Whew, its hard to imagine that its been a little more than a month since I’ve last updated. So many things have happened since then.
Some things I’ve learned:
-Seminarians are humans too. Prior to coming to seminary, I always had a high view of seminary students. To me, they seemed like super Christians… probably didn’t struggle in their christian walk, knew everything there was to know about God…etc. But since coming here and getting to know some people (esp in my spiritual developement class), its encouraging to know that we all struggle in one way or another in our walks… that none of us are perfect, that we’re all in the process of sanctification!
-seminary can humble you as well. Here, everyone knows something and everyone has had some sort of ministry experience in one way or another. If you come in proud, you’re going to get cut short (not on purpose…just by learning from other people). The good thing is that it forces us to find our worth in Christ!
-ethnic worship service are always encouraging and uplifting to the soul. Today for grad chapel, we had a worship service where we were singing American worship songs in other languages and learning worship songs from other parts of the world. I think learning songs from other nations and singing in other languages helps us take God out of the box that sometimes put him in… it helps us understand that God is the God of the nations. I think it gets us out of our ethnocentrism in thinking that the way we worship is the way that everyone should worship. And lastly, I think in the end, all of this is encouraging and uplifting because it unifies us with our brothers and sisters from other nations and ethnic groups. To be singing in different languages, in different styles, from different nations, all under one God is indeed glorifying to God!
-As I’ve gotten older, I feel like God has revealed more of his will for my life. In October, while lifting weights, I felt God hit me on the head and reveal more of himself to me… that I was to be a missionary. Here’s an except of what I wrote in my journal concerning that…
“I need to go abroad. I am called to missions. It’s a necessity. It’s unevitable. Its a calling. The main thought that led to that revelation was this: as a pastor, I know my emphasis will be missions, but how can I preach missions when I have not gone already?”
It was also pretty interesting to see the little things that God had put in my life in the past that led me to and have supported this revelation.
1) As a leader, my mantra has been to not ask someone to do something that I myself am not willing to do, or have not done before.
2)Preaching from the heart. I love to preach passionately and for me, that comes from having experience. On the one hand, I don’t need to steal in order to preach that stealing is wrong. But, on the other hand, while I could preach about marriage, I feel like I’d be more passionate about it and would be more justified in preaching about it if I am already married! Also, one of the ways I know God has been preparing me and my heart for missions was that the 2 times I had the opportunity to speak at AACF (my college fellowship group), I spoke on missions.
3) Church. Growing up at Calvary church, I feel like we were surrounded by an atmosphere of missions…. so much so that it has seeped into our hearts and minds. I remember learning as a little kid at the church mission’s conference that “we are blessed to be a blessing.” Our church youth group motto was “Drink & Flow: to drink deep of Christ and flow to others, from campuses to continents.”
4)Influential Men. A couple of men in my life have really influenced me in the past and have been an example to me. My recently retired senior pastor, Pastor Johnny Miller, was a missionary to Sweden and was involved with church planting before he was president of CIU, and then senior pastor of Calvary. Dr. George Murray, current Chancellor and former president of CIU, was a church planter for 10 years in Italy and then 10 years as the general director of a missions agency. Their godliness and their examples have always caused me to admire them and look up to them. Pastor Miller was especially influential in that he showed that God sometimes calls us to more than career. He was a missionary, a seminary president and a pastor. For me, I think I’ll be a pastor and a missionary. The questions is, in what order? Will I be a pastor first after I graduate and then a missionary? Or a missionary first? Perhaps pastor, missionary and then pastor? I really don’t know…
George Murray spoke at our chapel about a month ago and he told us his story of how he was a student at CIU. He talked about how that changed his life and his view on missions. He originally came to be an english teacher so that he could be a good witness to his students. Instead, God changed him and his life course and he went on to work in Italy as a church planter. He said that originally, he was “planning to stay, willing to go,” but afterward, he was “planning on going, willing to stay.”
I feel like that describes me perfectly.