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yep, i sure do. i heart school and my study area. seriously, i’m so grateful to God for the blessing of my home and the cozy little corner in my living room He’s blessed me with for studying. (I know, a picture of it is kinda ridiculous but i couldn’t help it!)

last night i had the shades slightly open so i could see the snow fall when i’d glance up from my reading and it was the most perfect setting to study in. i’m just amazed that He has blessed me with this privilege of studying His word in an academic setting in addition to everything else He has done. utterly grateful today for my God. He doesn’t have to do any of this, yet He does. i’d choose Him again and again and again over all of it, and that i can say with confidence. but it would be remiss of me not say i am totally and utterly grateful (is that event the right use of that word, remiss??).

i’m studying the Holy Spirit in the book of john and learning so much. what i love about seminary is unlike when i was in school before and i’d have to take classes i knew i would NEVER use (eh-hem, like an excel course using nested-if statements etc. yes, for all of you who went to IU and had to take K201 that’s what i’m talking about!) i’m learning about what i believe and finding out for myself what the Bible says about my faith.

the Holy Spirit is a HOT topic in the world of evangelicals and unfortunately has caused a lot of division, which is such a tragedy for the Kingdom of God, so i’m really enjoying studying it for myself and finding out what i believe and why i believe it. i’m being challenged for sure, testing what i claim to believe, what i agree with and don’t agree with. i’ve had to drop the proverbial baggage i come to the Bible with and let the Lord reveal to me what His Word truly says about this incredible indwelling third of the Trinity.

i recently heard beth moore say something to the effect of, if you study His Word it should only bring you closer to him. that’s my prayer, that as i continue to study His Word i will only grow in my love for Him and understanding of His will for my life, for His creation and for His Kingdom.

The semester has begun and I am so extremely EXCITED for the class I’m taking. The class, Biblical Theology of the New Testament, is taught by a man I deeply respect. His name is Dr. Bill Thrasher. I’ve never had a class with him before, but a few years ago when I was unhealthily (is that a word, I don’t think so, but I like it) fearful that I would never get married, that I had somehow earned the punishment of singleness for life, I read his book Believing God for His Best: How to Marry Singleness with Contentment. It was the first book on singleness that I read that gave me hope. And it was the first book I ever read that helped me recalibrate my brain to really appreciate being single―and I don’t mean it taught me how to say being single is a gift; it really helped me see the beauty in it and to appreciate it for all its worth. It was the first book I read and didn’t finish thinking I’ll never be satisfied in this state of singleness.

Instead, I finished the book with a desire to wait on God. To wait for God’s best for me and to fall more in love with Jesus as I did. And this isn’t a waiting like with baited breath hoping prince charming will round the corner on his white horse any minute. But believing God that He put the desire on my heart for marriage and while I wait for that desire to be fulfilled I will move forward with Jesus, pursuing Him, letting Him pursue me and seek to become the woman the Lord made me. It opened my eyes to the fact that the Lord is in control of all things.

It helped me see, God’s timing and His plan are perfect. I don’t have to be perfect, I’m not being punished as I wait―I’m in a state of singleness because God decided this for me right now. That’s not to say I was brushing off the fact that I needed then and still do now a lot of Jesus and a lot less of me. But it helped me to see there isn’t something fundamentally wrong with me. Okay, I think I just totally rambled there; it was just such a radical change in mindset for me. Totally liberating.

So, now this semester I get to learn from this very wise man. I’m so excited and eager to see what God does in me through this class. I just know it is going to be good!

this is what i wrote for my final ‘ah-haa’ moment for class this semester. when i presented it to the class i had all my gear with me as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the beginning of this project I felt the Lord pressing on my heart that somehow my attempt to summit Mt. Rainier last summer was to be a part of this presentation. Initially I thought it was because of the verse: The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. And I thought this because I had to make a decision on the side of that mountain to continue or turn around. It was a VERY hard decision to make but I knew for my safety and the safety of the team I had to turn around. It was an agonizing decision.

However, after we studied this Scripture it became clear to me that was not His intent as that’s most likely not what the Scripture means―He wanted me to see the connection between attempting to summit a mountain and what it takes to work in a team.

You see, when you attempt to climb a mountain like Mt. Rainier, you must make sure you have the proper gear.

Two pairs of socks: check

Under layer: check

Mid layer: check

Protective pants: check

Protective jacket: check

Down jacket: check

Mountaineering boots: check

Gaiters: check

Hat: check

Two layers of gloves: check

Helmet: check

Head lamp: check

Harness: check

Crampons: check

Ice axe: check

The list is rather long and this isn’t even quite as thorough as it could be. All these things are meant to protect me from harm in some way shape or form. The proper layers and clothing keep me warm, the boots are waterproof to keep me dry, the down jacket is specifically for when we stop at each island of safety so my core body temp doesn’t drop―I think we all know what the hat is for, the gloves, helmet, headlamp, etc. The crampons keep me grounded, without them I can’t climb the steep side of the mountain without falling. And if I do fall, I can use them to dig into the side of the mountain. Just like the ice axe. Lord willing it will be used mostly to help keep my balance, but if I fall, I can use it to dig into the side of the mountain and prevent myself from falling too far.

But you see, there are two things wrong with this perspective. One: I am viewing all this gear and equipment as items to protect me and keep me safe on the mountain. Two: I am missing two very important pieces of equipment.

One important piece of equipment I did not address yet is the harness. This piece is all about me but it’s also all about my team. And the piece of equipment that is missing is the rope.

You might be asking, what’s wrong with viewing the equipment as items that protect you and keep you safe? In and of itself, this perspective is not wrong. However, when you bring the harness and the rope into the equation (the broader text if you will), you see that those items serve an even greater purpose than just protecting me.

I cannot climb this mountain alone. Sure I can try, but I will tell you right now, my chances of survival are slim to none. I need a team. And the team needs me. When I was attempting to summit, they required a minimum of three people on a rope. Interesting huh? Each person is tied into the same rope. One leads, one is in the middle and one is in the rear. Their harnesses are tied into my harness. As you climb, with one hand holding the rope and one hand holding your axe, you feel the tension on the rope in front of you and/or behind you. As you move as a team the tension on the rope tells you if you need to move faster or slower. We each pay attention to the speed of the person in front and/or behind, being careful not to step on the rope; after all we have these fiercely sharp crampons on our boots and we cut the rope, how will we go one to the top and then get back down?

The team began the day with what we call an alpine start, meaning it’s still very dark, about 1 a.m. when you begin the trek. The farthest ahead you can see is the person in front of you; your head lamp doesn’t go much farther. Suddenly, you hear a team member scream, “falling!” You and the other team member do exactly what you have been trained to do, you dive into the side of the mountain, on top of your ice axe and kick and firmly plant your boots with the crampons into the side of the mountain. You can feel it; the sudden jerk on the rope from the team member who has now stopped falling through the crevasse.

You see, while I may think my equipment is to protect me, keep me warm and help me make it to the top of the mountain. It is also for my team. My gear, my equipment could be the very thing that saves my team member from falling, falling even to death.

And this is my ah-haa moment.

However the Lord has equipped me, it is not for me in the end. It is for others. It is to help keep my team, my brothers and my sisters in Christ from falling; to be roped in and ready to feel the tension; to know when to loosen up and when to tighten up; to listen for the yell and brace for impact. It’s the only way we’ll all make it to the top of the mountain, being roped in together, willing to recognize our equipment is not for just ourselves.

Our group determined “Proverbs 27:2-22 looks at issues involved in wisely engaging community, duties, and interpersonal relationships, according to the principles of integrity, prudence and humility.” I’m challenged to continually look at this life from a community perspective, beyond my immediate influence and walls. It’s not all about me.

and this is what happens when seminary students go awry :-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFF8Mt7B8UM

as i sit at my kitchen table and dissect the meanings and applications of two undisclosed terms (it’s top secret until the exam is over per the demand of my prof) in hermeneutics, i reminded myself of how i grossly over romanticized this picture.

DSC06708

the reality of studying all day on a saturday and accepting that this studying will bleed into sunday and monday and tuesday, etc. is way less romantic the visual i had in my head. you know, like the movie montage when the actor studies like mad and the videographer makes the act of studying actually look super enjoyable? yeah, i totally thought that’s how i would feel in seminary-hah! okay, sometimes i do, but definitely not right now. right now it’s just hard to get my head around some of this stuff enough to know how to apply it. and unfortunately my final exam, in less than two weeks, is all about applying this stuff… gonna be interesting.

i’ve realized through this process though, i romanticize a lot of stuff in this life before i have to actually take the plunge. for example, making the decision to run a marathon. while training i always wondered, “why the heck am i doing this?” but then i’d run the race and it was worth it. then i’d sign-up for another one and ask myself in the midst of training, “why did i sign up for this again?!?” and then i’d run the race, cross the finish line and remember why i signed up in the first place.

isn’t that life? the difference of course is we don’t always sign-up for the race we’re running, but the times we do we often grossly over romanticize the process (no matter how hard we try not to), and we find when we are in the midst of training we’re asking ourselves, “why on earth did i sign up for this?” but we keep running, and know that when race day comes and we cross that finish line, it will all be worth it.

can’t wait to meet you at the finish Jesus :-)

Literally, I copied this from my journal:

In class right now as I write this. My “ah-ha” moment: I have to PRAY before I do my assignments!! I am not relying on God to bring me through this class!

[written a few moments later]

So another “ah-ha” moment – I find Dr. J so frustrating as he likes to prove his points in ways that annoy me, but I’m seeing the lessons the Lord is trying to teach me in this – SUBMISSION! Even this evening Dr. J was talking about how we don’t submit to the Scriptures and it occurred to me that I don’t want to submit to his teaching style :-( And I find I’m becoming rather rude about all this, like laughing at him class (in my head of course – although who am I kidding, I wear what I am thinking on my face), crossing my arms, thinking things like I don’t need this… But the Lord led me to this, Dr. J is much more knowledgeable than me and I must learn to submit!

so dr. j likes to give us rather out of the box homework assignments and sometimes, as i mentioned in my previous post, we submit them for the entire class to read and other times just for him. this was one of the assignments we had to submit just to him, a prayer for the semester addressing our hopes and fears. i thought i might as well share it since i bared it all in my last post :- )

Oh Holy Spirit,

I am so painfully aware that there is nothing I can do on my own. So painfully aware that not by my might but by Your Spirit is anything possible. I have such a desire to know the Word, to know my Father and to be a fruitful part of His Kingdom. The greatest privilege is to be able to serve and be a part of bringing His children unto Him, but oh Holy Spirit, I am so afraid of this next step you have lead me to.

I am a rather linear thinker Holy Spirit, and I know you brought me into a class with a professor who is quite the opposite of me on purpose. It has not been lost on me that You, who desire me to face my fears; you who desire for me to watch You move me over them and through them, would place me in a class where I must be vulnerable.

Oh Holy Spirit, I ask you this day for a holy boldness. I am so afraid of looking dumb, of not measuring up to the rest of the class. You Holy Spirit, You know how I process things slower than the average individual; You, Holy Spirit know how I clam up in an academic setting—draw close to me in this season. Let every victory bring the Father glory and may this season bring me closer to You. Make me more like my Lord and Savior and let this class serve as a tool to bring me to a place that I might be used to bring Your children into closer relationship with you. Let this be the beginning of an explosion in the ministry You have called me to.

I ask all this and believe all this in the Mighty Name of the Most High God, Jesus Christ—Amen!

I’m a student again. And I am a fearful student.

I knew going in to this class (hermeneutics) that my professor, Dr. J, and I are very different. I spoke to plenty of people who have taken his classes before and became well aware that we approach things much differently. The best way I could describe our differences is as follows:

Lindsey thinks like this: A + B = C

Dr. J teaches like this: M + ½ of F + parts of T + X might = D but it could also = P or perhaps W.

After one night in class I felt that example summed it up well. But I also knew, for the various ways the Lord has been revealing and challenging me about my fears that this is exactly what the Lord wants. Even though I might think it’s best for me to be in a class with a professor that teaches linearly, I felt strongly, and still do, that the Lord desires me to be challenged in this way.

The first night of class started out fine, even though he called us to the front of the room in small groups to tell the class about ourselves (my introverted self was not to happy about this, but kind of expected this from him).

As the evening progressed it became more and more overwhelming to me. At one point he asked us what verse do we think is a good verse to show the importance of hermeneutics… my first thought was, “pleeeeaaaasssee do not make us tell the class what we think!” I kind of freak out under that kind of pressure and definitely could not think of a verse that fast, I was a little too concerned about being called on. Yes, I know this is ridiculous, but it’s really how I feel.

Then he continued to explain how our homework will be submitted—apparently we will submit it electronically for the entire class to see and comment on if they would like. This is horrifying to me! I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, nor do I process things quickly. It takes me quite some time to get my head around a concept and to have to share my thoughts with people in that way sounds simply awful to me. At least with blog posts I can decide when I’ll post and what I’ll talk about. Hence why I could go an entire month without posting—I have nothing to say.

Again, I see in this how the Lord is really trying to challenge me out of my fears. I have had the luxury the past few years; essentially since I graduated from undergrad, to stick to the activities I am good at naturally. This school thing is not something I am good at naturally but I want to be a better student of the Word and I know this will benefit my ministry, for others and myself.

Help me Lord!

For all of you who read this blog please accept my apology for how long it has been since I updated it… life around me has been changing quite a bit and last week I was in the mountains of Wyoming with no access to Internet or cell phones (it was a HUGE blessing and I’ll blog about that soon).

But now I am back and I am watching this life of mine move forward in many unanticipated directions. Well, let me rephrase that, I am watching various circumstances of this life of mine change quite dramatically but I know all this change is moving me forward on the path the Lord has chosen for me.

I know vagueness is no fun, but I’m not at liberty to discuss some of this change, but it’s basically on all fronts―personal, professional and ministry-related.  And how I am going to manage all this I’m not quite sure. I do know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord would not lead me into this season if He wasn’t going to lead me out – and lead me out victoriously.

So as I rest in His peace and seek Him during this season I ask anyone who reads this blog to please keep me in your prayers. The Lord’s purposes are greater than my understanding and I am eager to see what He is doing. I know full well that He will reveal His purposes in His perfect timing and I have nothing to be anxious about. Praise God for His loving hand and gentle leading. I am blessed to know my God.

Isaiah 26:3

You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.

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