Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
This weekend was parent’s weekend at the Insty. My wonderful parents got to experience Branson in its prime, meaning at Christmastime. Now I completely understand that it is just the first week of November but I live in a city that has had a Christmas tree on the landing since about October 24th. Branson thrives on this holiday. Silver Dollar City is the Plaza on steroids.
Anyway, the class went to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Christmas Show. Dolly Parton is a secret love of mine and Dixie is probably one of my favorite shows in Branson. And the food they feed you is incredible; you get a whole chicken to yourself. Since Branson is basically in the Bible belt you can expect the gospel to be presented at any show at any time of course after first saluting the Veterans.
Dixie was no exception. They did a Branson-tastic nativity scene. But friends, what I am about to tell you is slightly embarrassing:
I teared up when the scene was complete because of how incredible the birth of Christ was. Ok, I know it is one of the most important events ever to happen but I did not know all the history or details until the last two months in class. It is overwhelming to go into the Christmas season knowing what I now know about the Bible. So much of what I learned has changed my view on the Bible. All I want to do is read it and learn more.
Did you know that during the silence era (which is the 430 years between the Old and New Testament) there were 3 events in history that completely got the world ready for the birth of Christ? The Romans built roads, a written language and religious persecution that provided a need for a Messianic hope. It is incredible to see how from Genesis to Malachi the world was being primed for a Savior. The Bible is so perfectly put together, it’s incredible. Don’t even get me started on pre-exilic, exilic and post-exilic prophecies. That is a whole other blog post for another time, but let me tell you, it’s pretty cool.
5 Random things I love about the Bible:
1. Moses did not get to go into the Promised Land but God let Him see it, and he is standing with Christ during the Transfiguration.
2. Leah was the unloved wife of Jacob but Christ’s line went through her son Judah.
3. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with a goad (a.k.a. a big stick)
4. Deborah was probably really kick butt. She was the only female judge and was a military leader.
5. Jesus’ model of evangelism (John 4)
I never realized how busy I would be at the Institute (hence why I have blogged very little recently). I mean, I was busy in college between working, doing school, rowing, stressing out about my future (who knew it would be in Branson?) and having a social life. But the Insty is a whole new level!
Run Down of a typical week:
-Homework until I leave for K-Life
-Internship at Forsyth K-Life 2:30-8:30
-Possible Ballroom Dancing Class in the near future
-Kitchen Duty noon-2pm
-Me time 2pm-6pm (this is VERY important that this happens every week)
-Homework until work
-Class 8am to noon
-Kitchen Duty noon-2pm
-Homework or me time depending on the week
9:15-10:30 Precepts (Study the life of Abraham this semester!)
10:30-12:30 Timothy Group (also referred to as t-group, which for the record, I basically have the best t-group there is)
-Kansas City Chiefs Game, time varies (also VERY important that this never is missed and we are 5-2 right now)
10 Rules/Tips I have for Insty:
1. Homework time is taken seriously. When it is scheduled I work for that amount of time no matter how little I have. If I finish an assignment I move on to the next one, which would explain why I finished my Bible Overview project 3 weeks ahead of time. I don't do homework after 8pm unless it is absolutely necessary. The best time to socialize is at night.
2. Get involved in the community; do not stay in the Insty bubble. Act out what you are learning in class.
3. Sit by a different person at meals each day.
4. Never leave all of precepts until Thursday night (I did it once...never again)
5. Sleep. For at least 7 hours a night.
6. Embrace the fact that it has been Christmas since October 24th in Branson.
7. Do laundry once a week, no matter how little you have. The longer you wait to do laundry the more it piles up and more of an effort it is to get it done.
8. Ask questions in class. No matter how dumb they seem.
9. Make sure your time in the Word is not just homework-related.
10. Love the season of life I am in. Sure I live in an island themed cabana and sometimes feel like I am a freshman in college again but when else will I see snow on palm trees? Or go to a Branson show on a whim? Or spend a year devoted to becoming a disciple of Christ? Or live down the street from my directors at kamp? Or live with a community of believers? Or go to church in a castle? Or work on developing 5 core values that will benefit my ministry? I've got it made.
I promised myself I would not turn into the Insty student that tries to convince everyone I meet to go through the Insty but I am on my way to being that person. Seriously. It has been an amazing 2 months and I still have until April to keep learning in this community of believers.
I have to teach twice in the next week. The thought of it makes me want to vomit. I have always said I never wanted to be a Bible teacher but here I am teaching the Bible, does that make me a Bible teacher or a follower of Christ? Currently undecided.
I teach on Tuesday morning on spiritual gifts and the roles in the body of Christ and I teach next Monday on an era of the Bible. Not so secretly I want the Exodus Era. Moses is my man and I am exactly like the Israelites, doubting God when He always provides for me. And I have a recipe for Manna that I want to use. But be praying. I have been sick for about 8 days and I still sound like a man with a smoker’s cough.
Well friends. I’m signing off. The new Taylor Swift CD just ended on the last song and I have church in the castle tomorrow morning. And I have a paper to write. And in the words of Taylor Swift: Long live the walls that crash through, how the kingdom lights shine just for me and you. Long live all the mountains we moved. I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I have been here for almost a month. Sometimes I forget I live in Branson but then I see Elvis at the post office and then it all comes back to me. Living here has almost become a normal thing. I have a doctor, coffee shop, salon, cute little deli, a grocery store and I am working on getting a bank. I know most of the back roads and I have great church that I love.
Please let me tell you about my church. It is Woodland Hills Family Church and it is one of the most solid churches I have ever been to. The worship is pretty good but also remember I live in Branson so things can seem like a performance when they actually aren’t but the teaching is incredible. The pastor goes through a book of the Bible verse by verse and tells you how it is. And he is sarcastic, which I love. He is not afraid to step on any toes.
Seriously, you drive up and see a wooden rollercoaster and a ferris wheel and a castle. It recently had a paint job, it used to be K-State purple. Every Sunday I drive up and am reminded that I do, in fact, live in Branson, USA. The theme park was Celebration City in its prime but shut down in 2008 and has since become my church home. This is completely normal to me, which means I am getting used to calling B-Town home. Now that's scary.
I am attending new member classes and hopefully will be a member soon. i have gotten involved in the church and am in love with the ministries they have.
Other than that, everything is in full gear with class, John Brown assignments, precepts, my host family's sporting events and internships. I am working part-time at Gap Outlet (hello discount) and am trying to save money and not spend any. My credit card bill may a little higher than normal this month...whoops.
Monday, September 27, 2010
The biggest thing I have learned at the Institute so far is how the Christian church is possibly one of the most unauthentic places in the world. I am now a cynic to the church. I think this is a good thing. I have been taught what the church as whole is doing wrong and how it does not line up with the Bible.
I want a reformation for church in America. Let’s take the book of Acts and model their version of the church. We need to change the methods but not the message. So many churches are trying to change the methods and the message, which is where the emergent church comes in (which I think is on its way out but that’s another post for another time). Other churches are packaging twisted messages in a traditional method gift box, which doesn’t work either.
Do not put the tradition of how the church has been run in the past in front of the people in the church. Let me repeat that. DO NOT PUT THE SPIRITUAL HEALTH OF YOUR CHURCH IN JEPORDY BECAUSE YOU ARE TO FOCUSED ON TRADITION.
Did you hear that? A lot of modern problems in the church are simply because people do not want to change what has worked for the past 30 years. Guess what: it’s 2010, not 1980. The world has changed. The greatest evil in America is not wars, immorality, corruption it is the ineffective church. Let me say that again; The greatest evil in America is the ineffective church. How does that make you feel? I’m so annoyed and frustrated.
Maybe I am to emotionally connected to this issue because I am currently watching a great church fall because tradition has been put at the top of the list when really that spot should be reserved for the people. The greatest commandant was not to love tradition. Read Matthew 22:36-40 It was to “love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and all your mind.” Want to know what the second was is? It’s to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Tradition is never mentioned. Imagine that.
Well, I could talk so much on this issue but our morning break is over. So basically: remember the people of your church, not the tradition. Keep the message, not the methods.
Monday, August 30, 2010
"I need You like a hurricane
Thunder crashing, wind and rain
To tear my walls down
I’m only Yours now
I need you like a burning flame
A wild fire untamed
To burn these walls down
I’m only Yours now
I’m only Yours now "