Saturday, January 10, 2015

Leavin', on a Jet Plane...

So...hard to believe a week has ended.  What a great week, and yet I will be so glad to see my beautiful family.  Yesterday's final day was a good one of teaching I believe, and continuing to talk to so many about the needs here in Post-Christian Europe.  Many in the world see Europe was the "starting place" of Christianity, and so they wonder why we would focus missions and/or evangelistic efforts here, and yet compared to so many other parts of the world, Europe is statistically spiritually dead.  This week, in my class, students from Ukraine, Romania, Holland, America, Ghana, Myanmar, and more met together to learn about Pastoral Counseling and the reflect on the gospel.  This, I believe, was a strategic enterprise.  Also, the students and faculty of this school fill churches each week here in Holland, a place that is in need of Bible-Believing churches.  What a blessing to have been a part for a few days, and I hope to return again one day.

Last night, I had the opportunity to take a train to Rotterdam and meet with my PhD supervisor.  It was our first meeting face to face, and it too was a blessing-what a kind, down to earth, flexible promoter I have who believes in the research project I have chosen.  I was glad to be able to meet with him.

Now, back to the USA, and to a post-holiday schedule start. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Little of Serbia, Princeton...and International Gospel.

Three days of teaching are now completed here in The Netherlands.  Teaching a week-long course here in Badhoevedorp (outside Amsterdam) has been such a blessing, and a wonderful experience.  My class of 15 or so Masters-level students is learning the material well, and we are walking together in the work of pastoral counseling.  One theme for us throughout the course is that we are "redeemed and yet we are being redeemed" as well as "resting in the same gospel that we are giving to our counselees".  Students from many different countries gather here for seminary training and then leave to touch multiple continents with the Gospel. It has been a blessing to sit at meals with students and teachers alike and talk theology, coffee and more.  It reminds me of the stories I've heard about the Old Princeton...the Princeton of Machen and Warfield, where students and faculty studied, ate, and did aspects of life together. 

Today's lunch (by a wonderful cook by the way) was a traditional Serbian Christmas meal (they celebrate Christmas on the Eastern Calendar there in Serbia--so near January 6/7) because of some of our Eastern European students.  So, our small little band of teachers and students shared in this meal (money baked into bread and all!). This afternoon, a took a walk into the village with another Prof to go to the supermarket--who doesn't like a walk through beautiful European streets as the sun begins to set. 

Everything is in English, which is helpful to me, and yet most of the students here speak multiple language.  The academic standards are high, and yet the focus is able to be on preparing students here in Holland for ministry all over the world.  I'm encouraged as I arrive at the dining hall each morning (ready for coffee) and see several students reading the Greek New Testament together in a reading group.  Encouraged as I hear about the curriculum they have, and blessed by the international hospitality that abounds.  I have written elsewhere about how I strongly believe in International Theological Education, and this place, like other places I have been is a special place, and a special part of that mission. 

Tomorrow is teaching, as well as speaking in chapel.  Glad to be here, and to be a small part of this 30 year old institution. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tyndale Teaching

A New Year begins, and tomorrow, I will be teaching a one week course at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands.  I arrive early this morning, and aside from missing my family and church family on this Lord's Day, it has been a good day.  I look forward to the connecting with students (15) from several different countries.  Students coming from Africa, Eastern Europe, Europe and more are undertaking seminary studies here.  More updates soon-

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Doctoral Venture...

After years of thought, internet scouring, research, emails, research proposal writing and discussion, I am finally "in" a Ph.D. program.  I now sit with a blinking cursor, and a few pages of text written on what may be the beginnings of my dissertation.  The program I will be undertaking, should the Lord allow, is a Ph.D. program at the Free University of Amsterdam.  I will be researching how Christians in the first and second century handled pastoral care and counseling of families.   This will be a large task, as there will be several avenues that I will have to explore in order to answer the thesis question.  Background into Graeco-roman families, original writings of the early church, diving into ancient languages, etc., and all in order to find an answer and prove a hypothesis regarding counseling in the early church.

Along the way, I hope my studies will benefit my own thinking, counseling, preaching and Biblical study and will be a source of encouragement.  I am excited to plunge into the writings of brothers of a bygone era again (Patristics).  Reading the documents of the early church was so moving for me when I was in seminary.  I look forward to scouring them line by line once more.  In the meantime, family and church come first (no, really, they do), which means I'll be undertaking this project for years to come!  Following the European model for doctoral research, I'll be staying where I am, researching, writing, and communicating with my supervisors, and continuing to live life.  No other plans-just some focused study in my "free time". 

I hope in the coming days to post regularly a snippet of the research on here, perhaps to benefit the reader, but also to keep me working at a steady pace.