IBEX Wrap-Up: It’s Real

May 19, 2007

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This is one of the last sunsets I saw at Yad HaShmonah. As I watched those last few sunsets from the ruins of the ancient synagogue, I began to reflect on my time in Israel in order to prepare for the inevitable questions that would come when I got home: “What was your favorite thing at IBEX?”, “How was Israel?”, or the totally unanswerable “What did you learn at IBEX?” This post is an attempt to answer that question.

I learned so much about so many things during my time at IBEX. I learned about the land of Israel and the Jewish people. Before I went, I did not understand the strategic importance of the Central Benjamin Plateau or the difference between Sephardic Jews and Ashkenazi. As I studied in IBEX, I discovered all kinds of new things about the Bible. Now I understand the general chronology of the life of Christ and I can see the settings for so many of the stories of the Bible in head. Even though I was on the other side of the world, God used different things to teach me about ministry in the dorm and in the church. Through my professors, I saw what it looks like to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

As you can see, it is hard for me to be concise about the things I learned at IBEX, but here’s my best shot: It’s real.

The Bible is completely true; it is absolutely real. The events of Scripture are not fables; they are historical. The attributes ascribed to God in the Bible are accurate; he really is loving, faithful, and holy. There really is no one like our God, and because of this reality, my life should never be the same.

The night before we climbed Masada, Dr. Grisanti gave a sermon that capsulized the semester. He spoke on Deuteronomy 4 and the incomparable nature of God. And he brought everything full-circle. Yes, it’s real. Yes, our God is incomparable. So what? He said, “We’re not talking about an abstract philosophical truth. We talking about a life-changing truth.”

If it is real, my life should be different. I should be serious about holy living. I should never attack the character of God by worrying about the future or complaining about the present. I should pursue friendships that will encourage others to godliness. I should be passionate about sharing the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ to others. And I should be full of praise and thanks to God for raising me from my state of spiritual death and giving me new life–eternal life–in Christ.

During church on our last day in Israel, we sang the song “To God be the Glory.” One of the verses spoke very accurately about SPO’7.

“Great things he has taught us, great things he has done
And great our rejoicing through Jesus, the Son
But purer and higher and great will be
Our wonder, our transport when Jesus we see”

Yes, heaven is also real. And because of the gospel, we can look forward to rejoicing there with Christ forever. It’s real, and I’m psyched.

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One Response to “IBEX Wrap-Up: It’s Real”

  1. Beckie Ruggles said

    I am having a great time going through all of Kyle’s pictures and notes from the past four months. I stumbled onto your site somehow….and today…what I read was amazing. I knew that you would all learn so much about the Bible, about history, and about your OWN lives! My prayers were answered each day for all of you. Thanks for writing this piece…what you have written.. and watching Todd recite Ephesians brought tears to my eyes in gratitude to God…amongst all the other things that I am reading and hearing about. I am privileged to of shared just a “taste” of IBEX this year. May you continue to have this passion as you move on through life.. Kyle’s mom…Beckie Ruggles (we only live a mile from each other…did you know that?) I have seen some VERY crazy pictures of you on the DVD’S!

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