Year 1 Complete

1-year
The Lord has been abundantly gracious to lead us to the completion of our first academic year. He has provided a warm place to live, a lovely new church family, and many new friends. Westminster Theological Seminary now feels more like a home away from home. So far, year one of seminary has been a great experience.

Words can not express what a huge blessing these past months have been. Silas is growing strong and speaking more words and opinions everyday. Natalie is doing well and at her work at the resterant…really well and enjoys the nature of the work. The Lord seems to have given her favor in the eyes of her fellow servers and the management. Our time together has been well spent and we seem to have grown closer together through this academic year. Even though I loved my job as UC Davis the stress compared with the Westminster M.Div program is equally high but not the same. I enjoy the Westminster stress more than the UC Davis stress…I’m not sure if that makes any sense but there it is.

Natalie’s visit to California went well and by God’s grace Natalie’s mother’s surgery went well. And while Natalie was away Silas and I had the chance to make some great father-son memories. Some fun memories and some not so fun.

Natalie is now involved in the music ministry at Trinity and I am participating as a pastoral intern. Thank you all for your prayers and if you wish to serve and encourage us please simply let us know either by text or with a phone call that you are praying for us.

P.S. – Due to a few requests here is where we have been and what we are looking at next semester:

It is almost unreal to think how fast and see how much material has been covered in this past year:

First academic year completed only by God’s grace…thank you for your prayers!

Intro to Apologetics, with William Edger
The Ancient Church, with Carl Trueman
Orientation to Ministerial Formation, with Timothy Witmer
Prolegomena to Theology, with David Garner
Mentored Ministry Integration (case studies), with multiple professors
Gospel Communication (sermon prep and present), with Mark Salade
Church Growth and Church Planting, with Bruce Finn
Doctrine of God, with Scott Oliphant
Counseling in the local Church, with Mike Emlet
Mission of the Church (missiology), with Mark Sarasino
Medieval Church, with Carl Truman

…and here is what we are looking at in the Summer and Fall 2015:
Summer:
Greek 1, with Brandon Szerlip

Fall:
The Reformation, with Carl Trueman
Greek 2, with Brandon Szerlip
Intro to the New Testament, with Brandon Crowe
Expository Skills and Evaluation, with Richard Hughes
Church Dynamics and Pastoral Practice, with Tim Witmer

I am looking forward to next semester’s classes!

Finally please pray a praise for God’s provisions through two grants that have been awarded. I am prohibited to talk of them in detail, but I can call you to rejoice with us!

Life Together

When the darkness fills your skies,
Call to Christ and he’s surely to arise,
Our Saviour chased from us sin and night,
And He alone brings us joy, and life, and light.

Let us not forget that when trouble comes our way that we be careful not to be lost in this darkness that has come around our way. Because like the earth that spins by God’s own will He allows one side to be covered by the night and the other by the light of day. So much so is our darkness and our mornings. Pain is not our own for Christ has owned yours and mine and all those who would believe. The morning then is not our own either, it belongs to God and to the Christian family, to your brothers and sisters in Christ. When the pain and loneliness of night has come upon you. Dear friend, do not hide it from your Lord, do not hide to be left alone, but seek out your Christian family and see how soon you all will delight in the light. These things are good and true.

Keep up the good fight
with prayer, and song and Scripture,
because there will be another night.

7 Things We’re Thankful For, At The End of 2014

lookingback

This year has been a wild ride to say the least, but we are thankful to the Lord for every moment. Here are seven things that we are thankful for as we look back at 2014. I hope you find it encouraging and relating.

  1. The kindness of strangers (…now friends)This year I quit my job to go back to school in a different sate and it was no easy decision to make. So when loving people took us in to live with them, until we find our own place, we knew the Lord was caring for us from the basics to the big. We grew to appreciate having access to clean hot water, food when we’re hungry, a bed when we’re tired, and heat when we’re cold. Seeing the love of the people of both the seminary community and the overall Christian community we saw first hand the beauty of being humbled and vulnerable before others and how God’s people are eager to love on you in every way they can and that is truly something to be thankful for.
  2. The family. I have been exceedingly blessed with a loving wife, obedient and healthy son, a supportive family, and the local church. I know that this is not the case for most people and I know I don’t deserve any of these blessings.
  3. The gift of loveingkindnessIt can be hard to feel gratitude for the people in your life at times when you feel hurt, betrayed, or abandoned by them. People can be hurtful, insensitive and often there is little we can do about it. But by God’s grace we can be kind and loving and should be regardless if we get it in return. With the gift of the Holy Spirit we can choose to treat others with loveingkindness, because Christ loved us while we were still enemies to him. This capacity for lovingkindness is truly a valuable gift.
  4. The ability to study at seminary. There is so much that the God of the universe has revealed about himself and we have been placed in this wonderful opportunity to learn about who God is and how we are to relate to him. Because God has spoken we can now speak about God. Because he has called us to himself we can come near to him.
  5. The strength to get through hard times. Having quit my job, losing healthcare,  moved across country and looking at my grades after the first semester I realized that we are often stronger than we think, and it’s not until we’re really challenged that our true strength becomes apparent. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying “I am awesome.” I am saying God is awesome to answer prayers and provide the strength. It’s not easy but God is bigger than our problems, tribulations, or difficulties.
  6. Good Times both past and future. When we think about the past year, we may forget that things we’ve experienced in the past is rooted in God’s good faithfulness to keep his promises. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. May the good times of the past be a pointing forward to God’s goodness in 2015 and ultimately to Christ’s return.
  7. This moment. The future is uncertain and I am glad it is. The fact that we are alive at this moment, and made it this far, is something to be thankful for.There is so much more I can mention but this will have to do for now. Thank you and happy new year!