The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Category: Letters to my Seminarian Self

Letter #21: For His Glory!

Dear Jonathan,

This is my final “seminary” letter. I’m sure our conversations will continue for years to come, at least I hope they will, but after tomorrow you will be a seminary graduate…finally!

As you receive your diploma and walk away from the halls of academia, I wanted to leave you with one final reminder of the purpose behind it all. Over the past three years you have studied, lost sleep, spent time away from family, cried, laughed, made friends, been frustrated, disillusioned, elated, and yes…you have even bled (literally from what I hear)…what has been the point of it all?

ForHisGloryThe point has and always will be God’s glory!

You have not studied for yourself, but so that you might be equipped to make known to people the glory, the majesty, the beauty, the greatness, and the goodness of God! You have been searching the heights and depths of the love and grace of God in order to take others on a tour and show them the sights!

You have seen God’s glory in order to show it to others.

All of your education has been in service of the church. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 1:24, you are to be working with people for their joy…and their joy is in Jesus! Do not lord your education over people, but use it humbly to point them toward the endless beauties of Jesus so that their joy may abound more and more.

I encourage you to hang your diploma somewhere no one will see it/notice it but you…perhaps in your closet. Why? So that it never serves as a means of boasting before others, but always as a humbling reminder to you of Luke 12:48, “…to whom much was given, of him much will be required…”

Jonathan, you have been given much. Seminary is such a gift…don’t waste it or destroy it with something as petty as pride!  Use it for the glory of God and the good of the Church! Help those who know Christ to further drink from him, the everlasting fountain. And, call out to those who are dying of thirst in the desert of this world. Sound the gospel call for them to come and drink from Jesus so that they may live evermore.

Everything you have done in seminary has been to the praise of God’s glorious grace! It has all been for the purpose of being equipped to point the world to true, everlasting joy in him!

The point has and always will be God’s glory!

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.


Letter #20: Your Education is not Over!

Dear Jonathan,

Graduation is just around the corner…literally a few weeks away! Congratulations again on making it to this point! Now, don’t fail your finals and blow the whole thing! I’m just kidding. I have to mess with you a little now that you are about to be a “Master of Divinity.”

We have had so many good conversations over the past few years and written a number of letters back and forth. I hope they have been helpful and ministered to your heart, even if only a little. So what is there left to talk about? Why am I writing you this close to graduation? What else could I possibly have to say? Well…there is at least this one thing…

Free-Arizona-Continuing-Education-for-Realtors-285x280Your education is not over!

Sorry to drop that bomb on you right as you approach the finish line, but I am trying to be a little preemptive here. What do I mean? Well, let’s just say that it is not uncommon for seminary graduates to “quit” reading and studying due to post-school burnout.

Typically, language skills are the first thing to go. All that hard work, hours, blood, sweat, and tears that you put into Greek and Hebrew…all I can say is use it or lose it brother! Honestly, that goes for all fields of study into which you have taken the plunge.

You must keep reading, writing, and thinking deeply or you will lose all the skills you have gained. Listen, it is very easy to enter ministry and become caught up in a million different things, let your studies take the back seat, and simply be a surface level teacher. You don’t want that!

You want to be able to speak to your people out of deeply dug wells, from which you draw up the purest water of the Word to help sustain their thirsty souls. You want to show them how they can mine the treasures of God’s Word themselves. You can only do that if you are doing it yourself.

Now, I’m not telling you to be an ivory tower theologian. You should never sit in an office all day, every day, surrounded by books, and disconnected from the people you serve. No. Discipline yourself to make a schedule that keeps you connected to their lives and connected to Christ through the Word. It is possible.

Jonathan, graduation is nearly here, but don’t let that be the last time you crack a book or mediate on Scripture. You have worked hard to develop the tools you need to study the Word for the glory of God and the good of the church. So do that!

Your education is not over!

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

Letter #19: Fight Hard to Finish Well

Dear Jonathan,

Welcome to your final semester of seminary! You are almost there! The finish line is in sight! There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train! Praise the Lord for graduation day!

I bet thoughts such as these have been racing through mind lately. However…I feel I need to give you a warning. The excitement of your impending graduation won’t last long. I don’t mean to be a Debbie downer, but if you are anything like me…senior-itis is going to set in real bad, real quick!

Business Finish LineYou have to fight hard to finish well!

The road has been long and hard. You’re tired and feel like you deserve to be done, but don’t forget…seminary has never been about what you do or don’t deserve. You are not there for yourself, and so you are not finishing for yourself! You do it all for the glory of God and the good of his church.

Finish your classes well. You may have been saving a few “easy” courses for this final semester so that you can coast, or perhaps you just have fewer courses. No matter what, work just as hard as you always have. God is still equipping you through your courses and you need to pay attention.

Finish well with your profs. You have formed some great, lasting relationships… don’t check out of them! The way you interact with professors during your final semester is indicative of what your relationship will be like with them post-graduation. You are transitioning out of the professor-student relationship into that of friend and colleague…make the transition well.

Finish well with underclassmen. You may not know it, but there are so many students watching and listening to you right now. Those who are just beginning are taking cues from you the same way you did from upperclassmen just a few years ago. Set a good example and pass on what you have learned. Teach them why they are there and how they can get the most out of their time in seminary. You are the expert now…perhaps you need to write some letters of your own!

Finally, finish well with your friends. We have spoken many times about the sacredness of the friendships you have formed during seminary…don’t let them slip away. You are in the midst of applying for different ministry positions, some of your friends are planning weddings or having babies. It is easy for you all to forget about one another. Stay in the trenches together…now and always!

Jonathan, the temptation to walk to the finish line is great, but don’t walk…crawl! I mean…stay on your knees in worship before Jesus. Know that everything you do is for his name’s sake. You began well…

Fight hard to finish well!

Grace and Peace,


*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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