Back to School?

Good Friday to You,

If I could swing it (both time and money), I would keep going to school. I truly enjoy formal education. Learning from someone who is at the top of their field is inspiring. Completing course requirements gives a fulfilling sense of achievement. Five years ago, I came really close to registering at SIU to start on a doctorate degree in communications. I just couldn’t (and still can’t) justify the time and money it would require, so I chose to keep learning in more informal ways.

It might surprise you to learn that I hated school my entire childhood. History… boring! Grammar and writing… yuck! Math was the only topic I tolerated, because numbers came easy to me. Homework… no thanks! I did just enough to keep Mom and Dad from getting upset about my grades.

When I thought about possible career paths, my first criterion was:  does it take a 2-year degree or less? Even when I began working on my aviation degree, my attitude stayed much the same. Education seemed to me a necessary evil. College was definitely harder, so I cram-studied. I knew the material just enough to take the test or write the paper.

When I rededicated my life to God at age 19, I knew I needed to read the Bible… and I did. But, I didn’t know where to begin reading. I didn’t often feel like I heard God’s voice speaking to me from the pages of Scripture. I would read, get stuck, read it again, but still not get much out of it. I would put it down in frustration and repeat the next day. Mostly, I saw reading the Bible as my religious duty. God deserved it even if I got nothing out of it.

That all changed in Seminary.

It was there that I began experiencing my God-given calling to be a pastor. I was seeing the gifts He had given me coming to life. But there was more… I was also discovering the gift of God’s Word.

No longer was reading the Bible a monotonous religious task to check off my list. My Seminary classes and professors helped me hear from God and prepared me to help others hear from God. The Story of Scripture came alive to me. I started seeing how the stories of Scripture were connected. For the first time in my life, I saw God’s Word as a gift to be treasured.

Good News:  No Seminary Required.

You can reap the same benefit I got from taking Old Testament 1 & 2 by simply reading Max Anders’ 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. You can get a great start on what I learned about how to study the Bible by using Jen Wilkin’s process (which I have been sharing in my sermons).

This weekend, we will take another look at why God’s Word is essential to our experience of the life Jesus secured for us. We will be studying Psalm 119:9-16 together. In these eight verses, we discover the key to Staying On Track. If you’ve wondered why you start but fail to finish… if you have good intentions but fail to follow through… this weekend just might be a breakthrough for you! Have a few minutes?  Read the entire Psalm. It is the longest chapter in the Bible, and as we will see, it is a literary masterpiece!

 

Hope you join us this weekend,

Pastor Michael