Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Athens: Live!

Short post today live from Athens, GA! We're (my lab group) down here checking out our living arrangements before we move down in January. It's really exciting to be here, drive the rental car around enough to begin to know main roads (as apartment hunting takes us all over the place).

And tomorrow I am looking forward to one of God's greatest gifts: Local Coffee shops. I'm taking the morning off, since I already have a place to live to go and finish the last of my medical school applications over some local coffee.

Plus my new roommates seem like pretty cool guys so this is looking up!

God has indeed been good on this trip and you friends can definitely be praying for the rest of our time. Especially pray that either I would be able to tell my coworkers more about Christ and that we would get to know each other better. That is an avenue that I pray will lead to more opportunities to share Christ.

Finally if you're ever in Athens, grab a bite at The Last Resort Grill. Awesome food and supposedly one of the best joints for live music in Athens (no music tonight as it was a Tuesday).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DC Peeps and CHBC

I have two dear friends who graduated from Penn State last December and moved to DC to begin their careers. They were also our prime reason for visiting DC two weekends ago. (No offense Jefferson, your library was cool, but fellowship with dear brothers and sisters around Jesus is way better)

But the trip was pretty sweet as it reminded me how, while it is hard to keep up relationships after college, for those in Christ it's easy and incredibly sweet to pick up where we last left off and see how the Lord has been working in our lives. (Unfortunately I have no pictures yet to upload of our escapades though!)

Also this is serving as a shout out to Capitol Hill Baptist Church. My friends both are members there and I've benefited from their podcasts many a afternoon underneath our fume hood. But for all of the good things about CHBC's efforts with IX Marks Ministries, I have to say that it was particularly encouraging to be there on Sunday. The reason it was encouraging was because I was seeing their vision played out. Yeah their church has some influence through their pastors like Dr. Dever, but in the church it was just a regular ol' local church. Dr. Lawrence preached the Gospel, their was uplifting worship and fellowship afterwords. (I mean what local church would be complete without the standby watery coffee and cookies afterwords?) Nothing flashy, nothing fancy. Simply the Gospel in a local church. (I'm sure CHBC has more than enough warts and foibles to go around, but it is clear that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the center of their church)

It's one thing to hear men preach on a podcast or at conferences about being a part of a local church and hearing the exhortations to be a Gospel preaching, Christ-centered local church, but to live it out is another. So thank you pastors and elders at CHBC for giving the rest of us in local churches around America and the world an example to follow as you follow Christ! And that you especially Christ for being the one who raises and establishes churches and men in your time and by your grace.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jefferson's Library

So as I noted a few days ago I got to spend the weekend in Washington D.C. with some dear brothers and sisters.

All in all we had a terrific weekend and I might make a few other notes on the trip in another post. However, here I wanted to make a short note about a conversation that we had in the Library of Congress. Overall I have to say that this was probably the prettiest building I've been in in D.C. And the exhibits were great too, not too many to squeeze into a short time span, each was well put together, and none were so exhaustive that it felt like I was reading someone's dissertation on the panel for the exhibit.

I particularly enjoyed the Founding of America exhibit. It had many early documents from the founding fathers of the US, including many that I read in my time as a History minor in college. (Cool Fact: I got to see a real copy of John Adams' "Thoughts on Government" pamphlet that I wrote a term paper on comparing his work to Paine's "Common Sense"!) But the highlight of that exhibit concluded with Thomas Jefferson's whole library. (See below, except in reality the room is much darker). We're talking huge amounts of books. Anyway one of the cool points came when my new friend Michael pointed out that he even had a copy of Calvin's Institutes. So kudos goes to Jefferson for reading awesome books like that. However, as we chatted I remembered that Jefferson was also the guy to basically make his own Bible. I don't remember the specifics either he tore or cut out everything in the Bible that was supernatural or that he didn't like.

As we discussed this and finding a book like the "Institutes" on his shelf we commented on how in spite of all of the books in his library Jefferson in the end was not saved and that reading books like the "Institutes" did him no good. He was merely a visitor reading things he didn't understand, when ultimate truth found in the Scripture was rejected and picked apart by his hard heart. We concluded remembering how God is the one who saves and no amount of human learning, no matter how vast the library, is useless unless God gives life. So I left there thanking God for his work to save sinners like me, and a check to my own heart that loves learning and knowledge about God often more than loving and knowing God. Coincidentally God also determined that this would be in my quiet times during last week too:

Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." (Jeremiah 9:23-24, ESV)

Monday, October 5, 2009

God At Work [pt. 2]

So a month or so after actually finishing the book, I will now finish the post series too!

Much of the reason why this book was so impacting was that currently it is very tempting to look at my life and think of it as being on hold. It is easy to think that right now I have a "sort-of-vocation." Merely a job that God has placed me in, against my plans and wishes, for the time being and that in some day soon life will resume again.

However, to summarize Veith's main point in "God at Work," God has called us to faithfulness now to love God and serve others in every aspect of the life God has placed us in now. Yes, I can take my MCATs and fill out my med school applications in preparation for hopefully entering next year, but that does not negate the current reality. Every human has a vocation that God has called them to. Today I am a Christian, a member of a Grace Fellowship Church of State College, with a family (parents, brother and extended), a work vocation as a virologist for Dr. He, a citizen of the United States and resident of the community of State College, PA.

These areas and more are where God has called me to today and given me a high, meaningful and joyous vocation that is fulfilled in serving Him. And writing this out is as much of a service to myself to remind myself as it is to encourage you!

A few other quotes that I found very impacting from Veith's work to go along with the previous ones from two posts ago:

  • "Luther makes clear that crosses are never self-chosen...Crosses we choose are not crosses. Things taht go against our will--one might say, things that cross our will--are the crosses we have to bear. These do not have to be major afflictions. The small, mundane annoyances of life may serve just as well." (Veith, "God at Work" Crossway, 2002 pp. 149)
  • Quoting Luther on our freedom to serve the Lord and trust him in our vocations,"Work and let him [God] give the fruits thereof! Rule, and let him prosper it! Battle, and let him give victory! Preach, and let him make hearts devout! Marry, and let him give you children! Eat and drink, and let him give you health and strength. Then it will follow that, whatever we do, he will effect everything through us; and to him alone shall be the glory." (Ibid, 142)
  • "The promised of God's Word and the conviction that right now, where I am, I am in the station--the vocation--where God has placed me--those constitute the basis for confidence and certainty that God has assuredly placed me here and that He is faithful and that He, enven though I cannot see Him, is at work in and through my life." (Ibid, 142)

For more specific encouragement on our vocations in the realms of work, family, citizenship, your local church, the ethics of vocation and the cross in vocation pick up the book (Amazon or WTS Bookstore) or ask to borrow my copy! (HT: Thank you again Josh and Kristen for the book!)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vacations Are a Good Thing From the Lord

Short post today. I realize that it's been pretty quiet around here lately, but life's gotten pretty crazy. Hopefully I'll be able to get a few posts out in the upcoming weeks.

Anyway, today I'm going on a short vacation to DC to visit friends. It's been a while since I took a weekend off, and I'm realizing that I've really been looking forward to the time to relax and fellowship. So all of that is to say that I think that vacations are one way in which we can follow God's call to trust in him and rest. I've got plenty of things that I could be doing this weekend at home, but now it's nice to take a break, rest in the Lord and rest hard.

Horay for vacations being a good thing from the Lord!