Saturday, April 30, 2005


We must send praises up to God for the opportunities he has given us!

Tanya and I have accepted the position as college minister at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. We are super excited about this new part of our lives! It is crazy to think that I finally have the opportunity to do ministry full-time. We have been waiting for this for a while. I don't have grad school to work on or a graduate assistant job to maintain. We can't wait to start!

Now we are working on packing things up. We anticipate this being the last major move we make, and that is a good thing! Tanya and I were commenting the other day that we have been in three different apartments and one rent house since we were married. That is a lot of moving!

Saturday, April 16, 2005


I have always wondered why Paul spends so much time giving greeting to people in his letters. Isn't this just formalities? Why do I need to read these things?

I think for the first time in my life I have caught a glimpse of why he would do such a thing. He goes to a town not having a place to stay and finds hospitality from the local Christians or provisions from Christians in other places. This has a tremendous impact on his life. His gratitude cannot be expressed enough. Therefore, anytime he has opportunity he gives his greeting, despite its "formality."

We just went on an interview for a campus ministry position. The family we stayed with welcomed us with open arms; we were basically considered part of their family. The congregation mobbed us (in a good way) to get to know us better. The college students were genuinely interested in us as well. The other ministers were encouragingly refreshing. Overall, they served us as Christ served his disciples. What an example! We cannot express our gratitude enough.

Even if for some reason we do not end up in this city, it truly remains in our hearts forever. The love of Christ is overwhelmingly present here. Thanks be to God for his presence in their lives.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


I have known that this would happen for some time, but today it was confirmed once again. I am going on an interview for a campus ministry position in a certain Texas town this week. The person with whom I have been communicating mentioned one of my fellow graduate students as another candidate.

It is an interesting position to find myself. I cannot speak anything but positives for my fellow grad student. At the same time, we are interviewing for the same position. The only thing I can do is ask that God give the elders (or search committee) the wisdom and insight to know who is the family that would be the best match.

At the same time, I pray that God is showing each family whether their talents can be best utilized in that given location. It would be wonderful if both the elders and the families saw things the same way. I believe the hand of God could provide this. Amen.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Who is God?

This is an interesting question. If someone were to tell me who God is, where would this person begin? God is truth. God is life. God is all-powerful. God is an indescribable being. God just is. There are so many places to go.

One of my classes (Systematic Theology II) asked this same question. Because it was an academic question, I guess we had to put it in academic type form, so we asked for the whole semester, "What is befitting to say of God?" When we started, I naively thought we were actually going to answer this question. In reality, just in asking this question I was challenged in ways I didn't think were possible.

Consider this: If I want to speak of God only in ways that I find in the Bible (something I want to do), then I am forced to use so many different images. I can't narrow it down to just one. God is a consuming fire. God is my rock. God is my fortress. God is a shepherd. God is a farmer. God is the comforter. God rides on clouds. God is a warrior. The list could go on and on.

One might say, "Well, God is all of these things." True, but how can being a warrior and a peacemaker coincide with each other at the same time. "Different times and circumstances demand different manifestations of God." Okay, but if I am to tell someone that God is x or y, then this person will just dismiss this as being how you view God at this particular time. I think that more can be done when speaking of God.

I guess the modern age has brought about the idea that we can reduce God to short, simple propositional statements. Jesus' parables have one point to make; the stories in the Old Testament have a driving force on which we focus. There is so much more here that we are missing. Life is not as simple as many preachers and teachers seem to make it.

If we learn to speak of God in story (something we find throughout the Bible), we might start getting a glimpse of who he is. Stories are complex. Stories carry ambiguity with them. They don't comment on every aspect of life, but they are helpful in telling us what kind of people we are. May I propose that God is like the man who accepted his youngest son back from the dead having squandered all his wealth in wild living? May I propose that God rescues his people like those he rescued from Egypt? May I propose that God destroys his people who have turned away from him countless times? May I propose that God will restore his people as he restored Jesus? All of these things imply larger stories that give us glimpses into who God is.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Romans 8:28

In an effort to understand the ways of God, one is inevitably forced toward Romans 8:28. I hear this passage quite often being offered as a word of consolation to the those who are in pain, either from the death of a loved one or some physical ailment or sickness.

We need to be careful at how we speak for God in these sensitive times in people's lives. We mean to help when we say, "God will work this for good; just wait and you will see." I wonder what statements like that really mean. Will God really work this out for the good of the one to whom I am speaking? How can I be so sure? When can I finally say, "Okay, now that was good!" and be at peace with it? Did this happen to Job? Was what happened good? Dare I even speak in God's behalf in any situation? I am nervous about doing this.

Consider how the NIV translates this verse: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." What is the difference between "in all things God works" (NIV) and "all things work together" (KJV)? [By the way, both are legitimate translations because the subject could be the implied 'he' meaning God or 'all things'; likewise, 'all things' could be the subject or the object of the sentence. You have to decide just like the translators of the NIV and KJV did for you.]

If God works "in all things," then it seems to follow that he takes the situations as they come and works good out of them. That necessarily implies that the situation itself is not deemed 'good' or even 'bad'; it is just the situation. If "all things work for good," then it seems to follow that one would have to say everything that happens is necessarily good, something I am not willing to comment upon (especially as if I know what is good from God's perspective). Just some food for thought.