10 random thoughts about school

26 Jan

1. I’m really enjoying this semester so far.
2. I think it will be much better than last semester.
3. I don’t really like my two biology classes though (evolutionary biology and environmental studies), which is ironic, considering that’s what I’m majoring in.  I enjoy studying genetics and cellular/molecular biology much more.
4. But I do love both of my education classes.
5. I’ve discovered that I’m going to be at App for three years instead of two and a half because of student teaching, and because of two senior bio classes I have to take that have a billion prerequisites.
6. But I’m okay with that.  My last semester before student teaching I’ll only have to go part-time.
7. I’m really looking forward to being a teacher.
8. I find it kind of weird that the majority of people in my classes will be graduating in May.  I’m so young.
9.  I really wish I would have tried harder last semester.
10. Oh, and not so much school related, but I love RUF, my small group, and my church.  They’re amazing.

I Need Motivation

3 Nov

So I’ve been in college and living in Boone for almost 11 weeks now.  Naturally, every time I talk to someone from home their first question is, “How is school going??”  Well, here’s my honest answer: School isn’t going very well.

Here’s the thing: I love living in Boone (so far).  I love Appalachian.  But I don’t love my classes.  And it’s weird, because all of the classes I’m taking are my major classes (since I’m finished with everything else), so you’d think I’d enjoy them more, right?  That’s what I thought – but I’m discovering that’s not really the case.

I actually do enjoy the subjects of biology, chemistry and geology.  I’m just not enjoying these classes because I’m not doing too well in them (I think I have a ‘C’ in all three classes).  It’s just that my biology professor is extremely boring and doesn’t teach very well, my chem professor is extremely hard, and my geology professor gives crazy hard exams.  And I’m sure I could come up with more reasons why I don’t like the classes and why I’m not doing so well in them, but the truth is, of course, a lot of it is my fault.  There’s no doubt that I haven’t studied for my classes like I should have.  I’m really lacking motivation this semester.  And it sucks.  I’m just ready for this semester to be over with.

I really hope I get some motivation before next semester though, because if I don’t it’s going to kick my ass.  I’m well aware that taking two education classes, a psych, two bio (one’s senior level), and chem is not going to be easy.  I don’t expect it to be easy.  I know that college is not easy, so I’m not sure why I keep acting like this semester should be.  Granted, I do take into consideration the fact that any professor will tell you that bio is one of the hardest majors there is, and that taking three science classes (with labs) in one semester is difficult for anyone.  But still, that shouldn’t be an excuse for me to just try to get by with a ‘C’.

Soooo, pray for me.

Thriving at College

21 Oct

I read an awesome article today titled Thriving at College by Dr. Alex Chediak, an associate professor at California Baptist University.  Here are some parts that I feel are worth highlighting.

How can a Christian thrive at college instead of flirting with sin or rejecting his faith?  First, by not negotiating Christian morality (Eph. 5:3-11).  Befriending non-Christian or marginally Christian students need not include practicing activities that clearly displease God or defile your conscience.  Second, by loving God with your mind – seeking to be the best student you can possibly be, given the measure of gifting with which you’ve been entrusted, fruitfully cultivating your God-given talents into skills that prepare you for the vocation with which you will serve the Lord after graduating.  In the meantime, being a student is a vocation, and the work of a student is intrinsically good and a gift from God.  Apply yourself in this season of preparation.  Third, by seeking to grow in godliness within a community that provokes you to vigorously kill sin (Rom. 6:12-14; Heb. 12:1-2), to put away childishness, and to “expect great things from God and attempt great things for God” (William Carey).  In short, college should be a launching pad into all that accompanies responsible Christian adulthood.

Because God’s common grace is distributed to all, non-Christian professors have a wealth of expertise in their respective disciplines.  Pay attention to their lectures and assiduously complete their assignments.  Learn from them even while you scrutinize their philosophical underpinnings.

Joe gets A’s in calculus and physics with little effort, while Jason works his heart out to get B’s.  Unfair?  No, since nobody has anything that they have not received (1 Cor. 4:7), and every talent we receive is to be fruitfully cultivated for the service of God and neighbor.  Furthermore, our divergent levels of gifting help us discern our calling.  Failing in engineering may be God’s means to lead you into a fruitful career in accounting and business.  We work coram Deo, not unto man (Col. 3:23; 1 Cor. 10:31).

First Week at App

27 Aug

So today makes a week that I’ve been in Boone and at ASU.  Just thought I’d give a brief overview of my first week here.

Overall, it’s been a pretty good week.  I tend to adjust to new places well, which thankfully has been the case this week.  I think I pretty much know where everything is on campus now and where just about everything is in Boone.  That’s probably mostly due to the fact that the first four days here we had leaders that helped us get acquainted with the campus.  Also the first four days there were activities planned for us every day, like movies, a midnight pancake breakfast, and carnival night, which kept us busy most of the time.

Classes started on Tuesday.  Since then I have actually been less busy than I was the previous days.  I’ve only had one or two classes every day.  Next week will be different though because the labs for my three classes will start, so I’ll have three classes most days.  This semester I’m taking biology, geology, and chemistry.  So far I’m really liking the first two… not so sure about the latter.  My chem prof is pretty harsh (and that’s definitely putting it in the nicest terms possible).  I think I’ll probably have to work much harder in the class for a good grade than in the others, but I’m not too worried about it.  Luckily I’ve taken a college level chem class before, so I feel like I’m pretty well prepared for the class.

Wednesday night I went to the first RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) meeting of the year.  I really enjoyed it, as I was expecting.  Tomorrow night my roommate and I are going to “One Night of Worship” at one of the local churches, sponsored by three campus ministries.  Sunday I will be going to church somewhere, although I’m not sure where yet.

Although I’ve had a good time this week, yesterday I really started missing some people.  Luckily I will be home around this time next week though, which means I will get to see all of the people I’ve been missing!  Yay for a 3 1/2 day weekend!

Lastly, I just want to ask you all to pray for me – namely, for my studies and for me spiritually, that I would believe the Gospel every day, and that I would be a good lover of Jesus and of people.  For at least the next two years of my life God has called me to be a college student, so I want to be the best student that I can be.  Also, I think of the missionary Jim Elliot who said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”  That’s how I feel about my time in Boone and at App – I want to be “all here.”  I want to genuinely love Boone and ASU – the place God has called me to – and all of the students here.  I do believe that we are all called to be missionaries, especially in the areas in which we live.

NYC Mission Trip

2 Aug

Last week about 30 teens and adults from my church went on a week-long mission trip to NYC to work with Operation Exodus Inner City, Inc.  The mission of Operation Exodus Inner City is to promote personal growth, high educational achievement, and leadership to underserved children, with an emphasis on the Latino community in Washington Heights, through quality out-of-school education, caring mentoring relationships, school placement and parent workshops, all guided by the transforming power and values of Jesus Christ.

Our week was a mix of intense emotions.  Some days we were very excited about what God was doing in and through us, and other days we just asked ourselves why we were even there.  Some of us had a more difficult week than others.  I would say that I had one of the better experiences, although there were a couple of mornings I woke up absolutely dreading the day.  There’s no doubt we were all pushed completely out of our comfort zones.  Most of us had little or no experience working with kids, and the ones who did were not used to working with kids from different cultures.  Also, most of the females on the trip did not enjoy the tiny showers we had to use, or climbing 5 flights of stairs to get to our rooms, and having to go down one flight just to use the restroom.

While we were there we did have a fair amount of time for sightseeing and just hanging out on the weekends and in the evenings, so that was really fun – getting to spend time with some incredible people in one of the most incredible cities in the world.  One night a few of us even sat down right in middle of Times Sqaure and played Catch Phrase.  (Kudos to the coolest pastor ever, Scott Stewart, for the idea). 

Although we got to do some fun things (not to say working with the kids wasn’t fun), here is how our day went 8-5:30, Monday-Friday: Leave the hostel we were staying at by 7:20 every morning, take the subway to Washington Heights (or Inwood, depending on which site you were at), walk to your site, hang out for a few minutes and pray before the kids started to arrive, play games with the kids for about 30 minutes, have a morning assembly, and then go to our classrooms for reading time.

At 10:00 we got to leave our classrooms and take a break until 11:50, when we would start lining the kids up for lunch.  We walked them to a nearby school to have lunch at 12, and when they were done we took them to the park for 2 hours.  After park time we would head back to Exodus, let the kids change their clothes if they got wet at the park, have snack time, and then head back to the classroom for creative (craft) time.  After crafts we went to praise and worship to end the day where we would sing some songs, have a drama/skit, and have a talk/Bible study.

Wednesday was a little different than the rest of the week, though.  People with grades K-3 took their students to Columbia University for the day, while grades 4-8 went to The New School and to Wall Street.  Friday, our last day working with the kids, I gave a talk to the elementary school kids about how Jesus is the true and better Joseph (our theme for the week was forgiveness, so we were studying the life of Joseph), which I really enjoyed.

My partner and I worked with the kindergarten class all week.  Before going on the trip, I was hoping to work with the middle schoolers, but knowing what I know now, I am extremely thankful for getting to work with my awesome group of kindergarteners.  Probably my least favorite thing about working with that age group though is that it is much more difficult to communicate with them on a deeper level than it is with older kids. 

During the week our pastor encouraged us to make an effort to really get to know at least one kid and to have a meaningful conversation with them about Jesus.  I don’t know how much God used me to minister to the kids in the city, but I do know how much God used the kids and the city to minister to me. 

After arriving at JFK airport on Saturday, we took a bus to the hostel we were staying at.  It was about an hour ride and I sat by myself listening to my iPod, looking out the window at the city and praying.  As I looked out down at the streets full homeless people, moms with children, and teenagers, I suddenly realized how much Jesus loved and cared about these people and about the city.  It was like I was actually seeing people the way God sees them.  This was pretty amazing to me, because I had been to NYC and seen all of these things before, but it didn’t mean anything to me then – my heart didn’t break for the people, but this time it did.

About a week before the trip I had been reading a chapter in Mark Driscoll’s book Vintage Church called “How Could the Church Help Transform the World?”  Here are a couple of paragraphs from it that I want to share:

Sadly, most Christians associate the city with vice, not virtue.  In truth, cities have long been seen as a haven for violent crime, sexual sin, and drug abuse.  But sin is often most clearly seen in the city simply because it is more concentrated in the city than in suburban and rural areas.  As a result, the correlated need for God is most clearly seen in the city.  The rawness of the city makes it exactly the kind of place that God would use to convince people of their need for him.  Furthermore, by revealing the unveiling of a city upon his return, Jesus intends for Christians to love cities in the meantime…. Plainly stated, cities are the most strategic place for Christians and the gospel.  Because government, law, education, healthcare, information, media, arts, sports, entertainment, trade, travel, population, and industry are concentrated most in a city, cities are the foundations from which culture flows.  Therefore, Christians who flee from cities only to complain about the kind of culture that is flowing into the culture from the cities are both foolish and hypocritical.  The answer is for Christians to love the city, move to the city, pray for the city, and serve the city until Jesus returns with his city, from which all culture will emanate throughout the new earth.

Mark Driscoll, Vintage Church, pg. 297-299

So during this trip, there were a few main things that God showed me about himself, and about myself as well.  One thing I became more confident about was the fact that God WILL give us more than we can handle.  Despite the phrase “God will never give you more than you can handle” (which you will never find in the Bible, by the way) that many Christians like to throw around, I sincerely believe that God will “give you more than you can handle” so that you depend solely on him – not on yourself, or anyone or anything else.  I do realize that 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but that is a little different.  I also learned how much God really does love the city and the people in it, and I think it’s pretty sad that the majority of Christians would never want to live in a city because of its “sinfulness.”  And I learned that when you start to see people the way God sees them – not through the corrupted lens of your culture – that it will change your life.

Here are some more cool pics from the trip…


  

 

I Was Not Designed

19 Jul

I was not designed
to be on my own,
to author my own story,
to compose my own rules,
to live with me in the center.
I was not designed
to look for life outside of You,
to treasure the creation,
to love people, places and things
more than You.
I was not designed
to rely on my wisdom,
to trust my imagination,
to rely on my thoughts,
to igonore Your revelation.
I was not designed
to follow the path of my craving,
to be enslaved to my desires,
to be ruled by my passions
more than I am by You.
I was not designed
to put created things in Your place,
to look to the creation
to fulfill the longings
that only You can fulfill.
I was not designed
to live for the moment,
to ignore what is forever,
to covet what belongs to others,
forgetting I’ve been given You.
I was not designed
to question Your goodness,
to bring you to the court of my judgment,
to be bitter in my assessment
of the things You do.
I was not designed
to let my heart fill with envy,
to be constantly accounting,
to be jealous and untrusting
instead of resting in You.
I was not designed
to forget Your right hand that holds me,
to ignore your good counsel,
to not see that You’re with me,
I will be in glory with You.
I was not designed
to think I am living,
to ignore the evidence that I’m dying,
to forget that we perish
when separate from You.
So I acknowledge today
it is good to be with You,
to make you my sole refuge,
to speak daily of your workings.
Whom do I have but You?
I praise you for rescue,
for always holding me near You,
for owning my heart’s desirings.
My life is You.

- Paul David Tripp

Do not love the world?

10 Jul

The warning not to love the world means not to be infatuated with the values and lifestyles of the dominion of darkness and not to long after or indulge in its sinful pleasures and passions.  We are vulnerable to the enticing allure of sinful values and activities of the world.  We must recognize that the world is not a neutral place, but one that worships and serves other gods.

Some Christians interpret the command not to love the world to mean that we must draw away from evil and separate ourselves from non-Christians, their evil culture, and their evil government in all aspects of life—physically, geographically, socially, and spiritually.  But if we do this, we refuse to emulate the lifestyle of Jesus, who regularly ate and drank with tax collectors and sinners (Matt. 9:10-11; 11:19; Luke 5:30; 15:1-2; 19:7).

The bottom-line question is, “Do we as Christians influence sinners toward Jesus or do they influence us toward their sinful values and practices?”

Mark Driscoll, Vintage Church, pg. 214

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