Thursday, March 13, 2008

I have a hard time with school

I just finished up a test in my "Baptist Heritage" class. I had familiar experiene today as I walked in for the test. As I finished up my last minute cramming, looking through notes, praying for help, I thought "I will do better on the next one." If I've thought that once, I've thought that 100 times. It is usually at this point when I realize how bad of an "academic student" I truly have become. So here is my rant on why I have a hard time with school! (before writing, I must defend the fact that I at least have 3.3 g.p.a) :-)

#1: I am very A.D.H.D.
This means that I have a hard time focusing on what the professor is saying... most of the time. In addition, I am able to get internet in class. I often spend time facebooking, blogging, checking email, and lots of other various tasks while sitting in class. I am really hoping that for the second half of this semester, during my last class before graduating I can pay attention... kind of. (my professor is actually gives great lectures, i am the one with the problem)

#2: I don't do well on tests.
Most of the time when I receive the test in class, I look it over it and can't remember ever thinking about half of the content on the exam. In addition, I often feel like tests are such a false representation of knowledge. One can learn how to beat the system, memorize information and actually remember very little.

#3: I learn by doing
By nature I am an activator. I prefer to actually be making things happen, strategizing, mobilizing people, casting vision, reading books on life and leadership and then applying all of this stuff in "reality". I understand that seminary helps shape my theological understanding and the experience has been very helpful for shaping my character, building perseverance and faithfulness. However, in all honesty most of the helpful information for ministry and theology has come from the reading the bible, studying good books, asking lots of questions of good mentors, and staying focused on being a learner outside of class. Evaluated experience has personally been my best teacher.

All leaders are learners, right? I just think leaders learn differently. Leaders learn through evaluated experience. Often times the classroom does not stimulate evaluation, it stimulates regurgitation, and requires very little practical experience to receive your degree. This year thousands of students will graduate from seminaries all over the country and go to take jobs as pastors and various other ministry positions. Most of them will have no clue how to be successful and effective with their work. They will not know how to connect with people who are far from God, they will not know how to resolve work related conflicts, they will not know how to get a vision from God and then empower people ministry, and much much more. Does this make you sad? It breaks my heart and I believe this is one of the greatest problems facing the North American church. We have way too much unhelpful information with very little application, and way too little transformation.

Whenever I am faced with academic decisions it is very difficult for me to focus my time and energy on studying long hours for stuff that I will forget within 3 weeks of learning it. In addition to this, I've been way involved in the local church during seminary, and in all of this school has pushed me away from school. My heart's desire is to be a part of a church and a movement that changes the world, I want to be used by God to reach my generation, I want to see people with broken and messed up lives discover what it means to know that Jesus Christ is a God who loves them deeply and longs for each and every one of us to know him personally. May the decisions I make and the way I live lead me to that end!!

PS, My professor is a brilliant man who is a great writer, great thinker, and dearly loves God. My comments are regarding a system problem not a professor problem.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Silicon Valley

On Sunday night at Breakthrough Stacie and I announced that we sense God leading us to the San Francisco Bay Area to start a new church. Our last Sunday at Breakthrough will be May 11th, and we will pass leadership to a local church in the Fort Worth area who will appoint one of their leaders to lead the church. More information will be coming on that in the near future. Here is a short film clip of the Silicon Valley, the area where we will plant the church. It is about 40 miles south of "The City" (San Francisco). There are about 2 million people in the Silicon Valley area. There will be more information in the near future. For questions about God's leading in our lives please email me:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Too Familiar To Believe

Mark 6:5-6
"And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief."

When I read this verse last week I was troubled. Why did Jesus heal in some situations and not others? Why at other points did he heal all the sick in towns, and then in this story he didn't perform any miracles? This verse explains that it was due to the unbelief of the people. So I asked the question, "Why didn't these people believe what Jesus said. Why were they so obtuse and dense? As i was thinking about this question i was reminded of the beginning of the chapter which says, "Then they scoffed, 'He's just a carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." In other words, they were too familiar to believe.

This seems so counterintuitive. Doesn't it seem like the more familiar you are with God the more you would trust him? The more familiar you become the more he would impact your life? The problem is that the people in this story had the wrong kind of knowledge. They knew about the Christ, yet their knowledge did not go past a intellectual understanding of his character.

The knowledge of God that leads to a changed life is experiential knowledge. Experiential knowledge leads to a grateful heart and passionate desire to follow the living God. When one is truly captivated by the character and depth Christ's mercy he cannot help but be changed. When the majesty and beauty of his love begins to become apparent to us, we then can live the life he wants us to live.

I am often saddened by the apathy in my own life, when I fail to recognize the magnitude of God's love and grace for those who believe. I desire for my heart to be tendered by a "personal knowledge" of God that leads to continued change in my life. May i not be the people in this story who said, "he's just a carpenter." May I be captivated by his majesty and beauty.