Saturday, April 18, 2009

cursing my way through seminary…

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and the other day, I had to take an online test. I love and hate online tests. I love them because I can take them whenever I feel ready (like 1 am), so there's at least a little less pressure. But, there's always the fear of the computer doing something crazy while I'm taking the test and messing things up. And, the fact that I don't have internet at my house so I'm forced to find an alternate location for my test taking (typically my office).

Anyway, this was the second test I'd taken for this class, so I had somewhat of an idea about what to expect, and I had a study guide to follow. Even with all this, however, when I opened that test up on Blackboard just after 1 am on Friday, I quickly found myself cursing at the computer.

Not just grumbling. All out cursing. I'm definitely glad no one else was around, and feeling a little embarrassed as I write this. Probably not as embarrassed as I should be though. I have a seriously foul mouth, and it's not a good thing. Just not something I've seriously tried to deal with.

Anyway, I was mad because I'd studied all day, reading through tons of pages of my books, over 10 New Testament books, a nearly inch thick stack of class notes, and an audio lecture, and yet, when I opened the test, I still felt totally thrown off and unprepared. All I could think was, seriously? I studied for hours and hours and I still don't know all the stuff that's on this *#$% *@%^# test???

Not good, I know. And the crazy thing was, I just saw my grade and I did fine. I just lost it in that moment of taking the test.

But why?

What sense does it make to be in seminary, learning about God and how to minister to others, when my heart is so messed up?

What does it matter how much I know about God, if I totally miss out on knowing Him and letting Him change the way I live my life?

Anybody can cuss their way through a crummy test, or a bad day, or crazy traffic, or whatever. But shouldn't I be different?

Not perfect. That's a whole other topic. But different. Letting Him get a deeper grip on my mind and heart, so He can uproot the junk that's so deeply settled in there.

I'm starting to see the reality of this problem more and more—in my life and others as well, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because the temptation is to judge and judge big when I see this kind of ridiculousness in others. In others, but not me.

I just sweep it under the rug.

Cursing's not so bad, right? I don't curse in front of others. Just at computer screens and what not. Just in secret, when I'm really mad.

Didn't Jesus say something about the stuff that's in our hearts being just like the stuff we actually do in front of everybody?


I don't really have good answers right now. I feel convicted, but still very reluctant to deal with my heart junk. But I know I don't want things to stay the same.

Even if it's hard, I don't want to be two sided.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I have about a million things I need to say in catching up on blogging, but I think I can sum most of them up in two words: work and school.


Though today is still very much a school work day, I've also been able to reflect on Good Friday as I've gone about my day. After I finished listening to "A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life" this morning, I made an Easterish play list on my ipod, and I've been surprised by how much having that playing in the background while washing dishes, reading philosophy, and running downtown has made an impact on my thoughts today.

How marvelous is my Savior's love for me!

How WORTHY is He of all my worship, all my thoughts, all my time, all of me...

In my running (er, walking, running, etc) this afternoon, I took a detour through St. John's cemetery, something I hadn't done in years. I always see it and the Jewish cemetery near my house and want to walk through, but never take the time. Today, it just seemed to fit. As I was going by the church, I saw people heading in for mass (it was around 3 pm, so that seemed to fit, since that it is when scripture tells us Jesus died).

I kept looking at the church as I walked around it--it's hard not too, honestly, because it's huge, and so is the cemetery. So when I found an open gate, I walked in and just wandered around for a bit, still listening to my Easter mix and thinking about the power death still seems to have over us.

People of every age and status were buried there. Babies, children, whole families, people all by themselves. Rich people with elaborate and large tombs, average people, people who's graves were worn and crumbling.

Everyone dies.

And everyone has the opportunity to live again in Christ.

I found it hard not to wonder about some of the more elaborate graves. Some literally had small courtyards and fences and benches, all seeming to be made from marble. It blew my mind to think about how much that much cost, and yet, how little it mattered now, really to the dead or the living.

But that's not the point.

The real question is, whether your grave is huge and beautiful or a hole in the mud, unknown to anyone...the real question is, did you know Him? Did you know the One who conquered the grave, overcame death, once and for all?

Yes, we still die physically, but we no longer have to fear death. We have hope. We have life.

As one grave I saw said, we are...


So I guess my real question today, for myself and you, is, are you free? Free from fear of death or life or anything at all? Free to live in confidence and joy IN HIM?

It's a once and for all kind of question, and yet also an everyday, every moment kind of question.

Am I free from condemnation, sure of the hope of heaven with Him, and abundant life here on earth?

Yes. That happened 14 years ago this month when I chose to follow Him.

But am I free today? Free of distraction/obsession with earthly things? Free of worry? Free of lies and deceit? Free of the junk that I let hold me down? Free to know that His JOY is my STRENGTH? To really KNOW it?

Those are questions I have to wrestle with everyday...