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June 2008

A New Chapter

DSCF4006box Friday was my last day as a high school assistant principal (for now).  As I took the pictures and diplomas off the walls, boxed up my files and backed up my hard drive I found myself reflecting upon the goodness of God in my life.  I have now served as a school administrator in grades and schools ranging from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  The past two years at the high school of Taejon Christian International School have been a significant challenge and a great blessing in my life.  It is my prayer that any experiences and/or insights that I have gleaned from my administrative and school leadership experiences will be used by God for good in the days ahead.

Looking to the future, I am excited about my new role as the Director of Spiritual Formation Programs at both Taejon Christian International School and Gyeonggi Suwon International School.  When I think about the 1000+ students, 300+ staff (and families), and the diversity of the two different schools (in South Korea), I find myself feeling a bit anxious and inadequate for the job.  This new job is both a new role for me and a newly created administrative position at each of the schools.

As I embark on this new chapter and experience in my life, I find myself to be in a place of immense dependence upon and trust in God.  This is where I want to be.  I pray that in the days ahead I might be a part of lifting up the blessed name of Jesus Christ in the world and assisting others on their journey into a deeper relationship with Him.


There is an interesting article in the BBC online news titled “Hints of time before the Big Bang.”  Please click on the title link and take a look at the article.

The article talks about cosmic microwave backgrounds, time, galaxies, the origin of the universe, the laws of thermodynamics and lots of other types of scientific things that are way over my head.  The article centers on the research and theories of a team of cosmologists and physicists from the California Institute for Technology (Caltech).  They are wrestling with the idea that there was something from which the current universe came—a “parent” of our universe.

At one point in the article the research professor from Caltech urges other professors to “broaden their horizons” as it relates to what was “before” the universe.  He says, “We're trained to say there was no time before the Big Bang, when we should say that we don't know whether there was anything - or if there was, what it was." 

After reading and reflecting on this article my mind went to some passages of scripture:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  Genesis 1:1 (NIV)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”  John 1:1-5 (NIV)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”  Proverbs 25:2 (NIV)

There are so many questions, theories and ideas about the origins of all that exists. Humankind learns more and more everyday about the universe and every ounce of the new information is replete with the glory of God.  It is fun thinking about how the universe came to be and about what came before the universe, but it is even greater to know who came before.  The one who came before was the originator of time as we know it.  He is the one “through whom all things were made” and it is through Him that all things continue to exist.  The one who came before is the same one that is present with us in the here and now.  It is the one who loves us most—Jesus.

Running Reflection

“God narrows our “shan’ts” to one explosive point. I don’t need to go that way, but God will have to bring me there if I persist in the little disobediences which no one knows but myself, because it is engendering in me a spirit God cannot allow.”

                 —Oswald Chambers, Run Today's Race, January 9
Reflections by Ryan:

My ribs were hurting.  They were hurting because I was playing city league basketball with a bunch of loggers in Baker City, Oregon, whose elbows were just as hard and dangerous as the axe handles that they carried around in the beds of their pickups.
On a Sunday morning, after a particularly painful Saturday night game, I was bemoaning my aches and pains to some friends at church when one of the guys listening to my whining spoke up with what I consider to be an extremely profound and true statement.  He was a crusty old cowboy from Eastern Oregon, who was unsympathetically amused with my case of sore ribs.  With a smirk on his face, he reached out, poked me in the ribs and said, "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."
If you take a moment to think about it...he is right.

There are some choices that we all make in life that look good, seem pleasurable and appear harmless, yet ultimately, they end up being difficult, painful and costly in multiple ways.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12

If you want to continue down that path and persist in your own (dumb) way, go ahead, but you better be tough enough to weather the consequences of your choices.

God is a loving father who will do just about anything for His children, and He is one who hates to see His children learn lessons the hard way.  He readily shows the way and He loves to see His children follow it. Through His Word, the Holy Spirit, the counsel of friends and His still small voice, God offers guidance, delineates boundaries and illumines the paths of His children. He does this by affirming the “shoulds” in life and by giving warnings via the “shan’ts” in life.

The “shoulds” in each of our lives are not so much about following the rules that are listed in the church manual or posted on the classroom wall, as they are about obedience—obedience to God.  God says, “If you love me, you will obey me.” 

The “shan’ts” on the other hand, are the little disobediences in life. They are those things in your heart and life that only you—and God—know about.   The “shan’ts” are not so much about breaking rules as they are about breaking relationship with the one who loves you most.

To ignore, make light of, or disregard the “shan’ts” in life is to take part in a very dangerous activity.  God loves each of us too much to allow us to continue down a path that will cause us great pain and that will serve to hinder our relationship with Him.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Mark 8:36

Jesus came to forgive our sins, redeem our hearts and restore our lives.  The judging will come later.  Are you dabbling in some “shan’ts” in your life?  Are you disregarding some “shoulds”?  Don’t wait around for a poke in the ribs.  That is just too painful and dangerous.  Heed God’s prodding and obey Him—now. 

Anything less is just plain…dumb.

Run Today’s Race: A Word from Oswald Chambers for Every Day of the Year. Copyright © 1968 Oswald Chambers Publications Association Ltd.
Scripture: NIV