Can’t believe the summer is over and classes have started at Frontier School of the Bible. This semester I am teaching Old Testament Survey. I am thankful for years of sitting under Dr. Royce Short’s teaching! This morning we went through Old Testament history (with actions!)
A while ago Connie helped me put my Acts Chronology in the form of a well-known song.
To the tune of Gilligan’s Island theme song
Sit right back and hear a tale, a tale of from the Book of Acts
Of how the Holy Spirit worked — lots of exciting facts
Ascension of Jesus
The work in Jerusalem
Judea and Samaria
To the ends of the earth
To the ends of the earth
What happened in Jerusalem
Pentecost and Stephen stoned
Then persecution scattered them
oh now, where would they go
now where would they go
Judea and Samaria, we’ll see what happened there
Church at Antioch
James killed, Peter’s arrest, Peter freed from prison
Ends of the earth and now we see
Missionary journeys of Paul
Antioch, Corinth, Ephesus
Three of them in all
First missionary journey
Council of Jerusalem
Second journey and the third
Return to Jerusalem
Paul put in prison
Paul taken to Rome
Often I have the student members of the worship team choose songs. In the beginning it surprised me that most of their song choices are hymns. Last night, three of the songs they chose were: “Standing on the Promises, “I’ll Fly Away,” and “When We All Get to Heaven.”
I’ve often considered some of the ways that newer worship songs differ from the hymns. Many of the differences are tied to culture and history, but I’ve also noticed that contemporary worship music doesn’t often include a longing for heaven as many, if not most, of the hymns do.
There could be many reasons for this lesser or lighter focus on heaven, but I am afraid it’s because we have become comfortable. Our grandparents and great grandparents lived much more challenging lives under much more challenging circumstances. Few of us in the younger generations have struggled with basic necessities of life. In our excess we have forgotten that we are not citizens of earth. Our home is in heaven.
Let us then be true and faithful,
trusting, serving every day;
just one glimpse of Him in glory
will the toils of life repay.
I’m often surprised by what my students remember me saying. Last semester I briefly mentioned in a chapel message that we should “embrace the awkwardness.” After a (legitimately) funny post on Facebook I quickly have become a spokesperson for awkwardness.
It is helpful that I have numerous stories and illustrations from my own personal experience. I really do feel that I have a unique expertise when it comes to embracing the awkward.
Now, personalities are not sacred, and I am convinced we can and should change when our personalities hinder us from doing the work God has for us. However, there are aspects of our personality that we need to understand, chuckle at, and embrace as a part of who we are.
As we’ve been going through different passages in the New Testament I’ve realized that the Book of Acts is really a collection of awkward characters in awkward situations. Sometimes they respond well; often they don’t. It reminds me that in awkward, unsettling situations, our attitude and response is what is important.
Since I first mentioned this phrase it has become a running joke. It is my goal to embrace this honorific title and help my students see that God specializes in using those who are awkward.