CALLING ALL WORSHIPPERS
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO WORSHIP THROUGH ISRAEL?
Worship is acknowledging and declaring the worthiness of God and His deeds when we meet Him in Spirit and Truth.
We invite you to Worship Through Israel with us. Bring your God-given gifts & offer them as a sacrifice to God during this unforgettable journey through Israel.
Scott Volk: Something happens inside the heart of a worshiper. I think it unlocks, uh, unlocks their heart. To interact with the God whom we worship in the very place where worship was introduced the very place where Abraham offered up his son, and God provided a ram in the thicket, which is the very same place that Jesus.
was offered up and, and raised from the dead in Jerusalem. I mean, it’s kind of like this mind-blowing thing. I can’t think of a better place for people who have a heart for worship to go than the very place where worship itself was introduced to the universe through Abraham, who is the father of our faith.
Joshua Swanson: Scott Volk is with us today from Together for Israel, and he is our, well, tour operator seems like a cheesy name because you’re so much more than that, but, but he is our, here, here’s a new one, tour mentor. Scott is our tour mentor. You can, you can put that on a, on your little name placard right there.
Scott Volk: I love that, Joshua. I’ve never been called that before, but I’m telling you, being a tormentor is going to be a tormentor. That’s that you have to make sure that that’s two words though, because you got tormentor and then you got tormentor. So I won’t be tormenting anybody, but I will gladly mentor where the touring is concerned.
Joshua Swanson: All right. You get it. Scott is the reason that we have this amazing opportunity to go to Israel. We’re bringing Meredith Andrews with us and two other special guests that we’re about to announce, which we’re very, very excited about. But before we get into all of that, I think it’s best for the people coming along to get to know Scott, and his ministry.
And why Israel, why your connection to Israel and how you sucked us in, you sucked us into this beautiful, amazing thing.
Scott Volk: Well, bro,
Joshua Swanson: what brought you over there first? Like, what was the deal? Like, how did you get connected?
Scott Volk: Well, here’s the amazing thing, Joshua. I was born and raised in a Jewish home. Uh, did a COVID test, uh, a COVID test, listen to me, a DNA test during COVID.
And, um, it came back 100% Jewish and I called my parents and I’m like. Mom, Dad, are you telling me that nobody in our DNA ever married outside of Jewish DNA? They said no, but I kind of changed things around because I married an Arab Joshua. So, I changed things around with that DNA thing. But let me tell you something, even though I was raised, In a Jewish home studied in Hebrew school, for the first 10 years of my life, I, as a believer in Jesus, a Jewish believer in Jesus really had no even understanding of the centrality of Israel.
Where God’s heart for the nations is concerned and I took my first trip over to Israel in 2005 I was pastoring the local church I brought people on a tour and God Arrested me as I walked into an underprivileged Children’s Center where we were going just simply to serve and be with some kids in addition to seeing sights and in my heart and spirit looked at these kids and heard In my heart, and as much as you’ve done it to the least of these brothers of mine, you’ve done it to me.
And that started me, Joshua, on a journey in 2005, just seeing the amazing heart that God has for the Children of Israel. But listen, it’s not because he loves you. Israel more than he loves anybody else, right? It’s because, he needed to choose one nation through whom his son, the Messiah could come to bring salvation to every nation.
And sometimes, you know, I say this often, brother, if I, as a Jewish believer in Jesus could be so blinded To God’s heart for Israel. It’s no wonder to me that many, many people when they hear that God loves Israel and that Israel still has a place and a plan in God’s purposes that they do what I did.
They go, you know, why? I forgot to love the world. What’s so important? About Israel. So that 2005 trip brother to Israel just changed everything for me. And, um, I just, I knew at that point that he was calling me to do something significant for Israel and I experienced a heart change. Where, um, even my own heritage was concerned.
Joshua Swanson: Wow. So how, well, just logistically, how many times have you been over? Like, do you even know?
Scott Volk: Uh, I actually stopped counting at 30, but I, it’s, it’s probably close to 40. Uh, 35 of those trips were leading tours. But, uh, here’s the crazy thing, my friend. Uh, you would think going to the same place that many times…
Would make visiting again, less impacting. But the beautiful thing for me is every time I am there, I get a sense. That I am literally walking where Jesus Yeshua walked. I’m literally looking at skylines that Abraham and David and Joshua looked at. It, it, it, it never, it never gets old for me. So whether it’s 30, 40, or it’s going to be a hundred one day.
Uh, that, that will mark how many times I’ve been there and I never, never tire of going over there and I never tire of seeing the faces of the people who are with me as their eyes are opened, as their hearts are changed, uh, where God’s heart for Israel is concerned.
Joshua Swanson: That’s amazing. Yeah. So yeah, that’s exactly what happened to Rachel and I, when we visited with you.
It was, it was eye-opening and, and for me it was very interesting. You know, my wife is Jewish. So she’s very connected to the land and the people just through that heritage. And so she had, I think, even more of an emotional experience than I did her second time. Uh, for me, it was my first time and I was, it was excited.
I was an amazing, all that exciting, like yay, cool travel. But for me, it was like a brain awakening. It was like an intellectual, like. Whoa, I’m putting all the pieces together here of what I’ve been reading about and what I’ve been picturing in my own mind, and now seeing it, it was, it really, it was like a, I felt like I was in a movie.
I felt like I was in, like, I was in Indiana Jones and I was like, you know, and of course it was like, I met God there and, and that was beautiful. And then I got on the plane and on the way back, I had this moment. I was just like. I can’t wait to go back. Like, I can’t wait to go back. Like, it was this weird thing.
Like, I thought I would be more, um, similar to my wife. Like, really emotional. Like, this is it, man. And I was excited. And it was amazing, but it was more like stimulating in an interesting way, so. But, what I brought back with me to our organization and to our tribe was… Man, a hunger and a thirst to bring more worship to the land and a, a real desire to stop in those moments when I’m in my head and use worship to get into my heart in those, in those places, like you say, like.
Abraham and Isaac, this is the spot worship is mentioned for the first time in the Bible. So in your experiences of going over there, how would you say worship has affected or not affected or been a part of? And how can we, in terms of our, our, our future guests that will be coming with us on tours, how can we explain what they can expect as we start to weave more worship experiences into these trips?
Scott Volk: I love that. It’s interesting to me that you bring up the Abraham and Isaac, uh, story because I was about to say the first time that worship is mentioned in, in the Bible. It’s in the context of Jerusalem, the very place where Abraham offered up his son and God provided a ram in the thicket, which is the very same place where Jesus was offered up and, and raised from the dead in Jerusalem.
I mean, it’s kind of like this mind-blowing thing. I can’t think of a better place. For people who have a heart for worship to go, then the very place where worship itself was introduced to the universe through Abraham, who is the father of our faith, he said, I am the, I am the lad will go yonder. And we will worship.
So whether or not a song is written, or there’s a guitar or drums or anything, there’s something happens inside the heart of a worshiper. I think it unlocks, uh, unlocks their heart to really interact with the God whom we worship In the very place where worship was introduced. So some people who are in the worship world, as, as we know the term worship today, have come to Israel, have come to Israel with me.
You know, I just got back a few weeks ago. From a tour where there were many people who were worshipers and their testimony to me was that they’d never experienced worship like they did when they were worshiping in Israel. Mm-hmm. And you know, I’m not somebody who’s in the worship industry. Yes. But when, when I heard that from them, It had nothing to do with the quality of sound.
It had nothing to do with, uh, the look of the stage. It had everything to do with where we were as they, uh, let their worship. Go up to the Lord. And so Joshua, I feel because your heart is so in that world, the, the, the worship world, that it’s not going to be hard for us when we’re in Israel to see worshipers connect with God. Even if I wasn’t a great tour mentor or you were not a great tour leader, I mean, we could stink at that, but if we’re bringing worshipers to Jerusalem, my friend, they’re going to encounter the God of worship in the very place where worship was instituted. So that, that’s what really excites me.
Joshua Swanson: Let’s go right now. Let’s go, let’s
Scott Volk: go.
I’m ready. I am ready. I am ready. Okay.
Joshua Swanson: Why? And this is a question that’s been answered. A lot of different times, but I think it’s a great question to ask as it relates to Israel because I think every individual has their own answer to this that may be more personal to them. But why is it so important for Christians to visit Israel?
Scott Volk: Yeah. Well, when you, when you look at the word of God, the Bible, uh, most, all of it transpired in Israel. When, when, when we’re leading our group that we’re gonna be bringing that I’m so blessed to be coming on the tour with you on, we’re gonna be standing on the Sea of Galilee where the vast majority of the gospels were that that’s where Jesus So for me, being in Israel does something where the word of God is concerned is going to be life-changing for anybody who loves, who loves this word.
Because now when I open up and I’m reading in the gospel of Matthew, Galilee.
And addressed his disciples and fed 5, 000 people or spoke on, uh, the Mount of Beatitudes, his most famous. message and the most amazing message ever spoken in the history of man. We are standing right there. So now when I read it in the Bible, it’s not just like words on a page. I’ve got this vivid image of the skyline that Jesus was looking at as he was delivering these messages.
I can’t help but think that when someone goes to Israel, even if they’re not a worshiper or a lover of God, as soon as they open up this Bible, it comes to life in such a unique and magnificent way because they were there. So I, um, I would say if, if, if somebody said, Hey, Do you think I should go to Israel?
I would, I would say 100%. Yes. And it’s interesting to me. You know why? Do you know another reason? This is kind of a weird way of even expressing it. Another reason why I think it’s important to go to Israel is because the devil’s going to do everything he can to keep you away from it. He’s going to, he’s going to, he’s going to use.
The news media that is trying to highlight reasons why people shouldn’t go to Israel, he’s going to use churches, many of whom have already written off Israel, and saying, you know, that Israel no longer has a place in God’s eternal purposes. All of these things are coming against Israel. Israel to keep God’s people, uh, uh, ignorant to the reality of the importance of Israel.
And as we step foot on that ground, I think that God honors our willingness and obedience to go. It’s almost like we’re taking the step to go. And then he opens up, he opens up. Our hearts, Joshua. I’ve been privileged to lead thousands to Israel and not one of them has returned saying they regretted going.
And it wasn’t because I was a great tour leader. It was because this is God’s land. Yeah. Listen, bro. If you come and visit my house, I want you to leave thinking, Man, Scott, Scott’s an awesome host. Well, when we go to the land of Israel. The Lord’s hosting us. We’re stepping into, we’re stepping into a land that he calls his own.
So, uh, people, sometimes people get excited about coming to my house. Bro, let’s go to the house of the Lord. Oh, that’s
Joshua Swanson: so good. Well, so, so many of our tribe are, are also in addition to being worshipers, they’re songwriters. And I just think that that’s such an exciting, I just got chills just saying that the idea of.
of being a psalmist where David was writing the Psalms, right? I mean, come on. And coupling that with the fact that I think a lot of, there’s a lot of prophetic voices and a lot of prophetic words that are in our songs these days. When people get these downloads of these amazing songs that are sung prayers to God, you know, there’s a prophetic word in there that is biblically based.
That’s being spoken over that we are speaking to God when we worship using that music. Yeah. Israel is a modern-day answer to prophecy. So, I mean, I just feel like it’s gonna be like fireworks putting songwriting with the land. I mean, I’m just making that as a statement. It’s not even a question. I don’t know.
Scott Volk: but, but it’s, it’s such, it’s such an amazing statement because when you look at Israel. You’re looking at a barren wasteland that has become a fertile field. You’re looking at something that was dead, a dead desert. I think Mark Twain when he visited Israel, said, Why would anybody visit this God-forsaken wasteland?
But what happens is when God, when God fulfills His promise, And his covenant to the people of Israel, bringing them back into the land. You talked about prophecy being fulfilled. Look what happens to that land. It becomes the largest distributor of fruits and flowers in the Middle East. And it’s a desert.
So throughout the scripture, it’s clear that God brings life. To the Dead. Dead. He, he in, in, in our deadness in sin, he sent his son so that we might have life. God always chooses things that are not chosen because of their ability to produce anything but maybe. Because of their inability, because God wants to be glorified through our inability.
That’s why he chose Abraham, Abraham, and Sarah incapable of having children. Yet God said he’s going to be the father of nations. And through him, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. He chose Israel. Brother, let me tell you something. If I was God choosing where I was going to put in my name, it’d probably be San Diego, you know, 70, 70 degrees all year round, palm trees, no humidity, but that’s not God.
He chooses a desert so that life can come. And if that’s, if that’s what he does for Israel. That’s what he’s gonna do for us. So going to Israel as a songwriter and seeing how life has sprung out of a dead desert, I just think that, and my prayer is that every songwriter that comes with us Is going to experience the God who gives life to the dead and that their songs now are going to be filled with hope and with confidence because if God can, can fulfill his promise to Abraham, whose, whose wife had a dead womb and to Israel, which was a barren wasteland, how much more will he fulfill it to us and may the songs that are written as a result of our trip together, be songs that will bring life to people who are hopeless or who are wondering when will God ever fulfill his promise to me?
Listen, if he did it for Israel, he’ll do it. He’ll do it for you. And, um, I’m just reminded of scripture. I’ve never even never, I don’t know that I’ve ever even said anything about this, but it’s in Isaiah where it says, sing Oh, barren woman sing. Oh, barren. How can a barren woman sing? And then it goes on to say for your maker is your husband, the God of the whole earth.
Will he be called? Well, we’ve got a barren wasteland that is erupting. In song, the Bible says the mountains sing, right? The trees clap their hands. That’s what’s happening in Israel. Those mountains are singing. They’re, they’re declaring the glory of the God who, who made a promise and whose promise is being fulfilled.
Even as we’re alive, I’m, I’m super stoked, bro. Knowing that there are songwriters coming, I’m like, okay, I, I can’t wait. And, and, and I, I believe. That as we travel together, that there’s going to be inspiration rising in these men and women who are coming, these psalmists who are coming to really, uh, to really hear the heart of God in the land of Israel, and then to let it come out.
In the songs that they’ll write.
Joshua Swanson: Mmm. That’s it. That is the vision. You summed it up. That’s why we are doing this. Wow. Man, it’s a privilege to do this with you, Scott. I really look up to you, man. And I’m so grateful that you’re going to be shepherding us on these, on this trip. And, uh, yeah. If you’re, so we’re 20 minutes in.
And if you’re still listening to this or watching this, and… You’re feeling a tug on your heart.
I’m just, I’m just, I’m not saying it, but I’m saying it, right? I mean, come on, come on. Uh, it’s, it, it might be something that you need to, uh, seriously pray about. So, Scott Volk, Together for Israel, will be our tour mentor, new title, working title, we’ll just say. And you’ll be hearing him speak and prophesy over us and pray over us as we are worshiping through Israel with Meredith Andrews, in the first week of February 2024.
Come along with us. WorshipThroughIsrael. com. All right, guys. Thank you, Scott, for your time. I love you, brother.
Scott Volk: I love you, too. It’s a joy. Let me just say this, Joshua. Please. I really believe because the Lord put this on your heart, I am agreeing with you. That every single person that’s supposed to be here, that the whisper of the Lord in their heart will be louder than the, than the loud voices of all of Israel’s opposers, because I really believe that God’s mighty hand is on this trip and he set you and Rachel aside to, to lead this amazing charge into Israel, and I am so honored that I get to play a small part in it.
Joshua Swanson: Yes. Thank you, brother. Amazing. Thank you. All right. We’ll see you soon. Next year in Jerusalem.
Scott Volk: Next year in Jerusalem. All right. See you, Scott. All right. Bless you, buddy. Bye bye.
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Joshua Swanson is the Editor-in-Chief of Worship Leader. He's also the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Authentic Media, Worship Leader's parent company, and the former CEO and Co-founder of the creative agency GTMA. His proudest achievement is his marriage to Rachael Joy and partnering with her in founding New Hope Children. As a performer and speaker, he’s appeared on TV networks like ABC, NBC, Lifetime, and Hallmark. His companies have worked with major brands like Sprint, Pokemon Go (he was also in a Pokemon movie), Pepsi, The Latin Grammys, the Billboard Awards, Corona and over 75 national developers. He’s narrated over a hundred audiobooks and was awarded Best YA Voice twice. His companies have been Inc. 5000 three different times.