Summer Camp and Seminary

Summer Camp and Seminary

Yesterday I came home from the last course I have to take to finish my MA in Theology from Columbia International University. I’ve been taking courses there for longer than I care to admit, and I’m relieved and excited to have endured this long to finish.

CIU’s extension program requires all participants to take at least 50% of their classes on campus. These courses are usually taken in the winter or the summer as intensive, week-long courses. Despite the travel cost and scheduling problems, I love this option.

I was sitting with a group of my classmates on Friday at lunch, and we started talking about how Seminary classes at CIU were similar to summer camp. I had an eight hour drive staring me in the face, and I still was happy to squeeze an extra 45 minutes into my time there. I think I’ve figured out why.

Being at CIU is a time to be with like-minded individuals. We are all involved somewhat in ministry leadership positions. Our time at CIU, despite being mentally exhausting because of 8 hour class days also gives us time to no longer be in our ministry positions. We are just “the guy I sit next to in class.” It’s great to step out of a leadership role and become just another guy. It’s exciting to hear what God is doing in the lives of other people. And it is definitely exciting to sit with some of the greatest academic minds in different fields.

I’m glad my last week is over, but I know I will miss the week-long trips to Columbia, South Carolina. Those times will be fondly remembered, along with the friends I’ve made during my time there. Who knows…maybe I’ll keep studying…just for the fun of it.



There are two things I’m working on (among many) right now. One is to finish reading the Bible again (I didn’t make it in 90 days), and the other is to memorize the book of Philippians.

There is a huge difference between reading the Bible as rapidly as possible, which gives you a great idea of the grand scheme of the Scripture, and memorizing verses. Both are equally challenging.

Today I was reviewing Philippians 1:6, which is one of the verses I remember from a long time ago.

It says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

The truth in this verse shook me, reminding me that God will bring to completion the good work He has started in me. He’s not done with us yet. He’s still working on us. We are His workmanship, but He will complete us in the day of Christ Jesus. It reminded me of the song I used to sing in Sunday School as a child:

He’s still working on me
To make me what I ought to be
It took Him just a week
to make the moon and the stars
The sun and the earth and
Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
He’s still working on me.

Thank God for reminding me that I have not arrived. I still have many things that I need Him to complete. But I’m glad He’s started on me, and I’m happy that He is the one who will bring that good work to completion.

The Economy of the Day of the Dead

The Economy of the Day of the Dead

I just read on Vivir Mexico about the Economics of the Day of the Dead in Mexico (Spanish link). Mexico is a country that spends big money on its parties. The Day of the Dead is no exception.

The Commerce department says that approximately 700 million pesos (Spanish link) will be spent to celebrate all Saints Day, the Day of the Dead, and Halloween.

Here are the businesses that see the most boom in their business:

  • Flower shops and candle stores: 80% more profit
  • Costume shops: 40% more
  • Stationary stores: 50% more sales
  • Museums: 40% more ticket sales
  • Bread shops, candy shops, and makeup stores: 15-35% more sales

(Photo by: on

Darkness and Light

Darkness and Light

Just before I went to bed last night I had a thought that I posted both on twitter and facebook.

It was my gut reaction after having read this article about of six young people being shot in Tepito, a neighborhood in Mexico City. There have been more than 7,000 people killed this year alone in Mexico as a result of the violence.

We have friends who are moving soon to Ciudad Juarez, where another five women were killed earlier yesterday in a shooting.

All of this causes conflict in my heart and soul. There is no doubt that violence is spreading all over the world. It is certain that Mexico has its dangers. There are many things happening. And it is exactly why the church of Jesus Christ must be present there.

tweet on darkness

When I write that “It is in the darkest of hours that the light must shine the brightest” I mean that in the deepest of darkness is where the light is most needed. The gospel must shine in the darkness, and the Bible teaches that the light in the dark world is us. That’s why I posted the other link to Matthew 5:16.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Please join me in praying for Mexico. Pray that the true Light will shine in the midst of the darkness, because as Psalm 139:10 says, “Even the darkness is not dark to you (God); the night is bright as the day.” Let us walk close to the light and shine it in the darkness.

(Photo by Ezioman on flickr)

Lausanne Wrap-up

I saw this list on Brigada the other day and thought it would be great to include for those who want to experience more of the Lausanne conference on World Evangelization that just ended in Capetown.

It’s one thing to read an article about it; it’s quite another thing to *experience* it. Now you can! Maybe you can’t literally sit at a Lausanne discussion table, as all 4000 delegates did but you can certainly soak up the content in other ways. Check out the schedule, complete with links for the events that are already documented online with audio or video recordings:

Look at the virtual congress online…

… and the picture galleries…

Watch the videos…

Read the media…

… or the blogs…

for the “official” blog and …

for tons of unofficial opinions.

And perhaps most importantly of all, *pray* along with delegates at…

Day 2 of the CIU class on Lausanne

Day 2 of the CIU class on Lausanne

Today was a little more intense than the first day here at CIU, where I am taking a course based on the Lausanne conference on World Evangelization going on in Capetown, South Africa right now.

The day was intense mostly because of a few of the issues that we were talking about and the videos we watched.

We started the day listening to Vaughan Roberts (View part 1 and part 2) do an exposition of Ephesians 4. Some of the important things I remember him saying were:

  • With all of the things that are supposed to bring us together, we are as divided as ever (in the world).
  • In a world of division, our world should look to the diverse group represented in church and say, “Wow, how those Christians love each other.”
  • Christian unity requires a proclamation of the gospel.
  • Unity doesn’t mean uniformity.
  • The truth is not a weapon to be used on those who disagree with me.
  • Love demands truth telling/

We then watched Dr. Paul Eshlemen speak on Unreached and Unengaged People Groups (see video).

We then celebrated the life of Billy Graham and the legacy he has left for world evangelization by watching this incredible video with highlights of his life.

John Piper did the exposition on Ephesians 3 (watch part 1 and part 2), which was enough to make my head spin. It was pretty heavy stuff. I’ll have to watch the video again to try to see if I can understand all that he said. He certainly challenged us on a number of points.

We finished the day talking about globalization and how that is a challenge to world evangelization. One of the phrases that the Dr. King said, “The flip side of love is suffering.” It really made me think. I’m sure I’ll write something on that soon, but I’m chewing on the concept and asking God to help me love more.