Upcoming Events

School of Discipleship

8 week course, Fall 2018

St. Paul, MN

sponsored by Catechetical Institute

more scheduled events


Pilgrimage Updates!

January 2019 Annual Holy Land Pilgrimage:

Registration is nearly full and will soon be on a waitlist for January 9-23, 2019. Click here for more information, brochure and registration form.

Please view Cavins Tours photo gallery for a glimpse of some of our past pilgrimages.

September 2019 St. John Paul 2 Pilgrimage to Poland

Fr. Josh Johnson of Baton Rouge will be our Spiritual Director for the September 9-20, 2019 pilgrimage. Details will be coming soon for our first trip to Poland to visit many significant places connected to St. John Paul 2, St. Faustina and other saints as well as a visit to Auschwitz. Brochure and registation information coming soon.


Here is what a recent pilgrim had to say about our annual Holy Land pilgrimage! 

 Thank you for a most wonderful, spiritual experience these past 2 weeks. The pilgrimage surpassed any expectations I had. Your teachings, Jeff, were so meaningful at each site. You are able to pull together all the history, the spirituality, the geography of the area, the archeological aspects, etc. so well to make the whole story make sense. You have challenged us to grow spiritually not only with questions to ask ourselves, but ways to ponder those question in our lives, and the wonderful "weapons" we have to tackle them, grow from them, and make necessary changes in our lives so that we may be better disciples of the Lord and spread the Good News to others. Certainly my times in adoration, and daily prayer will be enriched because of this Holy Land experience. ~~ Barb K

Please feel free to contact us at Cavins Tours phone number --763-420-1074.



Purpose of this website

I want to thank you for visiting my website.

I put this site up for one basic reason; I want to communicate with you. I'm very appreciative for all the wonderful people that God has brought into my life. So often I find myself thinking; I wish I had a place to send my friends to pick up that great quote I found in a book or that certain document I mentioned in one of my lectures.

I see this website as a kind of Grand Central Station for communicating with you. I hope to meet you here often to share insights and useful information as well as hearing from you. Many times I find that my students and those who attend my seminars are far wiser than I and others need to hear from you too. I'm interested in a lot of topics but usually I will write about God, the Bible, the Catholic Church, family and and even a little discussion about technology (being a Mac fan). I hope to integrate photographs, video and podcasts in the future.

God Bless You!

Jeff Cavins



June 13, 2009


Peoria, IL: Jeff Cavins & Thomas Smith

Adventures in 1 Corinthians Seminar

Diocese of Peoria Summer Institute

St. Vincent de Paul Church 8:30am-3:15pm

Contact: Theresa Meister 317-671-1550 ext.283



June 26 & 27, 2009

Denver, CO

The National Catholic Bible Conference

St. Thomas More, Centennial, CO

Contact: Kelly at kmwahlquist@mac.com


July 20-22, 2009

Denver, CO

The Augustine Institute

Journey with St. Paul: His Life Mission & Letters

Click Here for flyer



July 28, 2009

Vancouver, British Columbia

The Power of Praise & Thanksgiving

St. Mary's Parish, 5251 Joyce Street

7:00pm -9:00pm

Contact: Kyle Neilson

email: kneilson@rcav.bc.ca


July 29 - August 5, 2009

Alaskan Scripture Cruise

Sailing with the Psalms

Info: www.cavinstours.com

Contact: Kelly Wahlquist

email: kmwahlquist@mac.com


September 12, 2009

Roswell, GA

Revelation in a Day

St. Peter Chanel Church


Contact: Deacon Mike Bickerstaff

phone: 678-277-9424


September 25-26, 2009

Spooner, WI

The Bible Timeline Seminar

St. Francis de Sales Church

Contact: Jaci Sacco

Email: jsacco@centurytel.net

phone: 651-247-7883


October 3, 2009

Somerville, NJ

Matthew in a Day Seminar

Church of the Immaculate Conception

Contact: Patti Jannuzzi

Email: pjannuzzi@icsomerville.org

phone: 908-725-1112 ext.1124



The Lamb’s Supper

In my book of Revelation study I suggested that you read "The Lamb's Supper" by Dr. Scott Hahn. It's a wonderful glimpse into the relationship between the heavenly and earthly liturgy.

To buy this book click here.


Israel: Land of Milk & Honey

"Okay brothers and sisters, this year our fall mission theme is biblical geography." This is not the type of catch phrase that has historically packed 'em in for the big Church mission. To many, the very idea of studying geography sounds as boring and dry as building a compost heap in the desert. It comes as no surprise that most people can spend a lifetime reading the Bible without once cracking a Bible atlas.

Why is studying Bible geography so important in understanding the message of the Bible? Simply put, the land of Canaan is the stage or playing board on which the biblical drama takes place. The Bible is not just a book of sayings unconnected to land or culture; it is the record of God acting in the events of human history. As Pope Paul VI said in Directorium Catechisticum Generale, "the history of salvation is being accomplished in the midst of the history of the world."

When we read the Bible (salvation history), we follow the events from one place to another. The places in which God reveals Himself often become places of recurring themes. For example, the city of Bethlehem is a city in which the two great kings of Israel were born; David and Jesus. Over and over the city of Shechem becomes the place where many of Israel's watershed decisions were made, such as the ten northern tribes' refusal to follow the house of David in 930 BC. Bethel pops up as a reoccurring meeting place between God and the Patriarchs.

Besides the concept of covenant, no single aspect or feature in the life of the Hebrew people contributed more powerfully to the making of their distinctive mind and imagination than did the land in which they lived. To the biblical writers and characters, they could not separate their religion from the land of Israel(Eretz Israel), a land where God eagerly participated in the daily affairs of men. Much of what is spoken of in the Bible, particularly by the prophets, uses language colored by the geography: mountains, valleys, etc. Both the geographical and climatic features became a common and essential source of the prophetic message. With a look into a Bible concordance one will discover that God's message is saturated with not only cities but the land features of hills, wilderness and rocks. Over five hundred times mountains are mentioned in the Bible, over four hundred and fifty times seas are cited and over seven hundred mentions of water.

As a student of the Bible, a working knowledge of the chief features of the land of Israel is indispensable because so many familiar and important events occur upon them. Like observing any drama, a familiarity with the stage on which it takes place helps the viewer to not only follow the plot, but also to assist in remembering key parts of the story.

What makes studying the geography of the Bible so enjoyable is not only the thrill that comes from better understanding the plot, but the insight that comes from personally entering into what can be called "geographical typology." This means we can see the landscape of our own lives in the biblical drama as the drama relates to the land.

Now using biblical typology, let's look at the land of Canaan and discover a little bit about ourselves. To the people of the Old Testament, the known world contained less than one-half of the land area of the United States, with one third of this desert. Populations grew up along what is called the fertile crescent starting at the head of the Persian Gulf to the east and moving in a northwesterly direction up the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Turning southward, the traveler enters Syria passing through the beautiful valley between the Lebanon mountains. Continuing southward there are several routes through Canaan toward the land of Egypt to the southwest.

In Bible days the two major areas of population were in Mesopotamia in the northeast and Egypt in the southwest. The only practical way to get from one major area of population to the other was by a small land bridge called Canaan. Mighty kingdoms on both sides of the fertile crescent considered this strip of land a thoroughfare; and both of them labored to impose their authority over it, mainly so as to control the trade routes passing through it. Whoever controlled Canaan controlled not only trade, but influenced culture and religion in the known world.

This thoroughfare called Canaan is only fifty miles wide and one hundred miles long. With a total area of only ten thousand square miles, it is about one seventh the size of Missouri and one third the size of South Carolina. This tiny stage of Canaan holds ninety-five percent of the biblical drama.

It was to this land that God called Abraham and promised that his ancestors would possess it. (Genesis 12:1; 17:8). Over and over God describes the land of Canaan as "a land flowing with milk and honey, the most beautiful of all lands" (Ezekiel 20:6).

The variety of topography and climate on such a small stage is staggering. Located where four ecological zones converge, Canaan displayed swamps, deserts, tropics, snow, mountains and fertile valleys. In the north of the country one can ski on Mt. Hermon at nine thousand feet above sea level, then travel one hundred miles south to the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth at thirteen hundred feet below sea level. Jerusalem can receive over thirty inches of rain a year, but only fifteen miles away at the Dead Sea only two inches a year falls.

To easily remember the topography of the land of Canaan, divide the stage into two parts corresponding to God's description of the land as a land flowing with milk and honey. Think of milk and honey not so much as foods, but as two contrasting lifestyles. We can divide the land into these two parts, milk and honey, by superimposing a clock on the land of Canaan with the center being Jerusalem. From three to seven o'clock we will call right stage, or milk. From nine to one o'clock we will call left stage, or honey.

Right stage is represented by milk, specifically the milk of the nomadic herdsmen. With two deserts joining right stage, Sahara to the south and Arabia to the east, right stage only receives about ten inches of rain a year. Life on right stage is hard, silent, lonely, exhausting and the land unpredictable. Does this sound like a place you would like to live?

Abraham came face to face with the unpredictable nature of right stage when a famine hit forcing him to travel to Egypt (Genesis 12:10). Later in Genesis 26:1 Isaac also experiences the unpredictable nature of right stage. God often used famine as a tool. It was on right stage that Elijah heard the still small voice of God (1 Kings 19); it was in the desert that John the Baptist attracted a crowd (Matthew 3). Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness of right stage before beginning His public ministry (Matthew 4); and Paul spent three years in the desert before beginning his ministry (Galatians 1:17,18). It was to the canyons of right stage that over five thousand Byzantine hermits fled in the 5th century AD. While many heard the voice of God on right stage, life was physically and mentally exhausting.

Now let's look at left stage. Left stage is represented by the fig and date honey of the farmer. Receiving between twenty and forty inches of rain annually, left stage is an agricultural jackpot. Life on left stage is predictable, noisy, busy and relatively easy. Does this sound like a place you would like to live? Israel thought so too. But there is one major hitch to living on left stage and that is that the superhighway (The Via Maris) connecting Mesopotamia and Egypt runs through it. Israel wanted to live on left stage, but the problem was everyone else did too.

To stay in control of left stage, Israel would have to be obedient to the Lord. When you live on a thoroughfare you run the risk of adopting ungodly practices. Been on the internet lately? When you live on a superhighway you can get run over by the world, which is what happened to Israel. When Israel penetrated left stage she picked up the ways of the world and forsook God. For a study in how not to live on left stage just look at Solomon whose heart was turned from the Lord by his many foreign wives (1 Kings 11). In the nearly two thousand years from Abraham to Jesus, Israel only controlled left stage for about one hundred and fifty years.

Next time you read through the Bible, pay close attention to the battle that takes place between left and right stage. The lesson we can glean from the land flowing with milk and honey is that God wants us to learn to live in the noisy and silent, the busy and lonely times, the predictable and unpredictable, easy and hard. In short, God wanted Israel (and by way of geographical typology, you and I,) to possess the land flowing with both milk and honey. The key is looking to God in every situation and obeying His will.

Where are you now in your life? Right stage? Left stage? Are you looking to the Lord or are you starting to think the way the world does? The apostle Paul learned the secret of possessing the land of both milk and honey. Paul said "for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13).


How Do I Read The Bible?

The Bible.

For some, the very words evoke feelings of warmth and wisdom, but for many Catholics today, the Bible can be chronologically confusing and its meaning hard to grasp. How tragic this is in light of the fact that as Pope Leo XIII said, the "Scripture is a Letter written by our Heavenly Father" to his children for the purpose of revealing Himself to them.

Those who come to the Holy Bible for the first time could expect to open at the beginning of Genesis and read on through to Revelation with the same ease and excitement as reading the novel Gone With The Wind. But it doesn't take the novice long to figure out that the Bible doesn't read like a popular novel. In fact, it isn't put together as a sequential narrative, rather the books are grouped by literature types. Consequently, the once excited inquirer puts the untapped treasure back down on the coffee table with a sigh of "what's the use?"

God Reveals Himself To Man Gradually

An important challenge facing the reader is to find and understand the basic story line of salvation history within the Bible's pages. We are not talking at this stage about understanding detail, rather grasping the scope of the divine story, the "big picture."

The Bible, although made up of many stories, contains a single story. In a nutshell, it is about God and His relationship with mankind, the most complex of His creation and the true object of His love and affection. It is mankind that would betray God, and yet God in turn would die for them.

Starting with the first chapters of Genesis on through the book of Revelation, God gradually reveals His plan to re-establish the broken relationship between Himself and His treasured creation. It is only in God's revealed plan that mankind once again finds its intended purpose for being "because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for" (CCC #27).

It is important for the modern Catholic to understand that, although the Bible is a mystery on one level, it is also a book of history. There should be no misunderstanding--it is true history as opposed to cleverly devised tales. Pope Paul VI said in Directorium Catechisticum Generale, "the history of salvation is being accomplished in the midst of the history of the world." The Bible gives a wide range of examples of how through word and deed God has entered the life of His people.

God's strategy to redeem all of humanity was to start with one family first and then progressively influence more and more people to the point where all of mankind would have the opportunity to be a part of His family.

The Catholic Church is the culmination of salvation history and the fulfillment of the Old Testament covenants with Israel.

God established His first covenant, the marriage covenant, between Adam and Eve, one couple. The story progresses to Noah and his three sons totaling four marriages, making one holy family with Noah as the mediator of the household. In Genesis 9, God makes a covenant with Noah, but it extends beyond Noah, for God said that this covenant is "with you and with your descendants after you" (Genesis 9:9, RSV).

Next we find the number of people included in the covenant expanding to one holy tribe with Abraham acting as the tribal chieftain. God makes a three-part covenant with Abraham, promising him a land, a royal dynasty and world-wide blessing through his descendants. "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. . . all the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you" (Genesis 12:2-3, NAB).

Abraham's grandson Jacob, whose name was later changed to "Israel" had twelve sons. These twelve tribes of Israel spent four hundred years in Egyptian bondage where the covenantal expansion plan silently progressed. It was in Egypt that God raised up Moses of the tribe of Levi to lead Israel out of bondage to become one holy nation. Genesis 24 describes the dramatic scene as the nation of Israel is gathered around Mt. Sinai after leaving Egypt through a miraculous deliverance. There at Mt. Sinai Moses spoke to the Israelites the words of the covenant he had received directly from God, and they agreed to enter into a national covenant with Yahweh.

God's covenantal plan takes a major leap several hundred years later as God begins to draw other nations together under the leadership of King David. Through God's covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:5-16), this new conglomerate blossoms into one holy kingdom where Israel mediates the divine revelation of God to other nations.

Finally, all of the Old Testament covenants find full expression in the New Covenant which was made between Jesus Christ and His Church. This New Covenant is the grandest of them all for it is a world-wide covenant where God rules and reigns as the head of His one holy Church.

The Bible Becomes A Catholic History and Book

One may ask how the ancient Hebrew Scriptures relate to the modern Church? Though the divine history recorded in the Old Testament focuses primarily on the nation of Israel, the history and truth that the Hebrews passed on to their children would one day become the history of a people they knew not. Their history with all its triumphs and disgraces would one day become our history as twentieth century Roman Catholics. So with the dawn of the New Covenant, Jesus integrated the nations into His universal kingdom, opening wide the gates to Yahweh's covenantal family. Those who enter through that gate, Jesus, take on a new identity, including a new personal history. Suddenly, all that went before us in that small land of Canaan becomes intimate and important for us today.

Understanding The Big Picture

The difficulty facing Bible readers is how to make this personal yet ancient story of salvation history come alive. They must discover the critical plot and, through the guidance of the Church, understand its meaning in order to make it their own story.

The first step to understanding the Bible chronologically is to identify which of the seventy-three books are of historical nature. The term "historical" refers simply to those books that keep the story moving from one event to another. The historical books provide us with continuity, or give us an ordered account of connected events from Genesis to Revelation.

There are twelve historical books in the Old Testament and, for the sake of simplicity, two historical books in the New Testament. (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Macc, Luke & Acts.) By contiguously reading through these fourteen books, the reader will cover the entire Bible historically with a sense of continuity. The books placed above and below the fourteen historical books indicate where the remaining fifty-nine books fit chronologically. These books read within the context of the historical books. For example, the book of Psalms should be read in the context of 2 Samuel, and the prophet Malachi should be read in the context of Nehemiah.

By reading about four chapters per day, the reader can go through the historical books in about three months. The chart below outlines the order in which to read the fourteen historical books. After the reader has finished, he or she should go back through them again but this time incorporate a few of the non-historical books.

The new Catechism of the Catholic Church is the perfect companion to read along with the Bible because sacred Scripture along with the sacred Tradition make up the full deposit of faith. When questions of faith or morality come up, the index of the Catechism is valuable for finding official Church doctrine.

Once readers familiarize themselves with the "big picture" of salvation history, they can build upon this framework for the rest of their lives. This will result in a more profound appreciation for Scripture and a deeper understanding of the master plan contained within it.