Turkey Day 9

If I could describe my time in Turkey in one sentence, it would be “What is my Jesus and?” As we go to different sites and see these monumental statues and temples dedicated to the gods and goddesses of the time. I wonder what are my temples to idols in my life? What is something that distracts me from Jesus?

Today during her farewell speech, Jen gave a great story from the Odyssey. About the sailors who were so captivated by the harpist on their boat that they couldn’t hear the siren calls of the ocean. This story served as a reminder that Jesus needs to be the harpist in my life, the thing that captivates me and keeps me safe from the siren song of life and sin. After I asked the question “ What is my Jesus and?” I started to look at my life and think what am I craving most after Joshua? And I found that what I was really craving was a more intentional community. A community that could be honest and really get into the nitty gritty of life. Being on this trip has really shown me what it looks like to be part of a community.

Today after the sites, we took time and baptized some of our brothers and sisters in the Aegean Sea and it was beautiful. Seeing my brothers and sisters that I had done life with making a public commitment to Christ and saying “ this is how I want to live my life now and always” not only was this beautiful to the people being baptized but also to the onlookers to the people in the restaurant and the people relaxing on the chairs. This public showing of faith was used to open up gospel presentations which is just showing how alive and active the word of God is today. As we depart not only Turkey but also Joshua and acknowledge the ending of a season of life. I will reflect back on these temples and idols and remember that I don’t need a Jesus and, there is nothing that will fulfill me like Jesus will.

As you go about your day and your life, remember that you don’t need Jesus and anything else, because he will provide every need of yours .

-Josh Halloran

Merhaba, everyone!

I’m so sad to say our wonderful journey through the land of Turkey has now come to a close, with now a day and a half’s worth of flying/driving ahead of us to return to our humble Hume Lake. Here’s a recap of our study trip in Turkey!

Turkey has been such an amazing trip in so many different ways from enjoying delicious meals to marveling at the traditional Turkish arts of pottery and rug making. Our trip could not have been as good without our amazing tour guide, Ozan. His love for the history and land of Turkey was so apparent in every site, store, and restaurant we visited. Ozan is easily one of, if not the best, tour guide Turkey has to offer. We were also so blessed to have Biola professor Craig Hill come along with the Joshua family and teach out of the book of Acts in places where actually history was made such as the boat port in Antalya where Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark landed to begin preaching the Good News and the theater at Ephesus where Paul preached the Word of God among thousands of pagans who were shouting about the “Great Artemis of the Ephesians”.

It was absolutely insane to see these Herculean-sized statues and temples like the Temple of Artemis, formerly one of the Seven Wonders of the World that today now only stands as ruins and attracts occasional tourists. Being among these giants made of marble and clay, although now broken and dismantled, was a daunting experience. To imagine these places as they were thousands of years of ago — I couldn’t fathom the sheer power and might these temples and shrines must have had over the citizens of Asia Minor. At the same time, this is the very setting that Paul goes into to preach the word of God. Could you imagine telling these people that their gods, who lived in temples the size of modern-day Ikea stores being held up by pillars competing in size with the Sequoia trees of California, had nothing against the one true God. Could you imagine telling the citizens of Laodecia, Ephesus, or Pergamum that true salvation and healing came from simply confession and repentance, not praying to Asclepius for temporary healing? Yes, preaching the Good News among unbelievers is difficult, but Paul remained zealous in his mission to make the Gospel knows all over Asia Minor despite everything — and in the end, after running the race with endurance, he still said all was worth it.

Being among the images of gods and goddesses also raised a question in my heart, and it persisted throughout this whole trip: how often do we create idols in our own hearts? We may not build marble temples and dedicate it to the idea of money, love, validation, food, video games, or other things — yet in our hearts we still often chase after them and try to satisfy those desires, thinking it will complete us and give us long-lasting happiness. However, that is all a lie; like the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, those things too will also past and become worthless. I too have dedicated temples to different idols at some point in my life, as we all have. Everything is temporary; even the Romans thought their empire wouldn’t end, and they too have been reduced to information in a history textbook.

The point I am making is that God’s kingdom has remained unshaken throughout the ages — even under persecution and criticism by followers of other religions. This fact alone, that God remains faithful and steadfast through all things, gave Paul all the reason he needed to put himself out there among the crowds of magicians, philosophers, and pagans to preach the Good News. Was it easy? By no means! He faced every possible obstacle along his journey. But he remained persistent and endured the race. Paul encourages us to run the same race with all endurance, pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Even among the Greek and Roman giants that may try to scare us, we have a hope that doesn’t die, and a faith in a God who is faithful to all who call upon His precious name.

Now knowing all of this, the question for the class is this: what do we do next? Do we simply let this trip just be a cool memory of seeing some ruins and staying at nice hotels, or do we make this trip about growing our love and appreciation for the work of Paul and his fellow workers, bringing about the Gospel News and the Epistles we know today?

As this crazy, awesome year of Joshua comes to a close, an important takeaway to sum it all up can be found in Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi: despite all circumstances, learn to be content (Philippians 4:11), because only through Christ can we be strengthened to do all things (4:13).

Güle güle,

Jakob Grimes

Share this post

Recent Posts

Turkey Day 9

If I could describe my time in Turkey in one sentence, it would be “What is my Jesus and?” As we go to different sites

Read More »

Turkey Day 8

“Wow! Where am I?” I have asked myself this question at every turn. Preparing for this trip, I couldn’t wait for the day we arrived

Read More »

Turkey Day 7

Turkey day 7! Although biblical sites, history lessons, and Roman ruins are mind-blowing and impactful to gain context for the Bible, taking a break today

Read More »

Turkey Day 6

Hey everyone! I’m super stoked I have the opportunity to tell you what’s been going on in our trip to turkey! First things first though the

Read More »

Turkey Day 5

Hey guys, Mary here again! Day 5 of Turkey was a blast. We started out our day with a drive of an hour and a

Read More »

Turkey Day 4

Day 4 of Turkey,  Hierapolis, Colossae, + Laodicea Imagine going to three cities… in a day… but we did that! Hey guys! It’s Mary here!

Read More »
Archives/Older Posts