I am so thankful to have the opportunity to pursue a Doctor of Ministry Degree at Drew University. The program that I will be involved in is the 21st Century Leadership Global/Online Concentration.
I pray that every aspect of this experience in my life will be used to glorify God and to further the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.
Help me, Lord, to remember that faith is not to be confined to the church or closet, nor exercised only in prayer and meditation, but that everywhere I am in your presence. So may my every word and action have moral content.
.— Susanna Wesley
Just a note to say that I am currently enrolled in another on-line class and I am loving it. The class is, “Wesleyan Tradition in Context.” Thus far in the class we are looking at the life, theology and ministry of John Wesley, an Anglican minister and Christian theologian who lived during the 1700’s.
Wesley is a fascinating man of God who lived a life of holiness that was realized in his love for the Lord and his love for others.
The above quote is from his mother, Susanna Wesley, who had a profound effect on his life, character and faith.
The following are some of my favorite John Wesley quotes:
“Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees”
"Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can”
"Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can”
"The Bible knows nothing of solitary religion.”
If you would like to learn more about John Wesley and Wesleyan Theology please take a look at this link.
If you are a Christian who can read I must ask, “Are you reading the Bible?” If you are reading the Bible, how are you reading it? Through what lens or perspective are you reading the Bible and interpreting its message?
Are you looking for quick answers, easy application and solid confirmation of your previously held beliefs and understandings? Or, are you reading to see and to know God?
God is love.
Just do it.
What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD)
…..I am reading the Bible differently these days. No more slogans, clichés or bumper sticker theology. I recently finished a course on “Biblical Theology” and I will never be able to read the Bible, hear a sermon or sing a worship chorus the same way again. Biblical theology is means of reading the Bible in light of….the Bible. Crazy thought isn’t it?
Until now, I have been inclined to take an isolated verse and/or passage from the Bible and build an entire theological thought or position upon it. In other words…proof texting.
I don’t presume to fully understand the scope of Biblical theology except to say that it is about putting isolated Bible verses back into chapters; putting Bible chapters back into Biblical books; putting the Biblical books back into the entire canon of Scripture and looking at the Bible message in light of the religious, political, social and historical climate in which it was written. What did it mean then to the hearers of that day? How does what it meant then play out in meaning to our lives today?
There are lots of good Biblical commentaries and resources available to aid in the understanding of Biblical history and context. These are not just for the likes of preachers; they are for any and all of us that can read.
The Word of God is not stagnant. It is alive. The story of the living God reaching out to all creation continues. You are a part of that story.
Read about it.
In the class that I am taking we are studying Biblical Theology and a couple of weeks ago we were considering the concept of “creation”. As you know, the concept of creation is a hot topic in and outside Christian circles.
As one of our assignments in class each of the students had to respond to the following question: “How might awareness of the biblical truths in today’s reading help an unbeliever more seriously consider the Christian faith?”
There were lots of differing opinions in my cohort of 15 people regarding the concept of “creation”. The posts and discussions were varied and interesting. The following is my response to one of my classmate’s post. It gives you a bit of an idea where my focus is in regards to engaging the world around me in the discussion of God, creation and spiritual things.
Here was my response:
As you have noted, the creation discussion involving literal ascription, evolutionary ideas, the metaphorical ascription and everything in-between has had a deleterious effort on the Christian message and witness in current society. With all of the different ideas regarding creation that are offered within theology, biological science, quantum physics and others, it would be more than presumptuous to ascribe dogmatically to any one creation concept.
However, after reading Scobie [our class text] I came away with two thoughts that I think are very important to consider when thinking about creation and when holding out those ideas to people considering the Christian faith.
It is important that the creation concept is considered within context—the entire canon of scripture. Creation and its fullness is not realized in only the opening chapters of Genesis but rather it must be considered within the entire concept of the Biblical narrative. The glory of creation is not seen by Christians or seekers in the idea of six days or six million years but rather in the result of creation as it is realized in God’s hand and presence over time.
Related to this is the concept of the unique and Godlike quality of human beings. The hand of God and the work of creation are evident in the result of his creation. The glory of God is realized in the people that are created in His image. What is important is not “how” but “who” and “what” was created; not “when” and “how long” but “why” was it all created.
It is at the point of these types of questions and considerations that a consideration of creation can move from a rejection of dogma to a realization of the Truth.
Those are my thoughts. What are yours?
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....