Archive for November, 2012

27 Nov 2012 RyanArmes

Reflections of Heaven, Communities of Hope

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Regent University - GarmischSeveral years ago, my family and I spent a fall vacation in the German Alpine town of Garmisch. Our week there was absolutely amazing. It was one of those rare times in life when God pushed aside life’s concerns and gave us, as a family, a glimpse of the love, peace, joy and beauty that we will enjoy eternally in Heaven.

In our hearts and minds, nearly everything about that vacation was a metaphor and an image of Heaven to come. The fact that our family was together without a lot of stress, the October beauty of the mountains, the clean crisp air, and the wonderful Bavarian cuisine were just some of the reflective highlights.

I believe, and often tell my wife, that we may have even entertained an angel disguised as an old German man named Hepp. For a small fee (so small that it seemed suspicious), Hepp offered us a ride in his horse and buggy back to our car after we tirelessly walked several kilometers to see a waterfall. Hepp’s pleasant and gentle demeanor was overtly displayed when he voluntarily spread a blanket over my sleeping infant daughter before carrying us away in his buggy.

“But as it is written:
‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’”
- Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Garmisch, Germany, in that week was a powerful, yet dim, reflection of the type of community that we will live in when Jesus is the Master, King and Ruler of not only our hearts and lives, but of our world and our community. Personally, I’m so excited about a Christ-ruled world that I can hardly wait, but I must, and I will. As Christians, we must and we should. Why? Because even the best communities here , even on a good day, are largely broken and struggling groups of people compared to the glory that we will experience under Christ’s rule.

As Christians, we possess the ability, by virtue of who our Father is, of ruling in the image of Christ and bringing a wonderful balance to those communities in which we live. Regent University is a great place to become equipped to learn those Christian community attributes.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
- Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the very word regent means “ a person who rules or reigns” (2012). We may not get to wear crowns or make decisions affecting kingdoms of millions of people, but it does mean that we will rule in the domains that we have been charged with.

Let us always rule with the grace and wisdom that God has given to us through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With that, I leave you with Matthew 5:14 in which Jesus tells his disciples how important their role is in this world of broken communities: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (NKJV).

References:

Regent. 2012. Merriam-Webster.com. Retrieved Oct 12, 2012, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/regent

The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

02 Nov 2012 SeretaCollington

Is the Seminary a Good Investment?

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When I received my call from God to preach, I did not receive any instructions that I had to go to seminary. I grew up in a country where preachers were just using their Bibles and depending on the Holy Spirit to preach. So, why then are there so many requirements for us to receive a degree from a seminary so that we can become a preacher? Well, for one, the lessons we learned in seminary will last for a lifetime. I do not believe that we need a piece of paper to say that we can preach, but I do believe that the journey to receive that paper is worth it.

Regent University - TeachingIn America today, education costs are higher than ever. This can limit the number of candidates who attend seminary. Many years ago, I told myself that I would not go to seminary because it would only bring “unnecessary” knowledge. However, one of the requirements of my church is to be a seminary graduate, so I did not have any choice. For me, the pros of going to seminary really outdo the cons, and here is why:

1. Seminary opens our eyes to the history of God’s Word and not just to our own interpretations.
2. Seminary teaches us how to appreciate many different interpretations.
3. We get to meet new classmates who share the same life purposes and meanings and who, eventually, become lifetime friends.
4. Learning about God’s Word is important; doing it on our own can be more difficult.
5. Seminary teaches us things that we need to have a successful church in this generation.

The results of going to seminary always outshine the reasons not to go. Though other degrees can be just about work or career, a seminary degree is about our lives. Serving God through preaching is a life calling, and we can use seminary to better that calling and to give us the credentials that society requests. Very few congregations will listen to a pastor who does not possess a degree; this is because today’s generation believes that degrees prove our worth. We can never prove our worth with a seminary degree because the Spirit of God does all the work for us when we preach. Nevertheless, we can prove our commitment to God’s work when we take the time to attend a degree program to learn more about our Biblical history.