Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
But I am not the only one who has been stretched by God over the past few months. So have many of my friends. Those of us at Union that were on campus the night of the tornado have seen God in a new way. Since then, we have all grown in our own ways. God has taught each person different attributes about Himself. He has used that one night to bring us all closer to Him. We all needed to learn different lessons as a result of that night, and I feel that many can now say that they are beginning to understand God's purposes better.
One person in particular that has been stretched to his limits over the past few months is Joe. Those of you from Union know him well. You probably saw him in a cast at the end of this last semester. Those of you who do not go to Union, let me fill you in right quick. Joe is my roommate. He was trapped in Watters Commons during the tornado for a short period of time and found his way out. He was also an RA at the time, and took great responsibilities that night at assuring that others had safety. He was stretched this semester as an RA during a messed up semester. Then in April, he broke his ankle and tore a ligament while roller skating with our church in Jackson. I texted him last night to see how he was doing after getting the cast off on Tuesday. He told me that it did not completely work, and now he will have surgery again on Monday to try this again. He still has 10 weeks to go on the recovery, and that will encompass most of his summer.
I know that God has a plan for keeping him down this summer. I want to encourage Joe (if you are reading this) to keep on living out your faith. Do not give up. The bright side to all of this is coming, and a new semester is not that far away. But for those of you who know Joe, this will not slow him down. He will stay as active as he can in anything he feels led to do. He will not let this broken foot slow him down at all. I admire that. Please pray for him as he continues through this process of recovery. Pray that he will continue to look to God and see what it is that God is wanting to teach him through this.
And for everyone, when those rough times come (sometimes all at once), remember to look to God through it all. Do not give up. He will see you through it.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Today we began the new curriculum with the kids at Christian Wee Learn. We were not able to get the whole schedule going like we are planning, but we did use today as an introduction day. So we began moving them around to different stations, and I sat down with them for the first time to talk about the Bible. Some surprised me with what they know about the Bible while others shocked me that they did not know more.
Granted these kids are only K-5, so it reasonable to assume that they would get stories confused, but some did not know where to begin with creation or the flood. But let me encourage you to examine your own lives. How much do you know about the Bible? Throughout our conversations through Genesis and Exodus this morning the kids challenged me. I received questions such as the following:
- How old was Noah when he died? - I knew a general area, but not the exact age.
- What were all 10 plagues in Egypt? - I knew around half, but I did not know them in order.
Those are the 2 that really stood out to me. I know that they are small details in some ways, but if we study God's Word daily, we could know even some of the smallest details of the Bible. I am trying to teach them the basic stories and some general verses. I want them to learn the books of the Bible and know how to find certain stories and books. But I can already see that the questions will not stop. I have a feeling that they will push me and teach me in ways that I did not think about this summer. In many ways that is exciting. God may teach me many new things this summer. But in other ways, it is scary. I want to be ready each day for any question they might ask, which means that I will need to do some more studying.
So my encouragement to you is for you to study hard. Go to those places in the Bible that you may have skipped over (like Leviticus or Numbers or maybe some of the prophets). See what you can learn from those books. The more you read God's Word, the better you will know it. I received an extra boost today that encouraged me to study harder. So now I want to pass that on to you as well.
Study... see what you learn.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
So the 1st week was a little rough. The first few days, the kids thought they could get away with anything since they had new teachers. But we were wiser than they. We did not allow anything to be done until we knew for sure that they were allowed to. I had a whole list of questions for those who have worked with that age group before. Once they understood that we were not going to let them get away with things, many of them were quite better. But there were still those who pushed our buttons everyday.
Please pray that these kids will continue to learn how to behave. I have told them several times this week that if they would just listen, they would have fun. So we are rewarding those who listen and do as they are told, hoping that the others will see the importance of being good. But we are also punishing those who do misbehave, and it is working ever so slightly. My goal is for every kid there to have fun. I do not want to be the mean teacher that punishes the kids everyday, but when they do not listen, punishment will come.
On Tuesday, we will start the new curriculum. As I have mentioned before, it is a Bible Drill type curriculum. We will finally have them split into 2 age groups (which will probably help) and they will rotate through different types of activities everyday (instead of free time all day). This will allow them to have time to learn, have time to play, and allow us to get to know them better.
Although it was a long, stressful week, it is over. A new week will begin on Tuesday. We will have a more organized schedule for them as we start on Tuesday. I know that it will only get better as the summer goes on.
As far as Union, I have not been to campus since the end of finals. I know that construction is moving along as planned, and we are expecting a more accurate projection for the completion of the dorms at the beginning of June. I cannot wait to get back to campus later this summer to see the progress, but with gas the way it is that might be a while. My trips to Jackson will be few and far between.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
For those of you who have not yet heard, his youngest daughter (one that they had adopted from China a few years ago) was hit by their car last night when one of her brothers ran over her. It was all an accident, and he did not see his little sister in the driveway at the time. I know that their hearts must be broken over this tragedy. Please lift them up in your prayers.
- Pray for the whole family as they deal with this death.
- Especially pray for the brother who was driving the car (he will never forget this).
- Pray that through this, the Chapman's can continue to look to God and show Him to others as they always have.
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28 (ESV)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
These 2 verses are pretty straight forward. The general idea behind this passage is that when we choose to follow God and obey His commands He pours out His blessings on our lives. When we reject His laws and choose to live life our own way, He pours out His curses.
But there are applications in this idea. You may be thinking that it is not that simple to just live a good life following "every" command that He gave to us. And it can be hard. But let me encourage you to choose each day when you get up that you are going to live that day for God. I am speaking to myself here as well. It has to be a conscious decision each day.
Again this is a straight forward passage, but I feel like we overlook this concept quite frequently. We forget that every decision we make should involve God. It does not matter how big or how small, He wants to help. But we have to choose to follow Him.
So when you wake up in the morning, pray, and tell God that you are choosing this day to live for Him. As John Waller would say "we will choose to be a blessing for life."
Sunday, May 18, 2008
One thing I notice in our towns is trash on the streets. Instead of trying to find a place to put our garbage, we just throw it out the car window or leave it laying on the floor. We are too lazy! Our society is literally "littered" with trash every where we look. I am thankful for some of the small steps our university has made to work on this trash problem. Although we have not been able to institute a campus wide recycling program, we have specific trash cans for paper in various parts of our academic buildings. I find myself disposing of all paper products in these bins.
But we should do that in all aspects of life. This is not just a part of "Going Green" either. It is about being responsible. We are stewards of the land that God has given us. It is our responsibility to take care of it. And we are not just lazy in trash cleanup. We are lazy in other aspects of life as well. Children are growing up without guidance because parents do not want to take the time to discipline them. They are also growing up without love from their parents because the parents do not want to take the time to get to know them.
Laziness has plagued all aspects of our life: from food to family to "Going Green." People must learn that when we are lazy, nothing gets accomplished. The more we sit around and do nothing, the further down society will go. If we refrain from being busy, we will become lazy really fast. So stay busy, clean up this world, take responsibility in your family, watch what you eat, and glorify God through your life.
Some of this is kind of random, but it all connects. Every aspect of our life should be used to glorify God. By being lazy, we will miss out on so much that He has in store for us.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
100 Days... and now the semester comes to a close on this official last day of the semester.
100 Days... and campus looks completely different.
I just returned from my last final. I am completely done now, and summer has finally arrived. Honestly, I have been looking forward to this day for about 100 days. Ever since that tornado hit, I have longed for summer break. I have wanted that day to come when I could finally rest. But now that it is finally here, I am not so sure that I want it. 100 days ago, our lives changed forever, but now I feel that we are all closer in some ways. Campus has come together in new ways. We lost our sense of community when our dorms were torn down, but we have gained stronger friendships with those that we have been with during this semester. It is sad to see this semester come to a close. We must all now go home for the summer, and we may not see each other for several months.
The Jett will close today as well. Within a few weeks, it will probably re-open as the Old English Inn. We will no longer be turning hotel rooms into dorm rooms. But thanks to the Jett and Englewood Baptist Church for all that they have done for us since the tornado.
As I said, I just returned from campus, and it looks great! All 14 dorms have been started. The final 2 were started at the end of last week/beginning of this week. 12 dorms are two stories, 11 have roofs, and 6 (possibly 7) have some sort of brick work done (2 or 3 of which are completely bricked). I have seen the inside from some pictures that someone posted on facebook, and they are also sheet rocked. That comes before the bricking, and it means that those dorms have electrical wires, plumbing, and insulation. Also, carpeting could begin soon in some buildings. The process is moving on very quickly, and who would have thought that we could have been this far along in only 100 days. Only God knew.
So now that Spring 2008 has come to an end, I will be heading home. I am going to finish packing up this morning and head out this afternoon. Starting Monday, I will be at FBC Martin working with Christian Wee Learn. I will also begin working on sermons for Kids Kamp. Summer is going to be busy, but I am ready for a change of pace. And probably in just a few weeks, I will be ready to get back to Union.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
This is a long passage, but there is a common theme and many connections between these various sections. We have studied this part of 2 Samuel for the past 2 Sundays at FBC Martin in Sunday School. So for much of this I have to give credit to Morgan Owen and Jeremy Kolwinska. I am going to hit the high points.
David (ch11) - This is a very familiar passage about David's sin with Bathsheba. But that was not David's only mistake. First he was guilty of lusting after Bathsheba when he first saw her. Then he slept with her. He attempted to get Uriah to return and sleep with her to cover up his sin. But Uriah instead wanted to defend his king (who should have been at battle). Finally, David manipulated the situation and had Uriah killed in battle.
Now we all know that an immediate consequence is that David and Bathsheba lost their son. Later Solomon (the future king) was born. But his sins had more consequences that were shown through his sons.
Amnon and Absalom (ch13) - David's sons found themselves trapped in many of the same sins that he struggled with. Amnon lusted after his sister Tamar. He then manipulated the situation so that he could sleep with her. This angered Absalom, and he manipulated David in letting Amnon go out specifically with Absalom. It was there that Absalom murdered Amnon.
The life lesson for us today is that we must be careful in our actions. We may not realize it at the time, but our actions will affect the lives of others at some point. It may affect those immediately around us, and in many cases it could affect our own family (children). People are always watching us. We do not want others to think that we condone those actions. If they think we are condoning those sins, then they may get entrapped by that sin. This is very dangerous with children who mimic their parents.
So watch what you do and what you say. Be careful to follow God daily and use His strength to overcome the temptations of your life. Do not excuse your actions but understand what the sin is in your life. Go to God with that sin and let Him have control.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
It is easy to start worrying about what is to come next. First off, the election is now 6 months away, and we still do not know who the democratic candidate is going to be. Last night was just another split decision, and both candidates are right where they were a week ago. So who should get the democratic nomination? Well it seems as if everyone has their own opinion about that.
Furthermore, with gas prices on the rise, people worry about how high it is really going to go. People are in fear, wondering if they will be able to even afford gas in the coming months. Plus, is there a candidate who can help solve this problem? If so, should that be the reason that we vote for them? These are questions that are dominating our lives right now.
And if that were not enough, severe storms seem to be coming non-stop all throughout the country. Just yesterday, more tornadoes were reported in the Midwest. No one is safe from a sporadic tornado forming. And this too places fear into so many.
So why am I discussing this? Well honestly, all three of these topics play a part in my life (and I am guessing your life as well). I drive to school every day now, and I am not too happy about the $3.50/gallon gas. Plus, I will be voting in November, and the biggest question in my mind right now is who I am going to vote for. And, with severe storms coming at us yet again last Friday, the fear and the memories from the February 5 tornado still come back to me.
But I am trying to not let these things get to me. I know that through it all, I will come out on the other side. God is still in control, and He is still right here with me. The world may be falling apart in some ways right now, but I know that I should not worry about those things (Matthew 6:34). God sees all that is happening, and His hand is still over His children through it all.
I am not going to worry about these things. I will continue to watch the news and see what is going on in our world, but I am not going to let it get to me. I have been there and done that; it does not help me in any way. So the next time you feel overwhelmed by all that is going on around you, pray! Do not worry; just go to Him. The problems may still be in your life, but you will have the one, true solution.
Monday, May 5, 2008
2 Timothy 2:3-6
I am currently taking a Biblical Backgrounds course here at Union. In it, we look back to early documents that were written around the same time as the Bible. I actually have a paper due tomorrow in that class, over this passage. So I thought I would share some of it in this post. I just won't go into all the quotes and background I found for this passage.
- Soldier (v3-4) - Paul encourages Timothy to suffer as a soldier as he aims to please his general. This includes courage and bravery. A soldier must be willing to go to the front line and face death if the need arises. But during the other parts of his career, he must endure the various hardships that come: such as food rationing, carrying all their supplies (without modes of transportation), and always being prepared. Suffering did not only include death; it also came from the everyday tasks and chores. Through it all, a solider desired to please his general.
In the same way, we must also endure any hardships that arise (on this side of death) and endure in the faith. We should strive daily to please God as we obey His commands.
- Athlete (v5) - Athletes of the time were crowned and respected if they competed according to the rules. When someone was found cheating, they were stripped of their rewards and lost all respect to the spectators. This is somewhat true today, but many times the idea of cheating is blurred, and people question whether they were cheating or finding some "strategic advantage."
As Christians, we must live according to God's Word. Those are our rules for life. When we are seen disrespecting God and not following His commands, people lose respect for us. This hurts our witness before the lost. Therefore, we must be careful to follow God daily and not be seen as a "cheater" who does not follow the rules.
- Farmer (v6) - An interesting farming idea for the 1st century was the idea of starting small. Instead of being greedy and trying to do too much too soon, men were encouraged to start small and do well. Then they could gradually build up the farm as time went on. They were to work hard with what they had, and were discouraged in the idea of being greedy.
Similarly, we should work hard with what God has given us. We should never desire a "more noble" task. God gives us each our own gifts and expects us to use those in life. We can accomplish just as much for God in our own way as can someone else. He desires for us to work hard with what He gave us. Then, He may bless us with more if we are found faithful.
This is just a quick look at those 4 verses. Remember that God can use any of us. He wants to do amazing things through the lives of His children. But we have to be willing to work hard, follow His commands, and be willing to suffer for Him. This takes a life completely devoted to Him.
Friday, May 2, 2008
- 12 of the 14 dorms are now up in some way.
- 11 of which have at least 2 stories.
- 10 of which have a roof, and several of those have shingles.
- Several now have windows.
- 1 or 2 are completely bricked.
- 1 or 2 others are currently being bricked.
- And there are only 2 more that need to be started.
A lot has happened this semester, and construction continues to go along quickly. Those dorms should definitely be ready by September. But despite the craziness of construction, the rest of campus is about normal. Other than the major catch-up projects we have due next week, it is the typical end of a semester. Everyone is feeling the stress of finals already, and in 2 weeks this semester will be nothing but a memory.
For me, homework is my top priority. I have 2 projects and 2 papers due next week, and I am finishing all of that up. Other than that, life is good. I just want the end to be here, and soon!