Thursday, November 8, 2012

Help for Sandy Survivors!

Help for Sandy Survivors! 

I am copying this post from Bonnie Hunter's blog Quiltville's Quips & Snips almost verbatim.  I have been so busy lately with the move and now with unpacking and Master's Studies that I have done very little blogging, but if you read this, you are a quilter and you have an afternoon free to sew up a quilt, please do so.  If you are not a quilter, and you are in a Walmart, or Meijer, or Target, or where ever you shop and you can pick up a blanket, it will be used and appreciated.

A friend of mine lives in a neighborhood devastated by Sandy.  His neighborhood lost two young boys when a tree smashed the home in which they were sleeping.  There is great need.

 

Bonnie's Post...


This is an urgent post.

I’ve been emailing back and forth with Victoria Findlay Wolfe of bumblebeansinc.com over the past several days trying to line up something that we can do to help those left in the wake of Super- Storm Sandy’s destruction.

So many are still without power, having lost their homes or having experienced severe damage ---

So much is needed!

As quilters, what do we do best?  We Quilt!

Here is what V sent me to pass on to you:

 
sandy1
Super Storm Sandy and my area of the world.
Having missed the entire storm, by being in Houston for Market, I felt helpless as my family were in NYC without me. I started to organize a quilt drive for our area while I was still in Houston.
 
Once home, I realized how seriously the storm affected my neighborhood, my friends, and fellow New Yorkers, CT, PA and NJ... Homes have been wiped off the face of the earth, people are cold, and wet, and we have rain and snow coming. I need to be able to help NOW.
 
I just had a call from Raul Russi, Head of the Acacia Network, whom I had previously partnered with on myBUMBLEBEANSBASICS.com Quilt Drive for homeless families being taken out of shelters and put into transitional housing.
 
He said, "We have 150-200 quilts here, right now. And since the rest of my families are INSIDE already, can we deliver these quilts in our medical trucks to the people in the Rockaways, NOW?"  I said, "YES! Let's go!" 
Once we have more quilts, we will continue to set up more distribution points around our area including Staten Island, Long Island, NJ, CT.
QUILTS AND BLANKETS are needed ASAP.

Home-made or Store Bought QUILTS AND BLANKETS: ANY SIZE.

Quilts will be accepted, and handed out as quickly as they come in.

Give Selflessly.

Thank you cards will not be sent out due to the urgency of the events of SANDY.

REAL THANKS:

LABEL YOUR QUILTS, Name, address and email.

The person who receives your quilt may want to thank you themselves.

Send Quilts & Blankets to:
Basic Housing, Inc.
Attn: Robert Gonzalez / H.SANDY
540 East 180th Street, Bronx, NY 10457
PLEASE Include INSIDE THE BOX CLEARLY WRITTEN
your name, email & address & Phone

Please ship them with delivery confirmation.

Any questions, Please email:

Lane Falcon: lfalcon@acacianetwork.org

THANK YOU! THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

Victoria Findlay Wolfe bumblebeansinc.com

Me Again...

While I have not done Bonnie's Trip Around the World quilt, I have done a few of her quilts and her instructions are well written and easy to follow.  I may just abandon my unpacking for a day this weekend and spend some time sewing... I've been wanting to do that for some time anyway, now I have a "Good" excuse.

Until His Work in Me is Complete,
Paul

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A School Bus, The Law and Faith

Well, Biblical Hermeneutics is behind me.  I achieved an 83%.  I am happy with that only because I got sick and missed one class which is an automatic 5% deduction.  I wanted to go to school that night, but I didn't want to infect my classmates, so I "took one in the gradebook" so to speak!

My final exam was to prepare a short sermon, which I thought we would be delivering, but it turns out our professor wanted it scripted, so I've written it, it's now been graded so I feel I can share it with you.


For those of you supporting me, I received all of my text books for my next class through your generous donations, THANK YOU!  ON the tuition front, I am still shy of covering my first semester, and the deadline is approaching, but I'm trusting God to provide.  If He's tapping you on the shoulder, and you'd like to contribute, click on the blue "Go Fund Me" button on the right side of the screen.  And Thanks Again.  Your ongoing support is MUCH appreciated.  If you are new, click on the "My Story" button above and read why I am back in school at the ripe young age of 45.

My short Sermon...





A School Bus, The Law and Faith
[Open with Prayer…]
There once was a little boy who went to school on his first day of Kindergarten.  His mom put him on the bus in the morning and told him, “After school, you just look for me right here at the corner, and you’ll know where to get off the bus…”  Well.  After school, his Mom wasn’t at the bus stop.  The boy knew it was his stop, he could see his house, he knew this was his street, but when he looked out the window at corner, he didn’t see his Mother.  So he stayed on the bus.  He figured she would be there the next time they passed by.  After all, he had seen the school bus many times each day at that corner.  Maybe he thought the bus just kept going in a big circle all day…  But for whatever reason he chose not to get off of the bus.  Not too much later, the bus was empty, except for that little boy, who realized the bus was not going back to the stop at which he should have gotten off the bus.  He didn’t want to get in trouble, so he did what any self-respecting five year old would do.  He hid under the seat so the driver wouldn’t see him.
I don’t remember a lot of the details of that day.  I know the story because my mother has told it several times.  What I do remember is that my mother arrived at some point shortly thereafter and we were reunited.
I’ll get back to why I share that story in a few minutes, but right now, please open your bibles and turn with me to Galatians.  We are going spend most of our time today in Galatians so drop a book marker or one of your bible’s ribbons into Galatians so you can get back there quickly.  Let’s start in Galatians 1:6 to establish and understand Paul’s reason for writing to the Galatians.  Paul says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.”  (NIV)
Paul is writing to the Galatians because they have wandered from the gospel that he had preached to them when he was there.  In the next few verses Paul declares that the gospel he preached to them is the true Gospel and if anyone, even himself, tries to teach a different gospel, they should be cursed, not listened to.  Paul is very emphatic that there is only one true Gospel and it is the one he shared with them previously, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Paul then goes on to reiterate some of those teachings, one of which we are going to look into in a little more detail.
Now, let’s fast forward into this letter to the Galatians and move forward to chapter 3.  The Galatians were dealing with false teachers who were spreading a gospel of conformity to the Jewish laws and traditions.  They were spreading a gospel that said in essence; In order to have a relationship with Jesus Christ you must adhere to a set of laws.  I think this teaching had taken root in the churches of Galatia because Paul spends a good deal of time discussing what the law is, why it was given, and why it was important.  Paul does not deny the law, nor does he deny the good that came from the law, but he does declare that the law was given to direct people to Jesus, not the other way around.
Turn with me to Galatians 3:23 – 29, which is the passage from which we will draw today’s lesson. 
Galatians 3:23 – 29
23 Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.
24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (NIV)
 
“Before the coming of this faith”.  This is a new thing, this Gospel of Faith that Paul is preaching.  Especially faith in a man.  Well, it’s not really “new”, the Jewish people had been looking forward to a Messiah for many, many years.  So the concept isn’t “new”, but the fact that what they had waited for so many years had finally come to fruition was indeed “new”.  We have all looked forward to something for a long time, and then when it finally came, it was almost hard to believe the day had come.  Weddings are like this, we plan and plan, for what seems like a very long time.  Trish and I were engaged for almost two years, and when our wedding day finally came, it was hard to believe it was finally here.  This is what it must have been like for the Jews of Jesus’ day, only they had been waiting for GENERATIONS!  Years were short, they had been waiting hundreds of years.
Many people had preconceived notions of how their Messiah would arrive and as a result, many did not believe Jesus Christ was who he claimed to be because He had not come as they expected him to.  “Before the coming of this faith”.  Jesus IS the faith he refers to at the end of this sentence, it IS the faith that was TO come and WOULD be revealed.  Only at the time Paul is writing, he refers to a PAST belief that this faith was coming and would be revealed.  But it is no longer necessary to speak of this faith in the past tense.  This faith that was coming HAS NOW BEEN Revealed.
SO, what was it that was BEFORE the current faith?  Look at the scripture, “Before the coming of this faith, we WERE held in custody under the law”… We are no longer held in custody under the law, we WERE held in custody under the law, but now that the faith that was to come has been revealed, we are NOW in a different state of being.  We are no longer “held in custody”.
Let’s continue with verse 24.  “So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith.”  Remember my opening story.  Wouldn’t it have been a much better situation for me if my mother had hired someone to get me to and from school?  You know, someone who took me to school.  Maybe actually ride the bus with me and make sure I got to school like I was supposed to, and then that same person was there to escort me home.  Again to ride with me on the bus and to make sure I actually got off of the bus, and got me home again safely to my mother?  I know my mother would have liked that!  When Paul wrote to the Galatians this was actually done!  The wealthy of Paul’s day would hire servants to do just that.  They hired “guardians” to get the boys to and from school.  Some bible translators translate Paul’s original word here differently, but I think the NIV comes closest to Paul’s intent.
What was the PURPOSE of the law?  “The law WAS our GUARDIAN”, it was there to “get us to and from school safely”.  How long was its purpose valid?  “Until Christ came that we might be Justified by Faith.”  The reason for the law was not to suppress us, it was not to punish us, it was to give us guidance, and to protect us until He who could justify us had come and made it possible to be justified through faith.  Once the little boys had grown and were responsible there was no need for a guardian.
Christ provides a better means of justification, we are justified by our faith in Him.  We are made right in God’s eyes, not by adhering to a set of rules, but by having Faith in the redeeming work of the blood of Jesus.  THAT is the Gospel Paul referred to at the beginning of the letter, the gospel of Faith in Christ Jesus.  We can ALL be children of God through faith.  Look at verse 26 and 27 with me, “26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”
We have been covered by Christ, we have been buried to our old sinful nature and we have risen again to new life.  For ALL of you who were baptized into Christ. This is pretty clear, those who have done this, those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ are children of God through their faith.
Why does Paul make such a big deal of this?  He repeatedly refers to Abraham’s “Seed” and the children of Abraham’s Promise vs. the children of law.  The children of the Law were the Jews who were being kept safe by that law until Christ came.
Then Paul hit them hard.  He hit them where it hurts.  He called them out on their societal misgivings.  You see, at this time in history, it was common for people of one race to hate those of another.  It was common for free men to believe they were better than slaves, and in every class of society from the wealthy free to the poor slaves, women had few if any rights.  And this was all part of their culture.  IT was OK to have these thoughts and these feelings.  Remember Jesus’ parable of the “Good Samaritan”, Everyone respected these differences, even the Priests and the Rabbis and few people thought twice about hating someone else because they were of a different society, class, race, or gender.  It was into THIS atmosphere that Paul said in verse 28, “28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Is Paul saying there are no differences between races, gender, and wealth?  NO.  There are obvious differences, but even those obvious differences are no excuse to hate one antoher, but that is a different lesson… what he is saying is that in Christ Jesus we are all equal.  We are all able to receive the same Grace, the same Justification through Faith.
And lastly, Paul says this.  Verse 29, “29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (NIV)  We have been adopted in the family of God.  An heir is one who is very closely related to the person to whom he or she is an heir.  My parents were foster parents for years and many children came through our home and my mother and father loved on every one them as if they were part of the family.   But my parents did not change their will every time a new child came into our home.  Those children, while being loved by us as if they were a part of our family, were not actually part of the family.  However, when my parents adopted our last foster child, one of the first things they did was to revise their will to add Leon as an heir, equal to myself, my sister, Tracey and my brother, Jeremy.  I did the same when I adopted my two girls.
“If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
It is always my desire when I teach that the Holy Spirit speaks through me and reaches one who is hearing what He has given me to bring to you.  If you know Jesus Christ as your personal savior.  If you know the justification he can bring, PRAISE GOD!!  You ARE an HEIR!!  But if you don’t know Him personally, if you don’t know his Grace, if you don’t know His LOVE, Please speak with me afterwards.  It is Jesus’ desire that ALL come to know His saving grace.  That every man, woman and child come to know him, and to love him, and if you need to know that love, if you need to know that forgiveness, know this… He wants YOU.  He LOVES YOU more than words could ever convey.  That is why he gave us more than his words, he gave up life for us.
 
Let us pray…
[Close with Prayer…]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

American Values & The Bible



 One of my assignments was to write an essay about American Values and how they relate to the bible's instruction...  Following is my essay...

While the United States may have been founded on Christian Principles and Values, it is hard to find Christian values in the things that seem to be important to Americans today.  America today is very individualistic.  There is little about today’s society that is not a reflection of a mentality of “Every man for himself” and “May the best man win”.

We have also become a very secluded society, a society where we can literally wake up in the morning, get in our car (parked in our garage of course), go to work, come home at the end of the day, pull into our garage and never once see our neighbors.  We don’t even need to get out of our cars to open the garage door anymore, a little button and an electric motor keep us from ever having to interact with those we live close to, if we so choose.

A drive through most neighborhoods with homes built in the past 30 years will confirm this.  Almost every home will have a garage (many of them a two car garage revealing another value) that prominently faces the street.  The homes will be large, but there will likely be a very small front porch if there is one at all.  We don’t sit out on our porches and interact with our neighbors there as we did in days past.  But those same homes will have large patios or decks in the back of the home, behind a fence, secluded from the neighbors, for the enjoyment of the family that lives there.

Drive through a neighborhood with homes built 30-60 years ago, and the homes will be smaller, the garage will most likely be detached and in the back of the house, if there is a garage.  The homes will have large front porches and wide welcoming steps, and tiny back yards.  Homes used to be built toward the back of a lot leaving the majority of the lot facing the street, welcoming visitors.  These neighborhoods reveal what was important to the inhabitants of those neighborhoods when they were built.

We do, generally, interact with others at work, but many people wear masks at work that hide who they really are.  We keep our work lives and our personal lives separate.  We get uncomfortable talking about personal things in the workplace.  We have become so worried about appearances that many of us don’t even know who we are, let alone who anyone else is.  We are immediately labeled by anyone who sees us by what we are wearing, how our hair is cut, what car we drive, our accent, or any number of other superficial things.

Recently, we have become so preoccupied with the value of diversity that we hold our beliefs in reserve so as to “not offend” anyone whose beliefs are different than ours.  We have fooled ourselves into believing that this is a means of accepting those who are different, by suppressing those things about us that are different.  However, in doing so we have destroyed that which made us diverse to begin with, our differences.  If diversity were a box of crayons, we who value diversity should be excited about having the big box of crayons, the one with 64 colors and a sharpener!  But instead, we have become so concerned about offending anyone with differing beliefs that we have learned to hide those things which make us diverse so as to be able to accept one another, and rather than being a box full of color, we have become a box full of gray.

How do we stack up to Scripture?  I wrestle with that question all the time from a personal perspective, how do I stack up to scripture?  It would be so much easier if the Bible instructed us to build communes and segregate ourselves from society.  If we were to live only with those who thought like we did, and acted like we did.  But scripture is pretty clear, we are to be a light in the darkness, we are to be in the world but not of it, we are called to be the salt of the earth.  Well it’s hard to be those things if we seclude ourselves in a small community.

That said, the bible also talks about communal living, of everyone giving all they have to the community and taking what they need from the communal “pot” as needs arise.  But is that instruction that is intended to be a truth than spans the ages?  Is this a universal truth of the bible like God’s love for us?  Or of his command that we “Go and preach the gospel”?  Or of his Greatest command, that we are to “Love our neighbor”?  It is these very types of questions that makes discerning the truth of the Bible so very important.

For those of you who have supported me financially, THANK YOU!  If you've been meaning to, now would a great time to do so.  I have a bill coming due in four weeks for my next class.  I also have four textbooks to purchase in the next three weeks!  If you would like to purchase a textbook for me, you can go to Amazon and see my wish list HERE.  There is one book (Living Your Strengths: Discover Your God-Given Talents and Inspire Your Community) for which I NEED a new copy.  It is noted on the right side of the wish list.  There is one that is a Kindle Book (Eugene Peterson's, The Pastor), and two others.  If there are used copies available, that is fine.

Again, Thank You all so much, your support is the only way I am able to follow God's Call.

Until His Work in Me is Complete,
Paul

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Authority of Scripture

Classes Start TONIGHT!  I am excited, and a little nervous.  I am excited because it has been awesome to see God put this whole thing together and I am a little nervous because my funding is not yet complete for the first semester.  God has faithfully provided thus far and I expect He will continue, but I would love to be able to look at my account and see a zero, or a black number!

If God is leading you to support me, now is the time.  If you have been putting it off, please put it off no longer.  It has been amazing to me to see how support has come in.  Most of it from people I don't know personally.  Thank You to all who have and who continue to support me financially and in prayer.  I can not tell you how much I appreciate it!

My first paper is due tonight.  I had to write a two page paper on what I thought were key issues on the subject of "Biblical Authority".  What follows is the paper I will submit tonight... It wasn't easy keeping it to two pages!



As a child I learned the famous children’s song “The B-I-B-L-E” and for many years that song’s lyrics defined Biblical Authority in my life. “I stand alone on the Word of God”. I remember being taught, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that’s good enough for me.”

Since then however, I have matured and come to realize that the Bible’s authority isn’t in the printed words on thin gilded pages, the Bible’s authority is contained in its content, and in its meaning. Biblical authority comes not from the Bible, but from its author, God Almighty. God’s word is unique in that the same passage can contain multiple messages to multiple readers. The Holy Spirit has more to do with how the words on the page are interpreted by the reader than do the words themselves.

The Bible contains many different types of literature from enjoyable to read poetry and song lyrics to laborious legalistic documentation, from intimate love letters from one lover to another to open letters from a church leader to an entire body of believers. It contains disturbing descriptions of things which actually happened to even more disturbing descriptions of things to come. Its content has been debated, argued, discussed and berated. It has been put on a pedestal, literally printed in gold, and it has been trod upon and burned.

Its meaning is at times literal and at other times figurative. It is sometimes very clear and at other times very ambiguous. There are instructions meant to be applicable to all times and all people and there are instructions recorded that were specific to one time and one place. Its meaning has also been debated, argued and discussed even more than its content. Its meaning can be universally identified and individually applied.

Unlike any other text in the history of the world, the Bible is unique in that while it is and has been read by millions of people, it contains a unique message to each of its readers. Yes, there are universal truths contained in its pages that are applicable to all of its readers, but within it there is also a personal message to every reader from the author Himself. It is this very personal aspect of the scripture that gives it its unique authoritative quality. The Bible’s authority comes from its author and is implemented by its readers when they apply it’s truths to their individual lives.

Biblical Authority therefor is as personal as our relationship with the God who created us and authored this book for our benefit. How that authority is meted out in our lives is also as unique as we are. But that is not to say that the dictates of the bible are different for every reader, it is not to say that there are no universal truths applicable to all persons. Quite to the contrary, there are many universal truths that apply to every human being. Even to those who have not read the scripture. There are truths that are universal to all of mankind for all of history past, the present and the future.

Often we think of authority in terms that we can readily identify with. Parental Authority, Managerial Authority, Governmental Authority are all examples of Authority as we normally identify it. The one thing all of these types of authority have in common is that there is one being who is subject to another. A child is subject to its parent, a worker to the department manager, and the citizen of a country to the laws and leadership thereof. Biblical authority isn’t like this though, so it is more difficult to identify.

Biblical Authority is not based on a Master and a subject, it is rather based on absolute truth. Truth is the underlying authority that the bible wields, Absolute Truth. Truth is not dependent on any person or on anything, truth simply is. Absolute truth does not require validation by any person’s belief, it simply is.

The bible does not need anyone to believe it for it to be true. It would be true regardless of anyone’s belief or non-belief. And it is from this simple fact that it gains its authority. It does not require you or me to believe its authority, nor to prove its authority. God once told Moses that his name was “I Am”. The bible’s authority comes from that same place of truth.

Until His Work In Me is Complete,
Paul

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pass with a Purpose

Back when I was a soccer coach, I used to tell my players to "Pass with a Purpose!!"

  • Know WHAT you expect to be done with that pass.
    • Knowing what YOU think should happen next will dictate HOW to make the pass.  KNOW what you expect.  It helps answer all the other questions!
  • Know WHO you are passing to. 
    • You have 10 team mates to choose from, pass the ball to ONE of them.
  • Know WHY you are passing to that person.  
    • Is the pass going to start an attack?  Or a retreat?  Are we changing the point of attack?  Or are we relieving pressure?  Or maybe we need to be killing time?
  • Know WHERE you are passing.
    • If the recipient is moving, you must pass into their line of movement or they will already be gong when your pass gets to where they were when you passed it!
  • Know HOW you are going to pass it.
    • Which skill is going to work best?  Which body part will you use?

Living our life is much like a series of passes on the soccer field.  We are continuously making choices about what to do next in life, where to go, how to get there.  Some are simple little passes, some are "cross the field and completely change the point of attack" passes.  Those passes are sometimes scary.  Because the further pass, the harder it is to control it's ending point.

As I wrote my bi-monthly Status Report for my boss this morning it occurred to me that because I was in Belize two weeks ago, I haven't written one in four weeks.  So, I hadn't communicated with him the fact that I will be starting school again in 4 weeks.  As I wrote that into my report it occurred to me that he is likely to ask some questions.  And it occurred to me that I don't have any answers...

What do I expect to do with these Degrees?  Knowing the answer to that will make answering all of the other questions much easier.  Problem is, I have no idea WHAT I expect to do once I have earned these two degrees.  One would normally go into ministry as a pastor after earning a Masters of Divinity.  But I don't know that God wants me to be a Pastor.  Some go into Chaplaincy.  There are several others as well, but the great majority become Pastors, Chaplains, Counselors, or Professors.

I very briefly started to become nervous about this whole thing.  It's one thing to share with my Christian friends and my family that God is doing something in my life and I have no idea what it is, but I am excited to follow.  They have all heard the Abraham story, so when I say, God told me to "Go" but didn't tell me where to "Go", they understand.  OK, Maybe they don't completely understand, but they understand a whole lot more than unbelievers will, and suddenly it struck me... "My boss is going to think I've lost my mind."

How else do you explain it?  Midlife crisis?  Maybe, but a Mustang would be a much better mid-life crisis!

And then it struck me.  I used to tell my soccer players in practice that, "We do these drills so that you can see your options here and think about them.  HERE in practice I can stop the drill and instruct you on what to do next.  On game day... I can't do that.  On game day... You're on your own.  We practice so you can make good decisions on game day.  I can't run along side you and tell you what to do next, you have to make the decisions on game day.  On game day... You're on your own."

BUT.  Jesus never said that.  Jesus never said, "On game day... You're on your own."  Jesus said, I will send my spirit to be with you.  I will send my Spirit to guide you.  I will send my Spirit to protect you.

Isn't it awesome that in the Game of Life we do not have a Coach, but the CREATOR of the Game, not only on our side, but dwelling within us!

I don't know what my boss will think when he reads my Status Report today.  I don't know what questions he will ask, and I have no idea what he will think when he hears my very unconventional response of "I don't know why I am doing this, I only know that I have been told by God Almighty to do it.  I'll worry about 'why' at a later date..."

God is Good.  He is teaching me new things every day.  He is still teaching me patience and trust.  I still need some funding for this first semester, but I am confident that God will provide.  He has thus far, and He will continue to do so.  If God is leading you to contribute you can do so by clicking blue "GoFundMe" button at the top of the page to the right.  There are instructions there for donating online as well as by directly sending funds to MVNU.

Until His Work in Me is Complete...
Paul






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's OFFICIAL...

I am now officially a college student once again.  I am officially registered for the Masters Choice program at MVNU (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) and I start classes on September 4, 2012.

There will be an orientation the week before classes begin, so starting August 28, nearly every Tuesday (there are a few breaks, but not many) for the next few years I'll be in class for 4-5 hours.  The program is set up in such a way that as I am earning credits towards my Master of Divinity degree from NTS (Nazarene Theological Seminary), I will also be able to take a few more classes along the way and also earn a Master of Ministry Degree from MVNU.

Most of my classes will be held at the MVNU satellite campus just a few miles from my home but there will also be a few classes that I will take at the actual campus in Mount Vernon (about a 45 minute drive from home).

I am super excited to finally get started following God's call.  It was almost a year ago that this endeavor began, and while I wanted to be in the group that started in January of this year, God had different plans.  (You can read about that experience HERE.)

What I haven't written about is what happened in the writing class that delayed my start in the Masters Program.  What happened is simply this:
  • God taught me stuff that had nothing to do with writing
  • God used that time to remind me that not everyone in the world knows Him, nor loves Him
  • God used that time to remind me that there are a lot of people in the world who are hurting and need to know His love for them
  • God showed me that there are some people who have been so hurt by the Church, that they hate Him
  • God showed me that while some are seeking a meaning to life, they are intentionally NOT looking TO Him because they want to find "another" way.  "It just can't be that simple.  Surely, I NEED to DO something..."
  • God reminded me that the mission field of the world, starts right in our own back yard. (Acts 1:8 - "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV)
I received an "A" in that writing class, and it has transferred to MVNU and I am now the proud owner of a piece of paper that says I earned a Bachelor's Degree (I earned it before my son earned his, so I am happy!)

Next week I will be in Belize serving with the youth from my church.  We will be holding Vacation Bible School, a Soccer Camp, and Bible Studies for the parents.  Our youth will lead three worship services starting the day we arrive!  We leave at 6 AM on Sunday (July 22) and one of our youth will be preaching in Belize at 6 PM!

I will be traveling with my son Jonathon (15) and my daughter MaryAnna (17).  This is their first mission trip and my sixth.  This trip probably also would not have happened for me had I been in the midst of classes right now, once again, God knew what He was doing when He made it clear that I was to wait until September to get started.

While I had enough money to take the writing class, I am a few hundred dollars short of having my first class (Biblical Hermeneutics) covered and about $1,500 short of having the first semester tuition covered.  If God moves you to support me, I would much appreciate your prayers.  If God has led you to financially support me, you can do so by clicking on the "Donate Online" button in the right hand column, or you can send funds directly to MVNU.  Please contact me (Paul at Pergers dot com) if this is your preferred method and I will give you the details of how you can do that.

Until His work in me is Complete,
Paul

Friday, April 20, 2012

"New" Car...

God is Good.

It is amazing to see how God works when we bring our needs to Him and then actually TRUST Him to provide for us.

My son Josh has driven an old 1994 Chevy Cavalier for the past 4 years and it has held up well and been a good car for him, but about two months ago it died.  It needs about $1,800 in repairs and that's more than the book value of the car, so it makes no sense to fix it.

Josh has been praying as have we for a solution to the "car problem".  Without a vehicle we don't get to see him as often as he is at the mercy of others to get him to and from Columbus, unless I go get him, and he is obviously more restricted and with summer coming and a summer job far away from home, a vehicle is a need, not a luxury.

I couldn't find what I was looking for as I searched for a vehicle for him to drive, so I started looking at cars for myself, thinking maybe I could find a "new" car for myself and let him use my car.   While I found several cars I wouldn't mind having, none were in a price range I was willing to pay.

Just when I was getting frustrated with the lack of results, and the seeming lack of answered prayers, my Father In Law called and asked me if I wanted to buy his wife's car.  She has decided it's time for a new car, and she was willing to give me a great deal if I bought her car.

So, in God's time, I was given the opportunity to purchase a nice car for several thousand dollars less than I would pay at a dealer... It is the answer to my prayers.  What more could I ask for?

My "New" Chevy Aveo

In Buckeye Scarlet

Complete with OSU stickers

Alloy Wheels

And a SUNROOF!
I have always driven small cars, so the size doesn't bother me at all.  I drive quite a few miles every year so a small car that gets good gas mileage is important and this little beauty fits the bill.


God is Definitely Good.

Until His Work In Me Is Complete,
Paul