What I really wanted to become was a rock star. Playing music, writing the feel good tunes and becoming respected with solid Christian guitar playing was my teenage dream. So, I spent three semesters getting equipped at a small Bible training school before the itch overtook me and I left the school to pursue our band ministry. Two years after that I was a defeated and spent rocker who had a chance to do youth ministry, and took it. A mere 1 year later I was again spent and this time without a strong vision for God’s way of working in the world. I decided to pursue business. We often get what we ask for. I was looking for a way to “glorify God” apart from the Church in a way that would let me have purpose, respect, supply and glory for God. Can you guess what happened next? Five years later I was a spent, in debt, disillusioned 27 year old who was really looking for God to show up and help me figure my way out of this aimless mess I spun in.
At this point I knew I needed a couple things. I needed character. And I needed to do God’s glory God’s way. Also I decided to finish my Bible training. When I learned a bit about EBC and the vision I just settled on it and made the move. I chose the four year plan to have as long as possible for God to develop character in me, and I chose to put my opinions on hold when I got there.
You see, in my time as a Christian I knew I needed to honor God and serve Him. That was an easy sell! But there are just so many voices out there telling us how to do that. My previous school had done a marvelous job loading me up on the truths that I used for my time after them, and like any group of people there would be good with bad that was passed on.
However, as I looked back I saw a glaring deficiency in my life. I had chosen music, youth, business and now Bible College all based on my definition of how to serve God. The truth was I didn’t know how to make good decisions. I was not equipped to discern why the business I chose to involve myself was misleading me into humanism (which it was). Or why the Church is the program of God’s salvation and glorification of His Son. Then too, I felt highly opinionated about everything. I was opinionated about theology because I took three speedy courses on Systematic Theology. I was opinionated about politics and business because I got around Christian businessmen selling their vision for a better “America” “under God”. What I had become was the sum of my influences, and I didn’t have the tools to thread through the influences and identify the voice of God in the middle of my voice, and everyone else’s voice.
When I visited the school the spring after God rocked my world with a firm redirection, I was delighted to be told that EBC was committed to helping students learn how to find answers rather than hand them a box of answers hoping that life would only come at them with questions that corresponded to the box. They believed that students needed to be equipped for a changing, dynamic world that didn’t always fit the mold that a system could describe. They wanted their students to come away and work equally well in Papua New Guinea as in post modern Europe.
It’s been a hard journey. Not that my God has not been good, but rooting out pent up pride and opinion is a surgical event. When I came into the school I was unable to disagree or interact with someone who differed with any real grace. Being right and being respected were idols in my heart.
The four year program has gently removed the heart that was using God and God’s word as a weapon against even God’s people, and has tangibly replaced it with a heart that can discern God’s voice among the voices.
What about the mind? What about being right about everything? Well, I am more convinced than ever that we must have a precision that hurts. However, the hand that holds the theological scalpel must be attached to the loving heart of a God who is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, who keeps loving-kindness for thousands. To have that heart will both ensure that theologically we are all kept safe, but too that God’s heart won’t get lost in the chorus of voices. Our tools are for building up, not for tearing down. Only a mind that is able to see the forest of thoughts and able to not be wrapped up in them can find the rose in a controversial theologian’s manure, and to pray for even the enemies of our beloved doctrines, much less the pagan, new age, post modern humanist next door.
I think I know Jesus better, now. I think I see the world a little more how He sees it. I think I can see that path that adorns the doctrine of our great God and savior. I have reversed so much of my thinking without any one telling me I should. I have come to so many conclusions and wonder how I will land on so many more. But I don’t fear the coming search of the Scriptures. I’m excited about it! Yet nothing in me thinks I myself am finally “equipped” for life in the ocean of Kingdom building. But I see my awareness of 4000 years of our faith and the 55 individual books of the canon that I have combed over thus far as being the guarantee of a coming freedom for me, and many, many others.
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