Well, we’ve been here almost a year now and what a year it’s been!
The Lord continues to make His face shine upon us. Everybody is healthy and well adjusted to our new life here. I still can’t fathom how easily everyone has transitioned from three acres and horses to three bedrooms and just stuffed animals.
Lilly is starting to roll around and has transitioned to a play pen. Me-Me has just about mastered potty training. JJ is busy catching tadpoles, which we will try to grow in our little fish tank. Carlotta is keeping track of all her summer reading so she can win two new books from a local book store (JJ, too). Lula is keeping up keeping up with all of us and is immensely enjoying reading Carlotta’s articles, J.J.’s first book about himself, Chris’ papers and sermons, and various books about Lutheran theology and “Crunchy Conservatives” (s. Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, ... plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party) by Rod Dreher.)
At the time of this writing I have exactly 50 credits under my belt (117 classroom hours are required in total), with another three credits coming this month.
In the spring quarter I took Psalms and Writings, Homiletics I, History of Christianity in Africa, Lutheran Confessions II, and Late Middle Ages. I am taking three classes this summer—Paul and the Epistles, and Lutheran Reformation last month, and Isaiah and the Prophets this month.
We are still very much attracted to the “church planting” program, for which I will be applying in the next few weeks.
Here are some the theological “nuggets” I picked up from professors and others this past year and which I wanted to share with you:
“A good preacher comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”
“Parishioners don’t care what you have to say unless they know you care.”
“Every open sin is deliberate, but not every deliberate sin is open.”
“Fortunately, the Holy Spirit is active through the Word, not through us. He is not limited by our grasp of things.”
“In preaching, ‘rifle the Gospel’”, i.e., stick to one topic (a rifle, not a shotgun), with the Gospel being the main point.”
“Find out God’s agenda for you and go with that, don’t go with your own agenda.”
“Denominational differences can often be boiled down to their understanding of Original Sin, in that ‘How thoroughly were we infected with sin? Were we just “nicked” (i.e., is there still a lot of good left in us, a “divine spark”) or were we “nuked”, as in Isa 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”)?
“We lead the sanctified life not because we are motivated (synergism!) but because we were crucified with Christ (in baptism) and are now New Creations.”
“My disgrace—His grace”.
“God is not a resource, He’s a source.”
“An illustration for plucking Bible verses out of context: Imagine a glass bowl full of light purple beads. Only up close do you realize that they are actually red, blue or white. Plucking a Bible verse out of context is like picking up one of theses beads and saying, ‘The Bible is red (or blue or white)! You need to stand back and see the whole picture, view the Bible through the lense of the Gospel, not through individual statements.”
Thank you again for your prayers and support!
On top a picture of Pastor Tom Wagstaff of Peace Lutheran Church (right) with me.