Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Why are hearts so complicated? I feel like I spend so much time dealing with my heart and the hearts of my sisters. Between the bliss of deep love and the utter pain of heart break there is a whole range of emotions. I don't think I have ever felt either of the extremes but I'm always somewhere in the middle. Feelings of hope in a new crush or realizations that old crushes need to die. Hearts are so complicated. Being here at seminary with all these married couples is really cool and yet really challenging to figure out what it means to be single in this married world. In any case, I eventually come back to the same thought: I need the Lord to direct my heart. I know it sounds cliche, but it is unavoidably true. I tend to make messes with my heart, always forgetting that the maker of my heart wants me to be wholly and fully dedicated to Him before any other god, I mean man. Sorry, slip of the tongue. God bless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A New Thought

Today was one of those days when you know the Lord is teaching you what He has been doing in your life. Last night I left my wallet at the inner city campus. This morning when I couldn't find it and I knew there was a good chance that it was gone forever, I wanted to freak out. The inner city campus is a 30 minute drive. As I made my way down there, I praying. I was praying that I would have the right response to the situation. That I would live as one who had been redeemed, living out that realtity in this situation. And the Lord spoke to my heart. He reminded me of those very truths that I have been "hiding in my heart", His plan for redemption which He has played out throughout all history. And this is the story He has called me to be a part of, not just in an eternal salvific manner, but in my every moment in this life.
I was thinking on all these things, listening to some gospel music ("He brought me through tribulation... for I know that I am blessed and highly favored!") and I was realizing all the intense truths that God has been teaching me, in all my classes, all my assignments, all my readings, I have been overwhelmed with these amazing truths. And then it dawned on me: I am so overwhelmed in dealing with these truths, and it is just me and God. I wrestle everyday with these incredible realities. And I do it alone. Usually I get all lonely during these times. I want someone to share these moments with, someone to work through these issues with. But today I saw the grace in my singlehood. I am able to wrestle with these issues on such a deep level because the only "man" in my life is the Lord. I don't have to worry about my relationship with my husband, with serving him and loving him, since I am commited to one man, and that man has brought me here, kept me for Himself, and is now teaching me to know and love Him in such a deeper way. I am surely blessed and highly favored!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forgive me

My friend Sam posted a blog about a song by Foolish Things. I listened to the song on repeat for about 30 minutes and was touched by the sincerity of the lyrics:

Forgive me

Forgive me when my prayers have come to you,
Grosser than the things confessed,
Reeking with emptiness.

Forgive me when religion’s been my god,
And all that I do, that denies you are there,
But you’re there.

Did I forget you were listening?
Could I deceive the one that’s given me my heart?

Forgive when I’ve come to pray to you,
Just to get it done, before I run,
away from you.

Forgive when I’ve merely said the words,
And severed devotion from all of my emotions.

Did I forget you were listening?
Could I deceive the one that’s given me my heart?
Did I forget you were listening?
Could I deceive the one that’s given me my heart?

It took your blood to bring me to the place,
Where I could meet you face to face,
So let me claim the promise true,
And bring myself to talk to you

Did I forget you were listening?
Could I deceive the one that’s given me my heart?
Did I forget what you’d given me?
Could I deceive the one that’s given me my heart?
Did I forget you were living in my heart?
…living in my heart.

Forgive me when my prayers have come to you,
Grosser than the things confessed,
Reeking with emptiness.

It’s interesting how quickly we point our finger at the Pharisees and denounce them hypocrites (which they are) and yet we fail to see our own hypocrisy… we pretend that we have this Christianity thing down, that we are already sanctified, that our offerings to Christ are worthy. Yet, more often then not, my prayers are just ramblings, not coming from the heart, but from some concept of obligation on my part to pray. Definitly “reeking with emptiness”. How good to know that God’s goodness is not dependent on my response to it. Even when I am ignorant, or just plain self-centered, the Lord is good and He chooses to bless us, unworthy as we are.

I'm ruined

So I have always had a place in my heart (right next to Jesus of course) for the Christian literature that fills the bookshelves of Christian bookstores in our Christian country. Okay, that was a little sarcastic. But really, I have enjoyed many Christian Living books over my years and particularly found mysef drawn to the "relationship" ones. Since I have been traveling so much recently, I haven't had the chance to read any recently. A girlfriend of mine loaned me one of these books that week and last night I started reading it. I realized within the first few pages that I would not be able to read this book as I had in the past. That my understanding of Christian living as a whole has changed. I now cringe at straight line bible applications. For example, the story of Ruth is not meant to be a prescriptive account of how young Christian women should pursue older Christian men. It is a descriptive account of God playing out His redemptive story in the lives of His people. But we focus the bible on ourselves, as opposed to the true focus of every verse in the old and new testaments: Jesus.
So anyways, this whole biblcal redemptive narrative theology is causing me to pause as I read these Christian self-help books. They are usually written with great intentions for growth and godliness but the authors seem to misunderstand the purpose of God's word. Anyways, biblical theology: love it, it's ruining my nice little North American Christian culture bubble, but that's just how it's going to be.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where do you sit?

Once again, a post about the wonderful life of seminary students. I have been spending some quality time in the library. And I have noticed that my fellow students have each found their "spot". The entrance to the library is on the third floor which has a general study area with big long tables and tall windows facing the parking lot. From there you can go up to the top floor, the Biblical theology department. There is limited seating, but a great room where groups can meet to work together. If you go down two floors to the second floor there is even less seating area but the wonderful Practical Theology Department resides there. And finally the bottom floor where we find the Hebrew Institure, the computer lab, and a bunch of study stations. It is there on the bottom floor, amoung the study stations that I plant myself everyday. I ususally sit in the second station, close to the door so I can see who walks into the room (to feed my social hunger), but also close to the water fountain for when I get thirsty.
You see, everyone has their "spot". My friend Jason likes the fourth floor study room. I always see Mike and Jess when I walk through the third floor. And there are a bunch of guys with their laptops open on the one table on the second floor. I chose the bottom floor. I see the same people there everyday in the study stations. We all smile at each other. It is a small thing, but somehow having that personal "spot" in the library makes my being part of the seminary community just a little more real.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pearl of Wisdom

My struggle to keep my devotion to God from dying from over theo-contextu-systematizing has weighed heavily on my mind. I read Brian Kay's blog. He shared an interview he had with John Stott, who during the interview quoted Bishop Moule.
The pearl of wisdom for the day:

"we must be aware equally of an undevotional theology and of an untheological devotion" (check out the whole interview)

What glorious advice! Seminary students beware. We are being given the theological tools to lead our brothers and sisters in devotion, but we must tread carefully this ground, lest we fall into dead theology.


This blog is dedicated to my new friend Michelle who inspires me with her passion for the Lord. She and I found each other on the porch of Machen Hall and cannot seem to get rid of each other. Sometimes I think the curse of "right doctrine" is that I get more concerned about knowing than doing. That I care more about knowing that the first answer to the Westminster Catechism is : "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever" and I forget to actually just DO that. Michelle is one of those women whose passion for the Lord leads her to sing, literally sing praises to God for all those little blessings in life that I overlook. The more I hang out with Michelle the more I find myself stopping in the middle of the day and taking that moment to thank God for being so good.
Michelle, thank you for your prayers, thank you for your example as a godly woman. God bless you girl!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How beautiful are the feet!

Today in Survey of Reformed Theology we discussed Revelation, which led to the topic that all non-reformed folk love to take up with reformed folk: predestination. And the question was raised, If election is true, why share the gospel? If God has already chosen the ones who will come to him, then why go out and witness to people?

These questions break my heart. If the doctrine of election leads us to laziness and apathy toward those who don't follow Christ, then our understanding of the gospel is off. You see, the gospel COMPELS believers to share it. By definition it is the "Good News". It is a joy to share, not a chore. It is life-giving, not just time-consuming.

Our understanding of the gospel (which by the way we should preach to ourselves everyday) should stir within us a passion for the Lord. This passion calls us to walk a life worthy of the calling and to share this glorious news. It's all a matter of perspective.

Do we obey because we have this overbearing all-knowing Big Brother? Do we live unsanctified lives, considering cheap the grace that has been afforded us? Or do we grasp this glorious news that we have been redeemed? This redemption is granted to all who hear and believe.

"But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed?
And how are they to believe on whom they have never heard?
And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
And how are they to preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news'"
Romans 10:14-15

Monday, October 08, 2007

Biblical Theology- gotta love it

I quit my job. I didn't even really get through the training period. But I had realized that the job was killing my school life. That I was spending all my energy on the job and was left with very little to give to my school work. So I quit last weekend and spent last week on campus. What a treat. My gosh, it was so cool to walk around campus and sit in the library. To talk to people who are studying the same things I am. To sit in on a class that I am not registered for, just to learn. To read the great books that have been sitting in my bookshelf for weeks begging to be read. And it was this last week and that I realized once again just how much I am such a nerd.
One of the things I am most nerdy about is Biblical Theology. It is a way of approaching the Bible that views the Bible as a historical redemptive narrative of God and His people. I spent most the weekend working on some papers dealing with this approach. It was heaven. The point of Biblical theology is to lead you directly to Jesus, no matter how obscure the Old Testament passage. Lovely, just lovely. If you get a chance, check out www.beginningwithmoses.org.

Another thought that I feel the need to share: Studying theology is great. But I have been wisely warned to be careful with my devotional life. When studying the Word of God is your job, how do you be sure that God remains your heart and not just the object of your mind. I have found in these last few weeks that my relationship with the Lord has changed. I find Him so intriguing. I find Him challenging me everyday to draw close to Him. And I have to confess that He has shown me some not so pretty things about my heart and life. You see, recently He has shown me that although I enjoy the benefits of Him as my Savior, that I tend to deny Him the right to be Lord of my Life. That I don't let him dictate those intricate parts of my heart that I want to continue to control. I'm praying for the grace to submit myself completely to the Lord as my King, that He may reign in my life.