Good Morning, Lord.

It's 6:30am right now, and I've been up since 4 studying Greek. I'll keep at it until 8:30 (when I leave for class).

Days like today are frustrating. I'm not a natural linguist, and I don't like getting up early to prepare for quizzes. Mornings are my natural enemy.

Worse, I often feel like I'm failing God. A minister should WANT to study Greek, right? He should be holy and excited and tireless in understanding the Word?

I fail so miserably when it comes to honoring God. Thankfully, I took a few minutes this morning to remember that God isn't glorified by me not being weak... he's glorified by working through me even though I AM weak. I was greatly encouraged (to the point of tears) by this prayer from The Valley of Vision this morning, and thought I'd share it.

The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to thee for strength;

If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the beloved's arms I am firm as the eternal hills;

If left to the treachery of my heart I shall shame thy name,
but if enlightened, guided, upheld by thy spirit,
I shall bring thee glory.

Be thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand, my light to see,
my feet to run, my shield to protect,
my sword to repel, my sun to warm.

To enrich me will not diminish thy fullness;

All thy lovingkindness is in thy Son,

I bring him to thee in the arms of faith,

I urge his saving name as the one who died for me.

I plead his blood to pay my debts of wrong.

Accept his worthiness for my unworthiness,
his sinlessness for my transgressions,
his purity for my uncleanness,
his sincerity for my guile,
his truth for my deceits,
his meekness for my pride,
his constancy for my backslidings,
his love for my enmity,
his fullness for my emptiness,
his faithfulness for my treachery,
his obediance for my lawlessness,
his glory for my shame,
his devotedness for my waywardness,
his holy life for my unchaste ways,
his righteousness for my dead works,
his death for my life.




Ben never freezes, right? Always has something to say?


Today in Greek, I hit the wall. We're only beginning our third week, and already I've embarrassed myself. The professor asked me to translate a sentence. I got the first word correct... except that I didn't, because in reading further we saw that I had translated an article too soon.

Then I got the second word wrong. Not a little thing, either... I translated "God" as "Lord."

Then I got the next two words right... specifically, "of the."

Then I got the fifth word wrong. For some reason I couldn't come up with the word, "heavens."

Everyone waited patiently as I basically mangled a fairly simple sentence, something several people had done before me without mistake. Finally, the professor let someone else translate the second half of the sentence. I was humiliated.

It was especially frustrating, too, because if I WRITE the translation, I get it perfectly. For some reason I lose all confidence when I'm trying to speak.

Also, this professor is the leader of my accountability group, and now he pretty much thinks I'm either a) an idiot (possible) or b) too much of a slacker to study my lesson (actually, not true!).

Greek stinks.

I just feel absolutely awful right now.


One Day at Seminary...

Yesterday reminded me of all the things that are good about being here at seminary (well, several of them at least).

I woke up in the morning, and we had two inches of snow! It almost felt like home, except that snow has this weird effect on Southerners where they all slow down on the road. Strange.

I hiked across campus, steaming tea in my hand and a song in my heart (just kidding, it was morning and I was barely awake. But I appreciated it later). I went down into the basement -which I like to call The Bowels- of the seminary for greek class. I managed to make it through that, then it was off to chapel.

Chapel here is terrific. First of all, the place is BIG, so even hymns that are normally dumpy in church because nobody can reach the notes sound awesome at SBTS. Also, they have all kinds of great instruments and special music pieces, because SBTS has a renowned music school.

To top all this off, the chapel has a massive organ that they use for all the hymns. Every time we sing a hymn, we go through the first few verses. Just before we sing the last verse, though, we have what my friend Daniel and I call, "The Windup." We all pause from the flow of the song while the organist plays a grandoise intro. Fun stuff! When I first came I thought I would feel like they're being pretentious, but it really does give you a powerful sense of worshipping God with all your might.

Also, of course, the preaching is excellent. The simultaneous commitment of the school to solid preaching (in chapel) and yet still promoting excellent scholarship (through inviting people of various backgrounds to lecture) is a terrific environment to learn in.

As icing on the cake of my good day, I saw this guy who I was sure I'd seen before... somewhere. I couldn't place him at first, but then I realized that I'd seen him leading a URC college group meeting when I was a freshman in college! I remembered them mentioning at SCF that he was going to seminary... could this have been the one?

The last time I saw someone I thought I recognized (Tigers first baseman Chris Shelton...or not) I was dead wrong and felt like an idiot. Still, I decided to go up and say hello. And sure enough, it was him! Not only that, for some reason God caused me to remember his name (Jim Rarik) from all those years ago (6, by my count!). For anyone who knows me, this is a real miracle. Jim was extremely gracious, and I'm excited to sit down and chat with him at some point in the future.

Oh! I also had my first quiz last night, which I did well on, and I have my first greek quiz this morning. Thankfully, God blessed me with plenty of time and will to study! Again, a miracle.

So, I'm off. Hope you enjoyed hearing about my good day... I'll probably post about some bad ones once Greek vocab starts to kick in. See you soon!