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October 2007


2007_1030009 I apologize for being so lax in my postings lately.  The days start early and before I know it the clock reads twenty minutes to midnight.  Part of the reason that I haven't posted lately is because of the four inch think book you see in the picture.  It is the book that we are working through in the class that I am taking.  Long hours at school and a few evening events scattered throughout this past week and a half have left me with little time to do the necessary reading and writing for my class.  I am keeping up, barely.

OK, I am done whining.  Thanks for listening.

On another note: Tonight we (Ryan, Dina, Becca and Sarah) sat at the dinner table in our apartment and laughed and enjoyed each other.  Dina picked up some chicken at Home Plus and she whipped up some "instant" Idaho potatoes from Costco and we had a wonderful meal at home.  I cherish our time together.

As I watch my 13 year old and my 11 year old daughters seemingly grow before my eyes I don't take a meal at home together for granted.  Sarah was the source of our entertainment for the evening as we reflected on some of her "Sarah-isms" from the past week.

  • A few days ago Becca and Sarah were arguing (imagine that) and at one point Sarah pulled out a mixed metaphor that served to deflate the argument with peals of laughter.  Sarah told Becca not to "Point a finger because ......she has a log in her own eye...."  Huh?
  • One day last week Sarah came home discouraged.  She said that in choir she was assigned the fourth part of a song with a three part harmony.  Bummer.

After some discussion we figured out that she was the fourth person in a group that was singing a song in three part harmony and Sarah was finding it a challenge to find her part.

I will try to ramble a bit more often.

Savor your time with loved ones and keep singing--even if you feel like you are the fourth part of a three part harmony!


Dscf1131_2 Isaiah 68:4-8





4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
       no ear has perceived,
       no eye has seen any God besides you,
       who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
       who remember your ways.
       But when we continued to sin against them,
       you were angry.
       How then can we be saved?

6 All of us have become like one who is unclean,
       and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
       we all shrivel up like a leaf,
       and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

7 No one calls on your name
       or strives to lay hold of you;
       for you have hidden your face from us
       and made us waste away because of our sins.

8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
       We are the clay, you are the potter;
       we are all the work of your hand.

In the Thick of It

"Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man."

--Chambers, O. 1958, Disciples Indeed

I hope this quote by Oswald Chambers serves to encourage and challenge you today.  Aren't you thankful that God is right in the thick of things with you?  I am.

On another note......

Where are you standing?  Paul says that in Christ we no longer live but rather Christ lives in us.  We are God's hands and feet.  Are you in the thick of it with someone else?

Did you notice the title of the book that the above quote came from?

Disciples Indeed


Back to School

Ihxp Well, here I go....back to school.

On Monday I begin taking an on-line class from Northwest Nazarene University.  The class I am taking is Biblical Theology from Dr. George Lyons.

Here is a part of the course description from Dr. Lyons' class:

"This class is a survey of the historical and theological discipline and data of biblical theology. Some attention is given to its history, definition, and methods. Major attention focuses upon the content of biblical theology: its major witnesses, themes, and theologically significant passages. Consideration is given to the relationship between this synthesizing account of the religious and theological message of the Bible and responsible exegesis, hermeneutics, systematic theology, and preaching.

There are many worthy ends for studying the Bible — historical information, literary appreciation, social insight, cultural awareness, religious comprehension, spiritual formation, etc. The explicit aim of this course is theological understanding and integration. Within this context, learning disconnected biblical trivia is not an end in itself. Although biblical knowledge is a noble pursuit, a major goal of Scripture study for Christians must be to allow the Bible to shape their understanding of the triune God and how God relates to human beings, and the entire created order."




I have taken classes before from Dr. Lyons and he is an excellent and very challenging professor.  I am looking forward to growing through my study of the Word of God within the context of this class.  It is my prayer that my studies will be fruitful and will "spill" over in a productive and formative way into the lives of my family, friends and coworkers.


Why am I taking a class?


Lord willing, I would like to make application to the Drew University On-line Doctor of Ministry program next Fall.  As a prerequisite to applying for this program I am in need of some additional credits in the areas of Biblical Studies, Biblical Theology and Church History.  Thus, I am planning on taking this class and two others this year.

Taking an on-line class (25 hours a week) within the context of a full-time job and life in general is very demanding, but it can be done.  Lord willing, I can do it and I want to do it.  As the saying goes, "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."  I will need to make some changes in my personal schedule and be very disciplined as I move through the class.  My personal reading list will go on hold for awhile and my "TV time," which is non-existent anyway, will remain non-existent.

I am looking toward pursuing a D.Min. degree because it is something that I am interested in and it is something that I hope that God can use for His glory in my life.  I want to be available for God to work in and through my life.

Within my new schedule and responsibility I hope to keep up on my family blog and I hope to keep up on this blog.  Be warned, there is good chance that some of my thoughts from my classes may end up as posts on this blog.

I would appreciate your prayers as I move into taking classes.  Please pray -- not that I would get an "A" in the class or become a genius but rather that I would keep those things that are most important in life at the forefront of my mind and heart.  Relationships are the things that I can't sacrifice for this class, degree or any other life venture.  Pray that I would keep my relationships with God, my wife, my daughters, my family and my friends in the place of utmost importance.

I am excited and a little nervous about this class.  Thanks for listening to my ramblings....

Write It Down

I am bad.....I write in my Bible.  I don't just underline in pencil or highlight in cheery colors of phosphorescent yellow, pink or blue, I actually write in my Bible (sometimes in ink, yipes).

Dscf1118 Nearly every morning I try to read some of the Bible and as a part of that reading I take a few minutes and read a chapter of Proverbs for the day.  Let me tell you what I mean by this.  There is a book in the Bible called Proverbs.  There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs.  Proverbs is a book of wise sayings--wisdom from God for life and daily living.  So, I read one chapter of Proverbs every day of the week--31 chapters for the 31 days in the month (I know, I know...except for September, April, June, November and February).  On the 2nd day of the month I read Proverbs 2, on the 11th day of the month I read Proverbs 11 and so on. 

So today I read Proverbs 18.  I have read Proverbs 18 before....many times before.  Today as I read Proverbs 18 I was reminded of some things that I had read before and I found some new things.  I am sure I have read them before but today they were new...and they were speaking to me.....loudly.  (Now you are saying yipes.)

In short, I believe that the Bible, the Word of God, is living and active.  As I submit myself to the Word something happens.  Somehow, through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Bible actually speaks to and into my heart and life--touching on places and issues that are pertinent to the moment and to the day ahead of me.

I don't know about you but I need all the wisdom I can get, so when I hear some wisdom--I write it down so that I can remember it for later.  That is why I write in my Bible.

I want to share with you some of the things that I have written in my Bible.  Open up your Bible to Proverbs 18 and follow along.  You can read Proverbs 18 on your own, I am just going to show you what I wrote next to some of the verses in Proverbs 18.Dscf1117 

  • Proverbs 18:2 -- Listen to others
  • Proverbs 18:3 -- Don't do it!
  • Proverbs 18:4 -- Help me to be Yours
  • Proverbs 18:6 -- Watch your words
  • Proverbs 18:7 -- Watch your words
  • Proverbs 18:8 -- No rumors
  • Proverbs 18:10 -- (I have this verse circled)
  • Proverbs 18:11 -- God is our fortress
  • Proverbs 18:12 -- (I have "humility precedes honor" underlined)
  • Proverbs 18:13 -- Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.
  • Proverbs 18:15 -- Teachable
  • Proverbs 18:17 -- So true (As a vice principal I am often judge and jury)
  • Proverbs 18:20 -- Words are powerful
  • Proverbs 18:21 -- James 1:19
  • Proverbs 18:24 -- (I have "a real friend sticks closer than a brother" underlined)

This is what I heard.  Lord willing I will read Proverbs 18 again next month and I will be listening.  Between now and then I must respond in obedience to the prompting of the Lord in my life.  The Word of God has been called a "lamp unto our feet".  In other words, it is as valuable as a flashlight on a path on a moonless night.  The Word of God illuminates our path as we journey through life.

Are you reading the Word?  Are you allowing God to show you the way and give you strength and wisdom for the journey?

Take some time.  Read God's word.  Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying and if you hear something.........write it down.

Be There

Today I spent the day on the TCIS soccer field.  We hosted an all league middle school jamboree at our school.  There were soccer players and spectators everywhere on the campus.  I spent the day on the sidelines of the field watching Becca play in four soccer games.

Throughout the day at the soccer jamboree I saw many of our TCIS middle school and high school dorm students hanging around either watching or participating in the soccer games.  Some of our high school students were serving as coaches and assistant coaches of one of our six TCIS soccer teams.

As I stood on the sidelines watching game after game of soccer I had the chance to talk with lots of staff, students and even a few parents.  At one point in the day I found myself talking with James, a senior that lives in our dormitory program here at TCIS.  James is a Korean young man that I have gotten to know pretty well over the past year and a half that I have been at TCIS.  I am his vice principal and I have seen him in my office a couple of times for less than desirable reasons.  However, through it all we have maintained a good relationship and we often exchange a friendly "hello" in the hallways and around the school.

As I stood with James on the sidelines of the soccer field he was asking me about where I was from and what my home state in the USA was like. I told him about Idaho's deserts, farmland, mountains, rivers and beautiful lakes.  He wondered why I would leave all that beauty to come to a place like South Korea.  I told him that I had lived in Idaho for most of my life and had enjoyed Idaho's beauty but now I was enjoying the beauty, uniqueness and the people of South Korea.

James shared with me that because of his father's work (he is a foreign diplomat) he has never lived in the same place for more than three years.  James has lived in some amazing places like France, Belgium, Germany, Vietnam, and South Africa.  As I responded with awe at the exotic and varied places that James had lived he agreed that they were great places but he also commented that in some ways it wasn't so great.  He said he never really was able to make any good friends during his growing up years and he really doesn't have a place in the world that he can call home.  He said that even though he is ethnically Korean and speaks Korean he feels a bit out of place at times--he said that sometimes he doesn't understand the Korean jokes that his friends tell.

James asked me about where I lived in Daejeon and he asked me about what I do on the weekends when I am not working at school.  I told him that on weekends I do a few things that need to get done, I go to church on Sunday mornings,  and otherwise try to spend some time with my family.  I told him that oftentimes on Saturdays I spend time with my daughters, Becca and Sarah.  As an example, I told him that I had about a month of my Saturdays already booked because I was committed to watching Becca play soccer on those days.

James said, "I bet your daughter is really thankful that you watch her play soccer."

I said, "What?"  (His comment caught me by some ways it didn't register.)

James said, "I bet it really makes your daughter happy to have you come and watch her play soccer."

(I had really never thought about this.  She has never said anything about me being there to watch her--but I know she appreciates me being there.)

As I stood there thinking about the comment, James preceded to tell me that in all his years of playing soccer--elementary, middle school and high school (and he is now a Senior) his parents had never seen him play in a single soccer game.  He says his father is always too busy and his mother isn't interested in sports.

I said, "Wow, James, I'm sorry, that must be kinda tough."

He responded, "Yeah, everybody likes someone to come and watch them."

I told him that this Spring, during varsity soccer, I was going to contact him and tell him the day that I was going to attend the game for the single purpose of watching him play soccer.

James said, "I would really like that Mr. Roberts."

The TCIS varsity soccer season doesn't start for a few more months but when James hits the field to play in his final season of high school sports and he looks up at the spectators in the stands for someone cheering for him, this vice principal and.....friend, is going to be there.

Chew on this awhile...

Psalm 130 (NLT)

1 From the depths of despair, O Lord,
      I call for your help.
2 Hear my cry, O Lord.
      Pay attention to my prayer.

3 Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
      who, O Lord, could ever survive?
4 But you offer forgiveness,
      that we might learn to fear you.

5 I am counting on the Lord;
      yes, I am counting on him.
      I have put my hope in his word.
6 I long for the Lord
      more than sentries long for the dawn,
      yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
      for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
      His redemption overflows.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
      from every kind of sin.

My attention was drawn to this passage of scripture in a worship service led by the group, Station 2--look them up, they are great.

As I meditate on this passage I am stunned and deeply moved.  I see four things that I can do and three things that God does.

4 things I do:

  • Call to the Lord for help
  • Count on the Lord
  • Put my hope in the Lord and in His word
  • Long for the Lord

3 things God does:

  • He offers forgiveness
  • He pours out redemption
  • He holds out unfailing love

Wow, chew on that awhile and taste and see that the Lord is good.

Paying Attention

Drawing Where do you see and/or experience God in your life?

The other day I rambled on a bit about “meeting” with God in the mornings.  As I have reflected on that post I want to make sure that I don’t leave the impression that there are only specific ways and times that each of us can experience and relate with and “see” God.

Last week my family was on vacation and my wife and I decided to have a “street artist” do a drawing of our two daughters.  As I watched the faces of my daughters seemingly emerge from the paper I found myself in awe of the “talent” being exhibited by the artist.  Standing there, that evening on the beach, watching the artist at work, I thought of, experienced and “saw” the hand of the Master Artist—God.

The hand of God and His presence are evident in so many places in life—in the good things of life.  There is an inclination to think that good things only come from “Christian sources”—Christian books, Christian movies, art by Christians, Christian programming, Christian music….the list goes on.  It is true, there are a lot of great things that come from Christian sources but—God is not only found there. It says in the book of James that God is the author of every good and perfect thing. 

I am often surprised to find that I see and experience God in many ways and places.  I like to watch movies and more often than not I find a thread of God and His handiwork running through the story line of nearly every movie I watch.  As I watch our school’s cross country runners cross the finish line in the midst of the cheering friends and fans I can’t help but think of the Apostle Paul’s reference to “running the race” of faith.  As the clapping and celebration go on around me I find I am silenced by a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye as I see God in the midst of it all.

Why do I see God in so many places around me?  It is because He is there and…..because I am looking for God. 

Are you looking for Him?  Consider the following quote from Gerald May,

Spiritual leadership springs forth in grace from our very desire for God’s presence.  This does not take effort or striving.  It takes courage, a kind of showing up, attentiveness.”

As we go about our days we need to be attentive to His handiwork in our midst.  If we look closely we will be awed to see His beauty and grace emerging from the canvas of life around us.


Dscf0840 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.            --2 Corinthians 12:9


Paul had a thorn and God knew about it.  At first glance Paul's thorn was a limiting factor in his life.  However, in light of God's grace, this weakness became perfect strength.


I am beginning to realize that life is thorny.  There are big thorns (like Paul's) and little thorns (like mine).  Today I found myself being pricked by the thorns of busyness, urgency, demands and too little time.


At the school that I work at, both the high school principal and the middle school principal are away at conferences.  It is my responsibility, as the assistant principal, to take care of things in their absence.  Today was a nutty day.


There were lots of little "needs" in both buildings and at least one "big" need in each building.  "Needs" have a ring of urgency to them and they look a lot like demands and busyness.  The problem is that I had some "plans" that needed to get done and the time available just wasn't sufficient.


I had to make a presentation to the middle school students on a very specific topic and my "plan" was to prepare for the activity today and make the presentation at the end of the school day--I had the time.  But then the thorns started poking.


The "thorns" were people and people are important, so I took the time.  I am glad I did.  God helped me to solve some problems, to encourage a teacher, console a student and mediate a broken relationship.  I addressed each of the "needs" of the day except for the one that I "planned" to address and my time was up.  I found myself with just a very few minutes to finalize my presentation for the middle school students.


I prepared what I could with the time that I had and made the presentation-- I can't imagine how it could have gone any better.  I was amazed as I made my closing comments and I am still amazed as I sit here rambling on.


In my weakness, God's power was evident.  In my own strength and planning I didn't have enough time to get it all done. 


As I tackle life, following the Spirit, living in the timeline of God's grace, I find that even in the midst of the thorns, His grace is all I need.  It is "sufficient."

A Meeting Place

Here is a picture from the table I was sitting at in a Starbucks in Busan, South Korea.  It was a nice view and a nice place.  Last week my family and I spent three days in Busan Dscf0735_2and I got up early and went to Starbucks every morning that we were there. 

Why?.... well, for lots of reasons:

  • I like Starbucks coffee
  • The view of the beach was fantastic
  • I had to walk along the beach to get to the Starbucks (that was nice)
  • I like to have a bit of quiet time to myself at the beginning of each day
  • My back was hurting and I couldn't stay in bed any longer
  • I need caffeine in the morning

--but those reasons aren't the main reason.  The main reason I got up early and went to Starbucks each morning was to meet with God.

That might sound a bit profound and a bit profane--Meet with God???? Starbucks?!?

I am sorry to say, but there is no magic in Starbucks.  It is a just a place.  But it was a good place for me, for three days, in Busan.  It was such a good place that it now serves as a great memory in my mind.  Why?....well not because of the coffee, or the view, but because God was there.

You see, God is always there but I don't always give Him my attention.  The morning is one of the few times in my day that I try to deliberately focus my attention--my heart and my mind--on God.  I read the Bible, I read devotional thoughts written from the likes of Oswald Chambers and George McDonald, I write in my journal and I pray--and somehow, in some mysterious way, I experience God.  He is there and I am glad that I am there.

When I say I experience God I use the term "experience" broadly.  I know God is there because He says He is always with us and deep in my heart I just know that I know that He is there. Some mornings my time in the Word and in prayer are richer than other times--sometimes I am convicted and sometimes I am encouraged, sometimes I see clearly and sometimes I see through a glass darkly, sometimes I am deeply moved and sometimes I feel flat and unmoved.  Regardless,....He is there.

I am not sure that my experience is what is most important.  The thing that makes the time, place and meeting so special isn't the coffee, it is that I am there is God.