Spring is here

The first year of school is over and I’ve finally had some time to relax. My studies were challenging and beneficial, and I was reminded each day of how much more I have to learn. I’ve also been constantly reminded of the great salvation we have in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

Mondays began with chapel at 8:50am and prayer groups shortly after. During the rest of the week classes started at 8:50. For most student there were no classes in the afternoon, but this past semester, due to some scheduling conflicts, the Freshmen (1st years) had class until 2pm. In total I think we had 16hrs of class time this semester and 17 in the Fall. The expectation is 2-3 hours will be spent on school work for each hour of class. So to make up for the heavy demands, we only had classes four days a week with Thursdays set aside for studying and running errands. After class the typical day was spent studying, for the Freshmen this meant focusing on our Hebrew and Greek languages, memorizing the Heidelberg Catechism, reading, and writing papers. Needless to say this made for long days! At the end of each week we would once again gather together for a chapel message.

Now Spring is finally here, the snow is gone, and I’ve begun my first internship. I’ve been assigned to Blessings Christian Church in Hamilton where, over the next two weeks (starting today, April 30), I’ll be learning more about what is all involved in this calling. Already I can see that a pastor’s day fills up quickly with visits, meetings, catechism, and 20-30 hours of sermon preparation. On top of this there are family obligations and ‘ordinary’ matters that require time and attention. Hopefully this serves as a reminder to remember your own pastor in your personal prayers!

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Luther on Psalm 118

Psalm 118:5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. … You must never doubt that God is aware of your distress and hears your prayer. You must not pray haphazardly or simply shout into the wind. Then you would mock and tempt God. It would be better not to pray at all, than to pray like the priests and monks. It is important that you learn to praise also this point in this verse: “The Lord answered me and set me free.” The psalmist declares that he prayed and cried out, and that he was certainly heard. If the devil puts it into your head that you lack the holiness, piety, and worthiness of David and for this reason cannot be sure that God will hear you, make the sign of the cross, and say to yourself: “Let those be pious and worthy who will! I know for a certainty that I am a creature of the same God who made David. And David, regardless of his holiness, has no better or greater God than I have.” There is only one God, of saint and sinner, worthy and unworthy, great and small. Regardless of the inequalities among us, He is the one and equal God of us all, who wants to be honored, called on, and prayed to by all. (“Psalm 118,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 14 [Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1958], pp. 58,61)

Take Heed How You Hear

I haven’t had time to post an update in a while as school has been really busy. I’m currently working on an exegesis of Jeremiah 34, essentially I’m looking at each word, clause, phrase and even sounds in order to fully analyze the text. It’s a long process and will take most of the semester to complete.

I’m also working on two papers, one dealing with the Belgic Confession, and the second will be somewhere in the realm of Christian philosophy. I haven’t chosen a topic for either one yet, though I think I will compare the confession of Beza with Article 37 of the BC.

Yesterday I participated in my second public speaking class. It was a good learning experience for me. Our assignment was to write and present a 3-5 minute introduction for a speech, sermon, bible study, etc., using what we had learned in class the week before.

The first attempt I had my laptop open to my speech as I presented, it didn’t go so well. The instructor had me try a second time without notes and it was way better. It felt much more natural and I had better eye contact and gestures.
Here’s my speech:

You’re the engineer of a train. There are 36 people on board. At the first stop, 10 get off and 2 get on. At the next stop, no one gets off, but 5 get on. At the third stop, 4 get off and 2 get on. Now for the question: What is the name of the engineer?

You might be thinking, ‘Well that’s not a fair question!’ But you do know the name of the engineer, it’s you.

“Take Heed How You Listen” (Luke 8:18)
yes, you, take heed how you Listen

What does this mean? How does someone take heed how they listen? It would make sense to say pay attention to what you hear, or examine what you hear.

Instead he said pay attention to how you Listen.

This means we aren’t simply to listen. We have to examine and pay attention to the way we are listening! When it comes to sitting in church we need to make sure our first thought isn’t “Oh, no, this guy again.”
Or, “Sigh I’ve heard this a thousand times.”

Here we are told not only to consider carefully what sermons or speakers we listen to, but how we listen to them. The challenge we all face is not to sit in the pew judging the messenger, but to instead focus on what is being said.

As one preacher said, “Take heed how you hear! Hear with spiritual ears, not just the ears on your head. And hear with an honest and good heart, not a deceptive and evil heart.” (Piper, p. 12).