"As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him..."
~Psalm 103:15-17a

Bits and Pieces 1

I've been learning a lot over the past couple weeks, and I want to "vent" a bit, so will be trying to write down what I'm learning in some posts like this. There usually isn't enough to write a whole post on, so a "bits and pieces" post will work best for it.

  • We as the church have begun to really realize our need to care for orphans in the world - through adoption, foster care, etc.  But how much do we care for the elderly?  We see the evils of children growing up in an institutionalized environment, but what about the senior citizens who live in group homes or state run nursing homes?  Who cares for them?  We are told to care for the orphans and widows, but it seems like it's so much easier to care for some cute little kids than for some old people who have so many health problems and dementia, and other "weird old people problems".  I'm talking as much to myself as to anyone else; I get really excited about adoption: several families in our church have adopted, my family has adopted, I would like to adopt once I'm married and starting a family.  But I don't do much to care for the elderly; I need to do more in showing love to this people group.

  • Monday night, the teacher said that when Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the gospel, He didn't say anything about coming back.  Not everyone who goes out to make disciples will come back.  This really hit me as I think about what God has for me in the coming years, and praying about possibly going into full time ministry, either here or overseas.

  • Also on Monday night, he pointed out Ezra 7:10 in talking about God's Word.  It gives a great summary of how we should approach God's Word: "For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel."*

  • Tuesday morning we discussed prayer; this was really convicting.  We saw Jesus' example: after a long day, Jesus was physically and emotionally spent, and yet He got up early the next morning to go off alone to pray (Mark 1:35).  Colossians 4:2 gives a good summary of how we are to pray: "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving."*

Now all I have to do is put all of this into practice!  :)  Please pray for me, that I will be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer.  I don't want to come away from this year with just head knowledge of what the Bible says, but I want my life to reflect God and to glorify Him by doing as His Word says.

*All quotes from the Bible are from the English Standard Version.  I just started using that version once I came to Ecola, and have really loved it.  It's nice to read over passages I am familiar with in other versions and see a different way the text could be translated.

School, Work, Ministry and Fun!

So much has been going on that I don't really know where to start.  Well, to start with, I left Indiana on October 7th to make my way to Oregon.  I had a wonderful time visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins for a few days.  It was a very relaxing and enjoyable time, just hanging out on the farm.

On Sunday after church they drove me down to Cannon Beach, Oregon, where Ecola Bible School is, so I could register for school.  I moved into my dorm room, said goodbye and started getting to know my new roommates.  One of my roommates, Rebecca, is an old friend from Ecuador...we haven't kept in touch much (the last time I saw her was probably seven years ago), but it was nice to know someone here.  All three of my roommates are really nice.  Tina and Rebecca are the more outgoing, fun-loving ones, and Laura is quieter, but definitely warming up.  We all get along together really well and enjoy hanging out together.

After dinner on Sunday night, and a time of getting to know some other students and staff, we all took a walk down to Haystack Rock on the beach.  It was about 9:00 by that time, so it was dark and we couldn't see it very well, but it was a nice walk.  Monday morning, school started.  We had two classes this week: one on the book of Romans, and the other was an Orientation class.  We have one of each class each morning and each evening.  Corey Miller taught Romans; he was from Lafayette, Indiana.  He studies philosophy (I think he has a PhD in it or is studying for one) and is a former Mormon, so he had some interesting perspectives as he taught through Romans.  He had us read through Romans two times before class Tuesday morning, and then write a three page paper on Justification based on Romans 3-4 and James 2.  One of the main things he emphasized was reading Scripture in context.  Not just in that specific section of Scripture, but through all of the Bible.  He had two favorite sayings.  One was: "Context, context context!"  And the other was: "A text ripped from its context is just a pretext for someone's proof text."  It was really great for me to learn (and have to put into practice) how to look through Scripture to find out what a passage means.  Another of his points was that our focus should not be on trying to follow the Law...trying to make sure we do what we're supposed to and not do what we aren't supposed to...but that our focus should be on God and loving Him.  If we are doing that, we will naturally follow the Law.  The Law is there to help guide us, but it should not be our main focus.  Next week, our two classes will be on Matthew and James.

Each student is required to be involved in at least one hour of ministry each week.  This week we were given the various choices and had to sign up for at least one.  I have signed up to help with a conference for disabled people.  The conference will be at the end of this term, but leading up to then, we'll meet each week to pray.  Then during the conference, the volunteers will stay with the people coming to help them however they need help.  (They will have some attendants coming with them, but we may need to help out a lot, too.)  The other ministry I will probably do is teaching at the local Good News Club.

I am also working at the Cannon Beach Conference Center.  (Ecola Bible School is a "retreat" group that stays at CBCC.)  I will probably work 10-12 hours a week in housekeeping, serving food (putting food on the plates), waiting on tables, dishes, etc.  Each week will be different, depending on what groups come in.  Thursday was orientation, Friday I was trained in housekeeping, and today I worked in housekeeping (cleaning out a couple dorms), and serving for dinner.  So far I enjoy serving the most.

Believe it or not, there is actually still time for some fun activities.  We had a dorm activity night on Wednesday; our dorm and another dorm got together to color over sized coloring book pages and talk.  We got four nicely colored posters for our room from it (Toy Story, and a couple of cute little animals)! :)  Thursday night was a Retro Party, so we all dressed up in our retro outfits and hung out at the coffee shop.  Tina, Rebecca and I have also played ping pong with a couple other guys.  So far it's been more entertaining and more of a workout for our abs (from laughter) than anything, as Rebecca and I are both pretty bad at it, and the ball goes all sorts of places besides the table.  It's all fun, though.

Tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be going to Cannon Beach Bible Church.  A lot of the students go there, and it seems like a good church from what I've heard.  I haven't seen any of their doctrinal statements yet, but hopefully I'll learn more about them tomorrow.

I'll end with a few pictures.  Enjoy!

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Trip to Virginia

A few days ago, I returned from a week long trip to Virginia to visit Sally and Adam.  It was a nice relaxing time, just hanging out with them.  We were able to drive up through Shenandoah National Park one day, went to IKEA and the mall another day, visited with friends I made during my trip out to D.C. on spring break, visited historic Occaquan, played games, watched a couple movies and celebrated my birthday a few days early.  I really enjoyed getting to see their new place, visit the church they are considering joining, and see the area they live in.  I have a few pictures up from the trip here.

This is probably my last blog entry in Indiana for a while.  On Wednesday, October 7th, I will be leaving early in the morning to fly out to Oregon for Bible school.  I'm excited about this new phase in my life, and also a bit nervous - partly because I'll be living so far from my family, and partly because I'm not sure I can get everything I need for a year into two 50 lb suitcases plus one carry on and one "personal item". :)  I'd appreciate your prayers as I transition to a new place and begin school and work, and as I take this year to dig deeper into God's Word.