It has been quite a while since I last posted on this blog, but it has probably been my toughest semester of studies ever. With time being spent on two doctoral seminars, my first semester of mentorship with my major professor, as well as a course detailing the various facets of the field of theological studies (and I still have a big exam to take for this course in two weeks), along with work and family, I have been hard pressed to find time to dedicate to writing for site. But alas, the semester is coming close to an end, and I am thankful for all that God has taught me during this time, both in the classroom and through life in general.
The highlight of this semester in as it relates to courses has to be the seminar I took with Nathan Finn on the History of Spiritual Awakenings. In essence, this has been a course detailing the history of revivals, looking mainly at the first and second Great Awakenings here in America, but also looking to other movements as well. It has just been an encouragement to see the many times throughout history when God has moved with power in the midst of His people as they seek Him through humility and contrition, prayer, a dedication to the Scriptures, fasting, and confession and repentance. It seems that oftentimes we are not expecting great things from God, and we are quite content to live in the mundane existence of church as usual. I am certainly not disparaging the regular pastoral “grind” that often includes consistent preaching, prayer, counseling, visitation, and the like, I would just exhort us all to live in expectation and pray for God to do great and wonderful things in our midst for His glory. If you are interested in this subject matter you could check out A God-Sized Vision, by Colin Hansen and John Woodbridge, or Global Awakening by Mark Shaw.
In other news, as my coursework for my PhD is coming to an end (I should finish early this fall Lord willing, and then just have the dissertation left) my family and I will be relocating in August from Lynchburg to Lima, OH where I will be working with a ministry called Teens for Christ. This is a ministry we know well since I was a youth pastor in Lima from 2003-05 and the director and I have been good friends for a number of years. I will be working mainly with the college internship they have developed there, known as the Youth Ministry Institute, where college students looking to train for full-time vocational ministry can come, do their coursework online through Baptist Bible College, and get solid mentoring, training, and experience with the ministry there. This is the best of both worlds, as students will be able to get an education from an accredited institution, while also working with a ministry that will give them four years of intentional ministry experience. I am ecstatic as I will be personally involved in mentoring students, developing and teaching courses, and training them in their ministry endeavors. This institute was only begun about three years ago, and we see great things coming in the days ahead.
While we will be working to enhance and expand the scope of the Youth Ministry Institute, and, Lord willing, more college students will be joining up with the program, we are looking to raise financial support for the first two years. You can check out the whole story at my Razoo site and also give toward this cause at that site if the Lord so leads you. We are excited to be joining up with this ministry in general as God continues to do unbelievable things through them, and also to take part in an educational model that will be such a help to those desiring to go into ministry. In any case, we are trusting God to provide for this window of time, He has been so faithful to us in our lives, and we believe He will supply our needs and do great things. Above all my hope and prayer is that we would embrace the reality that the only enjoyment with which our souls can be satisfied is God in all His magnificent glory.