Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ben's gettin' hitched

We threw a bachelor party for my friend Ben from the seminary at Lake Kincaid State Park friday night. We had a great time torturing Ben in various ways, applying fake tattoos, dousing him with shaving cream and then stealing his clothes when he went to take a shower. A high point of the evening was when Adam, Ed and Hess performed a "prophetic" dance for Ben to some Celtic music. We also had a great time introducing some of our international friends from the seminary to camping. Ong from Malaysia and Hye Jin and Chan Hun from Korea all went camping for the first time. It was an interesting night as some powerful thunderstorms went over and soaked the interiors of half the tents.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Church Retreat at The Close

This Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, I went on a retreat with my church, St. Patrick's Anglican, at the Close near London, Kentucky. "The Close" is the courtyard of a cathedral, which is what this retreat center is named for. I camped with a few other brave souls while most people stayed in cabins. I had a great time at the retreat and I realized how great the people are who go to my church. I also realized how much I will miss this church family when I leave. I will be blessed indeed to find another church like St. Patrick's. The night was interesting as a pack of coyotes moved through the area where my tent was set up. I said a little prayer as I could hear one of them breathing outside my tent. I thought about unzipping the tent and trying to snap a photo but in the end I wimped out. Here are some photos that I was brave enough to snap:

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I got into med school. Loma Linda that is. Orientation starts August second. I'm very excited but I know that I will miss Asbury greatly, I've grown to love it here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Today my church, St. Patrick's Anglican, took part in Lexington Kentucky's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Our entry was a "precision acolyte drill-team" who had choreographed dance moves which went along with some U2 songs and some Celtic music. I helped to hand out candy to some of the youngsters along the route. I had a great time and our church got some good advertising.
A lone piper....and a robin.Dr. Ruth and I getting psyched-up for the parade.The precision-acolytes bustin' a move.St. Patrick's precision acolyte drill-team marching through downtown Lexington.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Wisdom from our elders II: Emmanuel Akanet

This Tuesday our Barnabas group met with our second "elder" to receive wisdom and spiritual guidance. Emmanuel Akanet is a Ph.D. student from Nigeria and is a member of the Evangelical Church of West Africa. He has a ministry to disabled people in Nigeria.

Emmanuel started our meeting by telling us to open to Matthew 28:16-20. Starting from this command of our Lord, Emmanuel began his story by telling of the missionaries who had come to Nigeria to bring the gospel to the Muslims in the north. He said that the Muslims were stubborn and not open to the gospel so these missionaries went to the non-Muslims who readily received the gospel. Emmanuel emphasized that his people had been evangelized by Muslims and had refused to convert but they had accepted Christ. His father was an evangelist to the Muslims in Nigeria.

Emmanuel next told us, "I am giving you my testimony so everytime you see me you will know that God is God." His mother died when he was two weeks old and his father died when he was four. Emmanuel presented his survival under these circumstances as miraculous. As Americans it may not seem miraculous but I think the conditions in Nigeria might make his survival quite miraculous.

As he grew up, Emmanuel felt a strong desire to serve the Lord. He was the head of his class in a large high school but with two years left he lost interest in all of his books other than the Bible. He went into the ministry after high school and two years later went to a Bible college. Emmanuel's second miraculous experience was God's providence in allowing him to come to the US. He told us of his prayer life and how people would unexpectedly come forward with money to support him.

Emmanuel warned that there will be many trials that a person who is going into ministry will have to go through. He said that some of the deepest wounds will come from other "Christians." He said, "We should be available like Philip and God will tell us to do what we have not planned to. God will tell us to do what does not make sense to us." He also said, "It took God miracles to keep me alive. It took God miracles to bring me here. It took God miracles to keep me here."

On the subject of spiritual warfare, Emmanuel gave us some sound advice. He said that some can cast out demons very easily and some can heal people easily by the power of God. He said that we should not desire to be like that minister - It is up to God whether we will cast out demons and heal people. In our personal lives, when it comes to spiritual warfare, he said that we simply need to focus on our relationship with God and give our life to God. The way in which we check our relationship with God is by asking: "Am I praying?" "Am I in the word?" "Am I portraying the love of Christ?"

It was a blessing to hear our brother from Nigeria speak. He was a prime example of the vital and committed Christianity we hear about in the global south.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Wisdom from our elders I: Dr. Joe Dongell

On Tuesday our Barnabas group (Bible study & accountability) began a series of meetings with professors from the seminary to try to gain some insight and wisdom from older, more mature Christian men. Our first meeting was with Dr. Joe Dongell, Professor of Biblical Studies.

Dr. Dongell began by giving us his testimony. He grew up in the poorer industrial part of Philadelphia where his dad pastored a Wesleyan church. He became convicted one day after he heard his dad preach and decided to accept Christ as savior. He told his parents this and they prayed with him and then called friends from the church who had been praying that he would come to Christ. Dr. Dongell said that this was an important moment for him, when he realized that many in the church had been praying for his salvation. Dr. Dongell described his parents as people who knew God, who loved him, who loved others and who were humble. He was required to spend a certain amount of time each morning reading the Bible. He said that he never rebelled against his upbringing and this was because of the love for God and others he saw in his parents.

One question which came up had to do with evangelism. Dr. Dongell used the metaphor of wiring a house to describe his view. He said that rationalistic arguments and the reasonableness of the Christian faith serve as wiring for the house but that the wiring must be hooked to the "power grid" which is the Holy Spirit. This comes by bathing the relationship in prayer and inviting the Spirit of God to be present where evangelism is occuring.

On the question of the discipline of scripture reading, Dr. Dongell said that he likes to read and re-read books as wholes. He said the the margins in his Bible are filled with cross-references he has made. He said that he tries to go with a "last word, first word" principle in his life where the word of God is the last thing in his mind at night and the first thing in the moring.

On prayer Dr. Dongell said that his life has embraced two pathways, one of "instant prayer" and the other he called "mega prayer." The instant prayer is a high frequency of prayers throughout his day. His van doesn't have a radio so he prays while driving. He said he also sometimes prays a kind of "laughing prayer." The "mega prayer" is the prayer of confession, praise, petitions and spiritual petitions which he regularly makes for himself and others. He said that instead of trying to put this prayer into new words each time he prays it, he wrote out a fifteen page prayer with many scriptural references, he read it into and MP3 and put it on a CD. He will lay in his prayer nook, play the CD and agree with what he is praying. He said that he is surprised at times by what he hears on the CD. Dr. Dongell said that when he prays he always prays out-loud, never silently.

We were deeply blessed by Dr. Dongell's visit and we all sensed that Christ's presence is powerful and contagious in his life.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Back From Loma Linda

My experience in Loma Linda turned out to be a very good one. I felt very good about my interviews and the med-school did a good job of welcoming and feeding us. The funniest question I was asked during my interviews was, "Why should I let you date my daughter?" I also met some interesting people during my travels. I sat next to an Ethiopian guy on my flight there. We talked a little about Orthodoxy and the political situation in Ethiopia. My taxi driver from the airport in Ontario to the school was an Armenian guy. I tried to get him to talk religion but I think he was kind of avoiding the subject. I ended up waiting at the airport for about nine hours before my return flight to Kentucky. One other guy arrived very early for the flight. He was 75 and had farmed pistachios in the San Joaquin valley in southern California. Here are some pictures from my trip: Looking out at the campus.

Foreground: Good Samaritan Sculpture, background: The medical center.

The Chapel. I tried to get in but the door was locked.
Another view of the medical center.
I wore this suit for 27 hours, from 8 in the morning in California to 2 in the afternoon when I got back to Asbury....the shirt probably should be washed.
I like the look of these mountains. I guarantee that if I go to school here, these mountains will be thoroughly explored.