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Working On Something

On an unrelated note from what I wrote the other day, I am working on a new blog post (possibly series of posts) that is the biggest thing I’ve done here since I’ve returned to the blogoverse. I do hope you will check back tomorrow afternoon/evening to see what I’m working on, as I will be sharing my heart on what has been going on in my life over the past couple years and what I’m thinking about for the future. I would certainly welcome dialogue on this subject (as I know there will be many differing views across the board).

MSE

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Starting Grad School

This week has been one wild ride! On Wednesday, I went up to Criswell College for new student orientation and to get registered for classes! My goodness, it sure was good to be back up there! I was very honestly surprised.

It’s really amazing how God has shut doors in my life to push me back to Criswell. Some of you know I’ve had a pretty tough couple of years. Fortunately, though, there has been a group of strong Christian guys who have held me accountable during this time. They are awesome!

I thought I might go back to Tulsa (where I was several years ago) and continue education there. These guys seemed hesitant, but allowed me to pursue it. I went up there to look for work this past January, but to absolutely no avail! I didn’t even get a call back from a single place! So, I couldn’t move up there. Door closed.

Next, I thought I might as well try to go for a Master’s degree in Scotland at one of their fine institutions. Sounds awesome, right? When I went to tell my accountability group about it, not a single one thought it was a good idea to pursue right now. We spent a few long hours talking solely about it. It honestly took me aback that all of them disagreed with me. In the end, I still wasn’t sure they were right, but I put my trust in their judgment on the matter and relented. Another door firmly closed.

Then I applied to Dallas Seminary. They have such a great academic program and, with people in their New Testament department like Wallace and Fanning, I thought it would be the perfect fit for me. It didn’t take long for them to come back with a rejection on account of the issue I’d dealt with in the past couple years. That door felt slammed in my face.

So, I gave it some time, but this past summer I felt compelled to go up to Criswell to see what might be open there. Right away I felt welcomed and was honestly very impressed with them (which is surprising considering I went to school there for two years in undergrad). The admissions counselor encouraged me to apply and before I knew it I’d been accepted! Financial aid fell into place. My job’s hours changed, for an unrelated reason, which allowed me to take all the classes I wanted. Now, other job possibilities are opening up in the fields where my heart is!

God is so good! He even uses slammed doors to direct us to the places He wants us to go!

MSE

Comings and Goings

I have had a roller coaster couple of years. I have debated how much to share of it (if any), but I can definitely say that one thing I had to step away from to deal with what has been going on has been this blog. I have attempted to step back into the blogoverse on a couple occasions, but each time seemed too forced, so I never continued. I don’t want to force this thing. Either this will happen or it won’t.

So, where am I now? I have been putting things back together in my life. I have come a long way. I have a long way to go to reach the goal. I have a new apartment (no house…yet), a new car (’12 Mustang), great friends and church family, a job (bleh!), I’ve gone on a road trip across the western part of the USA, and finally I am about to start my MDiv at Criswell College (my BA alma mater)!

I have to admit to having set aside academia for a while and unfortunately this also meant not keeping up with Greek. Most will say that you should not stop once you start, but I am quite certain that my focus needed to be elsewhere and, while I have some catch up work to do, am at ease with that decision. Now I have reached a point where I can confidently go back into that world. Man, it’s good to be back!

So, without further ado, I re-introduce myself:

MSE

Idol Worship within Bible College

It was a slow change. I went to college to study the Bible because I loved God and wanted to be better prepared to share His word with others. I found myself leaving college with a love of the study of the Word more than a love of God Himself. I loved Greek. I loved New Testament. I loved theology. But somewhere along the way I stopped loving God.

You see, I’m stupid. Yes, stupid. After some time in college, I began grasping the thoughts and concepts to a degree that (in my stupid head) I thought, “oh here is a new, better relationship with God.” But it wasn’t. I gave up my prayer life, my one-on-one devotional reading of the Bible. In turn, I translated from Greek. I read systematic theology texts. I began research in textual criticism. Now, these things aren’t bad. They can really round out the context of the Bible, but these things are not the relationship I needed. I began to worship these things. They became my idols. They unrightfully took the spot in my life that belonged to God.

It took a tragic event (which I’ll talk about another time) to make me re-evaluate my life – to see what had happened, where I’d messed up. I had to set down my GNT, stop reading theology, end this blog for a while, and refocus my worship on God. Now, I’m finally comfortable to say that I can pick those things back up without them becoming idols once more, but it has not been a fun road. It’s taken time. A lot of time.

I wonder how many Bible college and seminary students are in a similar boat. If it weren’t for that event I spoke of, I might never have realized how far off I was. How many, then, are there who have no idea that they are placing something above God in their lives (even within these sorts of institutions)? I fear the number is high.

Matt

A New Broadcast Depth

I know many of you haven’t seen or heard anything from this blog in a good, long while. It’s been a tough time in my life. I needed a break. I know there have been those among you who have been praying for me and I thank you. I will share some of what’s happened in my life in coming posts.

There’s going to be a more well-rounded feel to what I put here from now on. Previously, it was almost entirely academic. I posted book reviews, my translation work, interviews, and the like. I hope to continue to do those things, but I will also attempt (and prayerfully succeed) in sharing where I am in my walk with Christ in the hope that it might encourage those who visit here in their own walk. In the past year I’ve discovered that focusing solely on the academic study of Christianity can be idolatrous when you place that study higher in your life than the One who created what it is I love to study. Needless to say, I’ve taken time to put things in order.

All that being said, I don’t yet know the frequency of my posts, but I know what my next one will be. You can look forward to it tonight tomorrow. It will contain my thoughts on a certain debate here in Dallas that I will be attending shortly.

Matt

Training

I’ve gained some extra weight since leaving Oral Roberts University in ’06. Recently I’ve been wondering why this is, so I examined what the difference is between now and then. I found two things: I ate the correct amount of calories there (or close to it) and I was on an aerobics point system (it was required).

Several weeks ago I began to correct this. I’m keeping track of my calorie intake now to make sure I don’t put too much in and I’ve gotten on Kenneth Cooper’s aerobics point system (the one ORU students loathe) again. Since then I’ve dropped nearly 20 lbs!

I’ve still got a ways to go to be where I’d like to be, but I think I’m on the right track now. Today I added a third element: weight training. Up to now I did purely aerobic activities, but I’d like to add some muscle mass too. I looked around online and found a program that seems well-suited for this.

I just got back a little while ago from working on my pectorals, deltoids, and triceps. I didn’t do nearly as well as I used to, but that’s to be expected with just starting again. What I didn’t expect was the inability to lift my arms now that I’m back!

I’m exercising and eating right to be healthy and, I’ll admit, to impress my wife. To do this I must continue to be self-controlled in all things. Paul tells us that there is another way, a more important way, to exercise:

Do you not know that all the runners in a stadium compete, but only one receives the prize? So run to win. Each competitor must exercise self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run uncertainly or box like one who hits only air. Instead I subdue my body and make it my slave, so that after preaching to others I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Cor 9:24-27, NET)

I’m trying to remember that while I subdue my body physically, it is far more important that I am a “participant of the gospel” (v.23).

MSE

True Love

It’s Valentine’s Day! A day for couples to express their love to each other in varyingly romantic ways, and for singles to be aware of their singleness! But let’s not forget what true love really is.

Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  (1 John 4:7-10, NET)

MSE