“Dear Dad, I’m thinking about dropping out of college, so I can do something significant for God instead of wasting my time going to school.” So started my freshman letter to my father.
It seemed to me that going to college and possibly to graduate school was too much work, too much money, and a waste of too much time while living in a world that needed Jesus. I figured I could invest my life better in a community rather than on a campus.
My father wrote back, with a letter that changed my life. Although I did not save it, I certainly remember its contents.
When I was about your age, I weighed the same decision. I was passionate
for ministry and wanted to quit school. I asked for advice from Dr. Donald Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Barnhouse told me that if he had 10 years to live he would spend nine in preparation and one in ministry. He was convinced he would accomplish more
for God in that one year than he would have accomplished in nine years of
ministry with only one year of preparation. He advised that sharpening the axe before chopping the tree means you’ll have chopped more wood by the end of the day.
Higher education wasn’t easy for my dad. His parents attended grade school and no more. He dropped out of high school when he was 16. When he believed in Jesus and was drawn to ministry in his late teens, he decided to go back to school. The journey was hard—Bible school at night, back to high school with teenagers in the fledgling church he started, and then college, seminary and graduate studies. It took him more than nine years but led to an amazing lifetime of ministry. He served in missions and evangelism, pastored a large metropolitan church for 33 years, and became a college president.
Today, we bring you a message by Dr. Jerry Flora. This message was recorded on Wednesday January 13, 2016 during our Seminary Chapel. Dr. Flora is a beloved professor who trained hundreds of students for ministry at Ashland Seminary. He was named Professor Emeritus of Theology and Spiritual Formation.
Today, we bring you a message by Krista Mournet. The message was recorded on Wednesday November 18, 2015 during our Seminary Chapel.
Krista, her husband Terence and their son Lucas have been a part of the Ashland Seminary community since 2010. Krista’s interest in music and worship extends back most of her life, beginning when she would sing with her mother in church as a child, to singing in various church choirs and worship teams over the course of her life and up to the present day. In addition, she and Terence have ministered together in various worship groups since before they were married. In recent years, her university training in theological research has served to deepen and mature her desire to help people worship God through music. Krista derives a great deal of joy from bringing people together to use their gifts in God’s service, in this case in Ashland Seminary’s chapel services. She enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, reading and sharing laughter and fellowship with friends, usually including music, coffee or food.
As advent is fast approaching, I was reminded how much more contemplative I become during this time of year. The changing weather forces me to retreat into my own mind and thoughts. Lately, the concept of calling has been frequently on my mind, and I remember when I was considering seminaries not so long ago. It can seem expensive, daunting and if you’ve been out of school for any period of time may seem unreasonable.
I know that this opening statement will reveal me for the shallow man that I have seemingly become, but lately I have wondered how society ever lived without a DVR! While TV watching has never been something that occupied a great deal of my time, my wife and I have found ourselves spending a quiet evening together “catching up” on a very few shows that have become favorites. Rarely do we watch them when they are really on, which gives us to opportunity to watch them much quicker – because we are able to fast forward all……and I do mean ALL the commercials.
NOT TOO LONG ago I was driving to the office in the morning when a brand new white BMW 7 Series passed me. It was a beautiful car. And if I may say so, it was the ultimate driving machine! This vehicle made a huge statement about success and accomplishment: two things that we value highly in our western society, particularly in America.
A few minutes later, I saw another white BMW drive past me, except that this was a 1990 model…same car, but it was more than 20 years older. The vehicle was in fairly good condition, but it was showing a little bit of rust and a faded coat of paint. I immediately reflected upon the temporal nature of materials things and the brevity of life.
In Titus 2:2-4, Paul says that “the old women should behave themselves with reverence and not gossip or drink too much. They should give a good example, teach the young women to love their husbands and their children, remain judiciously pure, be keepers of the home, remain full of kindness and be subject to their husbands.”
On the surface, this sounds very sexist and is out of step with our modern world. After all, American society values gender equality. I also value gender equality because the spirit and teaching of the NT establishes this ideal. In the church, the cultural categories that diminish women should be reconsidered in the light of the gospel message that tells us that all are one in Christ (Gal 3:28). As such, I do not believe that American women need to follow Paul’s exhortation as if it were a universal law to be mimicked.
Today, we bring you a message by Dr. Terence Mournet. The message was recorded on Wednesday February 25, 2015 during our Seminary Chapel.
Dr. Mournet sees his position at the seminary as a life-giving cycle of service. Students and colleagues form a supportive, diverse, and vibrant community, which enables Dr. Mournet to strive for his personal and professional goals. In turn, he is able to serve students and God with his gifts of teaching, writing, and scholarly research. Students appreciate Dr. Mournet’s consistency in expectations and his ability to lead class discussions that fully communicate the topic at hand. They find that he is eager to build relationships both in and out of the classroom.
In addition to teaching, Dr. Mournet has a passion for worship. He loves working with fellow musicians as they, together, seek to direct people’s attention towards worship of the one, true God. He plays numerous instruments, including electric and acoustic guitar, bass guitar, drums, and trumpet. Dr. Mournet also likes to express himself through painting, sketching, and other artistic pursuits. To top it all off, he has extensive home-renovating experience – something that was likely passed down through his DNA, as his father was a carpenter and construction foreman.
Dr. Mournet is married to his wonderful wife, Krista, who serves alongside him in leading worship at their home church. The Mournets have one son, Lucas.
Many times I have expressed that I love snow, the more the better. Having been born in Belgium, and having lived in Spain for the last ten years or so, snow has not been extremely abundant in my life. The only times snow has triggered a shot of adrenaline in my body has been occasionally on ski-trips in the French Alps with Young Life Catalonia.
Snow is amazing. In Europe there is an old Scandinavian language that has almost 200 words related to ice or snow (and about a thousand for Rudolf – the reindeer, no kidding). A couple of Sundays ago Dr. Schultz shared with us in his sermon that there is no such thing as two identical snowflakes. I thought that was amazing. Let us just reflect a little bit on that. I will not go into statistics here. Now, if you google ‘identical snowflakes’ you will find some similar looking flakes that are probably altered with Photoshop. For the scientists among us, did I see a hand? Some other factors that influence the symmetric shape of a snowflake are the humidity, temperature and air pressure. This brings us to a not-so-exact study that says that the largest snowflake ever was about 15 inches wide!
To change can mean to make the form or nature of something different than it was previously. I can change my mind, change clothes, change direction and change my behavior. An animal called a chameleon can change its color to match its background, making itself invisible to predators. People change jobs, partners, cars, their minds, cell phone carriers and a myriad of other things in their lives. Interestingly enough, the word transformation is used to define the word change (when the word “into” is added). I believe the word transformation suggests a deeper meaning.
If one simply looks at the dictionary definition, the words change and transform are almost interchangeable. The word change is used to define the word transform. In either definition, a difference occurs because something that was one way has become something else. So what, you ask? Thank you for asking that question!
Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 that a transformation can occur if we choose to renew our minds.