A Word of Thanks
Per usual, I would like to begin this months blog with another prayer of thanks to God as well as a brief letter of thanks to all of you.
God, I am consistently left in awe of you. Words truly escape me when it comes to how good you are. Thank you for being a God who is worthy of our praise and adoration. Thank you for being a relational God and for making us relational beings. Thank you for sending your son so that we may find life and have it to the full. Thank you Christ for being our Lord and savior. Thank you Spirit for your consistent presence and activity in and through my life and the life of my brothers and sisters in the faith. Continue to guide and teach my, o God, and continue to bless me so that I may in turn bless others. Amen.
Another month in the books! Another month of learning and serving made possible by you all. Thank you never goes without saying and I want to once again say just that; THANK YOU!! I know I've said it before, but what I am doing would not be possible if it weren't for you all. I wouldn't be able to devote all of my time to either serving the teens in my ministry or to studying scripture so diligently if it weren't for you. I have been so immensely blessed by this apprenticeship and I've been able try and be a blessing to my teens.
Before I continue I'd like to mention that I won't have as many pictures this week as I normally do. Funny how that happens when you don't remember to take pictures...I apologize. I have failed you all...
What I am Learning...
We are almost completely finished with the Old Testament! We have read all of the prophets and history texts this past month and all we have left is Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Lamentations, Daniel, Ecclesiastes, and Job. It's kind of hard to believe that we're this far into scripture. I've never read this much of the Bible over so short a timespan.
We've been learning about what a prophet even is. I feel there is a common idea of what it means to be a prophet and more often than not, it almost seems to elicit ideas of divination and crystal balls. Absolutely, every now and then, we see a prophet speak confidently about events that haven't yet happened. BUT, the prophets seemed far more concerned with speaking the truth of God into their current situation. I will say though that the prophets were emotionally draining for me. Reading over and over again how humanity has gotten God wrong made me legitimately sad. But within the harsh warnings and strong language are glimmers of hope. Hope for a future messianic king. A king we know to be Jesus Christ.
We've learned about the seemingly satirical nature of the book of Jonah as well as the dangers of missing the heart of God in Ezra and Nehemiah. The Old Testament Foundations class taught by Professor Iain Provan has been immensely helpful and thought-provoking as usual.
We also started a class devoted entirely to learning about the Holy Spirit. We are reading through a book called "Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God" by Gordon Fee. It focuses on exactly what the title suggests; how Paul understood the Spirit not as an impersonal force, but as an experienced personal being. The Spirit is the experienced presence of the living God dwelling within his children...simple right? I'm excited for the remaining chapters and classes devoted to this topic because it is very difficult to understand.
On top of that, we are continuing to learn how to apply all of this knowledge we're trying to retain to our lives and ministries. Basically, we're learning why what we're learning is significant and a lot of it goes back to something I mentioned in my opening prayer. We serve a relational God who takes very personally how we treat his children.
|William and myself preaching|
As the picture above suggests, this past month I got share another sermon with our CTF students. The difference this time is that I got to do it with my best friend and brother in Christ, William Royal. We continued in our "There's a Better Way" sermon series and the title of this specific sermon was "There's a Better Way to Relate".
I've already mentioned it twice in this blog update, but the whole idea, the main crux of the sermon was the fact that GOD CARES DEEPLY ABOUT HOW WE TREAT EACH OTHER!!
We spoke specifically about the one another passages that we find all over the New Testament and the implications those have on our current relationships. We spoke about how we as humans are image-bearers of Yahweh and we need to treat each other as such.
An aspect of that is dating, but we didn't focus on dating. Rather we focused on friendships, relationships with siblings, classmates, parents, teachers, etc.
|From our Songs & S'mores Event|
The weather has been beautiful recently and we were able to take advantage of it and enjoy the presence of God by singing songs to him with one another. We also gave a few of our students the opportunity to share some of their takeaways from our sermon series thus far. Overall it was an awesome night! It was a good change of pace from our normal Wednesday night.
But all of my ministry hasn't just been our large group meetings. I currently get to study and meet up one-on-one with 7 awesome young men. Some of those meetings are spend studying the Word of God, and others are literally just a trip to Sonic for a Blast. God is moving in and through these young men already. It's my job to continue to point them to the cross, to point them to Christ and to encourage them to continue to take ownership of their faith.
God is moving. It's up to us to follow.
God is speaking. It's up to us to have ears to hear.
God is active. It's up to us to have eyes to see.
I'd like to close this months blog with a psalm I wrote. It is inspired by the Lord's Prayer and is aimed toward saying the same thing:
My king, my Lord, my love
You will be praised for ever and ever.
Equip me to be led by you and allow me to usher
in your Kingdom, to do your will, to surrender
myself daily to the call of your Son.
Provide me your strength today as you have
every other day before.
My life today is a gift and I won't misuse it.
Change my heart, my mind.
Mold it after your own.
Have mercy on me and teach me to forgive.
As I am now, I am incapable of loving as you love me.
Protect me as you are faithful to do and lead me
how you see fit.
Remove from my heart my sinful
desires and keep close watch over my steps.
The evil one will be destroyed but until then,
protect me from his advances.
- the usual...please pray for the teens involved in our ministry. That God protects them from this world and that they feel and experience his love for them.
- continued prayers for my relationship with Sam. We are still doing pre-engagement counseling and it is going so well! Please pray for continued wisdom and that we can learn to love and serve each other well
- prayers for my fellow apprentices. For endurance and rest. I stay busy with my schedule but college campus ministry is a different beast! I feel incredibly blessed with the current schedule I have when I compare it to what some of my fellow apprentices do with their weeks.