Last week Phil and I visited The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, FL. We’d heard good things about it and we weren’t disappointed. We both experienced an increase in our love for God that we can’t contribute to any specific attraction – it was the overall, cumulative experience that had the impact.

Worship & The Bible
We started with outdoor worship in the Temple Plaza. After that it was a combination of watching live plays and looking at static displays. The first display we walked through was The Scriptorium. Filled with authentic and ancient artifacts from around the world this display provides a history of how we got to the Bible we have today. What a new respect it gave me for the Word of God! Prior to walking through the exhibit I knew most of what was presented, but seeing the artifacts as we walked from room to room, time period to time period had a greater impact than studying in a classroom. Here’s a tidbit for you: Did you know that the first Bible printed in the United States was printed in the Algonquin language? That tells me that as a nation, we have in our origin – in our roots – a love for God and a heart to share that love with others. Yes, we have made a mess of it at times, but our roots are strong and good.

Live Shows
The live shows were excellent. Phil particularly liked the production Four Women Who Loved Jesus. The scenes occur while Jesus is on trial and four women are see what’s being done with Jesus and to testify for Him. The widow of Nain, the woman with the issue of blood for twelve years, the woman caught in the act of adultery and Mary bring their stories to life as they share with the audience why they loved Jesus so passionately. God’s mercy, forgiveness and love was expressed in a way that touched Phil’s heart. And if God is that merciful, forgiving and loving to these women, He is no less merciful, forgiving and loving to each of us today.

I am not a person who typically focuses on the passion of Christ. Yes, I saw the movie The Passion of the Christ, but I don’t need to see it again. I understand the horrific death that my Savior experienced for me. I don’t need to see it graphically portrayed over and over again. So I was not looking forward to the live show titled We Shall Behold Him. It is performed in two parts, and both had great impact. In the first location, we see bits and pieces from Jesus’ life, trial and crucifixion. What impressed me the most about this play was the authentic joy and grief on the faces of Jesus’ disciples. When He performed miracles, they raced through the audience in jubilation. As He died on the cross, they stood grief-stricken at a distance watching. The emotion brought the Bible to life for me in a new way. After the crucifixion, we moved to the Temple Plaza and Christ returns with great fanfare from angels, praising saints and a robe that fills the temple. I couldn’t stay seated as He slowly walked down the aisle and angels knelt before Him. What a glorious time it will be when we truly see Jesus!

Exhibits and Closing Worship
There were other exhibits, walking areas, praying areas, a restaurant, food stands and of course gift shops. One comment that Phil made was how refreshing it was to be in a Christian theme park. The vibe was definitely good! We spoke with someone who had worked there about three months. He said he loved his job, viewed it as a ministry and that he had led about fifteen people to Christ in the last three months. Hallelujah. Since coming home, I told a friend about the park and she had a cousin who had come to the Lord while visiting the park.

Closing worship and ministry time was excellent. The song from that time of worship that has been playing in our hearts and on our lips since we left (a week ago) is How He Loves Us.

Yep, I guess this is an ad for The Holy Land Experience. I do recommend a visit there, but there’s an underlying message in our experience: Pursue God. We don’t always know what will increase our love for the Lord, so open yourself to new experiences. Visit places you haven’t visited before, attend a service at a church other than your own, put yourself in a place to experience a different kind of prayer or worship experience. Any of these things can touch your heart in a new way and grow your love for God. And that’s a very good thing!

BTW: We didn’t see anywhere on their site that mentions it, but if you visit The Holy Land Experience and have ministerial credentials, go to the customer service window instead of the ticket windows and you’ll receive a discount on admission.

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