Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thoughts from the Simeon Trust Workshop training

Where to even begin regarding the impact that going to the Simeon Trust Workshop had on me. And not just the workshop itself but the conversations with other ladies that pointed me in a different direction than I was doing. Realizing how bad I am at studying the Bible and the incredible need for studying with other believers. And yet my still having the desire to teach and share with others what the Bible says and to awaken a passion within them for God's Word and knowing it. To spend a few days surrounded by other Christian women who are passionate about studying God's Word and want to do it correctly was an amazing experience. Too often I feel that others around me aren't as invested in studying God's Word as I am or don't have the desire to know and read the Bible like I do. Oh that others would see the joy that can be found in knowing God through His Word!
As I continue on this path of teaching and leading, I have found that while leading a discussion group is part of it, my heart is to teach. BSF leadership training is not the direction to prepare me for that. I've struggled a bit with being at BSF, finding it not as deep as what I would like. While I have learned a lot this year through the study of Moses - the holiness of God and the horribleness of our sin - it's still a more basic study than what I would prefer. And there is a tendency for the text to be moralized in order to bring out application, when perhaps there really isn't a direct application in that particular text. After conversations at the workshop, I've come to the decision that continuing in BSF is not the route I want to take. I will likely finish out the year but not continue in the fall. Dropping BSF will free me up for other potential Bible studies or perhaps even teaching opportunities with Sunday School. Though I don't know that I really am good enough for teaching. Perhaps starting with teaching theology rather than a direct Bible study will give me room to grow in how I study the Bible and help me to become more proficient at it before leading an actual study.
I've also seen that I long for actual Bible study, not just a book discussion group. But others don't seem to have that desire, at least not as strongly.
I think part of the allure or encouragement of the workshop was being around other women that seemed to be similar to where I am in my spiritual walk. Sometimes I feel alone, that with the books I read I'm further ahead than others and find it hard to have conversations. But I have to be mindful of pride and remember that I'm only where I'm at because of God's grace to me. And I need to learn how to pass on my knowledge in a way that can be understood and help others to grow further.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Tyranny of Books

I've been attending BSF this year (Bible Study Fellowship) and studying the Life of Moses. Each week we're given some notes and questions to go over, studying sections of the Bible on our own. Then once a week we meet with a discussion group and discuss the questions we did, then sit through a lecture on the passages we studied. This past week in the lecture, the speaker talked about how possessions can often possess us, owning us rather than us owning them. In reality God owns everything and all that we have is a gift from Him for our stewardship.
This struck me in regards to all the books I own. Often I get obsessed with what I'm currently reading, how soon I can finish a book so I can pick up the next one, or what I'm going to read next. I have so many books that I want to read and I want to read them all NOW! :-) It becomes a distraction and causes me to stress over how quickly I can read and get through books so I can move on to the next ones. What about just the sheer joy of reading? I read to learn; why can't I just relax and learn from what I'm currently reading without thinking about what I'll read next? Books start to possess me rather than me possessing them.
In reality God owns it all anyway. And learning doesn't do me any good if I'm not putting into action what I'm learning. People are more important than books. And if I'm spending my time and energy focusing on books and what I plan to read instead of the people that are in my life, then I'm not pleasing God. So rather than obsessing over how many books I can get through in a year, I need to focus instead on the people God has put in my life and how I can best encourage them and help them to learn and grow also.

Monday, January 19, 2015

College Classes

As part of our application for membership with SEND, we had to submit our college transcripts. We got a copy for ourselves to have on record. As I looked over the classes I had in college, it's funny how some of them I didn't even remember that I had taken.

Freshman Year (Fall):
Old Testament Survey
Honors English Composition
Personal Evangelism I
History of World Civilizations I
Physical Education/Life Fitness
General Psychology
Theology I
(Audited Concert Choir)

Freshman Year (Spring):
New Testament Survey
History of World Civilizations II
American Literature: Real & Modern Writings
Speech Communication
Building a Biblical Lifestyle

Sophomore Year (Fall):
Introduction to Fine Arts
Principles of Bible Study
The Church's Ministry
Biological Science Survey
Theology II

Sophomore Year (Spring):
History of Baptist Belief
Cross Cultural Communication
Theology III
Theology IV

Junior Year (Fall):
Psych of Learning & Education
Personality Theory
Oral Interpretation
Theology V

Junior Year (Spring):
Pastoral Epistles
Poetic Books
Introduction to Drama
Personal Evangelism II
Dynamics of Discipling

Senior Year (Fall):
The Christian Home
Defending the Faith
Effective Bible Teaching
Introduction to Counseling

Senior Year (Spring):
Gospel of John
Women Counseling Women
Church Drama
Earth Science Survey
Theology VI

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Changing of a Dream

I worked in the Short-Term department at SEND International, a missions agency, for 2 years and this was my dream job. Because of a unhealthy emotional situation there, I needed to leave after 2 years and ended up at another job where I worked for almost 10 years before quitting to stay at home and work part-time. At the time I had to leave my dream job at SEND, I was devastated and didn't really understand what God was doing, just knew that I needed to leave and He was in control of it. Now, many years later, I realize that what I'm doing now is really a dream "job" and would not have been possible most likely if I had stayed at SEND. By my working at another job that paid more over the last several years, we were able to get out of debt and be in a financial position for me to cut back to part-time work instead of full-time. This has freed me up to be more involved at our church and in ministry opportunities. I am developing relationships and using my gifts in ways that never would have happened if I had stayed at SEND. God's dreams were bigger than any that I had.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

1 Peter

Reading through 1 Peter multiple times in preparation for my study on it. Which in turn, is preparation for the teacher training workshop I will be going to in March where I will have to teach on two of the passages and critique others on their teaching. In my Bible study how-to, I harp on the importance of context and reading whole passages rather than picking verses out here and there. So reading an entire book in one sitting is helpful in getting the overall feel and theme of the book. So what has been my takeaway so far from 1 Peter?
Be sober and vigilant, be willing to suffer for doing what is right, our inheritance is secure. So often our focus is on what is going on currently in our lives and how we can best prevent trials and suffering. We forget that this world is merely temporary, a blip on the eternal future that we have waiting for us, secured by Christ. The trials now are part of our exile in a land that is not our own.
I'm not experiencing suffering currently. Though that could change in the blink of an eye. Feeling incredibly blessed these days in the life that I have. Yet this life is nothing compared to what awaits.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

So many thoughts

Sometimes it seems that I have so many thoughts and ideas running through my brain. That my brain doesn't really shut off but continues to percolate. Yesterday I found myself at work thinking about our church and some things I wanted to discuss with my husband Jono about it. I had to tell myself to stop thinking about it until I got home and could actually discuss it with him. Part of it was I didn't want to forget the questions I wanted to ask him. But I needed to stop thinking about it and concentrate more on what I was doing.
I think part of it may be related to my having OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). The actual disorder, not the "oh I'm a neat freak, I must have OCD" type. The obsessive nature of thinking about the same things and re-hashing them in my brain is related to the disorder. Thankfully, I'm on medication that helps to keep the disorder under control for the most part. But it does rear its head now and then.
Sometimes I think this desire to get training for teaching better is just causing extra work in my life. Do I really want to pursue this? Is it really worth all this time and effort? But that's the lazy side of me talking. I think God has given me this gift and unless I'm told that no, you're a lousy teacher and shouldn't do it, I think I need to pursue this. The discipline alone is good for me. And regardless of the outcome, it is good learning experience and helpful just to grow me as a person.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Meaning of Church

While this blog allows me a place to chronicle my journey in teaching and leadership, it is also a place to write out other issues that come through my life. We are not isolated compartments but whole beings. While the struggles I face in one area might have nothing to do with teaching, they affect me which in turn affects how I respond to situations and perhaps to teaching issues that arise.
Struggling with church issues has been an off and on, up and down issue throughout my entire life. Having not grown up in one specific church, my childhood memories of church consist of sitting uncomfortably in a church where I didn't understand the language. As well as memories of the English "church" service that the missionaries held on Sunday nights, where different men would take turns speaking or a tape of a sermon would be played. For the years I lived in the US, I was part of a local church, attending youth group and Sunday School, and even being part of the choir. Church in Kenya was listening to sermons in 2 languages, which often caused a lack of paying attention, since the train of thought kept getting stopped to interpret. Again missionaries met for an English service, which I found a time of hanging out with my friends and the boy I liked.
In college church was required, which didn't make for a lasting bond. Often I had no choice in what church to go to, as I didn't have a car and there was a church in walking distance. If I couldn't get a ride elsewhere, I had to trek to the church in walking distance. There wasn't a strong tie to the church as so many that attended were part of the college. During my senior year I was able to attend the church of my choice as I had a regular ride there. Once graduated and living in the same area with my own car, I was able to be part of this church. And making friends and getting involved there was beginning to happen for me as a young adult. But then I moved out of state. And discovered that finding a church as part of a couple was no easy matter.
Jono and I struggled with finding a church in Michigan. My past issues with churches reared their ugly head from time to time and I would withdraw from church to lick my wounds. Eventually we found a church and have now been there for 9 years. But no church is perfect and sometimes issues will arise. Lately we have been struggling with concerns at our church. Others have actually left the church - long-time members. This is concerning. Yet for now we have chosen to stay. We are hoping to be a positive influence for change. Yet the struggle is real and the discouragement hits often. How long will this take? Are we really making a difference?
I want to look at what the Bible says is the purpose for church. What is a church supposed to be accomplishing? Is our church doing this? If not, what needs to change or happen for it to be fulfilling the God-given mandate? If it is accomplishing its purpose, why the apathy and malaise?
I believe church is a body of believers who are Christ's disciples, growing in likeness to Him and producing more disciples as commanded in Matthew 28. Using our gifts to edify each other and be effective disciples of Christ - this is what I see in the Bible. What does that look like in practical terms? These are questions I am looking at.