Tag Archives: student stories

Bon Voyage!

As I mentioned here earlier this week, and alluded to here while at the beach, I have a BIG announcement today.

 

 

Tomorrow morning, I will be catching a plane to Boston where I will meet up with 9 other seminary students and a professor and then travel to Greece for a 2.5 week class studying Paul’s New Testament Letters on location!

 

I am excited, yes, but I am also nervous.

 

It seems that travel (or at least the preparation to travel) brings out the worst in me.  This is clearly evident through the flesh-spirit struggle that seems to be working on overdrive within me on an almost hourly basis.

 

In moments when my flesh takes over, my nerves get the best of me, I get caught up in the insignificant details of international travel (from how to deal with a food allergy to how to best pack my electronics), and I put up a front of determination to be completely self-sufficient and prepare for all possible contingencies.

 

But in the moments when I willfully submit my spirit to the Lord, which has been best achieved during my times of reading Paul’s Letters over the past few days (I only have 1 & 2 Corinthians left!), I can’t help but know a great peace surrounding this trip to Greece and know that, just as Paul writes to the various churches and individuals, for the next couple of weeks I am called to be in community with 10 fellow believers (albeit strangers) . . . to love, to serve, to pray . . . more and more . . . and I better live in a manner worthy of this calling.

 

The circumstances surrounding this trip are far different than I had anticipated.  I have lost all sense of security and feel as though I am walking into the complete unknown. . .but maybe that was God’s plan all along.

 

Although I am uncertain of internet accessibility during most of the trip, there will be several posts in my absence (including some guest posts from some pretty amazing people!) and I hope to be able to check in a couple of times as well. 

 

You didn’t think I’d actually leave you with nothing for two whole weeks, did you?

 

I would greatly appreciate your prayers while I am in Greece.  Sure, I have some anxiety regarding the travel details, but I know that those will ultimately work out.  Mostly, I ask that you pray that I would appreciate each moment, that I would live according to the Spirit, that I would invest myself fully, that I would study and learn productively, that God’s Word would come alive in a real and fresh way, and that I would be available to be used.

 

Just a few short hours away from departure, in some ways I feel completely unprepared and in other ways I feel completely equipped.

 

But in all ways, I am expectantly praying that this trip is life-changing, God-honoring, and eye-opening: to His word, to His calling, to His purpose, to His people.

Five Signs of an Exam Week

This morning I completed my second exam in my second semester of Biblical Greek.

<huge sigh of relief>

And as I looked around my house this morning while making final preparations for said exam, I noted 5 out-of-the-ordinary signs indicating this week was, indeed, an exam week:

   1. I have been eating, sleeping, and breathing Greek.

   2. I haven’t made my bed for several consecutive mornings.

   3. There is laundry everywhere (clean, dirty, and questionable).

   4. I made coffee from home on a Wednesday morning.

   5. And my kitchen table has looked like this for the better part of two days:

 

 

So while it may not have been pretty, and I am in no position to even guess what kind of a grade is coming my way, I am very much looking forward to a night of blissful post-exam sleep and getting my house back in order!

Jesus is [More Than] Enough

I could literally burst with excitement about this message!

But I’m trying to contain myself enough to at least form a handful of coherent sentences.  (You can thank me later…)

Here’s the thing: a title like I chose for this post could go A LOT of different ways.  And where I’m going with it may seem a little “off the beaten path”, but I am choosing to trust the Holy Spirit on this one and to roll with it.

You see, I had a completely different devo post in mind for this week.  But I’ve spent the last two days praying over my half-written post because it just. wasn’t. working.

[At least not yet.]

And maybe it was because the Lord had something better.

For me and for you.

I am fairly confident that I have mentioned a time or two (or a hundred) that I’m taking Koine Greek as part of my seminary studies.  Well, tonight (and tomorrow) began a new semester of said Greek studies, and at the end of class we were reading and discussing John 4:7-14 in the Greek (which actually has very little to do with this post, but I would encourage you to go read it for context anyways).

As we were reading, I was struck with a [what I have always deemed to be sacrilegious] thought that has plagued me before:

“Conversations in Scripture (even between Jesus and others) often seem to be abbreviated and/or poeticized…perhaps to reflect the nature and direction of a given conversation in order to emphasize the important elements rather than a word-for-word recording of said conversation.”

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks this?  It’s just that I tend to be wordy (shocking, right?) and detailed in my conversations, and rarely do I have conversations as succinct as they appear in Scripture.  And it’s not like they walked around with voice recorders back in those days…

But tonight, as I was processing this thought, I was promptly reminded of the following:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God
and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be competent,
equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16 (English Standard Version)

If “all Scripture is breathed out by God” (which I firmly believe that it is), then whether or not conversations throughout its pages are “word-for-word recordings” is irrelevant.

Why?

Because the words that ARE recorded are what matters.

Because the words that ARE recorded are the important elements.

Because the words that ARE recorded are the exact parts of the conversations that we were intended to read about and know.

ESPECIALLY when it comes to the words of Jesus.

And as my professor had to use no less than four or five English words (words including “fountain, bubbling, and overflowing”) to define and describe the phrase “welling up” as it occurs in John 4:14…

“The water that I will give him
will become in him a spring of water
welling up to eternal life.”
(ESV – emphasis added)

…I was made keenly aware that as an example for how my conversations with others should go, as an example for sharing the gospel, as an example of how life is to be lived, and as the essence of life itself

Jesus’ words are enough.

Jesus is enough.

Jesus is MORE THAN enough.

A Completely Meaningless Post

For some reason which currently escapes me, last night I decided it would be worthwhile to stay up until all hours of the night in order to catch-up on some [long over-due] studying.  While this decision did [amazingly enough] result in a session of extremely productive study, it also resulted in significant sleep deprivation.

So as I was responding to a friend’s email today that had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand, I closed with these words:

ps: On a completely unrelated note, I am not in college anymore and do not function well on 4 hours of sleep. Just sayin’.
 
pps: I don’t know that I ever functioned well on that little sleep.
 
ppps: Happy Wednesday, Friend!

And then I had to pause and verify that today was/is actually Wednesday.

And then I had to laugh at my flow of consciousness…or lack thereof…especially considering it is highly improper to use that many post-scripts. 

Happy Wednesday, Friends!

 

Greek & Pumpkins

Between spending Friday night and most of Saturday in class and preparing for an exam that I completed tonight, the last week of my life has been completely consumed with studying Koine (New Testament) Greek.  And yes, it has been as exhausting and overwhelming as it sounds!

So, in an effort to take a break from the intense studies, and since it is now the first week in November (how is that possible??), is actually starting to feel like fall outside (hello, beautiful chilly weather…how I have missed thee!), and I have all things pumpkin on my mind, I thought it might be fun to share the few decorations that my roommate, B, and I settled on this year for the fall season.

I don’t typically participate much in seasonal decorating.  But from October through the first (or second. or maybe even third…) week in January, I DO like my home to reflect the season.  At least in a simple and minimalist sort of way.

This pumpkin-shaped-but-unscented candle sits on the mantle:

 

 

 

This grouping of three pumpkins found its home on the coffee table…

 

 

…along with this adorable pumpkin votive holder (with a pumpkin-scented votive, of course):

 

 

And finally, this pumpkin sits in the middle of the kitchen table…

 

 

…surrounded by leaves in fall colors, two of my favorite pumpkin-scented candles ever…

 

 

…and these fun napkin holders…

 

 

…to form a simple and seasonal centerpiece:

 

 

What about you – do you decorate with the seasons?

The (not so) Minor Prophets

Last week, my spare time was almost entirely dedicated to the study of the Old Testament.  Unfortunately, I cannot claim it was just because I had a burning desire to study God’s Word.  Rather, I was preparing for an Old Testament exam, which happened to be brutal. 

Prophets and kings and empires…oh my!

Exam details aside, when I have the opportunity to study the OT in such an intense manner (albeit through an overview), it never ceases to amaze me how much is in there that I don’t remember from the last time or that I just plain don’t know.  This was at least my third formal OT class since undergrad, and I was yet again blown away by the truth and treasure found in its pages.

Although I’m not sure I did as well on the exam as I would have hoped, I learned and discovered and connected passages in a wonderfully fresh and real way.

And as I was skimming through several of the OT books to refresh my memory of their contents, I was suddenly convicted of how often I do just that: SKIM.  I love to study Scripture.  But all too often, for a variety of reasons, and especially with certain OT books, I SKIM.

But here’s the thing:

Even within in the Old Testament, we are told of the benefits of knowing and studying God’s Word.

Go check out Psalm 119!

(yes, the WHOLE chapter)

And listen to the command given to Joshua:

“Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth;

meditate on it day and night,

so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.”

Joshua 1:8a (New International Version)

While we’re not under the Old Covenant as Joshua was, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the same principle applies for us in the study of God’s Word.

What I find no evidence of in Scripture is the command (or even permission) to SKIM.

But when was the last time I read (really read) Numbers?  Or 1&2 Chronicles?  Habakkuk?  Malachi?  ANY of the minor prophets?

Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with studying the New Testament Gospels or Letters, and I’m not saying we should stop reading Psalms or Genesis.  What I am saying (or perhaps echoing) is that,

ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for

teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,

so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped

for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV – emphasis added)

So my conviction turned into a challenge. 

And I invite and welcome you to join me. 

What book of the OT (minor prophet or otherwise) have you neglected recently?  Regardless of the reason, will you commit to now read it?  Not just SKIM it, but really read it?  Even if that means reading something you don’t fully understand or reading it more than once until you get a good grasp of the message?

I have chosen to start with Amos.  (And yes, I do have specific reasons for this choice.)

What book will you choose?

Share it in the comments and GO START READING!

Study Habits: No Rhyme or Reason

My brain functions best when things are organized and logical.  I like rules, guidelines, and details, and I tend to over-analyze everything.

So it surprises even me that my study habits are rather random and meaningless.

When I’m studying, I make all sorts of marks in my textbook:

 

I use brackets. 

 

 I underline words…

 

 

And phrases.

 

I highlight…

 

In various colors no less.

 

 I use boxes.

 

 I write notes or questions in the margins…

 

 Or sometimes just question marks.

 

 I even place tabs on pages to refer back to…

 

 Even if it’s just a reference to a hymn.

 

But there is absolutely NO particular rhyme or reason to any of these marks.  I have no set “rules” for what type of text is underlined vs. bracketed vs. highlighted. 

And for once, the content of my studies is worth it, and I’m okay with my unorganized approach.