I've embarked on numerous adventures since then and so I'll take a little time to reflect on the past couple of months before sharing what's on my mind. As of May 15th I can now call myself a graduate of New Tribes Bible Institute. It has definitely been an exciting journey these past two years spent in Jackson, Michigan. Numerous hours have been spent in the classroom, friendships built and deepened, and too many wonderful memories to recount. For those who don't know already, I will actually be heading back to NTBI-Jackson this next year for an internship there. Mostly I'll be working in the kitchen but will also have the opportunity to continue relationships with both the staff and students at the school. I am excited for the chance to be a part (though a very small one) of reaching unreached people groups with the gospel of Christ. Because of this internship program, the cost of running the BI will be somewhat less. Why does this matter? This means that the students will not have to pay as much for their Bible education. There will be about 14 of us interns doing various jobs around the school such as child care, food services, office work, or maintenance. The program will only require about 20 hours a week; this allows the interns to get part-time jobs in Jackson. However, I will be working in the kitchen full-time which means that I will be paid for half of that time. This will be a huge benefit as I will not have to seek out another job (which can be very difficult in Jackson). Amber, my girlfriend, will also be a part of the internship program working in the office.
Anyways, since graduation I spent some time in Michigan with Amber's family, went to two weddings in beautiful Pennsylvania (and spent a week there!), went to Amber's sister's wedding in Michigan, and then Amber and I took a road trip from Michigan to Missouri to Colorado and then finally to Idaho. Yes, I know that we took a longer route than necessary but we were able to visit the Missionary Training Center in Missouri (which Amber had never seen yet) and also got to see friends of my family in Colorado Springs. My sister Bethany's wedding was the weekend after we arrived in Idaho and the next week we were able (very randomly and unexpectedly) to visit friends in northern Washington and some of Amber's relatives in southern Washington. Since then we've been involved with my church's VBS and ministry at Camp Pinewood. So yes, we have had an extremely full summer so far (and by full I mean full of great times). Now to some of what has been on my mind lately.
Truly, it's been a while. It's been a while since I've fallen to my knees in adoration and wonder of all that God is. It's been a while since I've found myself lost in contemplation of His Word. It's been a while since I've had an epiphany of God's grace. I find that is all too easy to distract myself away from the things of God. To be caught up in the moment is to have forgotten eternity. Life goes by, moment by moment, and I rarely take the time to consider the ramifications for the decisions made in this moment, this hour, this day, this life. Focus on self is the deadliest and most widespread disease of the history of man. We are all infected and there is only one cure: to die.
Paul tells us in his letter to the believers in Rome to regard ourselves as being dead - dead to sin. He goes on to say that we should regard ourselves as not only being dead to sin but also as being alive to God. Death may be the cure, but there is hope in life after death. For did not the Savior of the world demonstrate such when He Himself died? Beaten, bruised, and nailed to a cross He died an ignominious death - thieves on the crosses next to Him and His closest friends having forsaken Him. But there is hope because He rose from the dead unto new life! In like manner, I am identified with Him in His death and resurrection - dead to sin and alive to God. Dead to self-focus and alive to God-focus.
It's been a while since Jesus: the Anointed One of God, the Savior of the world, the Last Adam, the Man who is God; it's been a while since His death and resurrection. But this I say: it was those moments which have the greatest bearing on eternity for He alone is the way to the Father. In Him alone is life. He is the epitome of truth. It's been a while since He died and rose again. It's easy to get distracted and lose interest in eternity. What must always be on our minds is the fact that His return will come in but a little while.