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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wrestling with a Passage

So my fears were realized and I was assigned the most difficult passage in 1 Peter for the teacher training workshop - 1 Peter 3:13-22.
"In all the NT, 1 Peter 3:18-22 is considered one of the most difficult and enigmatic passages to interpret." - Expositor's Bible Commentary
I know God is in control. I know He's not out to get me. But I'm incredibly discouraged. I'm not sure I even want to do this whole teaching thing. My emotions appear to be in quite the fragile state.
Before I got the email yesterday with the assignment, I was second-guessing whether to pursue BSF leadership. I'm not sure I have the energy to commit to that. Part of me wants to drop BSF - it's time-consuming. And then I get home with the email being assigned the most difficult passage and my desire to teach goes flying out the door! I feel like it's a "sign" that I'm not supposed to do this. It's too hard and I don't have what it takes.
Our current sermon series at church is on discipleship, being a follower of Jesus. And the reminder that it's about dying to self in order to follow what Christ wants. It's not about our desires or needs, it's about being obedient to God's will. Is it God's plan for me to pursue teaching? Perhaps this is all part of a way to humble me, to strip me of the pride I struggle with so much. Perhaps this training workshop will show me that I don't have the ability to teach, that it's not what God has in mind. Am I willing to be humbled, to die to self?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Leadership means dealing with people

I'm not so sure I'm cut out for this leadership thing. Dealing with people is messy and difficult. Sometimes I just want to retreat into my little cocoon and not deal with the world any more. And I can really be a jerk when I get emotional or angry. Then I do stupid things and humiliate myself, which maybe isn't such a bad thing as it causes me to learn humility. Pride is such a struggle for me, along with anger. Being critical of others is a huge fault of mine and I need to be better at compassion and sympathy, rather than immediately jumping to conclusions about others.
When defending my view, I need to be certain of my facts and not "shoot from the hip" as it were, which then causes me to look foolish and my words are ignored, though part of what I had to say was accurate. When truth is mixed with faulty information, often the truth gets discarded along with the error. People are not eager to be shown the truth if they don't already believe it. Their own views are usually heavily entrenched and not easily changed. The problem becomes when they are not even open to hearing a different opinion. If I was wrong, I'd want to learn how I was wrong so I could change my view. But most people aren't willing to hear that they are wrong. And if I'm told I'm wrong in a rude, obnoxious way, I'm less likely to listen, so that may also affect how others hear me. So far to go in learning to love others!

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.