Saturday, May 31, 2008

Graduation Day

Well today is the day. After 5 years I am graduating seminary. I was on the fast track. (I know sarcasm doesn't express well though written word, so to let you know, that was sarcasm). I am receiving the Masters of Arts in Educational Leadership from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

So the question of the day is, why the MAEL? Why not the Masters of Divinity (MDiv, the big dog)? There are 3 answers, but one I really want to focus in on. I know you are wondering about the other two, which are that I don't want to be lead pastor and I love education. The main one is that I think the MAEL should be the degree of choice for everyone. Ok, at least an MDiv with an Ed emphasis. Here is why. The basic bare bones definition of education is knowledge or stimulus that causes a change in behavior. Touch a hot stove, you won't do it again, you've learned. That is why the Bible teaches us to spank our children if we love them. Learning to obey because of a negative stimulus now is easier than having to learn from the negative stimulus later, like unemployment, divorce or prison. It will be interesting to see Mass. in a few decades now that they've banned spanking.

The purpose of education is to change behavior. The purpose of Christianity is to change behavior. It's not a coincidence, Christianity is the best form of "learning" in existence. Discipleship, evangelism, preaching, they are all forms of education. If we are really focused on transformational change in the lives of people, we need to focus on education.

When you combined education and preaching, you can touch every person the way they learn and understand. You combined education with evangelism, you present the gospel in a way that is personally meaningful to each person. (I wrote a book on that, if you want a copy, let me know). Discipleship is education, if you take ed out, you have nothing.

So if you are in ministry, learn your educational principles. Sure, Greek and Hebrew is important, but if you can't teach anyone anything that you learn from Greek and Hebrew, what good is it?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Last grades of my seminary career

I got my grade for my New Testament class last night. It was a B+. The lowest grade I got in my seminary career has been a B, yet every semester, I wait on pins and needles to see what my grades are. I want to make sure I've done enough and worked hard enough and learned enough to pass the class. This semester was especially stressful because it was my last before I graduate and move.

Could you imagine if salvation were like class. If you had to learn the stuff, and take a test, write an essay and hope you pass. If you had to come to the Gates of Heaven to find out if you pass or fail? I for one am very thankful that Jesus offered to take my test for me. He already took it and got a perfect score, and I just get to take His score. What a relief. I don't have to stress about graduating from this life and head to Eternal Life with my Lord.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Evangelism thought

I had a thought last night. Often in Evangelism we approach a single person in a group. Why is that? Wouldn't it be more appropriate to approach a group as a single person in public settings? When then share the Good News with multiple people. We are the ones with the Holy Spirit on our side, so we can approach multiple people with confidence.

Elaine shared a thought with me, often we approach people without meeting any needs. We don't care about the people, and they know we don't care. Sometimes we act like we care, but when it's clear that the people don't meet our needs, we stop caring. If they aren't going to get saved, join our church and increase our membership roll or tithe base, we leave. Elaine pointed out that Jesus met needs, He fed 5,000 and healed the sick.

In reading a book recently, John Fischer compared the way we do evangelism to being in prison. We visit with those on the outside though thick glass on the little prison phone. We never make actually contact. Sometimes we do evangelism like a chain gang. We are bussed in, do the work, and then bussed out. Way to go John, I am totally with you on that one.

Maybe we should try to contact people, where they are. They are in groups, in social situation, with needs. Let's find them where they are and share. Let's share the gospel, love and provide for their needs. I think that if we do those things, we will find evangelism isn't as hard as we thought.

Writing, the purpose of the blog

Here we go, sitting down to write my first blog. As an aspiring writer, the advice I hear the most is to write, and write often. I had a blog on myspace, but gave up myspace for facebook. In my tranisition, I decided to make my own blogspot page. Works for Dr. Alvin Reid and Elaine's Uncle Tommy, so maybe it will work for me too.

I have been really blessed in my life and career at this point. I have 2 books written, none published but working on that. My family is supportive, especially my wife, she has been super supportive. I am excited about starting a new job later this month, where I'll have the opportunity to put some of my trainig to work. I gradute on Saturday. It's been a wild ride.

Thanks for hanging out with my on my ride. I hope it's fun and enjoyable.