I am a preacher without a Bible. I do own several Bibles, and I do preach from the Bible, but I do not own a Bible I actually enjoy taking with me into a pulpit. Let me explain. Continue reading “Ministry Updates, Part III: Of Bibles and Teaching Opportunities”
I am now in my spring semester of my second year of seminary. If I had always been on a 3 year plan, I’d be half done now. However, by unit count, I’m currently more like 40% done. This is unimportant; I’d rather talk about some things I’ve learned and the surprising unity of my seminary experience thus far. Having recently finished my survey courses, I have now had the privilege to read through the entire Bible for class, including reading the entire New Testament twice and large sections of the Old Testament two or more times. This alone has been incredibly beneficial.
In a brief amount of time I have between fall and winter classes of my second year of seminary, I want to write a few brief posts that update people one where I am in life and ministry and continue to encourage readers in manners similar to previous posts. This is first of an unknown number of these updates for December, 2017.
In the middle of my fall semester, I had the opportunity to go to Fiji for a few days on a very brief missions trip. This update will discuss what that was and why it happened in Q&A form.
Did Grant really go to Fiji in the middle of his fall semester?
When did Grant really go to Fiji in the middle of his fall semester?
October 25–30, 2017.
Why did Grant really go to Fiji in the middle of his fall semester?
“Tell your parents you need to study in a tranquil environment.” -Michael Seehusen
No, but really.
My high school small group leader (Michael Seehusen) will be moving out with his family in 2018 to teach at a Bible college in Fiji (College of Theology and Evangelism, Fiji; henceforth called CTE). Michael visited during their graduation at the end of October. Readers should be reminded, if they think this sounds strange, that Fiji is in the southern hemisphere, like everywhere else I have gone for missions trips. He invited several people to come with him for different purposes. I was invited to do an evaluation of the college library.
What did Grant do when he really went to Fiji in the middle of his fall semester?
I messed around in the library jotting random things on 4″x6″ index cards with a TWSBI mini fountain pen. This is remarkably similar to what I do in class.
More specifically, I took notes observing general trends in the library’s collection to get an idea of how to improve its content and organization. Michael, having space in his shipping container, will be able to collect book donations to add to the library. Observing the library’s current content gave direction for expanding and improving it, not only through those donations, but also potentially through reorganization.
What sort of observations were you able to make in the library?
I was encouraged by the general quality of content already existing in the library. There were a good number of helpful evangelical commentaries, enough resources to learn and study Koine Greek well enough to work through the New Testament, a decent amount of theological reference works, etc.
There were two main observations I made for improvement. First, the vast majority of books (probably around 95%) were printed before 1985. Particularly for scholarly works and libraries, this is a shortcoming worth attention. This gives opportunity for expansion. Second, a lot of books had numerous (for some potentially upward of a dozen) duplicates. Books that were very popular at particular times had been donated in large numbers. Most libraries don’t need numerous duplicates of the same book; this gives opportunity for reorganization.
So what now?
I’m doing things stateside to help in the expansion project. I’ve already done some library software research and am currently working on a list of recommended books to find in donations. I’ll probably continue to be a library contact stateside for Michael into the foreseeable future.
Can I help?
Yes! Please pray! If you’re interested in giving or serving in other ways, please contact me and I will direct you in the way you should go.
On October 20, 1988, the Dodgers won their last World Series.
Almost six years later, on Sunday, August 7, 1994, Orel Hershiser, the last remaining player from that Dodgers World Series winning roster, for the last time in a Dodgers uniform (his later return in 2000 doesn’t count–at that point he no longer pitched like Orel Hershiser) pitched a game for the last time, due to the strike shortened season. That very same day, I was born. Continue reading “On the Intense Agony and Joy of Being a Dodgers Fan”
For my historical theology class last semester I had to make a personal timeline of important events from the time of the reformation to the present that directly influenced my spiritual history. (To see it click the link above.) Let me recount the story told by that timeline. I ask you to forgive the melodramatic effects created by any narrative that begins with “In 1517 Martin Luther nailed 95 these to a church door in Wittenberg” and ends with “In 2016 Grant Gates started classes at The Master’s Seminary.”
In 2 Kings 18, Judah was in deep yogurt. The northern kingdom of Israel had already fallen to the Assyrians. While Hezekiah was the best king of Judah since David (vv. 3-6), and even though idolatry and contraband worship at high places had been purged from the land, and despite a past successful rebellion against Assyrian hegemony, Judah was invaded by King Sennacherib of Assyria, who successfully destroyed much of the country before besieging Jerualem (vv. 13, 17), putting his general Rabshakeh in command. Rabshakeh then commenced a propaganda campaign against the soldiers of Israel, mocking their king and their God. His speech made five points (vv. 19–35, with a reprise in 19:8–13): Continue reading “A Land Like Your Own Land”
The biographies of pioneering missionaries, or puritans resisting the English kings, or reformers facing heresy trials, or other heroes of the faith often impress us with great displays of trust in God. These heroes proclaimed the gospel to people about to kill them for it, preached when they’d be thrown in jail for doing so, and relied constantly on God for provision. Perhaps we see great trust as well in fellow church members—those fighting cancer, those with very sick family members, those who end up in severe financial trouble, those who go through great trouble with unbelieving family, and others. While many people go through various difficult trials and have to rely on God, some Christians experience mostly good providences to us, and that their “trials”—finals weeks and annoying people at work—hardly count. How then can such a person trust God? Continue reading “Trusting God When Life is Easy”