Deuteronomy 30:19-20

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend of Losses

In the world of sports, it was a hard weekend. As I was trying to get some things done this weekend and get ahead on a few projects, I spent most of time in front of the TV. The fall seems to be the best time to watch sports. The NFL and college football start in and continue through the fall, and the NASCAR Chase is in the fall. This weekend in particular was especially exciting.

Tennessee vs. Florida (epic rival); Chase race #1 (start of the championship); and Packers vs. Bengals (a chance to be 2-0).

But things did not turn out so well. First off, Tennessee did end up losing to Florida, which was expected by most people. I had hope though, thinking that we could very well pull out an upset. Although we did end up losing, it was not a slaughter as most people had predicted. We actually scored on Florida (touchdown and field goals), and we caused Florida to end a few of their streaks. Losing is never good, but when it is compared to last season, it does not seem quite as bad.

The Packers had a close game as well. We only lost by a touchdown in the end, and much of the game was spent tied. Although I did not get to see the game live, I saw highlights, and the end was exciting. They were down by 10, and they had the ball. The Packers ended up getting a field goal out of the drive and did not have much time left on the clock. So the only option was to go for an onside kick, which they did. They then won the onside kick and had possession once more. Now all they needed to do was to capitalize on that play. However, things did not work out so well. They could not go for another field goal; it had to be a touchdown. Although we did get back into the red zone, they could not capitalize and we ended up gaining a 1-1 record. Hopefully next week will change things.

Finally, the race was not good either. Gordon had a dominant car at the start, but once they made a small adjustment in the first pit stop, things went down hill. I am not sure what happened or why Gordon could not get back to the front, but once he got further back in the pack, he was unable to pass. Part of this was due to the fact that he brushed the wall and the side of Johnson's car. But I thought he had a chance at winning the race and working his way to the lead in the Chase. With 9 races left, he is not out of it, but now it will take more work to get that 5th championship.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dollar for a Drink

Have you ever thought about the people in third world countries that struggle just to survive? I think it is easy for us to forget about the daily struggles some people face across the world because we really do have it all in America. But just because we may be blind to the fact that others are struggling to meet their daily needs does not mean that it is not actually happening. Right now, in Sudan, people are struggling to find good, clean water. Water! I can get up from my computer right now and go get a drink of water without even thinking about it. But those people in Sudan must traverse miles to even find a water source, and even then they are limited as to how much they can bring back. They are then limited as to how much they can drink, for they must ration it out. And yet, here we are with an abundance of water, more than we know what to do with.

So here is my challenge. A friend of mine here at Union, Joshua Guthrie, created an organization called Dollar For A Drink last fall. From October to December 2008, he raised $8,000. That was how much it cost to build just one well in Sudan. He actually exceeded his goal last fall, which made him go on and set a new goal for the fall of 2009. So this fall, the goal has been increased to $24,000! With that money, 3 new wells can be built in Sudan.

The good news: In just 1 month, for this new goal began at the beginning of September, 1/3 of that goal has already been met. Enough money has almost been raised to cover 1 of the 3 new wells!

The bad news: 1 of 3 is not enough. People are dying each day in the Sudan because of a lack of water. That is why Joshua wants our help, yes, me included.

How can you help? By donating $1... that's it! If 24,000 people donated $1 apiece, the goal would be met. But if you feel led to donate more, go right ahead. The idea is to give up $1 for a drink (such as a cup of coffee, a coke, a bottle of water) that you would have during the day. You may challenge yourself to go a week without that extra coke at break during work. That would be $7. See the idea? It does not matter what you give, but I encourage you to give to this great cause.

So how do you do it? It's simple. Go to and find out how you can donate. There is an online method or you can do it by mail. Also, you will find much more information on the website about what this non-profit organization was designed for. Furthermore, you can promote this cause at your school, business, or church. The more people that hear about it, the fast the goal can be met.

So can you do it? Yes. The question is... will you do it? It's your choice. I am not going to place guilt on you, but I do encourage you to seriously consider what you give. These people in Sudan are literally depending on us, on our sacrifice.

It's really quite easy... $1 for 1 drink.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering the Persecuted

This week has been GO Week at Union, and we have been focusing on local, national, and international missions throughout the week. It is an opportunity for students to get involved in some form or fashion for the glory of God. This year the theme is "to the nations." Now some may argue that we need to be focused on our local area, and I completely agree! However, there must be a balance. If we are going to the nations without going to our neighbor, something is wrong. If we remain in our bubble without thinking about our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ across the world, something is wrong as well.

Tonight was a focus on those brothers and sisters scattered across the world. In America, we do not suffer persecution from the government. We are free to gather and worship Christ. We are free to spread His word to those around us. But so many people today do not have that freedom. So tonight, we pretended to be in those situations (although we could never do it justly, for we have no idea what these people suffer each day). We "secretly" met in the gym to have a Bible study without use of any Bibles. Scripture was strictly from memory. Our meetings were quiet and in the dark. Now this pales in comparison to what people are suffering this very moment across the world, but hopefully it gave us some idea of how free we are in our own country.

The main focus tonight was to remember to pray for those who are suffering. Many have died even today for the sake of the Gospel. People are killed, imprisoned, and persecuted daily just because they proclaimed the name of Jesus. Can you imagine? People are tricked, lied about, and arrested (sometimes over things they never did). And here we are sitting in our churches, sitting in our homes, going about our daily lives forgetting that we have brothers and sisters who are suffering. We are ONE body in Christ, and when one member suffers, we all do. But how many times do we forget this?

Now do not think that I am lashing out against Christians because this convicted me as much as anybody. It made me stop once again and think about how I live my life. How often do I forget?

One last thing... do not only pray for our fellow Christians, but also remember those who are doing the persecuting. Steve Booth has been our speaker this week, and he reminded us tonight that they need our prayers as well. He reminded us of Paul, one of the greatest persecutors we have ever known. But did God give up on Paul? Of course not, and if He had of, we would not have half of our New Testament. If God can change Paul's life, he change the lives of those across the world today. So do not forget the persecuted or the persecutors!


Friday, September 11, 2009


The question is, where were you 8 years ago? Can you even remember that far back? In some ways, the events of that day seem so distant now. In other ways, it feels as if it were only yesterday. I am sure that those who lost loved ones on that day still feel as if it was yesterday. But what about the rest of us? Have we forgotten the fear that we felt 8 years ago? Has September 11th become "just another day."

I have to admit that now that we are on our 8th anniversary of those awful attacks, it is getting fuzzier. I do not remember the details of that morning as much as I once did. But I did not lose anyone, and maybe that is why. But a tradition that I have developed over the last 8 years is watching FOX's coverage from 2001 each year. When I got up this morning and turned on the TV, FOX was showing the same video that I have watched year in and year out, marking each significant event of that morning. And even 8 years later, it still sends chills through my spine, fear. I wonder... could it happen again? Are we really safe? Could there be another attack one day?

For some, this day may be beginning to become routine again. But we must be careful not to let September 11th become another ordinary day. True, we no longer dwell on it as we once did. However, it is good to have that reminder each year that we must watch out, we must remember our military, we must remain safe, and we must turn to God as we did on the days that followed 9-11-2001.

Some people may have moved on since 2001, but after talking with several people on campus today, for many of us, we have not forgotten. We all spoke of where we were that morning, what we remembered feeling, how our schools and communities reacted, how our churches reacted. For those of us who were just kids on that dreadful morning, we have not forgotten, and I do not think that we ever will.

To close this out, I just want to thank all who worked so hard that morning in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania (even those who lost their lives). And I want to thank those who are continuing to fight the war that began that morning. May we never forget the sacrifice that so many have paid for us in recent years.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Green - Coming Full Circle

Green, by Ted Dekker is the conclusion to the beloved Circle Trilogy, Paradise Series, and Lost Books Series. It completes the "circle," and wraps up the Books of History Chronicles.

I cannot really tell you much of the plot of this book without ruining it. But I can say that if you have read any of the books in this massive series, you will most definitely enjoy this one. Dekker includes the best elements from all of the other books and piles it all into one. Characters range from those in "other" earth to those in our own earth to those from the monastery to characters that we might have even forgotten about. But the pure genius behind this book is that it can be read as the "grand finale" or the "beginning."

What I mean is, those who have never picked up one of the Books of History Chronicles could begin with Green and begin reading with Book 0. The rest of the series is summed up in the opening pages, but those who have not read those other books would never understand the connections. Then, once they grab hold of the rest of the series, they would be amazed at the connections Dekker created.

Now while I cannot tell you which way is best... the original order or this new order that begins with Green, I can say this. No matter where you start, read the separate series in order. I will list those later on. I prefer the original order because that is the way I read it. For 5 years now, I have read these books as they were published, and the twists and connections along the way kept me hooked. I am sad that the series is over, but I am excited about going back and rereading the series. I feel like a good book is one that can be reread. Although I already know the twists that are to come, I am excited to see them knowing the ending. This series never gets old!

So here is my preferred order (the original publishing order):
Now although this is my preferred order, it does not have to be read in this order. Keep the series together, dive deep, and read the Books of History (the common theme through all the books).
  • Circle Series - Black, Red, White, Green or Green, Black, Red, White
  • Paradise Novels - Showdown, Saint, Sinner
  • Lost Books (CIRCLE) - Chosen, Infidel, Renegade, Chaos, Lunatic, Elyon
  • Stand Alone Novels with Connections - House, Skin

This is the end of the Books of History Chronicles... but for someone, it might just be the beginning.


Monday, September 7, 2009

The Living Water and Bread of Life - Part 5

When studying a passage, the study cannot and must not end with a look at the themes, images, structure, and meaning behind the passage. These stories and teachings are not dead; they did not only apply to the people to which they were written almost two thousand years ago. There are still life lessons embedded in them that can apply to Christians today. In general, these passages point Christians throughout the ages to Christ, showing that He is the source of eternal life.

Starting with the Samaritan woman, there are many lessons that can be learned from her encounter with Christ. First, Jesus did not “let traditions stand in [His] way… crossing gender and ethnic divides” to present this woman with the truth.[1] In the same way, we must be intentional in sharing the Gospel, not letting stereotypes stand in our way. Remember that no one is too far from Christ’s love, and that the people we witness to are no worse off than we were. For this reason, we must share the Gospel with any and all who will listen. As Christians, we must also remember that the water Jesus mentions to the woman is an everlasting spring within us. When we need to be reminded of Christ’s love or need to be reenergized spiritually, we must find our “spiritual sustenance… by encountering God’s living presence within.”[2] We cannot find it within ourselves, for we are completely dependent on God. Finally, we must never fear to ask the hard questions. This applies to both the woman at the well and the crowd. They express their confusion to Christ, letting Him know that they do not understand. We may find that we are wrong in our thinking, but that is how we learn. Christ will give us the answers if we will turn to Him and seek Him daily in our lives.

Many of these same lessons apply to the crowd in John 6 as well. But there is one other lesson that is very important in the Christian life. It can be beneficial to ask questions and express our confusion to Christ. But we must be careful within that confusion. For the crowd misquotes Scripture while expressing their confusion. We need to be careful in quoting Scripture, not being like the Jews who do not have “an exact quotation.”[3] If we do not understand a certain passage, it is best to study God’s Word, ask God for clarification, and meditate on that passage, rather than misquoting Scripture in a critical situation of someone’s life. By looking to Jesus, the source of true wisdom, He can lead us to understanding as we continue to grow in Him, the Living Water and Bread of Life, the source of eternal life.

This ends our look at 2 key passages from the Gospel of John. Sorry that it took so long to get all of this on the blog, but this series is now complete. Keep a check for more updates. My current plans are to take another look back at the summer, looking at the verses we memorized at Christian Wee Learn this past summer.

[1] Walter J. Burghardt and Kathryn L. Waldron, “Living Water: A Gospel Insight,” The Living Pulpit 14, no. 1 (January-March 2005) id=7&hid=12&sid=ea7de7e7-af56-4283-9fff6-d3a1b9c32695%40sessionmgr8 (accessed February 17, 2009).
[2] Robert B. Setzer Jr., Encounters with the Living Christ: Meeting Jesus in the Gospel of John, (Valley Forge, Pennsylvania: Judson Press, 1999) 49.
[3] Craig R. Koester, Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel: Meaning, Mystery, Community (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 1995) 95.


The Chase is Coming

The Chase for the Sprint Cup is almost here! There is now only 1 race left before the cutoff for the 2009 Chase in NASCAR. And it is already setting up to be an exciting 10 race shootout.

Last night was the Atlanta race, and it was the first Atlanta race under the lights. No one really knew what to expect. Never before had an entire Atlanta race been run at night. So no team had an advantage as to knowing how the car needed to be set up. And that inexperience showed in several race teams. But it was not this one factor that made last night's race so crucial.

The fact was that only 3 out of 12 drivers had secured a spot in the Chase, leaving 14 drivers racing hard for those last 9 spots. As the race progressed, the points continued to change. At one moment Kyle Busch, who was only 34 points out of being in the Chase had secured a spot on up in the standings. But due to some late race mishaps, he found himself 37 points out once more. His brother Kurt had once been 4th in the points standings, just points from locking himself into the Chase as well. But after 2 bad races, he now finds himself in 7th (still in the chase, but barely holding on).

Story lines such as these filled the race, and with many double-file restarts and constant lead changes, the first Atlanta night race set the stage for another exciting Richmond race. This Saturday night, the Chase will be set. The question is who will fill those last few spots. Hamlin secured his spot at Atlanta, leaving only 8 remaining. The problem is, there are 10+ drivers fighting for those positions.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Living Water and Bread of Life - Part 4

John 6:25-35
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." So they said to him, "Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."

Knowing that the structure of John 6:25-35 parallels that of John 4:10-15, the crowd’s entrance should seem very familiar. Just as the woman goes to Jesus, who is waiting on her as He rests beside the well, the crowd walks up to Jesus, initializing the conversation. But as Jesus typically does in John, He steers the conversation in the direction He intends to go, avoiding their petty question. Their question is not only petty, but also “irrelevant” as they are hiding behind the “the deeper issue of their sinful motives.”[1] The people who confront Jesus always attempt to trap Him in some form, usually to have Him arrested. But no matter the reason for their pointed questions, the problem is that they hide behind their true intentions. Like the woman at the well, who at first cannot get past the physical, they put their “minds on material things” when “the point of the miracle (feeding of the five thousand) was to point their minds to Christ.”[2] That is why Jesus ignores their false intentions and gets to the heart of the matter, addressing their problem of sin and need for salvation.

The way in which Jesus begins speaking in verse twenty-six varies slightly from John 4. Instead of immediately mentioning the gift through another image, Jesus first rebukes the crowd on their motives. Once again the hearers are too focused on the physical, and they are missing the spiritual. The only reason they show interest in Jesus is “because He filled their stomachs.”[3] Much like the woman who thought too much of her physical thirst being quenched, Jesus accuses the crowd of focusing too much on the “physical” sign that He performed and the fact that their “physical” bodies had been filled. Basically, they miss the point of the miracle.

Jesus then continues in verse twenty-seven with an alternative to their actions. Instead of seeking physical food that will perish, they should seek food that will last for eternity, leading to eternal life. This statement of rebuke is directed at their “attempt to use God and His gospel as a means to worldly satisfactions,” as they miss the spiritual significance of the miracle.[4] So Jesus tries to direct them to the spiritual meaning behind the miracle and the image that He is explaining. He wants them to grasp the true meaning behind these things, but as verse twenty-eight will show, they still feel as if they must “do something to earn” this gift.[5] After Jesus makes His opening statement to this small crowd, they follow the typical Johannine pattern and show their confusion.

At the end of verse twenty-seven, Jesus throws in an interesting phrase that seems to divert the emphasis in the passage. The passage mentions that “God has attested Jesus with his own seal.”[6] This seal is God’s way of pointing out the Son of Man, the Messiah. In seeing that God places this seal on Jesus, the gift gains more significance. This gift of food that Jesus is giving to the crowd comes directly from the Son of Man, the Messiah, or God. As already seen with the woman at the well, the water and bread are images that lead to eternal life. Therefore, in Jesus offering this gift to the crowd, Jesus attempts to lead them to eternal life. The problem that still remains however, is that the crowd is confused and has not yet understood the spiritual significance to Jesus’ claims. They have not yet grasped the fact that Jesus is the Messiah and that He is offering this gift of eternal life to them. For that reason they question Jesus about how they can receive such a gift.

In the crowd’s response in verse twenty-eight, they express their confusion, following this same Johannine structure. Knowing that they must work in life in order that they may eat, they ask Jesus “what kind of work is necessary to receive this bread” in which He has referenced.[7] Once again it is apparent that they focus too much on the physical aspects of life, and therefore, they do not understand that there is no physical work required to obtain such bread. So Jesus responds in verse twenty-nine by telling them this very thing. The work that He is speaking of “is to believe in Jesus, the one sent by God.”[8] Jesus does not specifically say His own name, but He refers to Himself as the one sent by God. This statement seems to refer back to the end of verse twenty-seven when He states that this man is the one on whom God has placed a seal; that He, Jesus, has specifically been chosen and sent by God.

As the conversation continues, the crowd responds in verses thirty and thirty-one by remaining adamant about needing some sort of sign in order to believe. Although “John’s Gospel includes an emphasis on” the importance of “signs,” it is not always in a positive fashion.[9] He includes seven main signs that Jesus performed in His ministry so that people might believe. But just like the water and the bread cannot save, neither can these signs. Belief is beyond the actual sign that Jesus performs. That belief is what this crowd is missing. They want another sign in order that they may believe. And assuming that they are on the right track in their reasoning, they quote Scripture to prove their case. The source of the actual verse they are quoting is unknown and disputed. Some “possibilities suggested” are “Exodus 16:4, Nehemiah 9:15, and Psalm 78:24,” and it is even possible that John or the crowd “combines two or more” of these verses.[10] In the end it is not real important to nail down exactly where this verse comes from because the crowd uses it to support a claim that has no grounds, and they misinterpret the verse in the end as well. But by them relating to both Moses and the manna, they do show their knowledge of the Old Testament, and like the woman at the well, they attempt to offer a rebuttal to Jesus’ claims by referring back to their Old Testament scriptures.

Verses thirty-two and thirty-three record Jesus’ reaction to the claims that the crowd makes. He rebukes them on two main points, for misunderstanding the text and using the text to support false claims. First, Jesus explains to them that “Moses did not give the manna” to the Israelites, “God gave it.”[11] Moses was not the one who provided the Israelites with their daily sustenance; he was only the man that God chose to work through. Since they misunderstood the verse itself, they ended up “misusing Scripture” as well.[12] No wonder they had not yet grasped the true meaning of the bread that Jesus offers, for they did not even clearly understand the manna that God had provided in previous times.

But knowing that the crowd is still confused over the bread, both the manna and this new Bread of Life, Jesus proceeds to explain the bread that He is talking about in verse thirty-three. Having corrected their views on Moses’ role in the manna incident, Jesus corrects their view on the bread as well. Since they bring up the Old Testament, Jesus picks up at their line of reasoning and connects “the bread of God” with the “bread of heaven… showbread.”[13] Like with the water imagery, Jesus builds off of this common image and connects it with Himself, the Son of Man. He is the one who can give eternal life. So once again, it is not the image itself that brings about salvation and eternal life, but Jesus who gives it.

Verse thirty-four connects well with John 4:15, where the woman greatly anticipates the gift in which Jesus offered. But just like the woman who did not yet fully understand what Jesus was talking about, the crowd still expresses a sense of confusion in their response. After Jesus finishes talking, the crowd asks for the bread, “missing the point, because they were intent on continually filling their stomachs.”[14] Their response represents another one of the Johannine misunderstandings. Just as the woman thought that some water would quench her thirst forever, the crowd expects bread that always keep them full, never to hunger again. This misunderstanding then prepares the way for one of Jesus’ famous “I am” statements.

The discussion about Jesus being the Bread of Life really only begins with verse thirty-five, continuing through most of the chapter. But for the purpose of these two parallel passages, it can also be viewed as a conclusion that brings both events to a close in one verse. Since the woman and the crowd both misunderstand Jesus’ references to the Living Water and the Bread of Life and how they lead to eternal life, Jesus plainly explains it to them. He finally makes His teaching clear by stating that He is the Living Water and Bread of Life. He is the path that leads to eternal life, to salvation. In this proclamation, Jesus not only puts to rest the arguments that these people have raised against Him, but he also “removes…his opponents’ implicit misunderstandings.”[15] With this declaration, there is no longer any question as to what the images that Jesus so craftily uses mean. He truly is the way to eternal life, and no one can be with Father unless they go through Him (John 14:6).

There is one other view that some hold in reference to the meaning of these images. “Bread often related to wisdom,” but in the first century people viewed wisdom as something that would lead a person to “hunger and thirst for more.”[16] Worldly wisdom is only temporary, and with it, no one can ever know all that there is to know. They will always be on a search to acquire more wisdom, always learning. But in light of these passages, the images of bread and water “allude directly to divine wisdom.”[17] In Jesus, a person can know absolute truth, and Jesus will give them all the wisdom they need to make decisions in life. When a person places their trust in Christ, they will find that He is the ultimate source of wisdom. In effect, that is what Jesus desires for those seeking after Him in John 4 and John 6. He leads them to Himself through a series of complex images, showing them that He is the source of eternal life, that He is the one in which they should place their trust. He is the Messiah they were looking for.

This very long post wraps up a more detailed look into the passages. Next time, in the last installment of this series, we will look at an application for these two passages. What can we take from this text?

[1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur new Testament Commentary: John 1-11 (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Publishers, 2006) 236.
[2] James Montgomery Boice, An Expositional Commentary Volume 2 John 5:1-8:59 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976) 148.
[3] Thomas D. Lea and David Alan Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003) 213-14.
[4] David S. Yeago, “The Bread of Life: Patristic Christology and Evangelical Soteriology in Martin Luther’s sermons on John 6.,” St. Vladimir’s Theological Quarterly 39, no 3. (1995), ost/pdf?vid=7&hid=12&sid=84a1bfde-f131-4080-aff8-eb261443c733&40sessionmgr7 (accessed February 21, 2009) 259.
[5] Boice, The Gospel of John: an Expositional Commentary Volume 2 John 5:1-8:59, 153.
[6] Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume One, 677.
[7] J. Bruce Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Gospel of John (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Fortress Press, 1998) 130.
[8] Fowl, “John 6:25-35,” 315.
[9] Lea and Black, The New Testament: Its Background and Message, 160.
[10] M. J. J. Menken, “The Provenance and Meaning of the Old Testament Quotation of John 6:31,” Novum Testamentum XXX, no. 1 (1998), d=12&sid=4166f2d4-da5e-48d3-a89b-3e64391ba4da%40sessionmgr3 (accessed February 17, 2009) 39.
[11] Boice, The Gospel of John: An Expositional Commentary Volume 2 John 5:1-8:59, 161.
[12] Borchert, The New American Commentary: John 1-11, 263.
[13] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 287.
[14] Borchert, The New American Commentary: John 1-11, 264.
[15] Carson, The Gospel According to John, 288.
[16] Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary Volume One, 681.
[17] Ibid, 683.


August Update 2

Right at the end of my time at Christian Wee Learn, I was also privileged to work with the youth at the Big House Cafe. This is our D-Now weekend, and we looked at the life and times of Paul. We all know Paul's story, how he was a persecutor of the church and killed 1000s of Christians. But God called him out of his sin and gave him a new life. Paul chose to follow Christ, and from that moment on, he traveled around the world, spreading God's Word.

We looked into Paul's story in Acts and some of the things he wrote in his letters. We began by looking at the change itself. But when God changes one part of our lives, He changes it all. If we truly let God inside of our lives, we can no longer hold on to specific areas of life. We must surrender it all to Him. And like Paul, when God gets hold of us, not only do we change, but so does our message, our actions, and our identity. These were the main topics of the weekend, and although I am not going to go into much detail here, think about these things. Have you given control to Him? Is there anything you still hold onto? Has your message changed? What are you communicating to those around you about your walk with Christ?

So summer came to a quick end, but the semester began just as quickly. I sit here this morning trying to make some major updates to the website, I cannot believe that we are already 2 weeks into the semester. It is going to be a tough one, and it has already been a tough one. I have some major papers coming up over the next year, including one that is a requirement for graduation in May. But I hope to make the best of my last year here at Union.

Things are pretty much the same on campus. The Commons is still under construction, but the roof is up! Over the past week, we have seen the rough carefully pieced together, and it looks as if they are almost done with it. The projected date of completion is the end of the year. We are going to be in the new Commons in the spring. So I will get one last semester in the new Commons. When it is complete, we will officially be done with the rebuilding project that began a year and a half ago. But construction is not finished. Along with the Commons, crews are currently working on the Pharmacy building that should be opened next fall. Also, the soccer complex is coming along nicely. The stands are up (and they are much nicer), and the press box is currently under construction. Union looks so different than it did 3 years ago when I began. So much has changed, but so much has changed for the better.


August Update 1

I know, I know, those of you who have read my blog over the past year and a half have probably thought that this is a dead site now. I have thought the same thing as well. The truth is that I have not had time to work on this as much as I would like. I had some time on the weekends during the summer. I thought I would get more time when school started back, but I have had much to do here as well. So I may not be on here as much as I used to be, but I will continue to try and keep this site updated.

So for a little catch-up. The beginning of August ended my second summer at Christian Wee Learn. Things definitely started rough this summer, but it only made the summer better in the end. It was much harder to leave there this summer. I got attached to many of the kids this go around, and I saw so much growth in some of the kids that I have had for 2 years now.

We went from Genesis to Revelation, looking at the promises God made along the way. From God's promises to Noah, Abraham, Israel (as a nation), Samson, and David, to the promise about the coming Messiah and future promises he made in the New Testament, we looked at how though those in our life may fail us or break their promise, God always keeps His!

I did not know how this theme would play out throughout the summer, but time and time again I saw that the kids understood a little bit more about God's personality. They made connections, memorized verses, and hopefully understood God's Word a little bit better. But one of the most amazing outcomes was seeing how this theme was really for the kids. We had several kids from hard home situations. Kids that had never known a person in their life to keep their promise. I was questioned on many occasions if I would actually do what I said I would do. At first, they had trouble believing me. But as we continued to work through the Scripture, they learned that there is someone out there who will always keep His promises, God!

I still miss the kids and wish that I could continue to teach them. But for now, I am back in school. I am back in the books, studying, trying to finish out my college career. Senior year is here, and for now this is my focus. But I will not forget the kids. They will be on my mind all year long!