Jon DeBell's Blog

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Location: Charlotte, North Carolina, United States

Friday, June 30, 2006

What we'll be doing next week at Hazor. Fun! Fun!

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Ibrahim the coin shark--er dealer

End of Hezekiah's tunnel from the Gihon Spring

Citidel of Old City Jerusalem with David's Tower(missnamed)

Your's bowlegged truly in front of the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount
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Thursday, June 29, 2006


Hi everybody! We've had a busy day in Jerusalem today seeing the Temple Mount, the Old City of David, and walking all through the Old City of Jerusalem. Gordon Franz is our guide. He is an archaeologist from The Association for Biblical Research. He added lots of meaning to the scriptures with his insights. Seeing the sites where Jesus and others spoke the words that are recorded in The Word adds so much to one's(my) understanding. Gordon is very gifted in what he does.

Let me share about the rest of our group(from left to right):
-Joyce is a librarian from Seattle, Washington.
-Elise is a graduate student in ancient history from Australia
-T.J. I wrote about last night. I didn't mention that he has his Dr. and teaches Hebrew as well as O.T. at Southern Seminary.(Thomas, you'll be interested in hearing his story!)
-Jim is from the Bay Area in California. He teaches 8th grade math and travels extensively on his summer vacations. He's been to many places on various mission trips and will be in Turkey and Egyt after our dig is over.
-Michael I wrote about last night
-Brendon is from Chattanooga and is a Bible student at Bryan College. He wants to study abroad after getting his undergrad and get a doctorate in N.T. studies.

These folks have plenty of grey matter. I'm doing my best to keep up! I stumbled across some neat trinkets today and will be giving some away at Homecoming 2006. I bet we have a child who would love to have a 2000 year old coin--a widow's mite. As you can see even over here my family and friends are never far from my thoughts. A couple of personal notes to save the time for email:
-Dianne, they even have statues of the king over here. I laughed out loud when I saw him next to the motel we stayed at the first night.
-Erin, I had a schwarma for lunch today. It brought back some bad memories from Ecuador, but I was able to laugh about that too.
-Jackie, please email me Bill Payne's internet address!(U can't get away from me asking for favors even when I'm 6000 miles away!)
-Laura, be working on your Spanish! AR&PNF...!
-Meg, I saw some of your best friends on the Temple Mount and at our hotel tonight.
-Everyone please tell our shut-ins that I'm thinking about and praying for them while I'm here.

Night all! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Contact Me...

The best way to reach me while I'm in Israel is by emailing me at I'd love to hear from you!

What time is it? What day is it? Where am I?!

After a 6,000 mile, 11+ hour trip from Atlanta to Tel Aviv we're finally here. And after thinking I would be spending 3 weeks with people I knew little/nothing about and wondering how we'd get along I was in for a big surprise.

The person I sat next to on the plane was T. J. Betts. T.J. is an Old Testament professor at Southern Seminary in Kentucky. He grew up in Ohio and I've met some of his family. Another man on our row and also participating in the dig was Michael from Alabama near where my father lives. He is trained as an engineer, but now drives a truck for a living. His avocation is archaeology. He's been on several different types of digs from dinosaur to Indian and now biblical. I've met more interesting people that hopefully I'll get a chance to write about in the near future.

Tomorrow we tour the Temple Mount and the Old City of Jerusalem. Thanks for all your prayers and well-wishes for me. Everything is going great thus far. (I actually made it to the Atlanta airport on time!)

Office is closing so I must as well!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting Ready to Fly!

So, tomorrow night I fly out of Atlanta on a short(only 11 hours!) flight to Tel Aviv. After a few days of touring we start to dig on Monday at Hazor, several miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Here are some pictures of how I've been spending my time the last few days. Hope you enjoy and hopefully this will get me in practice for posting some pics from the dig and places of interest in Israel! Thanks to all who are praying for me. You don't know how much of an encouragement you are to me.

Beach with Evan-buddy

Evan & Mommy in Calabash!

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Monday, June 12, 2006

On To Greensboro!

Laura and I will be arriving back home from Alabama tonight. Then Tuesday morning I'll be going to Greensboro for the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting. What would possess me to add another trip to my already full summer? For the first time in years we will have a real choice as to who is elected to be president of our convention. So, as a messenger of our church, I'll be there to cast my vote.

Late Wednesday afternoon I'll head up to Greensboro again for the concluding session of the convention. This promises to be a memorable event as a statue of Billy Graham will be unveiled, Casting Crowns will perform with a mass choir, and the "Everyone Can" emphasis for our churches to baptize 1 million people this year will be highlighted.

If anyone would like to go with me give me a call. I'd be glad for you to come along!

(Bonus question: if anyone can remember the topic of a Sunday night sermon/talk I gave 20 years ago before going to an SBC meeting in Dallas I'll take you out to lunch when I come back to work in the fall!)

Pastor Jon

Saturday, June 10, 2006

What if...

What if your pastor announced that he had decided to spend the second Sunday of his Sabbatical on a golf course? I know many of you would think I had lost it! Let me explain.

Laura and I had a delightful drive down to my dad's in Alabama after she finished her finals on Thursday. Friday morning Dad and I ventured out to play a round of golf. After coming within 3 inches of my first hole-in-one and scoring two birdies on the front nine I was elated to say the least! We paused at the clubhouse for a break before beginning the back nine. And there it was--my sign from the Lord that perhaps I needed to be back on the golf course Sunday morning:

The Church at Quail Creek
Join Us for Worship
Sunday Morning

Any notion that my newfound golfing prowess and the clubhouse sign were signs from the Lord about where I needed to worship this Sunday were quickly dispelled by my play on the back nine. Laura and I will be worshipping with family this week. I'll be sure to spend a few moments in prayer for the service at East as we worship.

How is the sabbatical going so far? I'm enjoying being on a routine of rest, exercise, better eating habits, some babysitting, and reading. The first book I've read is Experiencing Prayer With Jesus by Henry and Norman Blackaby. Let me quote a prayer from Henry:

"O God, many others have begun and never saw the completion of your promises in their generation. O Lord, help me to be faithful in my generation that when I pray, I hear from You...and that when I hear from You, I immediately adjust my life accordingly."

I'm hoping to read much more this summer that will stimulate my mind and spirit to be all I can be for our wonderful Savior. Thanks for the opportunity!

Pastor Jon