(T-G Photo by Doug Dezotell) [Order this photo]
The pastor of Emmanuel Church has fallen in love with the land of the Bible, and that love is evident when you walk through the church building on Belmont Avenue in Shelbyville.
Photographs and maps and prints of the Holy Land hang on walls throughout the foyer and the fellowship hall; and there are souvenirs of Adams' many travels to this land known in the Old Testament as "the land flowing with milk and honey."
"I love history," Adams said. "And I have loved studying the history of Israel in particular."
A number of years ago, Adams' brother gave him a subscription to the magazine, "Biblical Archeology," for Christmas, and that led him on a quest to learn more about the history of the region talked about throughout the pages of Holy Scripture.
"Israel is a land where you can literally see 5,000 years of civilization in one area," Adams said. "It is a land where archeologists have been excavating steadily for the past 50 years, and they have found ruins from Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman architecture and cultures.
"I decided that I wanted to visit this great land and walk where the patriarchs walked, and see the various sites spoken of in the Bible."
It was in April of 2001 that Adams made his first trip to the Holy Land, and his love for the home of King David and the Apostles began in earnest at that time. In September of that year, terrorists attacked the US, and foreign travel became difficult.
It wasn't until April of 2005 that Adams was able to return to Israel, and he has been making a trip almost every year since.
"Israel is 600 square miles of the most fertile farmland on the earth," Adams said, "and it is part of what's known as the 'fertile crescent'."
Adams has been leading groups of people from Shelbyville and Tennessee on visits to the Holy Land over the years. The trips usually involve 10 days; two days for travel to Israel and back home, and eight days on the ground in Israel.
While Adams and his group are in the Holy land, he and other pastors take turns teaching from the Bible at various historical sites that are mentioned in scriptures.
"I love to stop in the middle of the road, and get off the bus and teach," Adams said. "I will point all around me and talk about what we are looking at. It really brings it alive in your teaching."
"It is the spiritual trip of a lifetime," he said with a knowing smile on his face. "When you see with your own eyes where David walked, where Peter walked, and where Jesus walked and taught and died....you see history going back thousands of years. It makes the Word of God come alive in your eyes."
As you listen to Adams talk about Israel it is so evident that this land of the Bible is very special to him.
"My love for Israel is hard to put into words sometimes," he said. "When you are there in those holy places you really feel the presence of God."
The tours that Adams leads visit places such as Mount Arbel, where Jesus taught overlooking the Sea of Galilee; Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus; Mt. Hermon; Caesarea Phillipi; the Golan Heights; Jerusalem, the City of David, the holy city visited by Jesus and his disciples throughout the gospels; and Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus.
The groups are able to take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, where a person can see the fisherman at work casting nets similar to what was done by Peter, James and John.
These trips to Israel are not just a spiritual awakening, but are loaded with educational opportunities for everyone involved.
"Having studied the scriptures over the years and having visited the land of the scriptures, I get to say 'I told you so' to the naysayers," Adams said. "Because biblical archeology proves that the Bible is true."
The guide that takes Adams and his groups throughout the Holy Land is a Jewish Bible scholar by the name of David. He tells visiting Christians, "This is your spiritual homeland. When you come to Israel, you are coming home."
Adams is planning to lead another group to Israel in 2014. Travel dates are March 31 through April 9, 2014.