The day Jesus called Simon and Andrew to follow him, he challenged them to cast their nets in “deep water.” (Luke 5:4)
The setting was the Sea of Galilee, which is really a lake. Normally, the fishermen on the lake would be out in the pre-dawn hours when fish were near the surface. Going out in the middle of the day when the fish were seeking cooler water near the bottom of the lake? That’s just bad fishing!
By the time Jesus finished his sermon that day, Simon had already folded his nets. Andrew was ready to call it a day. Neither of them wanted to look foolish, casting with nets too small in water too deep for fish that were not going to be there.
And yet something about the look in Jesus’ eyes compelled them to go. Saying no was simply not an option.
If you know the story, you know the miracle. Fish were jumping over one another trying to get into the nets! Simon and Andrew had to call for help to get the catch to shore, and Simon very rightly realized Jesus was no ordinary man.
The rest of their story is the most remarkable story the world has ever heard.
For Simon and Andrew, it all started with a simple challenge to break with what was comfortable and do something that had not been done.
Jesus has not stopped making people uncomfortable with unusual commands.
Jesus has not stopped challenging people to do what has not been done before.
Maybe that’s the heart of why we’re launching a new era with Experience Israel Now.
Beginning Sept. 1, this ministry will have my full-time attention. Many of you have been incredible encouragers since our inception in 2011. Some of you have given us the money to launch EIN projects. Others have gone to Israel with us, read our books, watched our videos and/or prayed earnestly for us.
So now we’re ready to head out into the deep water!
Come September, we’ll be available to speak in churches and messianic synagogues, and at community gatherings of all kinds. Our virtual tours of Israel will continue to make appearances in schools, prisons and anywhere we’re invited.
If you’d like to help us get this ministry out on the “deeper waters,” let churches know about our presentations. If you’re part of an organization that needs an interesting program, we’re ready!
If you’d like to go to Israel with us, we’ll have two trips next May, one for “traditional” travelers and one for hikers. We should release information on those trips within a few days.
We also have resources for small-groups, books for readers and videos that can help any reader of the Bible better visualize the setting for the Scripture. If you are looking for a great small-group experience this fall, check out our “Secrets from the Ancient Paths” small-group study on our web site.
And by all means, please pray for us.
We believe this ministry is worth a full-time effort. I refuse to live another year without finding out if this dream can become a reality. If it fails, we shall fail with a great flourish. We will not leave anything in the tank in our pursuit to bring the life-changing lessons from the land of the Bible to audiences everywhere.
At the same time, it is a very emotional decision to leave the church we’ve loved for the past 18 years. So as you pray for us, please pray for Shirley Hills.
And whether you ever get to go to Israel or not, I hope that through this ministry, you can experience Israel … now.