Mary, which is a traditional location for the grave of the Mother of Jesus. Avner drove us up the hill, we were grateful and let us out at the northeast corner of the Old City of Jerusalem. We walked through the area that for many hundreds of years was the location of the sheep market and into the Old City at the Lion or Sheep Gate. Just a few steps and we turned into the Church of St. Anne. Dr. Jimmy Dukes led in our devotional at Bethesda that is alongside of the Church of St. Anne. After the devotional we went into the Church and sang. Gilla led in discussing the Pool of Bethesda and its historical layout.

We were now on the Via Dolorosa. Gilla identified the Stations of the Cross as we continued along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Our first stop was the Lithostratos at the Sisters of Zion. We talked about the Via Dolorosa, the Madaba map, the cistern that is the cistern that we saw in the Kotel walk and the game of the King scratched out on the pavement below from the time of Jesus. Dr. Warren led in our devotional on the actual pavement from the time of Jesus. We had a prayer and a time of contemplation then we walked back up to the current street level and continued our journey on the Via Dolorosa. The Russian Church that houses the Judgment Gate was our next stop. Then we walked around to the Holy Sepulcher. Our group spent time in the Holy Sepulcher visiting Calvary and the tomb of Jesus.

We walked across the Christian Quarter to the Jewish Quarter about 1:45pm where we had lunch. There was a lot of ice cream eaten at lunch.

The Upper Room was our next stop. This is a particularly encouraging site as it is probably the location where the Last Supper took place. Whether it is or isn’t it is a very good location for the commemoration of the event. Rev. Rob Wilton led in our devotional. We sang a hymn after the devotional and went out. We visited King David’s Tomb downstairs next. It is a memorial to King David.

Down the hill of Mt. Zion Avner was waiting for us and took us on down to St. Peter in Gallicantu that is the location of Caiaphas’ House and the place where Peter denied the Lord three times. Rev. Mel Jones shared some of his personal testimony and led in our devotional. We had our devotional next to the Roman Stepped Way that at some time Jesus would have walked on as he walked from the Mount of Olives to Mount Zion.

We were all tired and we ended our touring day at about 5:00pm today. Bible Study was at 6:00pm as Dr. Warren continued our Bible Study in Acts.




Dr. Dukes led our devotional this morning at the Haas Promenade. The Promenade overlooks the city of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives, the Valley of Hinnom, and the Kidron Valley. This is a great way to start our tour of Jerusalem over the next three days.

Avner took us to the Dung Gate via Silwan. Our first site tour is of the Temple Mount. This is a significant historical and political site. Gilla did an excellent job taking us through the site. Once we completed the Temple Mount we had to hustle back down to the Western Wall for the Kotel Tunnel Tour.

The Kotel deals with all of those things related to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. The tour takes you down to first century Jerusalem, underneath present day Jerusalem, and reveals the Temple Mount Western Wall the full length of the wall and the ancient street that at some points is the street that Herod the Great built. Additionally, we visited a cistern from the earliest times and noted the Herodian stones and building methods.

All of us had an opportunity to visit the Western Wall. This is particularly important for us to see because of its importance to Judaism. It is an interesting and at times puzzling experience. The Western Wall itself is an imposing façade. When you realize why it is what it is it encourages you to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

The Davidson Museum and the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount were our next tour. We had a student presentation at the Southern Steps.

It was now about 1:30 PM and time for us to go to lunch. We walked up from the Western Wall into the Jewish Quarter near Hurva Square where we had lunch. After lunch we all went to Shorashim Biblical Shop where we visited with Moshe and Dov Kempinski. We had an excellent discussion of Judaism and dialog with Moshe.

It has been a very long day of walking. We have trod the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem more than 15,000 steps today. Many of those steps were uphill. It has been rewarding and has created many memories for us.

We took the group to the Muristan near the Holy Sepulcher to shop. Some of us went up to the Aroma Coffee shop at the Jaffa Gate. We met Avner at 5:45 PM and returned to Ramat Rachel for dinner, Bible Study and sleep.

Tomorrow will begin early.



We left Maagan this morning. I love the Galilee and always am a bit sad to leave. We had to pass by the Aroma Coffee at the junction because we had too many miles to cover today.

Dr. Dukes led in 1 Peter 2:1-3 for our devotional. It is all about being because doing comes out of being. He noted that we are to Be a Be—God is much more interested in what we be than in what we try to do on our own. When we are we do—relationship, transformation, character change, new attitudes and new actions. I will post Jimmy’s devotionals when we get back home.

The ride down the Jordan Valley was peaceful. Our driver, Avner, made excellent time from the Galilee to Masada-2 hours. The group toured Masada. Masada was built by King Herod and was the last bastion of Jewish freedom fighters when they were destroyed by Rome in 74AD. Masada is a mountain on the eastern fringe of the Judean Desert near the shore of the Dead Sea, rising from the Dead Sea 450 meters. It is 650 meters long and 300 meters wide. Its natural defenses and remote location were the advantages that transformed it into a fortress during the Second Temple period.

Qumran is about 45 minutes north of Masada. We arrived there about 12:45 and had a quick lunch in their cafeteria. Qumran is located on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. It had a Jewish population dating back to 800 BC and inhabitants up to the Bar Kochba revolt in 132-135 AD. This is the place that Bedouin Shepherds discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. We visited the site. Dr. Parker presented his study of Qumran. We walked the site and then loaded up the bus to go swimming in the Dead Sea.

We drove over to Kalia, about 2 miles away, and many put their hands and feet in the Dead Sea but only 2 actually swam in the Dead Sea. We were back on the road in 40 minutes, leaving the Dead Sea area at 3PM.

Driving thru Jerusalem, Gilla pointed out the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, Mt. Scopus, and other identifiable skyline buildings. We also drove by the Jaffa Gate and had conversation about David Citadel.

Avner had us in Bethlehem at 4 PM. This was very good because the Church of the Nativity closes at 5 PM and when we got there the line was long. We were able to get through the church by closing time at 5PM.

This was a whirlwind day. We shopped at Edward Tabash’s store in Bethlehem for an hour then Avner took us to Ramat Rachel where we will be for the next three nights. Our Israel Pilgrimage is going too, too fast!

Clay Corvin 1/4/11



Monday in the Galilee was another good day of touring. The weather was chilly and windy. It was excellent weather for touring.

We left Maagan after our morning devotional on the beach and stopped at Aroma Coffee at the junction. We have visited quite a number of Aroma Coffee Shops as we toured in Israel. It was a very good experience every time. The employees of each shop we visited impressed me. They were friendly and prompt. The coffee is good too.

We drove through Tiberius. Gilla shared about the history of the region and specifically about the history at the time of Christ. We turned into Nof Ginnosar where we would visit the “Jesus Boat,” and meet the boat that we would sail in on the Sea of Galilee. Rev. Phil Jeansonne led in our devotional on the Sea of Galilee. The crew played a couple of Christian songs on the sound system, and taught us Israeli folk dancing. Everything worked well together. Our time on the Sea of Galilee was a blessing for each one of us.

Leaving Nof Ginnosar and turning north we drove to the Mount of Beatitudes. It took a few extra minutes to get up the hill to the site. The Mount of Beatitudes is at the top of the first hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The view of the entire Sea of Galilee is excellent. You can see the entire area of Jesus’ ministry on the Sea of Galilee. Pastor Rob Wilton led in our devotional.

We ate lunch at Migdal. Schnitzel, swarma or falafel was our choices. The food is good and they served us quickly. We have eaten at the Migdal Café many other times and they have consistently done a good job.

Dr. David Lema led our devotional at the Primacy of Peter. This site commemorates the time the Lord cooked fish on the beach after the resurrection. He called Peter to come back and lead His church. There is a rock table, Mensa Christi (Table of Christ) in the church building on the site. After the devotional everyone walked down to the beach. It was a good place to think.

Capernaum is just up the road. Our time there included visiting the church on the site, seeing the White Synagogue, seeing Peter’s house, identifying the process of pressing olives and grinding wheat. Dr. Roudkovski led our devotional inside the White Synagogue. Capernaum is the place where Jesus would have been many times. Walking thru the site you know that you’ve connected with where Jesus would have walked and shared. He worked many miracles here. He taught His disciples and preached the Gospel. Capernaum is now only a museum.

The day has gone entirely too quickly. We drive in the bus on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Dr. Dukes shared about the Gadarene Demoniac near the memorial on the Eastern Shore.

I love the Galilee area. I like being on the sea and I enjoy all of the Galilee. I particularly like the Golon. I think it is critical for the long-term health of Israel as a nation. With all of that said, tomorrow morning we will set our face toward Jerusalem and by evening will be in the Holy City.

Our discussions were wide ranging and in many cases deep. This was another wonderful day of touring in Israel. Our pilgrimage is affective on my life and effective in helping me grow in my understanding of the Bible.

Clay Corvin



Breakfast then to the shore of the Sea of Galilee for our morning devotional by Dr. Dukes. The setting and the view enhanced our already excellent devotional.

We are going to the center of the Hula Valley to connect with our OFF-ROAD tour across the Hula Valley and up the Golan. We saw the wildlife including birds and various small mammals, the agricultural environment, back trails, cattle herds, horses and discussed a multiplicity of plants and trees. We crossed a small stream and traveled across the Jordan. The men driving the 4-wheel drive vehicles did a great job and were vary knowledgeable about Israel. It was really a very good experience.

We had lunch in the Druze Village of Mesada on the upper Golon with Mt. Hermon in the background. After lunch we went down to Caesarea Philippi.

A student made a presentation at Caesarea Philippi and then Dr. Lan Leavell did an abbreviated presentation on the history of Caesarea Philippi and then tied it in theologically and devotionally. We walked about 1 mile to Herod Agrippa’s summer Palace. Stunning and significant are two words that come to mind immediately. The stonework and site development are magnificent. We then went back to the Pan devotion area up at the mouth of the spring.

Dan was just a short distance away. We got there about 2:45pm. in time to visit the site. Dr. Parker discussed the altar at Dan and other locations. His focus was the types of sacrifices made on the altar and the process they went through for altar worship. There were a significant number of questions.  We left Dan about 4:15pm.

We visited Aroma Coffee in Kiryat Shmona and took a short break from the day.  Another great Aroma Coffee Shop run by caring employees.

This was an outstanding, exceptionally good day of touring. The Golan is so very important to the life and livelihood of Israel. Pray for peace in Jerusalem and rain for Israel.

Clay Corvin- 1/2/11


Woke up to a rainy day. Clouds and rain had moved into the Galilee overnight. At breakfast we decided that we would change the itinerary for today. The forecast called for rain all day in the Galilee and we decided to go south and east today swapping Monday’s itinerary for today.

Dr. Dukes led in Devotional this morning, which we had to relocate to the Maagan lobby. He shared three things followers of Christ do.

Our first stop was Aroma Coffee at the junction, excellent coffee and a quick stop.

We drove down the Jordan Valley to Bet Shean. We were the first group there. In fact it was 8:45am and they hadn’t opened the site yet so we were there to open the site. It is a grand restoration to the Roman era. Dr. David Leavell led in the site devotional at the theater. Gilla our guide led the group through the site including the public urinals.

Our driver Avner does an outstanding job as our driver and he always has ideas about how we can squeeze in the most in our day.

We drove through the Jezreel on Highway 669 to Beit Alfa. It is the ruins of a 6th century synagogue. It has an excellent video detailing how an early synagogue developed their mosaic tile floor and shows how syncretism had crept into religious practice.

Ein Harod was our next stop and it was just up the road from Beit Alfa. We passed through ancient Jezreel and its related facilities plus to our right was Biblical Shunem but we focused on Gideon’s Spring and stopped there. After our devotional we shared some additional details and returned to road traveling to lunch.

Our lunch stop was Kibbutz Mizra which is the only place in Israel that has pork. The actually grow pigs and do serve pork. But they also have many other things on their cafeteria line and I’ve never had pork there.

We missed the rain all day. It rained some when we were on the road but didn’t cause a problem when we were on the site.

Megiddo was our next stop. Dr. Parker shared about the time of Josiah and also gave an overview of all the armies and civilizations that had occupied Megiddo. The site is well developed and significant in Biblical Old Testament times. The key items were the gates, cultic worship area, granary, stables and the water system.

We were racing time now. We wanted to get to the Nazareth Overlook before dark and we made it. Dr. Williamson shared about Jesus and his hometown of Nazareth.

Night comes early in January. We headed back to Maagan, about a 1 hour trek finishing our touring day. Hannah shared about her work with Africa Inland Mission in Namibia. The evening Bible Study led by Dr. Warren continued our study in Acts.

We had dinner, conversations in the hotel lobby and then back to the room. All of us were quite tired. Looking for a quiet night of rest.

Clay Corvin Galilee SA – 01/01/11


So much packed into to such a small place
Everywhere you turn
Another event in history
Many applying to life and how to live it

The Lord stepped into this little place
A land bridge between civilizations
Even to this very day
Conflict and fear have and are a part of daily life

When I come here
It means so much to me
The Lord speaks and encourages me
I’m reminded of His love for me

What about this place makes it so important
It is only a very small country
With a 3,000 plus year history
A depth of conflict seldom seen

Jesus lived and walked here
He willingly died for me here
Here is where my lineage began
I belong to Him and being here helps me understand

Clay Corvin SA-01/01/11



We began our day at Mitzpe Ramon near the Wilderness of Zin. It was windy and chilly. This is unique in this high desert area that is very dry year round with an annual rainfall of only 4 inches. Our immediate stop was at the Makhtesh Ramon observation point where we had an overview of the Makhtesh. This is the Grand Canyon of Israel. Stunning views. One day we will do a jeep trip thru the Makhtesh but not this trip.

We drove north to Avdat once a great desert city of the Nabataean Kingdom. This was the second largest of the Nabataean cities, Petra in Jordan was the largest. It is located 65 km south of Beer Sheva on Route 40. Our visit focused on the wine press and the two churches located on the top of the Tel. The North Church, the Church of St. Theodore is dated to the middle of the 5th century and it abuts a 3rd century tower. The entry to the church has a cruciform baptismal font where a person could be baptized by immersion.

The drive north to Beersheva gave everyone a very good view of the Negev. We went through the western edge of the Wilderness of Zin. Israel upon its movement toward the Promised Land moved thru the Wilderness of Zin. On the drive north we discussed road systems in ancient times and other details related to Avedat.

Tel Beersheva included a visit to Abraham’s Well, and the Israelite fortress. Also a group photo at the entry gate. This site dates back more than 3,000 years. In the Old Testament, ‘from Dan to Beersheva is a stereotyped expression for the limits of the land of Israel (Judges 20:1; 1 Sam. 3:20; etc.)

Tragically the time did not permit a stop at Aroma Coffee, we had already passed two great opportunities for stopping. A two hour drive north from Beersheva and we were ready to stop for lunch at the mall in Or Akiva which has a McDonalds, an excellent Aroma Coffee and other fast food restaurants.

After lunch we visited Caesarea beginning at the Theater and then north to Herod’s House, the hippodrome, the New Testament harbor and the Crusader City. This place was the beginning of the Gentile Christian Church. We noted the significant aqueduct that brought water from the Carmel Mountains which made Caesarea habitable.

Our final stop today was Muhraqa (the sacrifice) at the top of Mount Carmel. This is the traditional site for Elijah’s contest with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:20-46.) The Carmelite Order has a monastery at this location.

Our bus ride took about an hour from Mt. Carmel to our Galilee home for 4 nights, Maagan Guesthouse located on the Southern end of the Sea of Galilee. If you are ever in Israel and can stay in Galilee I would recommend Maagan to you. I have posted on my website: their phone numbers and address.

This was a good first day of touring. Our site devotionals were stirring. JP Cox shared at Beersheva how when you experience helplessness and there is nothing you can do about a difficulty how wonderfully significant the Lord’s presence and power is. Dr. Jim Parker did an excellent presentation on the bus about the Nabataean Kingdom and road systems of the Biblical Middle East. Dr. Dukes sharing from 1 Peter did an monologue as Peter and brought Peter as a Biblical Character to life. Dr. Warren began our Bible Study in Acts tonight. Dr. Lan Leavell presented the site devotional at Caesarea and Dr. David Leavell shared at Muhraqa. My heart and soul has been deeply stirred and encouraged. Ginger Moskau shared at the beginning of our Bible Study how the Lord is using her in the Women’s Ministry at Bethel Community in New Orleans.


Little sleep but I’m standing on my feet
Packed and loaded and we go
Learning begins
Overload just looking at the Ramon Crater

Avdat just ahead-A Nabataean desert town
An important place 2,700 years ago
On to Beersheva- the Well of Oath
Reaching back 3,500 years- a touch stone of faith

Abraham and his people lived here
His oath assured them a place to live and call home
We give an oath to Christ
From death to life-Alive in Christ eternity begun

Each day of our tour will be a day of discovery
We will be surprised by some of what we see
The Lord will speak to us along the way
I will pray with you as we walk the “Land of the Bible”

Treasure what you see
Make notes and think about what you hear
Rest some, talk some, fellowship
Ahead of us is the journey of a lifetime, enjoy

Clay Corvin – Nov 14, 2010