Thursday, December 12, 2002

Well, it must be getting near the end of the semester. Last night, while finishing up the first drafts of some chapter abstracts on Grudem’s Systematic Theology (see What I’m Reading for details on the book), I decided to boycott homework today. I left the rolley bag at home and I read the Talbot newsletter on the way to work. I gotta say, it was good. Dr. John Hutchinson has a great article on the Prayer of Agur (yes Agur, not the other guy) that is found in the book of Proverbs—you know, a book that actually has the purpose of helping believers live wise godly lives. [I’m not a fan of that other “Prayer of…” book, but in all honesty, Hutchinson does not do any slamming, he just unfolds Agur’s prayer]. Check it out in Proverbs 30:7-9.

Anyhow, on to the question for today:

Is my prayer life improving?

On this one I can honestly say yes… mainly due to a new understanding of prayer. As a went-to-church-in-the-womb church kid, my understanding of prayer was based on mealtime prayers and the prayer list published in the bulletin each week. For some this is not a problem, but as a very global thinker, lists of names—or anything else—just don’t float my boat. What I began to realize was that, if I stepped outside the dinner prayers and list prayers, I actually prayed much more than I thought. If prayer is conversation, then every conversation with God is prayer, yes? I still have a way to go—I am very glad the God knows our weaknesses and deals graciously.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Have I defined my unique ministry?

As always, this is a work in progress. A few years ago, I worked on my personal mission statement: It is my mission to help believers in their spiritual formation by providing opportunities for the theological and experiential knowledge of God. Granted, as I look at this now, it’s a bit vague. The book I mentioned in an earlier blog has opened some new paths for thought. The author says that each believer has a ministry that is related to that believer’s unique spirituality. I have only the vaguest idea what he means, but I think he’s right. I guess the question right now is, what is my unique spirituality? Having never thought about it that way, I haven’t a clue.
Do I have a quiet centre to my life?

I thought I did, but I think busyness has taught me that my quiet center was not nearly as substantial as I thought. About a week ago I finished reading Spiritual formation for pastors: feeding the fire within [by Michael Gemignani]. It talks about how pastors (or pastor-types, like those of us unordained and unpaid) must have a rule of life—a regular spiritual practice that will be a sort of North Star when ministry gets heavy. By the time I finished the book, I realized that not only did I not have a ‘rule of life’, but I also had started exchanging seminary homework and lesson preparation for intimate time with God. In fact, I have begun using the ‘but I don’t have time’ excuse. Hmmm. Time for Starbucks, but no time for the lover of my soul. Something’s outta whack. Now that I’m rushing headlong for finals week—where the stress only gets worse—where is the quiet space of simply being with God? How do we balance the knowing and doing? When intellect or ministry, is such a daily part of life, how does it transform into being? I think the biggest temptation for me is allowing the knowing and doing to be the end rather than the means to the end. Loving, intimate relationship with God is the end. Now, go and write that 500 times on the chalkboard! Maybe then we’ll get it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Am I generous?

All right. Here’s another ouch.

American Heritage Dictionary

1. Liberal in giving or sharing. See synonyms at liberal. 2. Characterized by nobility and forbearance in thought or behavior; magnanimous. 3. Marked by abundance; ample: a generous slice of cake. 4. Having a rich bouquet and flavor: a generous wine. 5. Obsolete Of noble lineage.
ETYMOLOGY: French genereux, of noble birth, magnanimous, from Latin gener sus, from genus, gener-, birth. See gen - in Appendix I [Also gen-. To give birth, beget; with derivatives referring to aspects and results of procreation and to familial and tribal groups.]

Well, that’s a brain-full.

Liberal in giving or sharing
Characterized by nobility and forbearance in thought or behavior
Marked by abundance; ample
Having a rich bouquet and flavor
Of noble lineage

Wow! Who knew generosity was so big (punny…)! Generosity of stuff. Generosity of self. Of character. Of grace. Of life.

All I can say is that I intend to be generous. Now to get feet on this thing and be intentionally generous.

Monday, December 09, 2002

Well, it's Christmas party week at Biola, and I'm leaving for my first one in a half hour, so I'll be blogging tomorrow. Harsh, eh?