One of the Greatest Things I Have Ever Learned

You know the individual I’m about to write about. He or she is the person that knows how to say the right thing at just the right time thus driving you insane. They have the unique ability to push all your wrong buttons so that your blood begins to boil. Other individuals may fall within the lesser evil of simply hard to communicate with or understand. Regardless of which category the individual falls within, they are part of the greatest thing I learned in my time at Asbury.

The greatest thing that I learned at Asbury, maybe one of the top ten lessons I have ever learned, is that the unlovable individual actually has a gift to share. I firmly believe in God’s grace. I will never earn His extravagant love. I also believe that prevenient grace is a great way to describe the love we receive from God when we are unaware that we have need. When an individual is unaware of their need for God and yet He still imparts that love to her, that is prevenient grace. If you and I believe God gives prevenient grace then we should also believe the most unlovable person has a gift from God to share. The individual that drives us insane, the outcast or the lowly can actually share something great with us if we’d only listen.

The greatest thing I learned while at Asbury is that every individual has something from God to share and I should not, under any circumstance, completely write off an individual. Gaining this perspective on prevenient grace and the gifts that God gives has dramatically impacted how I view people. Would love to hear what you think. Have you ever spent time with a challenging individual that actually shared something of great value with you? Is there a person that you have written off and maybe you need to listen again to what they have to say?

Expressions Of A Reluctant Servant

 

Three Hard Lessons…

My arrival at Asbury brought with it ignorance of what to expect. The journey of seminary is great and at this point I still lack in knowledge of what to expect. Yet I will share with you three hard lessons that I have learned up to this point and I am assuming of course that I will learn many more lessons in my time here. With that said, here are the three hard lessons I’ve learned:

1. Before one can be built up, they may need to be torn down.

Excitement and elation were quickly replaced with feelings of “oh no, what have I done!” In my short time here I have had many of my beliefs challenged, reinforced and in other areas shattered. Imagine taking a dear belief such as, the Ohio State Buckeyes are the best team in the land, then watch them lose in every sport for the next ten years. In some ways your belief is shattered. You begin to question whether the Buckeyes are even a good team or if they will ever be a good team again. You may even wonder if they were ever really a good team. Over time you may begin to question everything you thought you knew about sports, colleges and your own judgment.

Suddenly out of nowhere, they come back and win the national championship in every sport. Now you know, they are the best team in the land. You can also move forward knowing that the next time they have a dry spell, they will eventually come back. You then begin to appreciate the winning seasons and quickly forget the losing seasons. Although this is a somewhat shallow example, it is a fitting example of my experience. What I held dear has been challenged, stretched and pushed to its limit thus helping me grow stronger and appreciate the ways in which my faith has been built up. Before we can be built up, we may need to be torn down.

2. You’re not as smart as you think you are but you’re just smart enough.

Anyone who walks into seminary for the first time is intimidated but at the same time they have a feeling of supreme intelligence. In some ways they are in a paradox, easily intimidated yet quick to over inflate their intelligence. The courses here are deeply challenging, enough to kill ones ego and yet at the same time so difficult that when one gets a grade back they are deeply appreciative of God’s grace. I quickly realized that I am not as smart as I thought I was yet, I am blessed by God to be just smart enough to be here. May we always know that God makes us just fast enough, just tall enough, just funny enough and at times just smart enough. God’s grace is good!

3. Take a Moment.

As I write this post it is 7:27 pm and I have an assignment due tomorrow morning that I have yet to complete. Next week I have over 30 pages of assignments due and a group presentation quickly followed the next week by final exams. I always have more to do. I have had to realize that I am not a robot. I need God’s help to complete these assignments and I need God to help me remember why I am here. Therefore, I need to take a moment. Much like the Twix commercials, I need a moment. I need a moment to look around in wonder at all that God has created, a moment to listen for his voice, a moment to appreciate my family, a moment to be put back together, a moment to pray, a moment to sing, a moment to laugh, a moment to enjoy life and a moment to revel in God’s grace. We all need to take a moment before the next assignment in life.

Although there are many more lessons that I will learn, I hope that these three can in some way be an encouragement to you. God will tear us down, build us up, give us just enough and share with us in our moments that we take. May you be encouraged in knowing that despite our busy schedules, God provides!