Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Want a Great Adventure?

Life with God is a "sick" adventure (as my son would say). What I mean is that life lived in relationship with God - and in obedience to God - offers benefits this world can't even come close to. This past year God has taken my husband and I on an adventure that has been one of the highlights of my life. He opened the door for us to attend the Kanakuk Institute. The Institute is a strategic program for recent college graduates focused on equipping men and women with Biblical skills for a lifetime of ministry. It provides internal and external context for Christian faith through instruction in church history, archaeology, world religions, current issues, apologetics, situational ethics, Messianic prophecy, character, conflict resolution, overview of the Bible, and precepts inductive Bible study. KI partners with Dallas Theological Seminary, John Brown University, and Kanakuk Ministries to bring in the highest quality teaching professors and speakers from around the world.

We're way seasoned (older) than the students who traditionally attend the Institute. When we approached the man who started this school to see if he would allow us to come, he graciously said, "Yes. That would be awesome!" 

This year has been the sweetest kiss from God. What a refreshing, healthy change from some of the incredible hardships we experienced the three years prior. It feels very much like God's reward as He planted us right in the middle of some of the most promising young people I have ever met. We became family as we loved one another, prayed and worshipped together before class, played together, laughed together, hurt together, held each other accountable, built each other up, pushed each other forward, and encouraged one another daily.

During the year God gave us new insight and understanding, and stretched us way beyond our comfort zones as we developed and presented an overview of the entire Bible, presented and defended belief statements on 10 doctrines of the Bible before a panel of ministry leaders and pastors, gave two presentations to our peers and ministry leaders, and completed many, many assignments. The days were filled with hours in class learning from the highest quality teachers from around the world then going home to study and complete homework until it was time to go to bed. But through it all, God was in it - walking with us, giving us strength, courage, and perseverance. This year, God has equipped us further for ministry and for life - and that is a very good feeling. 

Some of you might ask why we would attend a school like this at this point in life. Here's my simple answer. God is BIG. We can never, ever know everything there is to know about Him. Life with Him is a continuous journey of intriguing discovery that has captivated my heart and my mind. 

In the book of Jeremiah, God says to us:

"Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth." Jeremiah 9:23-24

And God wants us to know Him. He goes to great lengths to show Himself to us.

1) God reveals Himself to us through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. When we study Christ, we see God. 

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." Hebrews 1:3

"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work." John 14:9-10

2) God displays His creativity, love, beauty, greatness, and power all around us in creation (nature).

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Romans 1:20

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." Psalm 19:1-4  

3) God shows His sweet and wonderful self to us through His Word which I love very much and am so deeply grateful for. How gracious of Him to go to the effort of communicating those words to men making sure they wrote everything down just as He wanted them to for our benefit.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness . . ." 
2 Timothy 3:16

"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope." Romans 15:4

"They are not just idle words for you-they are your life." Deuteronomy 32:47

The knowledge we received this year is not the end in and of itself.

From A. W. Tozer (The Pursuit of God-Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Christian Publications, Inc., 1948):

"Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His Presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts."

This year God has nourished and watered my soul. He has given me knowledge of Himself that satisfies the way nothing else can. He has delighted me with His Presence and I have tasted the sweetness of God Himself in the very core of my heart. In this, there is freedom, life, and tremendous joy.

For me, the journey of discovery continues . . . 

So back to my original question. Want a great adventure? If so, would love for you to join me in the adventure of pursuing knowledge and understanding of our immense and wonderful God - and living for Him - if you aren't already. It's truly a "ride" like no other.

With great confidence in the beautiful character of God,