The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: seminary

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,

J

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

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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,

J

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

Letter #18: Don’t Whine…Worship!

Dear Jonathan,

I walked through the halls of my old seminary today. So many feelings stirred within me as I passed places where years of conversations took place and lifelong friendships were formed.

In a single moment I felt like laughing and crying, which may sound silly, but one day you will understand. I realize I might have been being overly nostalgic and was probably romanticizing my seminarian days just a bit, yet I couldn’t help but wish that I could go back…even if only for a bit.

I wasted so much of my time in seminary wishing I was out! I wanted to get to the next phase of life. I would whine and complain about my classes, profs, work load, etc. All the whining made me miss the wonder of what I was actually getting to do.  I was being given the gift of taking several YEARS to devote knowing the Lord through his Word.

Sure…this is what all believers devote their lives to, but seminary affords you dedicated space, time, and resources for this pursuit unlike anything else. Jonathan, let me encourage you even in your last year…

worship3Don’t whine…worship!

As you do homework…worship! As you study languages…worship! As your reading load burns holes in your head where your eyes should be…worship!

Worship will help you keep the proper perspective on all that you are doing. It will help you keep going! Trust me, your grades will not sustain you, but worship will. Do not work hard for grades…work hard so that you are equipped to know and worship God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

When you sit around with your friends and a whining party begins…excuse yourself to another room to pray for yourself and them. Don’t be all “holier than thou” and try to call down fire on them for their complaining ways. Simply pray that you will have a heart filled with gratitude for where you are and that they will to.

You are in an incredible place, with just a little bit of time left…don’t waste it….maximize it!

Don’t whine…worship!

Grace and Peace,

J

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

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