Parenthetical Revelations

I‘m in the middle of trying to write two final essays for the quarter, but wanted to record somewhere the things I’ve learned in the last three months.

There were lessons like how to turn a fraction into a decimal, into a percent; how to more effectively edit a piece of writing; how to (and how not to) interpret literature (this distinction was difficult because it’s very different than interpreting the Bible). But these things are not as fun to explore as the few tidbits that have taken me by surprise…

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Library of Love

I have fallen so deeply in love with God by studying this weird collection of books called the Bible. I’m not talking about romantic love, but a love that is so, so much better.

Today in class, we finished the Old Testament.

*Pause for applause*

One of our fearless leaders, Scott Frase ended class by playing a slideshow he had made of the 65 books we’ve journeyed through in the last (almost) nine months (they begin the last book this Friday). Each slide was a book title, the main characteristic of God found in that book and then one or two key verses from said book which expressed this characteristic.  Most of us were devouring each slide and responding with tears to see what an epic story we have been immersed in for so long. (Maybe I was the only one crying?)

It was as moving as I’m sure the picture slideshows will be when we finally graduate these beloved students in two weeks. 

When any of our teachers finish their last lecture, it is SBS tradition to shower them with encouragement and prayer. For guest speakers, this happens soon after we meet them, but for those of us on staff with this school, we finish our last teaching near the end of a very long time together.

I was really struck today by a comment one of the students made to Scott as she expressed her appreciation and love for him. She talked about how, before coming to the school she’d had such a close relationship with God and she had feared that studying the Bible academically would suck the life right out of that relationship. It was a real battle for her and for several other students, but to Scott she said, “I thought I had to choose between knowledge of God or intimacy with God, but every time you teach, you show me I can have both.”  …

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Inner Healing, Outer Armor

This week the students are learning about spiritual warfare. Their speaker is a power house of a guy named Wes Tullis. His teaching method is much more circular and story oriented than our Western minds are used to, but it’s also kind of blowing my mind.

In my own DTS (in 2003)  the speaker used the book of Ephesians to teach on spiritual warfare. Things like knowing the truth about who God is and who we are in Christ. There was more to it, but her basic message was about living from that place of truth to stand against the enemy because it is God’s power which has already defeated that enemy.

Secular humanists would say there is no spiritual realm and Spiritualists (or animists, Buddhists, Hindus, etc) would say there really is no physical realm but only spiritual. As a follower of Christ, I believe that both physical and spiritual are real. Whatever your beliefs are about angels and demons, the spiritual realm is real and is intrinsically linked to what happens in the physical realm- both directions.

There are two things I want to share on this topic…

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The Cryptic Apocalyptic

We’re studying Revelation this week. I’m taking a breather right now to digest what we’ve heard in class and read thus far.

Just as the book itself seems to depict layers of the same “event” and from different perspectives, I have had layers of reactions to it and tried to view it from different perspectives. For a book with so much potential to confuse, I love one of the opening statements…

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” Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (1:3)

If you’re like me, you just don’t read Revelation ever… except maybe pieces. Over the years I have especially loved chapter 21 which talks about heaven. I have also loved the letters to the churches in the first 3 chapters because there are practical things in there I can relate to. Don’t be lukewarm in your faith, don’t give up, remember that enduring to the end leads to eternal reward… stuff like that….

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Who do you say that I am?

I‘m so impressed with Jesus.

Does that seem funny to say?

While reading the book of Mark several times now I have had a lot of thoughts- a lot of reactions which might be confusing if I write all of them down here.
The big thing that hit me at about the third reading is something a classmate expressed really well. She said, “the Jesus that we pray to? He’s the same guy we’re reading about right now.” For me it was more of a feeling or a kind of paradigm shift. Reading this “action” gospel, this telling of the ministry of Jesus which uses the word “immediately” so much as to be comical, I was suddenly reading a letter written by a friend about a friend. It stopped being a history book or even a “holy” book and became a first hand account of a man I know well. He is right here….

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Relentless Mercies

Today was so incredible and I’m not sure if I can put it into words that will do it justice.

For a start, last night was not good. Bad zombie nightmare and then no sleeping… bad dreams  for my roommate as well and for the kid who lives next door to us (my roommate heard him screaming after she woke up from her nightmare).

But when I woke up very early to work out, I was full of excitement. I refused to let a bad night influence such a day as today.

Just in the introductions this morning I felt an almost overwhelming gratitude rising up in me. I admit I got choked up several times.
Then during worship (which involves the whole base) they all prayed for us students and our staff. I had four different people pray for me things that God has been speaking to me in the last few weeks- using specific words He had used to me. I just stood with my head bowed, nodding and crying because again, God is so good and faithful and generous. He speaks and all of His plans are good….

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Life: Take Two

Sometimes life moves so fast that I feel like I am walking in slow motion. And so it is right now.

Coming to Colorado in January was, what felt like, a huge risk. I even gave myself an “out”… while I felt like God was saying “just try it!” I was saying “Fine! But don’t expect me to like it there”. Which is ridiculous in the extreme. Now that I’ve been back here for around 7 weeks I see how silly and unimaginative my perspective was. Granted, I was struggling with depression and getting to spend time with some of the dearest, best people on the planet.

It is hard to see daylight when you’re huddled up in the dark with good friends. My friends, how I love you.

And what of Colorado? In some ways it’s not so different here at the YWAM base than it was at the camp in Washington. Reach out in any direction and there sits a friend. Look around even just briefly and see ways to help, love and serve.

Now I am again on the verge of something that feels like a huge risk. After praying with and being challenged by a friend the other day, I started moving ahead with one possibility here. The School of Biblical Studies. I’m not sure if I can follow the path of this idea, or if it would even be interesting to read. Mainly I have wanted to do the school for a long time but always felt like I would not be capable of the work required. It’s pretty intense. 9 months of studying the Bible in depth and in entirety….

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Party Time, Excellent

Today I become 34.

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Principles of Effective Procrastination

For class I’m reading this book called The Revolutionary Communicator. I’m having a difficult time focusing because my head is all over the place- thinking about other assignments and decisions about the future. Both the assignments and the future seem very overwhelming today. To be honest, I do not feel great right now.

So I’m pushing myself to read- and it really is a good book.  It talks about seven principles Jesus lived to impact, connect and lead.  I don’t really think Jesus was ticking little check marks next to his interactions with people, “I was definitely authentic with that person“, “ I’m going to connect with this lady through questions“… Clearly, being what John calls The Word, he has an inherent handle on communication. But having 7 principles is good for those of us who are not Jesus….

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Words, Light and the Need for Sleep

Word and light.

Jesus has been called both.

I cannot speak life giving words or hold out sight giving light without being closely connected – INTIMATE – with the one who is The Word and the Light of the world.

(Just last night I was talking to God about intimacy with Him. I asked Him how I might have this since it is a real and ongoing need but it is also so often elusive.)

This morning I woke up after the usual disturbing dreams and felt okay. The room was clean and a new day was ahead but also my head was foggy and I felt really tired. Shower, coffee, breakfast and then down to the big room for worship with the whole base.
This time of worship was a bit too intense for me….

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