July 31, 2012
1. Apply for lots of jobs
2. Interview for one
3. Hear nothing back
The cycle is really wearing me down. I'm discouraged with the whole process. Although I'm trying to take hope in God that He will care for us in the meantime, it's hard.
July 21, 2012
I have been leading a Bible study on Sunday mornings about resting in Jesus. Two weeks ago we read through Ecclessiastes 1 and 2 to talk about the problem of restlessness. Then last week we read part of Genesis 2 to look at the cause of restlessness. This week we are finally looking at the solution of restlessness by looking both at Ecclessiastes 3 and 1 Kings 19.
In Ecclessiastes 3, Solomon is saying to take enjoyment in our life and work, because if we're always pursuing after the next best thing we will always be chaing after the wind, and if we ever do get it we will die and lose it and who knows if the person after us will take care of it or not? He also tells us to enjoy our lives and work because God gave us this life and work because everything apart from God is futility and is also chasing after the wind.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is fleeing for his life and stops to lay down under a tree and begs God to let him die. But when He falls asleep a massenger comes to Him and brings him bread and water, telling him to eat. He does and falls asleep again. Once more an angel comes, but this time when he tells Elijah to eat, he includes that Elijah cannot continue on his own, but with God's help he will be able to. After than Elijah picks up and goes to a mountian where he encounters God and He promises to Elijah justice and rest.
So, why am I sharing all of this? Because it's something that I really need to listen to myself right now. I was never good at being a student. I've never usually had to work too hard for my grades so I usually didn't. School has always been something that I've done because it's expected or neccessary. When we started Greek I had new energy because I had a long break from school and I was now going to school to persue my calling by God. However, 6 weeks into Greek my tank is running dry. I've been trying to do it on my energy and I'm growing extremely weary of Greek.
Lord, please help me internalize what I've been teaching the Bible study you have given to lead. Please help me to stop relying on my energy to finish out Greek and rely on you to get me through. Let me find rest and rejuvination, taking joy in learning the languages in which you gave us your scriptures. Thank you Lord for always providing and promising that when we seek you, you will answer. Than you Lord. Amen.
July 14, 2012
We said our final goodbyes to Irma with heavy hearts, but took comfort in the fact that she has received her heavenly reward. As a woman of strong faith, Irma has been called home to heaven and reunited with her Lord and all the loved ones who went before her, including her husband. It was really a happy moment, despite the tears. She also is free from the pain of cancer that ravaged her body at the end. She is truly at rest, worshiping her Lord. It was truly a triumphant celebration.
Katie and Paul made a commitment to each other and began their lives as husband and wife. It was another joyous celebration of how our Lord works and how He loves. Katie and Paul truly understand what it means to love unconditionally and I'm excited for them as they begin their family.
Overall, it was a very emotional day. We celebrated with joy two life changing moments, both of which were guided by God. I also think that celebrating new life (both new life in Christ and new life in a new family) twice in one day was amazing, albeit exhausting.
July 12, 2012
By focusing on the negative, you miss all the highlights. We celebrated our marriage with family and friends in January. We had the opportunity to spend almost one weekend a month together during our four months apart. Timothy passed his Old and New Testament and Christian Doctrine qualifying exams during his unemployment so he could start summer Greek. I traveled to Cleveland to present three papers at the regional Central States Communication Conference in March. I finished my master's thesis and graduated in May. We finally set up our apartment and began living together in St. Louis. We've had the opportunity to experience several STL cultural events, such as Cardinals games, Muny performances, the zoo and Fourth of July fireworks over the Arch. We've made new friends and (hopefully) found our field work church for our time at the seminary. A version of my thesis was accepted to the National Communication Association conference in November so Timothy and I will be traveling to Orlando for our "honeymoon." Better late than never.
We've truly been blessed this year. It has been very dynamic, with high highs and low lows. But I wouldn't say it's been a rough year. I guess it's all a matter of perspective.
We say that when we take communion, not only are we communing with God, but we are also communing with all other believers. By it's very nature, communion is something that transcends the physical, meaning it is not bound by distance. When we take communion, we are communing with those believers in other parts of the United States, with believers in Europe, Africa, China, and everywhere else too.
But not only does communion transcend distance, it also transcends time. This is a two part point. Not only are we communing with those who "have come before us and are yet to come," but with those who have come before us, it's not a passive act as it seems, but an active one. We are actively communing with them because as they passed, they passed into eternity and are into true communion with Christ. They are active, not dead but alive, and in communion with Him all the time. We commune with the church militant, those here still fighting the battle on earth, as well as with the church triumphant, those who have died with Christ and are now with Him waiting for the Resurrection.
And it was in that moment that I thought about how I just communed with my grandma. Friends in Christ are friends forever. I don't want to make this sound like my connection with grandma, or our connection with the church triumphant, should be the focus of communion. By far, the most important part of communion is taking Christ's body and blood which reminds us of His sacrifice and directly connects Him with us. But it's still joyful to be reminded that the body of Christ really does transcend time and space, and that when we commune, the church militant is getting a taste of what the church triumphant has already gained in full.
July 11, 2012
This is a topic which is of much interest as I believe today's church has lost sight of the true structure of what the church is. When we look to Corinthians, Paul explains that the church has prophets, apostles, teachers, pastors, and evangelists. Each have their own role in the church. The church today, I feel, has tried to combine all, or most, of these into one. This is not true.
Now onto the role of the pastor and our discussion in class. My professor was giving us some words, as he typically does, and in his speech he told us that as pastors we are the shepherds of the flock has given us. This does not only mean that we are to feed, nourish, and take care of them, but we are also the ones to stand between them and the wolves.
This thought stuck me. It's nothing new to me, but I've never heard it put that way or so forcefully as he put it before. He of course followed this up with the fact that leaders of the church will give an account, not the sheep themselves. Being a pastor is a big responsibility. It's a serious calling that should not be taken lightly. This thought scares me to the end of the earth, but it excites me as well.
I know that I am not able on my own, but as long as I follow Christ in the calling He has given me, I will make a difference in the world. I live for the day when I give my account, Christ looks at me and says, "Well done, good and faithful servant," as He turns to my flock with which He has given me. I will not run in fear but stand in the love of God to help take care of and also to defend the sheep He will give me.
July 6, 2012
But her situation has made me reflect a lot. One of the things I have been reflecting upon my relationship with my grandma. I know that she loves me, as she loves all of her grandchildren greatly. Sometimes in families you can tell who the "favorite" kids or grandchildren are, but my grandma really does love all of us. But it makes me question, have I really loved her as much as I should have? Have I respected her and looked towards her for wisdom which she undoubtedly carried. Even in her dementia, she may not remember the conversation you had with her a couple minutes ago, but she can still paint beautiful pictures for you what life was like in her youth. She can give you facts about where she grew up and fascinating stories of events from her past. Why did I not ask her more questions. I question why I did not seek more guidance and information from her? The Bible teaches us value of our elders, but why do we not appreciate things while we have them? I wish I would have invested more into our relationship, I know my grandma was willing. I guess I will have to take peace in knowing that after she passes, I will get to meet her one day again and spend eternity with her.
Another thing it has made me reflect upon is the strange behavior of humans when it comes to illness and death. One common phrase you always hear is "It's so hard to see him/her like this," when someone is sick or dying. I know I'm about to pull out a soap box here, but guess what? It's not about you. How would you feel if you were sick or dying and people wouldn't come near you? Especially if they told you it's because it was hard to see you in the state you were. I think my response to them would be, "Try to see how hard it is to BE in the state that I am." I've heard that death is a communal event, just as birth is. I agree with that. We are brought into this world surrounded by loved ones, we should be taken out of this world surrounded by loved ones. Yes, it gave me sorrow to see how weak and frail my grandmother was, but that drew me to her, wanting to be there to comfort her. Let's stop thinking about "us" and be more concerned with the sick and dying. Who's going to take care of them if they are all "too hard to see like that?"
But enough about that. My grandmother is seriously a woman with an amazing heart. She has endured so much, including the loss of her true love over 20 years ago. But her heart is the biggest I have ever seen. Her faith to this day is still very strong. Her life has been blessed with a big family and she was able to see her great grandchildren. When she gets to heaven, she'll be able to tell grandpa all about them. I hope that she'll also be able to tell him plenty of good things about me too, since I never was able to meet him. Please pray for my grandma and my family as she passes from this life into eternal life. Pray that though we will mourn the loss of her in this world, we will be comforted by not only her legacy, but in the knowledge that she will be with grandpa and God forever and one day we will meet her again.
July 5, 2012
I have a stack of vocabulary cards several inches high. Greek is getting more and more complex. But all of this frustration and hard work is worth it. I've already learned how the Jahovah Witnesses use the Greek texts of John 1:1 to defend some of their beliefs, and how in doing so they are manipulating the Greek syntax to try and make it say something it does not. I've also already learned a lot of nuances in the Greek that do not get carried over to the English, like emphasis and the Middle voice. I hope that one day my hard work pays off and I will be able to communicate all of this to my congregation
July 3, 2012
Greek is still frustrating, and a week of 100+ degree weather doesn't help...especially when there is no end in sight. Anyway, I'm getting to know my brothers better. When Marie is at work after chapel I go eat lunch with them. Yesterday I also helped one moved into their house. They are a pretty cool group of guys. I'm happy that I'm getting the chance to know them and will be spending a lot of time with them.