Various Things I've Been Thinking/Learning

Howdy!  It is currently 11:47 PM on Sunday, May 29, 2010.  It has been a really boring, yet somewhat relaxing day.  I went to church this morning and learned from Neil Klodzen, as he was filling in for Phill, who, along with all of the other youth leaders, were at the wedding of Joel and Molly Bertles.  Neil had some great things to share this morning regarding missions and evangelism.  I was able to have some great time of conversation with Tyler Eix and Scotty Kunkel.  I love hanging out and talking to those guys about Jesus.  It always makes for a fruitful conversation.  Then, this afternoon I just kinda hung out and watched the Cubs game.  Then I went and played some tennis.  My night ended with a game of Settlers of Catan with my parents, and here I am now, writing on here.  Like usual, I am not exactly sure what I’m going to be writing about, so I’m just kinda hoping things flow through my stream-of-consciousness like they have in the past.

I have been reading, though rather slowly, Vintage Jesus, by Mark Driscoll.  It’s a pretty good read.  It is an apologetic of sorts, but mainly just a great, in-depth description of every facet of our Savior.  Below are some great quotes I have come across so far:

“No matter how many verses are used, the Bible has not been rightly understood or proclaimed unless Jesus is the central focus and hero.”

“…Jesus’ mission on the earth was not to diminish, disregard, or disavow the Old Testament.  Rather, he came to fulfill all that was anticipated of him in the Scriptures.”

“As a prophet, Jesus is to be understood as the truth-telling boldly confrontational preacher who attacks our sin, folly, and rebellion by rebuking us and commanding us to repent.”

“As our king, Jesus demands and deserves obedient loyalty to his commands over every aspect of our life.  Subsequently, there is no such thing as a personal life for the Christian.”

This last quote kinda contains a revelation I had recently and have been walking in recently.  I have never been a really greedy person, I have sin issues, but that’s not one of the areas I struggle with.  But I have recently encountered, deeper than I have before, the concept of everything in this world belonging to God, not those who physically possess it.  I have always known, ya know, in the deep recesses of my mind, that none of my money is mine, yadda yadda yadda.  But I have only really thought about it deeply the past month or so.  It kind of plays into the concept of, “everything happens for a reason (the glory of God).”  I just know that if I lose something, or if something gets stolen, or if I feel the need to give something away that I am attached to, it is not mine, it is God’s, he merely lent it to me.  This makes it much easier to let go of things when God calls you to give things up.  In possessing all of your stuff, keep your hands open.  Allow your things to pass freely to those who may need them more than you.  Don’t grip onto your things so tightly you begin to think you actually did something to earn them.  It is only by God’s grace you have life, let alone your flat screen TV or paycheck.

I’m getting kinda tired, and I don’t think I’ll be able to come up with much more that is very profound.  I’ll post again soon.

-Chris

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Natural

Hey there.  I know it’s unlike me to post twice in two weeks, let alone twice in one week, but I just had a thought I wanted to share.  I have written on this before (that super long post about “Oh the Places You’ll Go”) but I just had this feeling again.

I just finished my third of five finals of this semester.  Tomorrow, in about 30 hours, I will be done with my freshman year of college.  That sounds so unnatural, but what I want to write briefly about today is, that while it sounds unnatural, it doesn’t feel unnatural.

I’m sure people who have watched me grow up think it’s uncanny that I’m finishing my freshman year of college (these are generally the same people that comment on how much you’ve grown and pinch your cheeks).  But while it may seem unnatural to them, it doesn’t phase me at all.  There is a blessing in not being overwhelmed with how quickly your life is moving.  College people used to seem so old, so weathered, so mature.  And now that I’m here, I see that while we may be older, and probably smarter, than those younger than us, we do not face any different problems than we used to, just new experiences.  There is still the drama of high school, the awkwardness of middle school (though not in astronomical quantities), and even a little bit of the naiveté of elementary school.  People still stab people in the back, people still cheat, people still have problems sharing; we aren’t unprepared for the problems of college.  College allows us to encounter new experiences, some of which may be unnerving, but in reality, we don’t deal with any new issues.  We just deal with the same ones in different packaging.  And this may all be because I am only done with my freshman year; by senior year, I may encounter new problems I have not yet encountered.

While this is whole college thing is nothing new, and while it is good to consider it just another step towards Christ and his glory, we need not let it pass without notice.  There is a fine line between taking the college transition in stride and taking it for granted.  It is so important in these four(ish) years our lives, as we continue to discover who God made us to be, that we do not wish it away and live through it like any other period of life.  The work is difficult, the relationships rewarding and stressful, the growth straining, and the memories many.  But do the work, build the relationships, persevere the growth, and make the memories to glorify Christ.  I have only gone through my first year, and I can already see myself and others wishing away these college days.  To get to what?  To get to life after college, which, like we once saw college, we see as amazing, rewarding, freeing.  But, if we attempt to get through college as fast as we can, we will arrive at adult life only to realize that is another step in the road, like college, like high school, like middle school.

Don’t treat this college experience as a stepping stone, live for the now.  Let your degree and future aspirations take a back seat to living for Christ and glorifying him in the present day.  You can glorify Christ no less in how you write your papers, how you take your finals, than you can in your future job, with your future spouse, at your future job, in your future home.  Those are going to be just as much of a chore as college is if you continue to treat these parts of life as arbitrary means to an unforeseen end.

This has been a much longer rant than I had planned on it being, and I got off track a bit, but it didn’t turn out too bad.  Bottom line is:

To college students – Stop wishing away college.  You have no less work now than you will in the “real world.”  If we keep looking at college as a chore as we are, we will see our jobs as chores as well, and, before you know it, we will be living for retirement.  And when we get to retirement, we will see how much we wasted in pursuit of…boredom.

To pre-college students – Enjoy every minute of high school.  Find every way to inject Christ into your high school experience, public or private.  Please use this time to begin to discover what God has made you to do, and who God has made you to be.  And remember, this discovery is best done through prayer and meditation on God’s word.

Ok, I think I’m done writing.  I could probably write a bunch more, but I would undoubtedly start repeating myself.  I have a couple of finals to study for, and I am going to do my best to enjoy them.

Have a great day.  Pursue Christ and his kingdom.

-Chris

Another Life Update

Howdy!  I am sitting here at my desk in my dorm room at Taylor University this gray Sunday night.  This was a great weekend.  I came home Saturday morning and went to my brother’s basketball game and watched him put up 14 points, it was awesome, he did really well.  Then, I went to the wedding of John Wassell and (formerly) Whitney Ashtary.  It was a great time dancing and hanging out with friends in celebration of a marriage that was a long time coming.

Then, today, I got to go to church and see my little elementary school buddies.  The most interesting part of the day, so far, was definitely the car ride back to Taylor with miss Susan Roth.  She and I were making our way back to TU when we passed two dead deer on the side of the road (I have never seen deer roadkill before, Susie was surprised.).  Then, we saw a hawk swoop down in an attempt to hunt for some food or something.  And then, we passed some RV parked on the side of the highway, and to our surprise, a family got out.  We passed before we could see what they were up to.  Needless to say, it was the oddest, most random car ride I have ever been a part of.

Currently, I am listening to an Owl City/The Ready Set playlist I made for myself last week.  It is the ULTIMATE summer playlist.  Love it.  In four days I will be going back home to Fort Wayne for the summer.  I cannot wait to have a bit more free time on my hands so I can read more than I am able to right now.  I can’t wait for a summer of reading, frisbee, lemonade, Owl City, and spiritual growth.  It is going to be a great summer, and I can’t wait for it to finally start.

I decided to write today because I said  I would write soon, and because I am currently bored out of my mind.  Finals week starts tomorrow, but I don’t have any study-worthy tests until Thursday, so I kinda have a lot of time on my hands.  After I write here, I plan on reading some of Mark Driscoll’s Vintage Jesus.  Which reminds me!  I have to update whoever still reads this thing on my newest life change!

After much consideration and prayer, last week, I changed my major to Biblical Literature, with a minor in Creative Writing.  Why the change?  Well, I have been fighting it for a while, my closest friends can attest to that, and I encountered an interesting passage while reading John Piper’s book, Don’t Waste Your Life.  While Pastor John was talking about being discontent with a profession, I related it to being discontent with my study.  It reads:

“Many of you should stay where you are in your present job, and simply ponder how you can fit your particular skills and relationships and resources more strategically into the global purpose of your heavenly Father. But for others reading this book, it is going to be different. Many of you are simply not satisfied with what you are doing. As J. Campbell White said, the output of your lives is not satisfying your deepest spiritual ambitions.  We must be careful here. Every job has its discouragements and its seasons of darkness. We must not interpret such experiences automatically as a call to leave our post.  But if the discontent with your present situation is deep, recurrent, and lasting, and if that discontent grows in Bible-saturated soil, God may be calling you to a new work. If, in your discontent, you long to be holy, to walk pleasing to the Lord, and to magnify Christ with your one, brief life, then God may indeed be loosening your roots in order to transplant you to a place and a ministry where the deep spiritual ambitions of your soul can be satisfied. It is true that God can be known and enjoyed in every legitimate vocation; but when he deploys you from one place to the next, he offers fresh and deeper drinking at the fountain of his fellowship. God seldom calls us to an easier life, but always calls us to know more of him and drink more deeply of his sustaining grace.”

After reading this passage, it just really hit me that I have a passion for studying God’s word more than anything else.  And though, while still an English Education major, I had dreams of going to seminary to study the Bible, I figured that I want to know as much as possible, so I decided to devote my undergrad to it as well.  I am beyond excited to be enrolled in my first semester of Greek next fall, studying poetic and wisdom literature of the Old Testament, and taking a class about discipleship in youth ministry as an elective.

In regards to what I plan on doing with this, I have no set plans.  I am willing to do anything as long as I am immersed in God’s word while doing it.  I will write, I will teach, I will preach, I will counsel, I will do anything as long as studying God’s word has to do with it.  I will have to focus myself on one or two of those things, namely when I get to seminary, but as for now, I’m open to whatever.  I am beyond excited to devote my life to the study of God’s word and the proclamation of Jesus Christ’s Gospel.

I have been reading a lot of books in addition to my Bible lately.  First, I read More Than a Carpenter by Josh and Sean McDowell, which a basic Christian apologetic.  Then, I read Don’t Waste Your Life as I mentioned above.  Then, I read The Radical Reformission by Mark Driscoll, which is a great book regarding churches and their part in culture, how to reach out without selling out.  Now, I am reading Vintage Jesus, another Driscoll book, that breaks down everything about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is a great apologetic.  After I get done with Vintage Jesus I will be reading my final Driscoll book called, Doctrine, which is Pastor Mark’s book outlining his theology on a variety of topics.  Finally, after all of that, I want to take some time to study Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology book.  But by that time, school may have started again, so I will have to play that by ear.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed reading up on my life, as if you care.  I will be reading a lot this summer and I hope to be writing a lot about what I am reading.  Please contact me if you wanna go to coffee or go on a walk or play tennis or ANYTHING sometime this summer.  :)  Finals week begins tomorrow.  Pray for wisdom and perseverance.

Love you all.  Pursue Christ daily.

-Chris