Tuesday, September 12, 2006

From Now On You Can Call Me "Professor"

I have some news that I'm happy about. I have often thought that one day I might like to try and teach at a Christian University, but I envisioned it being when I was a middle-age guy with my PhD. It's happening much sooner than that. Harding is going to give me a chance next semester. That either says good things about me (I'm reasonably talented and a good student) or it says bad things about Harding (they're desperate for teachers). Hopefully it's more of the former.

Starting this Spring, I will be an adjunct Bible professor (I'll still be preaching full-time at Rose Bud) and will be teaching a freshmen-level Old Testament Survey class. This will give me a chance to find out several things:

1. Do I like doing this, or would I rather stick with preaching for the rest of my life? Perhaps my life will always be some of both.

2. Am I any good at this? I may try and figure out that my talents don't line up well with what's needed in a professor. I might also find out the opposite is true.

And in line with the other two, hopefully:
3. What are my long-term plans for what I will do, where I will live, and what I will study? I've debated a lot whether I should stick around this area or look for ministry opportunities at other locations.

I'm very flattered to get the chance to do this, and am extremely excited. I'm sure I'll have plenty to blog about after I get this thing going. Right now I'm working on picking out what textbook(s) I will require, and what my lesson plans will be.

For any of you who had an Old Testament Survey class, what did you like most/least about what you studied?
Is there anything I should make an extra effort to include/uninclude?
If you could only pick one or two passages from the OT that need to be studied and emphasized, what would they be?

I'm confident that this will be challenging since it's new, but I intend to work my tail off to give these kids the best class that I possibly can. Please keep me in your prayers. This is a great blessing and a great responsibility. Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 01, 2006

What God Cares About

Have you ever had anyone try to stump you with some question about God that they think is really profound, but is actually sort of pointless? Can God make a rock so heavy that he can't lift it? Can God make a square circle? Can God count to infiniti?

It's kind of like the guy who said he doesn't believe in God because he tried praying, and God 'didn't answer' his prayer. He said, "I decided that I'd try praying, so I prayed every day that God would give me a new red Camaro. After a year, I didn't get it, so therefore I figured that prayer and God is all worthless myth." As if God's most important function in the cosmos is to give me toys.

It seems that we have far too small of a view of what God wants. When I wrestle with what God would want me to do in a given situation, or how I ought to spend my time or efforts, I've found John 10:10 to be a helpful verse. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

You can pretty well insert whatever you want into this last part of the verse, and it gets a lot easier to clarify what God really cares about. Think about God coming--putting on flesh as a human--and dying...for what purpose? Allow me to give a couple of examples:

'I have come that they may have red Camaros, and have them abundantly.'
'I have come that they may have money, and have it abundantly.'
'I have come that they may have designer clothing, and have the trendiest outfits of the season.'
'I have come that they may have larger houses in gated communities, and have mortgage payments abundantly.'
'I have come that they may have respect from other self-centered people, and have it abundantly.'

Do we see how out of place things get when you try putting the words in Jesus' mouth?

Yet other things fit better:
'I have come that they may have forgiveness, and have it to the full.'
'I have come that the heavily burdened may find rest, and find it abundantly.'
'I have come that they may have hope, and have it abundantly.'
'I have come that the wounded and oppressed might find healing, and experience it abundantly.'

What in this world is truly worth living and dying for? Whatever these things are, these are what we should be striving towards. God doesn't waste his magesty on the trivial, and the glory he's shared with us as his children should not be wasted either.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17) May God forgive us for when we exchange his glory for the petty and the ephemeral. Posted by Picasa

An Odd Story - Part III

And now to connect parts I and II...

(Do not read unless you've read the first two...you'll appreciate it more)

This friend of Bob's took Don out in to the hall to tell him something odd that happened to Bob and gave him a phobia of large cats.

This friend (we'll call him Jim) worked at Wal-Mart distribution with Bob. Jim liked Bob, though Bob had it within him to get on a person's nerves if he set his mind to it. Bob had bugged Jim for several weeks that he really wanted to go hunting with him. As a way of adding the pressure, Bob went and bought his own equipment. He bought hunting clothes to wear, some various supplies, and a brand new rifle. With all this constant begging, Jim decided to give Bob a chance, and so they picked a date to go hunting together.

On the day of the hunt, Bob got all his new equipment together, and went very early in the morning to the woods with Jim. Jim had intentions of going in a certain direction, and pointed where he thought Bob should go to start looking for a place to settle and hunt.

Not long after this, Bob came running back to their meeting point as fast as he could. He was pale and shivering, and he had none of his equipment with him. He was so hysterical he could hardly speak. Jim finally got him calmed down enough to tell him what had happened. Bob's story was something like this:

'After you pointed me where to go, I went a little ways out into the woods, when I realized that I needed to relieve myself. So I found a pretty large tree, got up next to it, and squatted to take care of business. I didn't know it, but there was a panther up in this tree that I hadn't seen. When I squatted down, that panther jumped down and attacked me! The sound it made chills me to the bone when I think about it...That panther was screaming just like a woman when it attacked me! I ran off as fast as I could, and managed to escape.'

Jim asked, "But what about your stuff? Did you at least get your rifle?" Bob said, "I was too busy running for my life to even worry about it. I don't care what happened to my stuff."

At this point, Don was able to put the pieces of this puzzle together, and had a nice laugh. No one ever bothered to tell Frank's wife or Bob what had actually happened.

An Odd Story - Part II

Don had another friend (we'll call him Frank). Frank was an avid hunter, who happened to be married. As is the case with many guys who are too dedicated to their hobbies, Frank spent too much time hunting, to the frustration of his wife. She decided to make the best of the situation, and approached Frank one day to tell him she wanted to go hunting with him.

As far as Frank was concerned, that was the best thing any woman could have ever said to him, and it was even better coming from his wife. So he went to work, making sure her hunting experience would be the best it could possibly be. He bought her a new rifle, new gear, and spent some time picking out a good place to put her in a tree stand. After getting a spot, he helped her learn how to shoot from the tree stand, and made targets for target practice. Finally the big day came.

Frank and his wife went to the woods early in the morning, and he took her to her stand, helped her up, then explained to her, "Honey, I'm going to be about 100 yards away in that direction. If you need anything, anything, you just call for me and I'll run here as fast as my legs will take me. You'll do great. If you need anything, just let me know."

He marched over to his tree stand, and not more than 10 minutes later, he heard his wife start screaming bloody murder. He hopped down from his own stand, and ran to her as fast as he could go, terrified of what had happened to her. When he got there, she was actually back up in her tree stand, but she was weaping, and was very emotionally jarred. He asked her what was the matter.

With sobs and tears she explained, "Honey, not long after you left...::sniff sniff::...I heard this noise near me, and I looked down, and there was this huge varmint below me. ::sniff sniff:: I got so scared I fell out of this stand on top of it, then it took off into the woods, and I climbed back into my tree stand as fast as I could. I was so scared!"

As he consoled his wife, he couldn't help but notice a brand new rifle sitting beside the tree that wasn't hers or his. It was in great shape, so it couldn't have been sitting there for many days. No dew had accumulated on it. He thought it was odd, but hey, free rifle! So they took the rifle home, and after that experience, he knew it was unlikely that his wife would ever want to go hunting again.

(Stay tuned for part III)

An Odd Story - Part I

This is something my elder, Don, was telling me about. There are a couple of different pieces to the puzzle of this situation, which I'll make in different posts.

Don had a friend who was in the hospital, so he went to visit him. Don always likes to try and share jokes or funny stories, so while this guy sat in his hospital bed, Don told him a joke about a large cat that Don thought was pretty funny. Upon telling the joke about the large cat, the other people present laughed except for the man in the bed (we'll call him 'Bob'). Bob responded by turning slightly pale and pulling his covers up tight against him, similar to a child hiding from the boogie-man. Later, a friend present invited Don out to the hall to tell him a story.