Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I love America.

Leaving all political/religious/societal contention alone for the moment, I love America.

To me, when I think of America, I get pictures in my head of cookouts my family used to have for the Fourth of July. Fireworks. I remember learning about the patriots and the character of the people who started our country. I think about the fun parts of my very American childhood--lazing away summer afternoons at a friend's house, playing and refereeing soccer in our local league, going to the ocean, going to camp.

Besides that, I know I've grown up to believe in some more-or-less American values. Hard work. Making something out of yourself. Loving your country. Loving your community.

Those are pretty good values if taken in proper context. But I've been realizing lately that there are some values I have come to believe in that are also a part of our culture, and that are not what the Lord would have for me.

You see, I think I've subconsciously bought into a warped American Dream. From what I understand, generations before mine have believed in an "American Dream" which was something like this: Work hard, love God, love your family, and you'll have a chance at a good life. Not an easy, lazy life, but a good one. Enough food. Sufficient shelter. Material comforts to some degree or other. And contentment in the fruits of your labors.

Now, maybe that dream isn't perfect and maybe I'm not quite right in my definition, but you get the idea.

Now we come to my generation. The generation that believes in the warped version of that dream. The one that says, "Yeah, I should probably work hard, but if I don't have to, I won't. My goals are to be accepted by the people around me, to be entertained, and to have all the cool things I can buy."

Don't think I'm being mean. I love my generation; I just recognize that we have issues. And I know I may be exaggerating both points of view. But still, so many people my age have had life so easy in so many ways--myself included--that we think the rest of our lives should be that easy.

The reason I'm thinking all that is because I've felt that attitude here at college. Like I said in my last post ... studying just isn't my favorite thing. I keep thinking of how I just want it to be summer. I want to go back into those good memories of peaceful summer days, good friends, and no worries or pressures or undesired work.

That's a warped dream.

My God has bigger dreams/desires for me. Bigger than my warped American Dream or even the original American Dream. He desires me to bring glory to Him and to help others come to know Him. He desires me to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

I want His dreams to be mine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I know it's been a while since I posted last, but my thoughts have been so scattered that until now, I don't know if I could have written anything more than a list of random things that have happened.

As a general update: I'm still happy to be here, and I don't yet feel like I'm flooded with work. (Though I'll admit, that makes me wonder ... am I forgetting something? Is a project sneaking up on me?)

The adjustment to living here at college has been good so far. I like my dorm. I like my new friends, and I'm getting to know people better every day. I've learned a lot of little things in classes--like details about the Pharisees and Sadducees--that are helping me understand the things I read in the Bible.

But, I'll admit, I often have an improper attitude about my study time. While I'm not saying I should be super excited every time I write up my current list of things to do, I should be thankful for this opportunity. And I should be thankful that, though the work itself isn't fun, the things I'm learning will benefit me for the rest of my life.

The other day in Bible Study Methods class, our teacher mentioned a verse I had learned years ago:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

It was just the reminder I needed. While "study" in this case isn't exactly referring to my pile of textbooks, it still indicates work.

Study. I need to work hard where God has put me, to please Him. Yes, it will be work to get through my classes, work to learn more about the Lord. But is it worth it?

"A workman that needeth not to be ashamed ...."

Oh, yes. To please the Father, it is worth it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

When God Steps In

I'm back at college, folks! And you know what? I'm so happy to be here! Praise the Lord!

Today was a rather hectic day of orientation. Apparently, students who come in spring semester don't get as long for orientation, and are thus sent scurrying from meeting to meeting. I enjoyed the day, though.

The only part of this process that had me a little antsy was registering for classes. I'm working on a 1-year Bible certificate, so I needed to figure out how to divide my classes between the semesters. I chose to make this the heavier semester of the two, and I signed myself up for 16 hours.

I didn't feel right about that. I was thinking, I didn't even make it through last semester. Why would I start with the harder semester?

So I called my dad. He was concerned that if I didn't take the course I wanted to drop, I'd have a very busy next semester. It was looking like I'd try for the 16 hours when my call waiting went off. I told my dad I'd get back to him and answered the incoming call.

It was the registrar.

She told me that I actually didn't need to take the class I had wanted to drop! I was so excited! The timing of her call was perfect.

Sometimes it's hard to see God working in our lives, but sometimes He clearly steps in and shows us the way.