My Writings. My Thoughts.
Busy is… I’ll get back to this when I have more time.
Truly though, I am beyond busy. It seems I do not have one free minute when I am not schooling, being schooled, studying, working and, on occasion, sleeping. I’m not saying every one of these minutes is well spent. Only that I do not find free roaming minutes which I can snatch to find a little rest.
Surely it is not like this with everyone. My mind is a wandering… well ADD. While many others can just sit down in the library for six hours straight without blinking and bang out a paper, I find I spend much of my time playing games with my mind. Just as turn a spoon into an airplane to trick a small child into eating their mashed vegetable goop, my brain must be fooled into learning. So I pace, and caffeinated and break things into pieces and hope I can put them back together again.
It works, sometimes. Except for right now when I’m supposed to be working on a paper.
Why go through an entire semester when you can take a class in one week?
I spent a week in class, Monday through Friday, 9-5 on CE 101: The Educational Process of the Church.
It’s a long week… for some.
However for me its the kindling that starts the fire.
The class is about strategy, the nitty gritty details of getting church programs off the ground mixed with educational theory. It can be dry stuff. But it just makes me think about being back serving in a church. Before I came to seminary I was thinking about Valley Church 7 days a week. For the first semester at seminary Cheryl and I took a break from major involvement and limited our church activity to attending and enjoying a community group.
While ministry is not about strategy, it is about love (Matt 22:34-40, 1 Cor 12:25), all this talk just reminds me that my purpose is to serve people in the local church. What will that look like? Well it takes more than a semester and 1 week to figure that out.
Episode 47 is life!
Remember when we used to post Five Minute Sermons on this website?
Going back to school has been tough. I’ve had to reorganize my entire life. The time I used to spend on Five Minute Sermons has been swallowed by reading, studying, and writing papers. But I want to try to get back to putting these out every week.
So we’re going to finish our little series on Chapter 1 of Galatians and then move onto several episodes I’ve written over the past month. Now I just have to find the time to record and edit them.
Studying. I do that. In fact, to prove this assertion I’ve provide the evidence below.
I could tell you that this picture was not staged, but then I’d be in violation of the student code of conduct.
Studying is a good thing. For years since I first believed that Christ died on the cross for my sins and was raised from the dead I have been hungry. Hungry for more bible, hungry for more teaching, hungry for more. I can firmly say, as the picture above demonstrates, that I am being fed. I’m growing fat with knowledge. For example I could tell you that I now take an approach including inductive ampliative inferences to compile my eschatological hermeneutical anti-plasmatic model. The problem is you don’t know what that means. Neither do I. But it sounds smart.
This is the primary problem you have to do deal with at seminary. Better stated students can experience a battle between mind and heart. Academic versus relational. The christian life rightly lived is a worshipful relationship with God where He glorifies Himself through us. The problem many people talk about here at seminary is that our study of God becomes academic, and instead of looking at Him like a person we look at Him as a science experiment. His teachings on love and how to live our lives are broken down into grammar. And when we do learn something about Him we may miss the most important part, which is applying that reality to our lives. Instead we may apply that reality only to writing our papers, finishing tests and getting through one more book on a very long list.
This is a warning that has come from faculty, staff, and other students. The basic solution offered to most students is to not skip your devotionals, to add more time in prayer, and to remember to do some extra bible reading that isn’t required by the school. All of these are great things. I have another idea: forget about grades.
Please don’t freak out (those of you who have graciously supported Cheryl and my ministry) or becoming suddenly concerned (those of you who saw us throw away a life up North and move to Texas). I’m still making grades. However when we look at our assignments as a chance to engage with a living God and not as an assignment, suddenly the result of our labor changes. Suddenly a paper can cease to be a task, and can become spiritual encouragement. A project can cease to be just an assignment and can become a practical way to encourage someone else.
We are not studying big words and dead books. We are studying the path to never-ending life and a living God. If I can forget that I am working on an assignment for just a few minutes, a paper can change my life. It can change the way I live and it can change my heart. So when I turn in that paper and head off to the gym I am not merely satisfied with a job well done, but I am consumed with a new understanding of the one who made me.
This brings joy.
Which is good because I just remembered I have to go finish my PM101 paper.
// September 15th, 2011 // Comments Off // Seminary Blog
What are those?
Clouds? We don’t get clouds in Dallas.
Since we moved here almost two months ago we have barely seen a cloud in the sky. All we have had is heat. The Dallas area has seen a record-breaking 71 days with temperatures over 100 degrees. The last time North Texas saw 70 days of triple digit heat in one year was in the early 80′s.
Surprisingly we’ve adjusted to the heat. It’s not that we don’t sweat, we do sweat, but what was scorching and unbearable is now just really hot and unbearable. When the temperatures cooled down to the low 70′s, many actually felt chilly by comparison. I saw people with sweatshirts.
This is the new winter. If you think about it you just need to treat the Texan summer like a New England winter. You plan your trips during the day depending on when the most comfortable temperatures are, you start your car early to get climate control working, and you rush from building to building. The only difference is that the roads aren’t simply, but the driving of heat infected, water deprived people makes up for that.
The good news is that temperatures are going down. I may even run outside again.
Episode 46 is Live!
Preferences. The Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians is arguing the exact opposite of that word, that there are some things in our faith which are rock solid and should inform how we live and how we approach God.
That’s what this episode is all about. There are a lot of people out there who spend a lot of time telling others they’re doing it wrong. Or sometimes people have been so baffled by God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith that they’ve added rules to the list so that they may see some human effort in the process. Suddenly things that were once a preference or a way of thinking about faith, become a false core tenant of their belief. This is a Five Minute Sermon.
There I gaze longingly at my 22NEWS shirt. I used to wear that back when I had a job, received benefits, and got paid.
I liked getting paid.
Going on interviews this week has been a little weird. My career has changed, and yet I’m looking for a job. I’m not even sure how to “sell” me. I’m not a reporter… I’m not even a pastor yet, I’m a student. So how do you roll all my job experience into an interview, especially if the interview doesn’t exactly require my resume? For some of these jobs my experience is useless.
I also have to find a balance. I continue to hear horror stories of seminary students trapped in sleepless nights studying Greek and writing papers. How am I supposed to hold a job at the same time? Especially a job that pays better than minimum wage, requires some brain time, and pulls enough hours to make a dent in the budget. There needs to be a harmony. I’m worried about the cacophony of crashing through my first semester.
But then again I’ve done this. Some years during undergrad at JMU I worked 36 hours a week and the last few years I’ve worked the demanding, unpredictable hours of a TV reporter and still stayed super involved a church. So I’m ready, right? Yea.
I just need someone to hire me now.
Episode 44 is Live!
I talk to people all the time who are frustrated with the church, both Christians and non-Christians. One of the things they’re most frustrated about is the infighting of real christian churches. If churches can’t agree on what the bible says then the idea of digging into it yourself can seem daunting. Do these complex theological arguments that they’re fighting about make any difference in our life.
Well this Five Minute Sermon isn’t about the church, but it does deal with what we believe in. Does it matter? While it may not be useful to sit around and argue about more abstract theologies like anti-plasmaticism, Paul answers yes. It does matter.
Here is the scripture for this episode: Click Here