5 Life-Changing Experiences – Israel

holy-lands-journal_page_011February of 1996. I was 26 years old. I had been a youth minister for 8 years. Full-time for 4. The youth had all gotten together for my birthday and given me $$ to go skydiving (on my bucketlist of things to do). My Pastor, Mike Mathews, (He is now my Father-in-Law) was organizing a trip to Israel and came to me saying he’d arrange for me to be able to go for free, but I’d still need some $$ for a passport, food, etc. I decided to skip the skydiving experience in favor of the trip. It was one of the best decisions of my life!

We got to walk in Jesus’ footsteps for 9 straight days. We saw Jerusalem and the temple mount, the wailing wall, the empty tomb of Jesus, Golgotha, Lazarus’ tomb, Bethlehem, & Nazareth. We rode a boat across the Sea of Galilee, hiked Masada, and explored Qumran. Seeing these sites was truly remarkable! I now understand why robbers placed themselves on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho. (It’s a steep road and travelers would be too tired to fight them off.) I will never read the scriptures the same way again. Phrases like “Land of milk and honey” and “Armegeddon” have new meaning!

When Mike described the experience to me, he said that I’d feel like I had gone “home” when we got there. I didn’t believe him. How could I feel “at home” in a strange country, where most spoke another language, and machine guns were seen regularly? He was right! I did feel “at home.” There’s something about that place that goes beyond description. Well, it’s not “something” – it’s someone, and His name is Jesus. If you love Jesus, you will love Israel. Some have called it the “fifth gospel.” Just like the other four, Israel has as story to tell about Jesus, the land itself testifies to His glory!

I hope to go back one day. You should consider a trip too. It will change your life.

If you’re interested, here’s a link to my journal entries from the trip.

The Holy Lands – Through the eyes of Steve Corn (Just right click and select “save as” to download.)

PS – My beard, hair, and clothes crack me up these days.


I have been thinking about “noticing” lately. I even wrote a journal for our students which centered on this idea. (Of course most of the material is from Louie Giglio) Anyway, It’s not a new idea but I think the fast-paced world we live in, which bounces us from one activity to the next, has kept us from “noticing” or “stopping to smell the roses.”

(It’s very possible that this has been so heavy on me, ’cause my own life has been so hectic. I’m just getting over a sickness, which may very well have been God’s way of making me slow down and “notice.”)

When will it stop? The answer to that question is – never! We have built a world which will distract us from noticing the things God is doing around us. And Satan loves that we’re “too busy” for God. What’s the old saying? “If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy” – or something like that.

Anyway, the bottom line is that if we’re gonna notice God, we’re gonna have to intentional about it. It won’t happen by accident. It will only happen on purpose when we attempt to “notice” Him.

Ps 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” But if we never really look into the heavens or at the skies, we could miss Him.

My professor, Dr. Ayers, says that leaders need to have time to “stare out the window.” I think that’s true for everyone. We all need more time staring out the window and looking for God and dreaming of what He wants and imagining how we can be a part of His eternal work.

Take some time to “notice” something today. Give enough time to it, and I feel confident that you’ll know what you were supposed to notice when you notice it. (Is that circular reasoning? Oh well – it’s still true.)

New Series of Posts

Alright – so for my next class at school (Theology 3331) I’m supposed to make 20 journal entries covering 20 different theological concepts. I’m also supposed to answer the question “How will I change my life in view of this concept?” (I’m not sure I’m gonna be able to do that part on some of these questions ’cause I don’t believe in some of them. (You’ll understand what I mean later when you see the topics.) I’m guessing that’s what my next 20 posts will be. It amazes me how often this school stuff (which I really love) gets in the way of other things I enjoy. I really don’t read much anymore just for fun ’cause I have to read so much for class and now I’m not even gonna be blogging too much for fun. Oh well, I’ll be done with this class in 5 weeks, so there’s still time.