It’s been a while, and I want to update those of you who are interested in what I’m up to.
I just finished my freshman year at the Moody Bible Institute. This past semester I led worship at my church every week, worked in the Moody Publishers warehouse, took a full class load and by the grace of God, managed to survive freshman year and grow a lot through it. I’m currently writing this from my very first apartment, in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, about 4 miles from campus. I moved in last week! My other big piece of news is that I accepted a job with Moody’s tech support service, where I will be working full time for the summer and switching to part time in the fall.
Because of the nature of the classes Moody offers, I have spent a lot of time studying the Bible recently. I preached a sermon on 1 John 3:4-6, I prepared and taught a lesson on 1 Peter 2:1-8, I prepared a lesson on Psalm 90, I studied the first 6 chapters of Hebrews in depth, I summarized the entire Old and New Testaments. There’s more, but I don’t really need to go into depth on it. The point is, God has been teaching me through my professors, through giving me this experience in His word. It is a wonderful thing. I’ve never known the fullness of the Word of God like this before. I came to Moody with a desire to serve God through preaching, and He has only increased that desire.
Another thing that God has shown me through these experiences and people is how much I need Him in every aspect of my life. Sure, I realized that to an extent before, but I see it now more clearly than ever. For example, this past semester I worked an average of 45 hours per week, split between my job at the warehouse and my church. At the same time, I held down a full time load at Moody and had a (relatively) normal social life. I also managed to get at least 6 hours of sleep per night. I can say confidently that the ONLY way I didn’t go crazy is that God was with me and gave me the grace to not only survive, but thrive. In fact, I managed to end the semester with a higher GPA than I had in the fall semester! Figure that one out. To put it simply, God has shown me His favor in very tangible ways in the last year.
At the same time however, He is challenging me. He requires more from me than simply acknowledgement of Him and what He’s given me. According to Luke 12:48, I have a responsibility to God to be a faithful steward of what I have been given. Along with this, because I have been given much, much is required of me. I don’t see this as an obligation, or an extra requirement to drag me down, but as an outpouring of the grace He has given me. With this mindset it becomes much easier to serve Him, especially as service relates to people. If God has held me, a sinner, in such high regard, high enough that He would send His only Son to die so that I and those like me can be saved from the eternal punishment we deserve, how can I regard those around me with anything less than love and respect? I realize that they are sinners like me, but God loves them, and according to 2 Peter 3:9, desires that they would not perish but come to repentance.
My grandmother told me something when I was younger that has stuck with me. We were discussing the fact that many people today choose interesting (and by conservative standards, strange) looks, between their clothing, piercings, tattoos, hairstyles and other lifestyle choices. She told me though, that she looks into their eyes and reminds herself that Christ gave himself as a willing sacrifice so that person could have the opportunity of salvation. This perspective is exactly what I’m talking about. If Christ was willing to die for this person, I can love them and show them respect!
What has God been teaching you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, both on this post and on what you’re learning. Leave me a comment, or send me an email!
In love and humility,