Category Archives: Jesus Christ

22nd and 23rd Week PhD: Manuscript and Retreat

The semester is almost done. I have skipped a week or two of blog posts. Last week was reserved for working on our advanced worldview manuscript. My manuscript, as you know from last post, was about comparing and contrasting individualism with a Christian worldview. Even though individualism as a worldview centers on self and self-sufficiency as the solution to redemption, there are a few commonalities with a Christian’s view of the world. Beginning with Luther, salvation was thought of as an individual, personal journey rather than being something that had to be made through the intercession of a priest. An individual’s relationship to God is important. Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you don’t or can’t love yourself, then loving others is hard. But this does not mean you have to love yourself above others (Philippians 2:3-4).

This past weekend I was part of a retreat that ACU does about four times a year. They invite faculty and staff (about 15) for a 24-hour retreat called StillPoint. The point of this retreat is to come to the quiet and answer the will of God. We learned about creating time for quiet, solitude, and prayer with God just as Jesus did. It was a time of renewal, focus, and peace. The book that was used to create this retreat is Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence by Ruth Haley Barton. Finding time for quiet and solitude in this busy world can be a challenge, but when you do, you will find that moving from solitude to community to ministry as Jesus did. This concept was made clear to us by Henri Nouwen in an article from Leadership Journal that explains how Jesus needed time with God in order to be on the same page as his Father (to discover his Father’s will). The same is true for us. Take some time, 5, 10, 15 minutes away from the internet, your phone, bills, television, and even family to spend time with God. He wants to spend time with you. “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:7, NIV).

Blessings to you and yours.


12th Week PhD: Stories and Shalom

This week in the Advanced Worldview course, we were asked to discuss two questions:  “Why is the concept of narrative important to a Christian worldview?” and “What are practical ways we can communicate hope in our professional environment?”

Narrative is the bread and butter of Christianity. The Bible is a narrative of creation, sin, redemption, and eternity. Jesus was a master storyteller, using parables to send powerful messages about how we are to act and treat one another (Parable of the Prodigal Son and the parable of the Good Samaritan). The Ethiopian eunuch listened to Philip tell the good news of Jesus and immediately believed and was baptized (Acts 8:26-40). Peter told the crowd in Jerusalem about the redemption story and “three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2:41, New International Version). Narrative paints pictures when mere words are not enough.

Shalom, according to Plantinga (2002) “means far more than just peace of mind,” since in the Bible it means “universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight” (p. 15). Delight as a definition of shalom is powerful. Plantinga (2002) entitles one section “Hoping for Shalom” in reference the Holy Spirit’s influence to use Jesus as hope for all mankind (p. 12). Hope only for ourselves is selfish. When we hope for others, we are “enlarged by the Holy Spirit” (Plantinga, 2002, p. 12). When we hope for shalom, we are hoping for a brighter future for others, not only ourselves. We are hoping for shalom as Jesus did for us on the cross.

Blessings to you and yours.

Third Week: PhD To Everyone An Answer

It is my third week of my first course as a doctoral student. Yay me! This week our discussion was on two chapters of a book titled, “Foundational Issues in Christian Education: An Introduction in Evangelical Perspective” by Robert Pazmino and four chapters of a book titled, “To Everyone An Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview” edited by Francis Beckwith, William Craig, and J.P. Moreland. The latter book is not specifically about education although you can apply it to that. This book is about apologetics. Apologetics is to defend one’s faith in order to bring people to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Out of the two books, I enjoyed reading this one. It flowed better and was easier to understand. This book happens to be a collection of essays in honor of Norman L. Geisler, an expert in Christian apologetics.

One of the most interesting sections focused on the relationship between Jesus and his family. During Jesus’ time, the society was patriarchal. Women did not take leadership roles and were not the center of the culture. Jesus changed all that when he spoke to women. Even some of his followers were women. Jesus also changed the definition of family when he said, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:48-50, NIV). Jesus was known to befriend known “sinners” and forgive their sins. He welcomed them as family. We must remember that even if we have a loving family, there are some in the world who do not. There are some who do leave their mother, father, sisters, and brothers for Christ. Our definition of family needs to be bigger than we suppose it to be, just as it was to Jesus. Blessings to you and yours.

Second Week PhD: Creeds and Foundations

Another week down and 100 more to go (or so)! This week one of our discussions focused on observations of the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed. I was not familiar with either one, so I chose the Apostles’ Creed. The text of the creed is here:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth,

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried; He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

It is a nice creed. If one were to commit to this creed, a belief in God, the Father, Jesus his son, and the Holy Spirit would be necessary. This creed focuses on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. If one were not raised in the catholic church (like me), then one might have a problem with the phrase “I believe in the holy catholic church.” However, after reading it several times, I have come to the conclusion that whatever the intentions were of the original author(s), I believe that the phrases “holy catholic church” and “communion of saints” are referring to a unified church–a people that profess God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as one. A people that are committed to believing in a creator, his son, and the power of the Holy Spirit. A spirit of unity is what God wants from us. Psalm 133:1 “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

Blessings to you and yours.

First Week: PhD

My first week of my first course has been interesting. Distance learning is not what is was back in 1998 when I started my Master’s degree through a distance learning program. Technology has come a long way, although I miss seeing my classmates, or having classmates that I can see on a weekly basis.

Our first assignment of my doctoral program (Christian Worldview for Educators) was to discuss what we thought were the main themes of the Gospel of Luke and how this gospel showed Jesus as a person. In Luke 19:10 it says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (NIV). Isn’t that the main theme of the whole Bible? Saving the lost, saving the sinners, saving everyone. Jesus was compassionate, forgiving, and sometimes humorous. Luke shows Jesus as a healer. He healed a lot of people. He also taught. A lot. As teachers (and everyone is one), we need to have compassion on students, parents, bus drivers, lunch ladies, other teachers, and anyone else who we meet on a daily basis. Isn’t that how a Christian Educator is different than others. Or an educator who is Christian. Either way, be compassionate as Jesus was compassionate. Blessings to you and yours.

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