Hello and welcome. This is the LCU podcast, a podcast that will bring stories, insights and people from Lubbock Christian University. I'm your host, Keegan Stewart, and I'm happy to be with you for another episode. On today's episode, I had a conversation with three guys very well known to the LCU community, professor of Old Testament and Biblical archeology, Dr. Jesse Long, LCU seventh President Scott McDowell, and endowed Chair of Youth and Family Ministry Dr. David Fraze.
They are all here today to talk about the recent trip that they were all on to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Doctors Jesse and JoAnn Long has led 14 trips to these places. What they lovingly refer to is the land of the Holy One. They intentionally combine teaching scripture, prayer and worship in sightseeing and devotional settings in a way that they pray creates a journey of faith.
All three of these guys just got back from this trip earlier this month, and we had a conversation on what it's like. President McDowell and Dr. Fraze point to Dr. Long's amazing leadership in the way he brings this journey to life in a new way, what it means to their faith, and they even tell some fun stories to join it.
Thank you for listening to the LCU podcast. I hope you enjoyed this conversation with Dr. Long, President McDowell and Dr. Fraze.
Dr. Long, you and your wife JoAnn have have led these trips overseas, these trips to Israel 14 times. Can you tell us just a little bit about how these trips got started and you guys got involved with this process.
Dr. Jesse Long: In the mid 1950s, along with a colleague of mine excavating in Jordan at the site of Khirbat Iskander decided to lead up a trip to the land of the Holy One is what I like to call it. And it all went pretty well. We only had a few from LCU, but he was at McMurry University and so that planted the seed of actually planning and leading these trips for for LCU.
And in conversation with JoAnn, of course, we've spent a lot of time in the Middle East, especially in Jordan, at our excavation we decided, well, let's do this, that this is something that is worthwhile. We like the idea of sharing our experiences. And so we said, Let's, let's do it. That was initially 2009, I believe it was 2010 before we actually took a group.
Keegan Stewart: So what was the difference between that first trip to the 14th that yall just finished?
Dr. Jesse Long: I don't I don't know. In my old age is it's a little difficult or challenging to remember those early, early trips, but many things are similar. But along the way, we've gotten a lot better in terms of thinking about the places that we visit. And then also in terms of creating an experience. For us, it's more about the experience of the Holy Land or land of the Holy One than it is just a tour.
Keegan Stewart: And President McDowell, you and your wife came were on this most recent trip, which was yalls first. So how would you describe your first experience being with this LCU group led by the Long's going to Isreal?
Dr. Scott McDowell: It was it was remarkable. And I just love Jesse and JoAnn. I mean, that was one of the highlights of just their servant leadership and their humility that is so genuine, just comes out. And so the whole trip was just magnificent. But I just love how it just kind of glosses over the Amman, the Jordan dig that they've got to dig in Jordan.
And that is really a significant thing that we've got a genuine archeologist that is an Old Testament scholar. And to me that was the key differentiator on this. It is the only trip I've ever made, but I can't imagine making a better first trip. I can't imagine making a better 14th trip than to go with Jesse and JoAnn and really, I mean, there were dynamics at play.
We went, for instance, to Mount Carmel or Carmel. How do you say it either way? Well, I like to always wait till Jesse says the name of the biblical place, because I realized my western Pennsylvania original pronunciations aren't always right. But Carmel, where Elijah had a contest with the prophets of Bael, this magnificent place, we roll in on our bus and there's all these other busses there, and we walk into the center and walk right up on the roof.
And we're the only ones on the roof. And there's all these other doors and they're down below. They don't have near the panoramic view that we have. I mean, that's one of the most magnificent views I've ever seen in my life. 360 degrees and you're seeing all the major landmarks in Israel from that space. And we have a conversation.
And Jesse leads us in a devotional thought about Elijah and all the things that happened there. But other people didn't get what I would call insider kind of treatment and an approach to seeing things that are the product of what Jesse likes to call the Ministry of Scholarship. And that is one of the most beautiful, tangible expressions about what makes LCU such a special place.
The the whole idea of a Christ centered university is to, at a very deep level, explore some of these topics and subjects, and particularly, obviously, the land of the Holy One, and not just at a surface way, but literally to have a one of the premier experts and and her husband was with her too, it was, but what a joy it was to be with Jesse and JoAnn.
Keegan Stewart: Dr. Fraze, how many times have you made this adventure over to Israel?
Dr. David Fraze: Oh, it's my first one and was really excited about it. You know, I've been teaching the Bible, like paid for 32 plus years and on the academic level for well over 11 or 12 years, you know, full time. And you talk about these places, you read the books and stuff. But, you know, as president McDowell said, I've always wanted to go with Jesse.
And so to be able to be with Dr. Long and JoAnn and get that insider knowledge is president McDowell was saying we literally pulled off the side of the road with In the Valley of Elah and nobody was here. Okay. And so we get off the bus and I kind of knew what was happening at the Valley of Elah.
That's where David and Goliath fought. But there's literally a little sign and a dirt road by a vineyard. And this tour bus turns around and Jesse says, Let us off here. And we just start walking out. In the middle of nowhere, we heard gunshots that somebody was hunting doves. That's a whole different story. But we're walking and I actually got to use a slingshot, almost hit the president.
If he would have moved, I would have smoked him in the face. We have a video of that. I think everybody was impressed. I was shocked because I didn't know I knew how to do that. And but like Scott was saying, we are just our group. And here's this archeologist that we have that we call friend, but he really is a big deal.
And he's sitting there looking, okay, the Philistines would have been over there this where the Israelites would have been. And then we collected stones from this riverbed and we collected a little too many because our luggage was getting too heavy. So some of us dropped off stones from the Valley of Elah up in Jordan. So that's going to really mix up some archeologist one day.
But to have that insider knowledge was awesome, you know, to go to Egypt. And one of the things that was awesome is we saw all of the mummies that they've excavated and you couldn't take pictures. I think Jesse may have smuggled one in, but this is now recorded. But we walk out and they treat it kind of like a really like a cemetery.
It's really quiet and you're supposed to be reverent. And we walk out and Jesse says, you know, you've just seen the face of the pharaoh that talked to Moses, and it kind of blows. You're kidding. Yeah. You know, like, it has to be one or two of the guys, you know? But we spent time looking at him personally.
A Ramses guy. But you look at him and you're like, Wow, we looked right in the face. And this guy, of course, he's all shriveled up now he's a mummy. But he would have looked at Moses. Those experiences are just irreplaceable.
Keegan Stewart: So, you know, I want unpack some of that further, but we can't we can't gloss past this. This picture of David Fraze slinging a fake stone at LCU's president who happens to be like six foot nine. So it's.
Dr. David Fraze: Jesse's idea to this is all Jesse set up we didn't even know.
Keegan Stewart: About. So Dr. Long, how did this come to be? That's a fun story.
Dr. Jesse Long: Well, often enough, freshman bible, we try to bring stories to life. And so it's something that I've done for years, bringing to life the story of David and Goliath. In fact, President McDowell's son, Cade, oh, two, three years ago in Intro to the Old Testament was Goliath. And of course, we used to see.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Type cast
Dr. Jesse Long: So.
Dr. David Fraze: Type cast
Dr. Jesse Long: So anyway, you know, why not recreate this with with it with this father other Goliath and Dave, of course, is just just a perfect, perfect choice. And I had purchased a sling. And so anyway, it all worked pretty well. I think that we were all in the moment of the story bringing to life David. Although David wasn't quite as accurate this Dave as in the biblical story.
Dr. Scott McDowell: He was pretty accurate though. It was a tightly wound paper ball. Right? That was the only thing that saved me there is actually on the video. There's video somebody offered him a rock and I'm just glad he didn't take them up on that.
Keegan Stewart: Was that Bill was that Bill Bundy trying to.
Dr. David Fraze: Bring down Bill with Bill was like, all right, here you go. Now, I might know that's.
Dr. Scott McDowell: But but I'm telling you, had that been a real rock, he to nail me, he could have dodged a real one. It was it was pretty accurate.
Keegan Stewart: Well, I've seen the video and I'm sitting here thinking, we need to get this video on one of y'all social media so these listeners can go go watch it. Pretty good.
Dr. Jesse Long: Cade didn't duck.
Dr. Scott McDowell: It.
Dr. David Fraze: Actually.
Dr. Jesse Long: He took one for the team.
Dr. David Fraze: You know, I would have felt really bad because here's one of the cool things of this trip. We have a lot I think it was very unique, probably more so maybe you have other trips like this. But we had a lot of board members, high level leaders, people. We had one guy that worked for Lockheed. And because of the security risk, he was a retired schoolteacher that week.
That's a whole long story. But the fun part is we eat meals together and eat lunches together and people would tell stories, everybody would listen. There was such a sharing of getting to know each other that I literally would have felt bad if Scott if I'd given him a black eye that would have been bad. So yeah, we got.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Gone over, over pretty good.
Dr. David Fraze: Right? It would have been fun, but yes. Yeah.
Dr. Jesse Long: Well.
Keegan Stewart: Both the President McDowell and Dr. Frasier, both yours first time over there. Could you explain how going to a place like that the land of the Holy One as Dr. Long just explained. What it does to your faith. You go you go to places that you've you've been reading about it. You've heard these stories in your faith. You know, a lot of those a lot of those memories take place there for these people in the Bible.
What's it like going there and saying, oh, this place, this place exists and I'm seeing it with my own eyes?
Dr. Scott McDowell: Well, I think there is that dimension to the genuineness of the narrative and recognizing that for me it was not a matter of this is now solidifying something I had doubts about, but it was very much there were there were interesting moments of insight that were kind of for me and even surprising, I've said to many people, we went to the Nazareth Village, which is was not really an archeological site, although they discovered some archeological things there when they were doing some digging.
And quite honestly, whenever I saw that, I'm sure I know this is this is kind of a mock up thing that it'll be all right, but that I want to see the real stuff. But that was one of the most meaningful experiences. We go in there and I saw a wine press and we saw an internal, an olive press, those kind of things.
But the wine press, it was it was part of the life in Jesus day. And even before that. And you see the where the wine goes down of the wine press and then suddenly the Gideon story where he's treading grain in the wine press, you understand, because he's hiding. And I've got a picture of me and Jim standing down with that wine press and just a nuance.
It never made sense to me what I didn't have the imagery that that was part of the biblical imagery and agrarian imagery that they would have understood in a moment. And so there were a little moments like that. You're like, Oh, I see that. And the same thing at that site, we saw terrorist farming and had an explanation of what Jesus would have perhaps seen when he was talking about the parable of the sower.
And you could see the packed earth of the path and little nuances like that. It just made a lot of impact. And I think there's also things that you've heard about your whole life and even seen images of. But to walk in those places and be on the Mount of Olives, even though I've seen that that picture a thousand times, to get the scale of it and to be there personally, there's a dramatic impact of that.
So I think for me it was very much an affirmation and various kind of light bulb moments.
Dr. David Fraze: Hmm. And I totally agree with that. It's the nuance. You know, right after the parable, the seed Jesus talks about what the 30, 40, 60 fold, and he could explain that it was basically the energy that you would put into this vineyard is what it would produce. And it adds a little nuances to teaching. And of course, Jesse would add those nuances.
And, you know, he got we had some guides with this. We really are very fortunate because, you know, we had an Egypt geologists, Egyptian ologist, we had masters, doctorate level people, and we also had armed guards. It's a whole different story with automatic weapons. We felt very safe, but we had, you know, if Jesse ever deferred to someone else, we were like, this must be a big deal.
Now, a funny story before I answer your question, we're at Shiloh, which is one of my favorite places where the Ark was with Shiloh.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Correct? Correct pronunciation.
Dr. David Fraze: Excuse me, Shiloh. That happened all week long. We don't know how to pronounce. That's Lewisville in Western Kentucky. Where do you say where was that? Where that was? And it's an actual place where there's digs going on and this she must have been in her twenties and she was presenting and she was a little nervous. And I walked up to her to give her, you know, I said, Hey, you just received a compliment from this man over here.
And I got tell he was in, I thought she was going to pass out. She's like, okay, what? And I said, Yeah, he's, he's a real dude. And for him to say you're doing a great job is a big deal. And she was so nervous. So we had all these people around us to give us the nuances and there it.
How do you pronounce it? There you shallow. There's an active dig going on and course our archeologist and their archeologists talking and we have all these pot shirts from first century, maybe a little bit before and these two guys, okay, Dr. Long and this other fellow, we'd pick it up and go, What do you think this is? They'd go first century, second century, Byzantine, there might.
So we started, you know, we, we may have smuggled some of that. That may be or not either my question.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Neither confirm nor deny
Dr. David Fraze: We cannot.
Keegan Stewart: Was it rocks or what do you smuggle.
Dr. David Fraze: But they will they look at the different levels of they call them the tellers. They can tell how old a dig is by the pottery. And so those kind of things are so neat. So it it's kind of like Scott was saying it it didn't confirm my faith. It was just added those, those elements. And we went so fast.
I'm a really kind of more of a mystic side I like to contemplate and, you know, have a lot of time to contemplate. So we went to Petra. I just broke from the group and found myself a place up on the hill for 30 minutes. And I think that was the moment for me that I'm just it was like, this is this is pretty awesome to be able to walk and the faithfulness of God through the times, the faithfulness of God to work through broken people, the faithfulness of God to bring about it.
That was that's pretty awesome.
Dr. Jesse Long: One of the responses that we get often from those who participate and especially from students, I'm thinking of a student who went on our March trip. What? I ask, Well, what? What did all this mean, mean for you? The experience of the land of the Holy One. And his response was that it made it more real. And there's something about being there and visiting the sites.
But more than just visiting the sites, JoAnn and I, in what we do on these trips, we view it as ministry and it's something that is much bigger than visiting the sites. It's retelling the story. And one of the things that actually participants hear probably over and over again, we talk about the story, of course, the larger story of God, the land of the holy one, thinking about stepping back to see what God has done in in history, in these in these places.
But we try to do it in such a way that there's there's teaching, there's scripture reading. We have devotional times so that it's a time for recommitment. It's a time for renewing the covenant that that we've made with with God, with Yeshua, with with Jesus. And so we're really intentional about, about teaching, but also retelling the story, scripture, reading, devotional settings, etc..
And our, our experience is that most everyone who comes and participates that that they're changed and not in the sense that, okay, I'm, I'm a different person. But actually coming back to the idea of recommitting to this walk that that we all have made to to follow him, to follow follow Jesus.
Dr. David Fraze: So, so tell him when Isaiah showed up, because that was if there was an emotional time for me and I get emotional thinking about it because we have so many years together. When Isaiah showed up on the Dead Sea, I don't know if President me doubted that that was an emotional kind of for me. That was one of the last places we could have a public devotional.
Right. But that we you brought it all together and it was just beautiful.
Dr. Jesse Long: Well, something that I one of the things that when you're teaching freshmen Bible that you need to do is a variety of things simply to keep freshmen away. And so I don't know how many years ago, but I do a dramatization of of Isaiah, of course, as we are retelling the story, we often refer to Isaiah, the prophet Isaiah is in the background of the story of Jesus.
And many scholars now are calling Isaiah the the fifth gospel. And in the shrine of the book, where we see Dead Sea Scrolls and actually a facsimile, a copy of the great Isaiah scroll. And then when we visit Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls, where discovered in those caves around around Qumran, Isaiah, Isaiah surfaces. And so one of the things that that I do is a dramatization that that I've done in freshman Bible for for years, bringing the Prophet Isaiah to life.
But again, it's it's back to the idea of story. Story of God. And this story of God is a story that continues into. Wright says that when we read the Bible in such a way that that we internalize the story and it becomes our story, we become actors in an ongoing drama. So it's not just what God has done, but what he is doing.
As we journey to these sites and places. But what he is doing here in Lubbock, Lubbock, Texas and at LCU and what he's going going to do. So God's story is a is a powerful, powerful story.
Keegan Stewart: I wanted to ask you, Dr. Long, just you saying that for many of your students or many of your guests on this trip, they come back changed. They come back seeing something that they'll remember for the rest of their life. And it's just a part of their faith journey. You've been there 14 times. What it what is that moment for you?
And it may have changed multiple times, but what was that first moment for you where it made a real impact?
Dr. Jesse Long: First moment. I don't know that that's that I have a first a first moment, but almost almost with every trip there is even if it's a place that we've been before, a story that we've we've talked about, I don't know for me on this trip, going back to Shiloh or Shiloh going back to to to Shiloh, the story that when I step back and think about scripture story, that is my story.
I was premature. And my mother, like Hannah, prayed that if that if I live, that she would dedicate me to God. And so seems seems like this time there were something about just sitting and and the theater watch watching the, the, the movie presentation of Shiloh. It it it it struck me again, this is my story. And anyway and from from from trip to trip sometimes it's another story I really enjoy.
Shakim and the play square in front of the ruins of the temple of El buried the God of the Covenant, which is the place where in Joshua Chapter 24, Joshua leads a covenant renewal with Nation of Israel. And it's in that place in front of that temple. And we actually saw the ruins of of that temple that Joshua says, choose you this day, whom you will serve.
But as me, for me and my house, we will serve. We will serve the Lord. We will serve Yahweh. So being in that place and recommitting to serving the God of Israel is something that every time there is, it's moving.
Keegan Stewart: President McDaniel yall went to a lot of different places, fast paced journey, but what you know, what was your favorite place or what place will you will you think back on like, oh, I, I want to go back to there.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Well, I, I absolutely loved the Sea of Galilee. That whole everything around the Sea of Galilee was just meaningful to me. And the we had beautiful weather while we were there. I got up one morning to watch the sunrise coming up over the mountain on the Sea of Galilee. And so that was incredibly meaningful. We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and that was just so, you know, again again, one of the things that lends credibility to the way that that Jesse and JoAnn do this and that the people that they utilize knew this is that there was very little this is the spot exactly where it happened.
There was there was a scholarly approach to, okay, we're we're in the neighborhood, but we don't know exactly. But when you're on the sea, Galilee in the waters change and all those kind of things. But you know that Jesus did ministry here. Jesus came out on on this sea in his boat. You know, we there's a they've discovered an ancient boat over there that goes back to about that time.
Those are just incredibly meaningful little nuanced pieces again. So that was that was significant to me. I love the the the Garden Tomb and the church, the Holy Sepulcher. Again, we're in the neighborhood of where the burial happened and where the resurrection happened. And so you don't know exactly. But, you know, it was something like this. And particularly for me, the the garden tomb is true to the narrative.
At least that's the kind of place it was. And of course, I've got a church built over the other one, so you can't see exactly what it was like, but that they went into the tomb. John Outruns Peter But then Peter busts past John and goes into the tomb and to see those things that that's a layer of meaning that okay, and again, you knew that had happened, but to see the kind of context is, was very helpful.
So those, those were meaningful places for me.
Keegan Stewart: What about some of those places for you, Dr. Fraze?
Dr. David Fraze: Well, I mean, I felt like I was geeking out half the time, you know, we would do something and I would be that little kid going, Jesse, what about this? What about this? What about this? And Jesse liked to use the word theological imagination, which I love that. And it it's part of the narrative and trying to teach in that narrative.
And I think every place from Dan to Hayes or and stuff like that, where you're up there and you say, okay, the Assyrians would have come from right there and you could turn around and see this valley. They'd be following the water source. And I could just imagine in my mind, millions in this. This is the gateway, right?
I mean, millions. This is the gateway to all of Israel. And you're like, this place was destroyed. I mean, the rocks that the Romans pulled down are still there. Part of the walls to go down to Hezekiah's Tunnel to to in some of the moving places.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Hezekiah's tunnels was very, very meaningful.
Dr. David Fraze: I wasn't going to bring that up and ask him, not me. I can't do that. So you're in places where, you know, are still there that we can say with certainty this is there, but but it was the people. And let me just explain. I mean, I did get inked, as you can tell, it's pretty awesome.
Keegan Stewart: That's in my notes. I want to I want to get to the do do that.
Dr. David Fraze: But four of us sitting there at the end of the day and watching people outside of a big group noticing the older Hasidic Jews in the younger and how arrogant the younger Hasidic Jews were. And I'm recalling when Jesus said the older the youngest left, and I'm like, okay, they're playing this out in front of you. There's but it's the people interaction.
There's these ladies who spend 24 hours a day at the stone that that's the closest you can get to where they think the holy of holies is. And that's their job because they don't realize, I guess we are this third temple, you know, we are being built up into this temple and they're still waiting and there's an incredible devotion.
But then at the same time, right. This is kind of sad at the same time. And so you have that back and forth and respect, but craziness. But I think and this is this is crazy because I'm usually up for any conversation. But Egypt was a lot in two days and we were tired and I'm getting on the plane.
It's about 9:00 at night and I have my earbuds in my downloaded episode of The New Star Trek Strange New Worlds downloaded. And I'm going to watch this thing and there is a divine appointment, everybody sleeping and this guy next to me, an Islamic man from Egypt, just starts talking to me. And it was a neat, divine appointment, you know, all of a sudden became the representative of everything about our government representing Christianity.
And we start going back and forth. I'm realizing God's putting this this together. And for me, it's kind of what Jesse was talking about. The story still goes on. And I struck up a friendship with this guy, so much so that we kept talking at, you know, the baggage claim and stuff like that. And Jesus still makes sense.
Jesus when you bring Jesus into the narrative. And I kind of went for broke for so they'll talk to you a change from Christianity Americanism like let's talk about Yeshua and he's in your Koran and all this stuff and he kind of looking at me like he didn't really realize what I did until later on because I played a little bit of dirty pool but it we found agreement in talking about Yeshua and it was the most amazing thing and those moments with people and being able to interact with the people.
Turkish coffee, I drink Turkish coffee, I drink a lot of water. They looked at me, I didn't pass out. But Turkish coffee, I don't know how you would describe it. It's like half mud and then hot water and you mix it. It's it's almost like a syrupy coffee is a good way to describe it.
Dr. Jesse Long: It's pretty good. And you drink a lot of coffee.
Dr. David Fraze: I do drink a lot of cup. I'm drinking coffee right now. But it's, you know, I would drink gallons of water, but everywhere I went, every stop and like, do you Americano? I'm like no Turkish. And so I sampled Turkish coffee everywhere we went and it was over conversations with people. So it was really awesome. I love that.
Dr. Scott McDowell: So you've heard of coffee grounds? Turkish coffee is dust, so there are no grounds. It's just it's just coffee dissolved in water. It's the stout stuff you ever see.
Dr. David Fraze: Yeah.
Keegan Stewart: So David and a hinted at Hezzecha's tunnel. Is there any follow up there? We move in.
Dr. Scott McDowell: We can not confirm or deny anything about that. I'll say a word about that in a minute. The other thing that you know.
Dr. David Fraze: That was a dodge. I love. It.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Capernaum. Yes. Amazing Cesseria Philipi. That was just remarkable. Again, some of these places that I don't know that I had the right image in my head. But, you know, the the water bubbling out of the headwaters of the Jordan that aren't there anymore in the cave, but they've been rerouted. But that's the place where the people believe that was the gates of hell.
That was the gates Hades That's the the entrance to the other world. And and in that place, Jesus says, I'll build my church and the gates of Hades or not prevail against it. That's meaningful Herod and all the stuff that Herod did. You still got ruins of of Herod's palace up on top. You've got Cesario by the sea.
One of the most magnificent that's one of the most beautiful places that you can understand. Herod and his extravagance. Building a palace right on the water because it's just magnificently beautiful. There's a lot of those kind of things for me. The big deal Hezzachias tunnel. There's a there is a water shaft that there's speculation as to exactly, you know, was this the way that David came in?
But there is a tunnel underneath the city of Jerusalem and we had talked about it building up to it. I really wanted to do it, but it's small and I'm big.
Dr. David Fraze: No lights and.
Dr. Scott McDowell: And it's all it's I got a little trouble of claustrophobia, but I was determined to do it. And Jesse was so sweet. He said, Well, you get up here to the front with me, and that way you won't have to be, you know, afraid of people pressing you on. And so I go in and it's me and Raymond and Jesse and I get about three steps to get my feet in the water.
It's flooded up to about your knees.
Keegan Stewart: Oh, wow.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Yeah, not at that point. And I go in just far enough to say, I can't do this. And I chickened out and was out of there. And so we walked the long way out. But I hate that I missed it. I think I could do it if it was just me and, you know, one of the person I knew I could go backwards, but I just. I had a panic.
Dr. David Fraze: Yeah, it is. It gets pretty squirrely. I did have to say, Jesse, let me smuggle a I spent a lot of money for this reason because Jesse would say you need this for teaching. So I now have a pressure at all. Guys, if I did get a ram's horn, it's shofar. Yeah. And so I put it in my pocket when we went to Masada and I'm like, I can I blow this thing up there?
And he's like, Oh, good. So when I was at the high place, I blew it and I can blow a shofar. I mean, I'm not Jesse long yet, but I'm getting close.
Dr. Jesse Long: And that was a lot more talent than appears on the surface.
Dr. David Fraze: Yeah, lets hide that.
Keegan Stewart: So let's get to the tattoo thing. Yeah I see you know Facebook people that are friends with you saw a few weeks ago there's just a picture you and Bill Bundy you guys get these tattoos. Where did you get them? What was the story in? I heard Dr. Long had to proofread it for you after to make sure that, well.
Dr. David Fraze: He proved it. And then I double checked it. He said I had to ask, Is it.
Dr. Jesse Long: Morad
Dr. David Fraze: Morad. Because I got Shekinah, which is the indwelling glory of God. I picked that word. I'm not. I'm a Greek guy, not a Hebrew guy. So I definitely went to the source and then went to another source. So I had two. And then the guy actually at the tattoo parlor, it's the oldest tattoo parlor in Jerusalem. It's been around since the 1300s.
And for the fifth generation, the razzoks have been doing it. So They're actually Christians and people travel all over for a pilgrimage tattoo. And so you know Jerusalem cross things that nature Lisa her friend Darlene Raymond, myself and Bundy all got inked at different times.
Dr. Jesse Long: And I read to them, I put, you know, from leviticus that was not supposed to.
Dr. David Fraze: And it was funny because they tried to get me and I didn't have my glasses because these two guys are going to set me up and I'm like, I'm sorry, I like my glasses. I really can't read and so when Bundy got it a week later, Bundy, hook, line and sinker, read it. Can you please have our devotional.
Dr. Jesse Long: It's Scott's idea?
Dr. Scott McDowell: Well, so it is Jesse all along is seeding in various passages of Scripture.
Keegan Stewart: While yall are on the bus, getting ready to get on to the next.
Dr. Scott McDowell: And it was all meaningful. And so this was perfectly played because Jesse asked Bundy to read it's Leviticus 19. I think 38 is the text that says something about tattoos. But he led had him read the two or three verses up above it. So it's all kind of like, you know, there were multiple times where somebody would be reading something for Jesse thinking, why am I reading this?
And then it would all make sense. And Bill is Bill is literally gets the part about tattoos, that he coughs and chokes and chokes on the word. And we just had a good laugh. And then Jesse shared the passage from Isaiah that talks about God writing our name on his hand. So he gave a little bit of an out.
Dr. Jesse Long: David But out.
Dr. David Fraze: That's good fun. So a cool part. Going back to the people thing, there was an 80, she was at least 87. She was an Iraqi Christian and when she lived in Iraq, she never could go to the land of the Holy One. Well, because of the war, she's in Canada. Well, now this 80 something year old lady and probably 79 year old sister show up at this tattoo parlor way after time.
We were an hour late and Mr. Razzoks actually said, if y'all weren't late, I couldn't do that for this couple because they see it as a ministry. And actually he goes and he does Sturgis Bike rides, Christian bicycle, you know, bicycle, motorcycle gang. But I mean, she's brittle, skinned and her kids were the only ones I could understand and they were really concerned and her smile was so infectious.
And we just sit there and watched it because literally her whole life she's lived in a country that was oppressive, and now she's in Jerusalem for the first time. Her sister and her got matching tattoos and he was so tender with her and you could tell she was in pain, but she was so proud of that and he even had to get out.
We didn't do this because it was some kind of pilgrimage thing. It was something that, you know, I've been wanting to do and I really love that word in the meaning of it. But to to be there in that moment really was pretty awesome at that place.
Keegan Stewart: That's fantastic.
Dr. Scott McDowell: So we had a little more fun, too, because as as David lets you know what, it's there in ink when it's permanent, you want to make sure you get it right, especially when you're talking about a Hebrew that reads right to left, not left to right. And so, you know, Bill was all paranoid that it was going to get it wrong.
And so the morning the morning of at breakfast, I said, Now, Jesse, we go in there and he shows it to you, say, Well, that's pretty close. And he did just that, delivered it well. And Bill was Bill was kind of unfazed, but he was like, you mean it's not exactly right.
Dr. David Fraze: And yeah, Jesse always gives us a hard time. But, you know, I've known Jesse for a number of years and Jesse can say things to zing you because everybody I mean, we got people that are like close to, you know, if there is Isaiah on campus, it will be Jesse Long. And they're such a sweet couple, but they can zing you good cause you're not expecting.
And that makes the trip. You got to keep your head on a swivel.
Keegan Stewart: I'm sure it does. I'm sure every individual trip, Dr. Long has its own set of memories that that will stick with you. And I'm sure the ones the stories these guys just told about the tattoos are probably part of this trip. But were there any other memories just from this most recent trip that that you'll remember?
Dr. Jesse Long: Well, there are few things that I probably will try to forget. But I guess one of the things that always stands out, or at least has the the last few trips, is the time that we spend at yard two neat baptismal site on the Jordan. And that's always something really special. And one of the things that I appreciated this time is that Dave was the one who did the baptizing, and it was really special to see how he was relating to those who wanted to be baptized.
Of course, we frame it as covenant renewal, as a reminder of the covenant that we have made with Yeshua and baptism. And it's always especially really fascinating and moving with the question, well, how long has it been since you were were baptized, since you became a Christian and you'll hear 50 years, 60 years, five years, ten years, and there's, there's something, something special about renewing that commitment that we all have made with with our Lord Jesus.
Keegan Stewart: That's amazing.
Dr. Jesse Long: And so that's that's something that I'll remember. And I'll especially remember you. Dave, your relationship with those who were being baptized.
Keegan Stewart: So when, when is the next trip, Dr. Long? Are y'all starting to plan the next one?
Dr. Jesse Long: We're looking at June of of next year.
Keegan Stewart: Fantastic.
Dr. Jesse Long: 2023 right now.
Keegan Stewart: So the President McDonald and Dr. Fraze, what would you say to someone who's thinking about maybe trying to trying to go on this trip?
Dr. Scott McDowell: I would say if you have an opportunity to go on a trip, the Jesse and JoAnn Long lead do it. I think it's all about the people that are part of that. And I know that experience. I can't compare it to anything else because it's my one and only trip. But I know that experience was remarkable and I do think that you know, there were there were plenty of people willing to be charlatans in that context.
We saw some of that playing out with some vendors and different things. But the the authentic, measured approach that they had was just magnificent. And I think I'm always be a fan of the the the community of the LCU people to go was pretty special group.
Dr. David Fraze: And I'm honored I'm going to smack talk a little bit when I say this here in a second but you know Raymond and Lisa in their office two really good job with the alumni and really good job with that. And hopefully those those two can continue to do what they do because it's really special. Jesse and JoAnn, I think when you have all that together and the expertize and how to work with people because there is always challenges.
So we had young and old and all kinds of people and they just you'll be very taken care of. It's well worth the money. And I think the level and You've heard Scott and I say this, that the level of expertize it's brought is pretty incredible. And we were actually at Jacob's Well and I ran into some people that used to be part of the church.
I worked at and we're part of another university. I'll say that, and I'm thinking, they don't have what we have. They're having a great time. It was wonderful. And they had some, you know, another New Testament guy kind of like me. But I kept thinking, they don't have Jesse Long and there's just an X factor to that. That and again, he's going to downplay this just second seriously humility.
But it is when he opens his mouth, you're like, this guy knows what he's talking about. And he's been here and he's had digs, but he does it in such a pastoral way. And in, in working with the tour groups, I, I think is truly special. And so I say jump on it as soon as you can. You can get a hold of, you know, Jesse, JoAnn, but Raymond and Lisa are probably kind of get on a list with them and they can answer your questions.
It's a great trip.
Dr. Scott McDowell: And I will say safety was a big deal, too. That's always in the back of your mind when you go to the Middle East. Is this going to be safe? And that was really completely removed from my consciousness. I felt safe the whole time.
Dr. Jesse Long: Yeah. And I think that what I would like to say is that God has blessed us, blessed me and JoAnn with so many special experiences in the land of the Holy One in Israel, Jordan, also in Egypt, and we take pleasure in sharing these experiences with others. But it's not about us. It's it's about the story. It's about God, who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing, what he is doing in the land of Israel.
But what he is doing in our lives, what he's doing at LCU and and on this campus. And we have been blessed with the opportunity of sharing the land of the Holy One in such a way that God comes life again for all who participate, but also students and others as we share our experiences. Story of God comes to life and it continues as we share what He has done and is doing for us all.
Keegan Stewart: Well, thank you, Dr. Jesse Long. And thank you to JoAnn. Dr. JoAnn Long as well, for what you do on these trips and what you do for LCU and I can just hear from listening to President McDowell and Dr. Fraze that what what a blessing it is to these guys and everyone else. So thank you and thank you for the conversation this morning as well.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Jesse likes to say God's word is awesome and he believes it. And that comes out. That comes out and it's fun. There's a, you know, it's it's enjoyable to me. I love preaching and I love God's word. And I love to see somebody that is as passionate about scripture as Dr. Jesse is and JoAnn as well. But it's it's just fun to see him get so excited about text and it comes to life and that's that is that's genuine joy.
And that's a that's a hallmark of this thing, you know.
Keegan Stewart: Dr. Fraze, President McDowell, thank you, guys for being here this morning.
Dr. Scott McDowell: Thank you.
Dr. David Fraze: Thank you.
Dr. Jesse Long: Thank you.
Keegan Stewart: Thank you all for listening to the LCU podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend. Send it to somebody that you know. Please subscribe and follow and look for more content coming soon on the LCU podcast. We hope you have a great day. God bless.
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