Thursday, January 24, 2013

100th BLOG!: I'm leaving SC, and Many Want To Know Why. It's All About The Mud.

Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light. -Raymond Edman

I'm using my 100th blog to say very publicly that I'm moving to Wake Forest, NC to go to seminary full time on campus. Many people already know what's going on, but I thought I'd let everyone in on the story of how all this came about.

Though most people found out recently I didn't wake up three weeks ago and say with my best king impression, "I do here by decree that I am going to seminary full time in the spring." It was a decision that happened a little over a year ago. I was listening to a sermon podcast from Elevation Church, and to be honest I can't remember the topic, but I clearly remember the Holy Spirit speaking to me. He said that it was time.
You see, similar to Jacob in the Old Testament I had been wrestling with God about seminary for about three years. During those years I never had a peace that it was time. God was (and still is) doing some great things at Oceanside that I felt I shouldn't leave. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I didn't feel freed to leave yet, and I didn't really want to go back to school. Eventually God pinned me and the Holy Spirit gave the count, "1, 2, 3!!" and slapped the mat. I was down. I gave. I heard the call loud and clear. It was time to make plans to go.

About a year earlier (that's 2 years ago if you're keeping up) that I heard God say He wanted me to start a church in the next five years. I didn't know what that meant exactly then, and I still don't fully know, but I do know seminary is a step in the journey.

Seminary takes a long time. It is absolutely normal for an Masters of Divinity to take as long as college. I don't really have that long! So I'm really hoping to work my face off in school. I plan to take summer courses, J-term courses, May-term courses, and even regular semester courses. I'm going to take it all! I'm hoping to get done in 3 years.

People keep asking me, "And why are you going? Didn't you get your religion degree in college? Isn't that enough?"

I could argue all day with everyone about the advantages of furthering my education with a masters degree in... divinity? No that doesn't sound right... but anyway, I won't. The main reason I am going is because God told me to.

Last night at Reality I preached on John 9:1-12 which tells us about when the man born blind was healed by Jesus. Read it. It's one of the weirdest healing passages in the Bible. Jesus spit in the dirt, made mud, and rubbed the mud in the blind guys eyes. Then He told the blind beggar to walk to the pool of Siloam. Many scholars believe the beggar was probably near the temple because people were more charitable there than anywhere else in Jerusalem. So, the walk was across town and the guy was blind with... (wait for it) mud in his eyes. This dude had to look like a fool.

But the Bible doesn't talk about what the blind man was thinking on the way to the pool. It doesn't even tell us how he got there. Was he led? Did he make it by smell? We don't know, But we do know he washed in the pool and was healed.

Sometimes I feel like that blind guy walking according to the Master's commands. Many times it doesn't make a lot of sense, and it may not make complete sense later, but I'm going to do what the Master said to do. There are moments where I question God's techniques thinking things like, "Why is he spitting in the dirt and making mud... oh no that muds for me? Oh no, here it comes, mud on the eyes, ug." I have to trust what God told me. People might question me. They might not understand why I appear to be wondering aimlessly around town with mud in my eyes. Regardless, I have to trust God.

Hopefully God can look at spiritually dysfunctional me and say, "This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him." (John 9:3) God has plans that we don't always understand, but the key is, we have to do what the Master says. There is vision at the pool across town. But we have to continue trusting His commands during the trip there.

Ps> This blog also holds a record for the longest title on Reality Check.