Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seminarians, Beware!

Tracing the argument of a passage according to the prEpositions instead of the prOpositions can royally screw up your diagram of the passage.

Also, you will end up feeling utterly confused.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Top 11 Things I Learned/Remembered This Weekend

  1. I love camp oatmeal when I am eating it. I hate camp oatmeal at 10:00am when I feel like I have an indigestible boulder in my stomach.
  2. I am a very good inpatient hospital nurse. I am not a very good out-of-the-hospital-triage-assess-and-make-a-confident-decision sort of nurse. Some nurses have "the nursing thing" deep within them. I don't. I had to learn it. Nurses need to like to solve problems. I like to close my eyes and have the problem be gone when I open them again. However, good nursing skills in a situation outside of a hospital environment can be learned and I have already started the process of learning them.
  3. I typically do not enjoy learning things that involve the word "process."
  4. I am friends with some of the greatest people in. the. world.
  5. Almost without exception, when I am having a conversation where I am expressing negative emotions, I conclude my thoughts by saying "whatever." I think this is partially because I don't want the other person to feel like they have to respond or take care of me, partially because my own negative emotions make me uncomfortable and I don't want other people to think I have them, and partially because it is a habit. Any one of those reasons would be enough to make me want to stop.
  6. It bothers me when people don't make eye contact regardless of whether they are talking or listening.
  7. Jon Henderson is just as funny as I remember him being. And I remember him being pretty darn funny.
  8. I have gotten much better at suppressing my habit of vomiting my thoughts on others without their invitation. I have done this mostly by trying to limit my participation in conversations to answering questions (i.e. allow people an opportunity to show their interest) and by omitting unnecessary details and/or tangents in my train of thought. However, when I am as tired as tired can be and find myself in the company of a polite audience, I still revert to telling long, overly-detailed, tangential stories. I hate this about myself.
  9. Even on my most dry-eyed of days, I can still be brought to tears by the thought of my sin, by the pain in a friend's life and by corporate worship. I wouldn't want it any other way.
  10. God told Israel, "You are my chosen people, therefore you will look this way." Israel got it messed up and thought, "If we act this certain way, we will be God's chosen people." I do this in my life as well.
  11. When you are not in a good place spiritually/mentally/emotionally, it is not always necessary to actually talk to your friends about it. Sometimes it is enough to just be in their presence and let them remind you who you are.

My Weekend

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see him there
Who made an end to all my sin
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Sin has lost its power
Death has lost its sting
From the grave you've risen
Into marvelous light I'm running
Out of darkness out of shame
By the cross you are the truth
You are the life you are the way.

Heal my heart and make it clean,
Open up my eyes to the things unseen,
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours,
Everything I am for your kingdom's cause,
As I walk from earth into eternity.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Info

My sister filled in some of the details of our trip that my haiku left out.

Check it out if you want.

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse but, seriously, I can't get over how unbelievably awesome that vacation was.

Easy Belief

Sometimes I wonder if the only reason I don't have issues with complementarianism is because it doesn't stop me from doing anything I want to do.

Leading of the Holy Spirit

I am in a class titled "Acts and the Pauline Epistles" this quarter and we wrote a paper about a theme of our choosing from the book of Acts. I wrote mine on the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I would like to share what I learned.

A majority of the paper was a commentary on the verses that directly discussed the leading of the Holy Spirit. These verses were found in the stories of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (8.26-40), Peter going to Cornelius (cp 10), the sending of Saul and Barnabas (13.1-4), Paul and Timothy being forbidden to speak in Asia (16.6-10), Paul resolving to go to Jerusalem (20.22-24) and the disciples urging Paul not to go to Jerusalem (21.1-14). I am not going to discuss my commentary here. You can read the passages if you please and consult commentaries at your leisure.

The paper concluded with a synthesis of the theology of the chosen topic in the book of Acts. My conclusion can be summed up in the following statement: The Holy Spirit works in harmony with the church as the director of God's mission so that all peoples may hear the gospel.

(Do you see the three-point sermon unintentionally hidden in that statement? I'm such a good seminary student.)

1) The Holy Spirit is the director of God's mission.

-We serve a missional God and Acts makes it clear that the Holy Spirit is actively directing and orchestrating that mission in the early church. One question I addressed in my paper is how is he directing? Does he have an M.O. in Acts? If so, is that normative for the church today? Or is it merely descriptive? The Holy Spirit spoke to the early church in a variety of ways (through direct communication, the community of believers, a prophet) and the diversity of methods used leads me to believe that we should not limit him to those ways (i.e. the way he communicates in Acts is descriptive). What is normative is that he does speak and that he is actively leading the church forward to accomplish his mission.

2) The Spirit works in harmony with the church when sending out the apostles.

-The movement of the gospel is a whole-church effort and, as such, the Holy Spirit can be seen working through all of the believers in the early church, not only those who are "going." The sending of Saul and Barnabas is the clearest example of this. 13.3 says that the prophets and teachers "sent them off" and then the next statement in verse 4 says, "So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit..." The body of believers is clearly working in cooperation with the Spirit to send these men off.

This particular point has been on my mind a lot lately. I feel "called" to cross-cultural mission work, yet I lack the confirmation of that call from a body of believers. That is one of the reasons I am really, really, really looking forward to participating in the Nurture Program at Bethlehem. I long for feedback from other believers who are involved in my life regarding the direction in which I am moving. My life is currently void of that kind of community.

3) The purpose of the Holy Spirit's direction in the book of Acts appears to be the spread of the gospel to all nations.

-My favorite point.

Acts can be divided up into six "panels" based on summary statements that appear throughout the book. Each statement summarizes the status of the apostles' mission up to that point (6.7; 9.31; 12.24; 16.5; 19.20; the last panel is Paul's trial in Jerusalem). Each panel represents a new cultural or geographical barrier being crossed according to the pattern established in 1.8.

Prior to Stephen's martyrdom, the gospel had not left Jerusalem. Philip's interaction with the eunuch is the first recorded instance in Acts where the gospel moves beyond the cultural confines of indigenous Palestinians. The conversion of Cornelius marks the first Gentile Christian (there is some debate as to whether the eunuch was a Jew or Gentile). After spreading throughout Palestine and Syria, Saul and Barnabas begin taking the gospel "to the end of the earth" when they begin their evangelistic journey to the nations overseas. The Holy Spirit continues to give specific guidance on where the gospel should go as he sends Paul and Timothy to Macedonia (through the "negative guidance" of telling them not to go to Asia) and then sends Paul to Rome and, ultimately, back to Jersualem.

My favorite part about each of these new frontiers is that they start with the direction of the Holy Spirit. You'll notice that each verse that involves direction from the Holy Spirit comes directly after a summary statement. Six panels. Six new frontiers. Six new directions initiated by the Holy Spirit. The same pattern is repeated all six times: The Holy Spirit gives direction to the apostles, they obediently follow and cross a new cultural barrier, a summary is given of the gospel's success.

I wrote my paper several weeks ago but I was thinking about it again tonight. I keep chewing on that third point. It is very striking to me and I feel like I have had a hard time articulating why. I'm still not sure I can completely articulate it, but I think it has something to do with the specific areas in which we ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. So many of our prayers for guidance are for direction in areas of our lives that are very self-focused. What should my major be? What job should I pursue? Should I or should I not buy a house? Do we continue dating or do we break up? What is the right circumstance for initiating this hard conversation? And so on.

I'm not saying these decisions have no bearing on how/where/when/with whom we are spreading the gospel. I think many of them do. Or at least could. But when I am honest with myself, my motive for asking for guidance is these areas is rarely "show me how you want to best use me to cross new barriers with the gospel." My motives are typically much less honorable. I want to be safe. I want to be happy. I want to be successful. I want to be comfortable. And I want the Holy Spirit to tell me how I can best satisfy those desires.

But that's not what he does.

He sends the children of God across social, political, cultural and geographical barriers for the purpose of spreading the gospel to all nations.

I am in the process of aligning my prayers according to that purpose. And believe me, it is a process.

So, that is one of the things I have been learning this quarter, for those of you who are interested.

Play My Game

How well do you know your states?

My first time, I got 88% with an average error of 25 miles.

How'd you do?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jesus in the Water

I was thinking about the movie "Lady in the Water" during class tonight as I tried to figure out why I don't seem to live out anything I am learning. I decided it was probably because I am more comfortable with the thought of a mere story.

In the movie, when the story becomes real, it becomes all-consuming and, consequently, lives are changed. The characters are confronted with a new reality and they have to adjust their lives accordingly.

I like to be knowledgeable enough to tell a good story.

...just as long as it doesn't change my life...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hawaii Haiku

How can you go to Hawaii and not write a haiku? I mean, we went through a town called Haiku, for goodness sake. It seems appropriate.

18,000 feet,
I saw a whale from the plane.
Everybody laughed.

Up the volcano
to see a summit sunrise.

The luau was fun.
The fire dancer licked the
flame. It made me squirm.

Did two 4-mile hikes
to beautiful waterfalls.
Un. Be. Lievable.

Crossed swinging bridges
Just like Indiana Jones.
Ain't your momma's trip.

Blue water rafting
on the choppiest day there.
Totally. Crazy.

But it was fun.
Swells coming over our heads
and spine-jarring jumps.

We saw whales breaching
and swimming by the resort.
They. Were. Everywhere.

Highway to Hana
Another highlight of mine.
Beauty beyond words.

Thought we blew a tire.
It must have fixed itself. A
Maui miracle.

In my attempt to
remember the cross-street, I
got called autistic. :-)

And then there was the
"Hall of Hawaiian Heroes"
with Stacey Santa,

the bus driver guy
who only hit his brakes four
times up the mountain,

the fire dancer,
and Aaron and Mike - the guys
who kept us alive.

We laughed a little.
I mean, look who I was with.
They're funny people

I've never liked fish
but I ate Mahi Mahi
and Monchung. So. Good.

And of course we had
pool time, sunsets, snorkeling,
and I read three books.

Best trip of my life.
I'm not exaggerating.
Pictures to come soon.