Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Importance of Theology

image from here

On my former blog, I wrote a somewhat rambling post about what Theology means to me and how I think it gets a bad rap. You can read it here!

I love Academia and I love Theology. I am passionate about helping people see that Theology doesn't distract from a relationship with God; when done right, it enhances it. Theology isn't all about dogmatics and obscure discussions. To be fair, it can be like that. But it doesn't have to be. It can be enlightening and eye opening-- revealing the intricacies of the atonement and God's salvation plan. It can deepen our understanding of God's character. It can cause you to fall even more in love with the Creator.

So I am thrilled to be getting back into my Theology sequence; digging into those issues that seems boring to some, but are utterly fascinating to me. On the first day of class, in a discussion about the importance of study, doctrine, and theology, this quote stood out to me:

Christian doctrine teaches us how to cope with various real-life crises. Doctrine, far from being a matter of abstract theory, is actually the stuff of real life. Real life is located in the way of Jesus Christ, and the purpose of doctrine is to lead us precisely in this way. Whether we would like to admit that our views about God, ourselves, and this world are essentially theological, they are. Whether we want to admit that our views about God, ourselves, and this world affects everything we do, they do.

Another quote found on a friend's facebook:

“You get people who say they’re not theological. ‘Oh I’m just not theological.’ Well here’s the problem with that - if you’re opening your mouth and you’re talking about God, you’re being theological. The problem is, if it’s not rooted in biblical, historical orthodoxy, you’re probably being a heretic. So you can’t use the line ‘I’m not theological.’ You are being theological; it’s just really bad.” 
- Matt Chandler

Theology is important. Deal with it.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Grafted In

image courtesy of my friend Brie
Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill Queen Creek, AZ
January 2013
My dear friend Brie visited in January and, along with some others, we toured the Queen Creek Olive Oil Mill. We learned a ton about Olive Trees and were struck by their significance and durability in times of adversity. She snapped this picture on her phone, turning to me and said, "look, we are grafted it." I loved it!

I love how much Creation (general revelation) is a reflection and extension of Scripture (special revelation) and vice versa. 

17If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. 21For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
-- Romans 11:17-21

I am also announcing a new weekly segment. Every Tuesday I will showcase a snapshot of creation and a related Scripture. I haven't decided what it will be called yet, but I hope something clever will occur to me.  
Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deleting Facebook Off My Phone and Other Thoughts on Eternal Significance

image from here

In determining that I wanted my Word of the Year to be Honor, I have been reflecting on the ways that I have not been honoring the Lord. One of the clearest ways that I have not been honoring Him is through how I spend my time. TV, Internet, my phone…. So many things have been clouding up my life; separating me from Him and from the community that I have been increasingly desperate for.

Last week I deleted the Facebook and Twitters Apps off my phone. I was tired of mindlessly checking my phone, by being consumed by it. Now, of course, I can still access facebook on my phone but when I have to take the time to type it into the browser, I am able to stop myself from wasting time. I have yet to check facebook on my phone and suddenly I have all this time! Between this detaching of social media and a severe reduction in TV time combined with a totally purge of my stuff, I have found that I am calmer and more focused. I am more attuned to the variety of ways that God is working in my life. I have more time to actually have conversations with friends.

I am walking with intentionality. As such, I am increasingly aware of my eternal significance.

I have written a lot lately about my reflections on how I occasionally feel about my walk with the Lord and the struggles I have with it. In so many ways, my walk with the Lord and my role in the kingdom have been obscured by unnecessary things of this world.

And I am sick of it. I am sick of not having a closer relationship with the Lord. I am sick on not feeling absolute honor at God’s plan for my life. I am sick of not walking in obedience. I am sick of not being aware of my eternal significance.

So I deleted Facebook off my phone. I might even delete it all together. Pinterest might have to go too; it is too easy to start comparing my house and my crafts and all these things I need to do and make. I need to be practical about season of life and what I am capable of doing. Without guilt, but with joy and thankfulness.

Aware of the eternal significance of my life. Desiring to Honor Him in everything I do.  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Expectations and Promises

image from here

I slept through the New Year because I was sick with the worse cold I have ever had. I actually never get colds so this was a new one for me. And it really was the worst timing ever as I was struggling to get papers graded and papers written. I had this expectation for what my break from school was going to be like. And it really hasn’t been any of that. It hasn’t been bad, but just different. And I don’t to different too well.

Particularly, I had an idea what the New Year was going to be like. I planned to spend the night before doing a little cleaning and organizing, contemplating this past year and evaluating some things. I wanted to pray and seek after the Lord for His guidance in the New Year. I expected to be able to sit down and plan out things like I always do. Yet, as the case often is, life happens. Expectations weren’t met. I was sick and slept the whole day. I felt unorganized and unprepared. I felt like I wasn’t ready for a new year, a new semester. It was all coming too fast and my life was too much of a mess.

But then I reflected (I do a lot of reflecting if you can’t tell) on how much my expectations pale in comparison to God’s promises. Scripture is full of promises for me. That He has plans to help me, that He knows me intimately, and that He has prepared good works for me to do. He will be my rest and He will supply my needs. He has given me hope and blessed me with mercy. Then there have been personal promises spoken directly to my heart. They are just amazing and wonderful and I chose to believe them, even when I don’t see how it could possibly work. Because lots of times, I have expectations because I am trying to do things on my own and control things. I want things to be a particular way because that is comfortable to me. I want my life to go the way I planned. Some times those expectations aren’t met and I need to continuously surrender that to God. Once again, I need to realize that it isn’t about me, it is about Him.

Ultimately, when I focus more on Him, I will cling more to His promises and less on my faulty expectations. And His promises are always better. They just are.

And you know what? Once I let go of the anxiety of not having my New Year’s planning session, I got a chance to do it after all. And I was able to approach it with more wisdom and discernment in evaluating what the Lord has me to do in 2013.

He just blows me away sometimes. Or really, all the time.