Friday, June 26, 2009

Hi, I'm Rael. I'm arrogant.

I have been having a wonderful time with the people in Next Step classes! There are about five local couples, three folks from South Africa, several people from other parts of Africa, and two gentlemen from China. Yesterday we went to the Pecos Rodeo. That was fun. I sat by the Irish and Scottish couple who are missionaries in Zambia. That's not something one gets to do every day!

This afternoon's Next Step class is computer basics. When I found that out, I was tempted to leave. I think I know how handle Word documents and open email attachments. (Hear any sarcasm there? Naw, it can't be. Rael is never sarcastic!)

But I think I'll stay for a bit. The Techknow Monks are very patient, and it's humbling to watch them explain what I think is so basic.

Ah, now Caleb is explaining Word. I admit, I don't know where everything is located on this new version. Ha! I really don't understand everything.

How sad life would be if the world was only as big as I thought!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dynamic Tensions

In the last Next Step class of this morning, we looked at the pattern of seeming contradictions in Scripture:

Jesus is God and Man

The Trinity is three and one

We are to be Striving and Content

We are to be Hungry and Filled with righteousness

God is sovereign and man has free will

Christ is in time and Christ is outside time

We can living for this moment and for eternity

All these dynamic tensions don't make sense to us. Being brought up with a western Greek philosophy of thinking, of relying on wisdom, we can hardly imagine seeming contradictions actually both being true. But the Scripture is full of them! Holding the tension, admitting the paradoxes are confusing, can actually lead us to walking by faith! God is God, and His ways are more than we can understand. We can trust Him. We can and should use the reason and wisdom He gives us, but He is the one on whom to lean.

This stuff is blowing me away!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quote on Boxes

Here's a quote that gives a taste of what the Next Step classes are about. Quite challenging!

"A box is anything that takes the Kingdom of God in its immensity and tries to twist it, wash it, shine it, doll it up, mix it up with other things or otherwise shrink it to our will. We just can't help doing it. It's a big part of being human. Watch any typical two-year-old, and you will see it in action even with imperfect earthly parents.

"But that doesn't make trying to put the Kingdom in a box any less of a waste of time and a degradation to the dignity of God's calling for us."

~ Tim Dunn, Happiness Unboxed ~

And on a lighter note,

(reading beginning of Job) "'There was a man in the land of Uz' - that's where the Wizard of Uz came from." ~ Tim Dunn

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Back in the classroom, exhausted, and loving it!

Greetings, my friends!

This week I have started attending a series of Bible classes called Next Step Discipleship Training at my church. It's amazing so far. I wish I had the energy and discipline each afternoon to give a report here, but at the moment here's a quick summary.

We have classes from 8a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for six weeks, aside from a few other activities. This Monday was mostly introduction to the program. Tuesday was all team-building stuff, like those funny challenges where everyone has to work together. We also did a high ropes course that day. But the rest of this week Mr. Dunn has been teaching "Happiness Unboxed," which is overwhelmingly wonderful. At the moment we're studying Romans, talking about the confusion between justification and sanctification, and seeing that God does actually want us to be happy! In fact, most of the Bible is not about how to get saved from hell to heaven - it's mostly about how to live after that, how to make right choices and change our understanding to be God-focused. The problem comes in when we think we know better than Him what will bring lasting happiness. Anyway, hopefully more on this later. :-)

I'm writing this quickly because I'm about to leave for NSDT classes again. Then this afternoon we're all heading down to the Davis Mountains for a weekend! I'm rooming with a sweet older lady whose husband couldn't come. We're going to the observatory tonight, and tomorrow for a wilderness hike. It should be fun!

I'll try to blog more (Jonny, thanks for the prod!) but if I don't, perhaps y'all can see why. Farewell, and may you be happy in God today! :-)