Archives for October 2021

Greece and Turkey – Last Day

On Friday, October 15, we concluded our tour of following the footsteps of John and Paul in Greece and Turkey by traveling a scenic coast south of Athens down to Sounion which is overlooked by the Temple of Poseidon (photo #1). The scenery was breathtaking (photo #2)!

This was one of the best tours God has ever granted us to lead. David Woollin was a great help throughout, in edition to his speaking nearly ten times. I was privileged to speak about twenty times, half being lectures and the other half were short talks at various sites. I cannot help but remark that God wonderfully granted that, despite traveling through several downpours while on the bus en route to various sites, we never encountered rain while at the sites throughout this entire 12 day itinerary.

Early the following morning (last Saturday), we drove to the airport with most of our tour group who flew home, while Mary and I went on to Milan, Italy, where I was scheduled to speak ten times in the next three days.


On Thursday, our tour group of 39 headed out for the city of Corinth, Greece. On the way, we stopped to see the beautiful Corinthian Canal (photo #1), and visited nearby Canchrea, one of the two harbors of ancient Corinth (photo #2).

Paul most likely sailed from this place and it was also the home of the ancient Corinthian church to whom the apostle ministered and wrote 1 and 2 Corinthians. The city is located on the slopes of the towering Acorinth that was crowned in ancient times by the temple of Aphrodite (photo #3). Extensive ruins include several temples, water fountains, shops, public buildings, the largest Agora (gathering place) in the ancient world, and the Bema, where Paul met and was judged by the governor Gallio (photo #4). We also visited the Corinthian museum.

We then traveled back to our yacht, where we enjoyed a farewell dinner with our captain and crew, as well as our tour guide. Our group sang the naval hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” to the captain and the crew. After I prayed for them, the captain movingly told us that this was the first time in all his years of serving as captain of ships that anyone had publicly prayed specifically for him (photo #5).

Greek Island of Mykonos

We left Patmos early afternoon, October 13, to sail to the touristy, beautiful Greek island of Mykonos, arriving at dusk. Captain Mike unfurled the sails on this sunny, calm afternoon (photo #1).

The port is shallow, so we were transported ashore by a tender boat. Andy, our tour guide, led us to the 16th century windmills (photo #2) through the narrow walkways between the white painted buildings with blue or red doors and window trim (photo #3).

Marilyn DeMeester, Mary, and I enjoyed a gelato by the waterfront (photo #4).

Greek Island of Patmos

We left Turkey, sailing overnight to wake up on Wednesday morning, October 13, docked at the beautiful Greek Island of Patmos where John wrote the book of Revelation while in exile. We visited the Grotto of the Apocalypse, the cave where John is believed to have received his vision and recorded his message to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor (photo #1). (No pictures were allowed inside the Grotto.)

Kevin Ash and I had the privilege of delivering short lectures to the tour group just outside of this special place on John and the Grotto (photo #2).

After exploring this serene island a bit, some of us walked to a site where John, on the shore of Patmos, baptized converts who frequently came to him for baptism (photo #3). Across the street from this baptism site is a beautiful, small church dedicated to the apostle John (photo #4). The whole morning at Patmos was memorable, humbling, and beautiful; in fact, it was hard to leave!

Greece and Turkey – Day 8 (continued)

We ended a very full Tuesday last week with a quick visit to Thyatira, in Turkey, where the archeological remains are limited because they are surrounded by the modern-day city of Akhisar (picture #1). Thyatira was admonished by Jesus for being an overly-tolerant church, and was also known for being the hometown of Jezebel and Lydia. In the midst of rush-hour traffic surrounding the archeological site, some gypsies in a horse-drawn cart stopped and waved at us (picture #2).

When we arrived back at the boat a seafood feast awaited us (picture #3).

Greece and Turkey – Day 8

On Tuesday, October 12, we visited the ancient remains of three of the seven churches in modern-day Turkey that received letters from Christ In Revelation 2 and 3 via the apostle John. 

First, we visited the ancient remains of Smyrna, which today is the port city of Izmir, Turkey, with a present population of 4.5 million (picture #1). Smyrna is still being excavated and was known for being a suffering church that was greatly blessed by Christ in NT times. Christ had no word of reproof for these strong believers. It was moving to be there, knowing of Smyrna’s faithfulness, even though the archeological remains here were not as overwhelmingly impressive as in Ephesus. 

The seven churches of Asia were located on a clockwise, circular mail delivery route in the time of John and Paul. So, our next stop was Pergamum known in biblical times as Pergamus. We took a cable car to the very windy and scenic hilltop of this dramatic archeological site (picture #2). Many gods were represented in this ancient worldly city where Jesus said that Satan’s seat is. Happily, there was a faithful remnant in Pergamus, including Antipas, Christ’s “faithful martyr.” We also visited the temple of Dionysus and the medical center of Asclepius, which was on a lower level, near the present day city of Bergma. Here we took a group picture (picture #3) and got a spontaneous shot of a gypsy leading his sheep and goats, all the while talking to them (picture #4). Shortly after he was feeding the lead goat, the goat butted him in the back.

(Thyatira to follow in the next post.)

Greece and Turkey – Day 16

Monday afternoon, October 11, we drove to Sardis, Turkey, one of the seven churches of Asia that was known for its spiritual deadness, with the exception of a faithful remnant. The Jewish synagogue where Paul probably preached was being renovated so we could only see the outside (picture #1).

The gymnasium, built during the Byzantine Period is nearby (picture #2). On the other side of town is a small fourth century Byzantine chapel that the Christians built on the ruins of the Temple of Artemis (picture #3).

Greece and Turkey – Day 15

Our first stop was ancient Ephesus, home of the most impressive archeological site in all of Turkey. The remains are breath-taking, particularly the Library of Celsus there which was one of the largest in the ancient world (picture #1), but we also saw the well-preserved remains of the Temple of Artemis, the Roman baths, the Odeion, the Marble Road where Paul walked, and public buildings such as the town hall. The Ephesian church was the first recipient of the so-called seven letters to seven churches in Asia recorded by John in Revelation 2 and 3. Jesus praised this church for its doctrinal faithfulness but admonished her for leaving her first love

Paul visited Ephesus briefly on his second missionary journey and later spent nearly three years working in Ephesus during his third missionary journey. I had the privilege of standing and preaching on the very place where Paul often preached on the public square or “gathering place” (called the Agora) of Ephesus, adjacent to the library (picture #2). For me, this was perhaps the most moving experience of the entire trip as I contemplated on the fact that eternity alone would reveal how many Ephesian people were converted on this very spot under Paul’s preaching. In the great Ephesian amphitheater which seats 25,000, Marty and Larry from our group led us in singing Psalters. The acoustics were amazing (picture #3).

Next, we headed off to a Turkish rug-making cooperative. After demonstrating the process and displaying their products, they said that the rugs are best tested barefoot (picture #4). Several from our group purchased rugs, and as tour leaders we were given a small but beautiful rug for our seminary

From there, we headed to Sardis…..

iDisciple Online Conference – The Majesty & Ministry of the Church

On December 27-30 I will be speaking at the iDisciple Online Conference, a large online conference in the Philippines. This year’s conference is on “The Majesty & Ministry of the Church.”

My first address will be on “The Nature and Necessity of Reforming the Local Church” and my last plenary address will be on “The Utopian Marriage of Christ and His Joyful Bride in Heaven” (Rev. 19:6-9). I will also be speaking about my life and ministry during a Zoom discussion on November 5 at 10PM (Manila PST / 9AM EST).

More information to follow, but in the meantime you can register for the conference here:

Greece and Turkey – Pythagoreio and Kusadasi

Last Saturday (Oct. 9), we thought about Paul sailing the Aegean, as we approached Turkey on our yacht. We sailed to the town of Pythagoreio on the island of Samos, birthplace of the ancient philosopher Pythagoras. I gave lectures on the churches of Philadelphia and Thyatira. We had time to relax and walk around the waterfront. Later we sailed for the mainland of Turkey (see beautiful sunset, picture #1), docking in the port city of Kusadasi.

Our excellent guide, Andy, is a short, spunky Greek woman (picture #2), who shares her vast knowledge of biblical, cultural, and archeological history with us in a very interesting way. We learn a great deal from her. She is also excellent at caring for the details, which are numerous because of COVID restrictions.

On the Lord’s Day, we held services on the boat. I preached on the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna from Revelation 2, and Pastor David Woollin preached on Colossians 1:23, on our need for building a firm foundation in Christ. It was a restful, worshipful day with sweet fellowship.