For the first time in my life, I actually had a desire to go to school yet didn’t have the time or the money to do it. I decided to turn to God and ask Him what He would have me do and if it was His will to go back to school- to make what seemed impossible become possible. After looking at multiple different college programs from “in class” to “internet based,” Pastor Cody announced that Reliance was launching the School of Ministry. Coming into it I thought this would be great because I desired to have a better understanding of the Bible, Systematic Theology, and Hermeneutics. I really didn’t have a plan or a vision of how this might be used in future ministry work, but nonetheless, I felt God leading me to get equipped.
School of Ministry is now in session and if you have not been made aware, it just might be for you. My name is Bryan, I attended the Reliance School of Ministry for the 2012-2013 year, and I want to tell you about my experience. What a blessing and privilege it has been to attend this program over the past year. I certainly did not write about everything that School of Ministry (SOM) entails nor would you likely be motivated to read such a lengthy review. However, I will attempt to give you just a little insight into how I see SOM in retrospect and where I think it may or may not fit into your life right now.
In the minds of Americans, independence is usually associated with the honor and dignity of the birth of our nation. Yet independence carries another connotation with it that is absolutely detrimental. At is most basic understanding independence is to be completely self sufficient, free from outside control or not depending on another’s authority.
While this may seem desirable and perhaps even needful, there is a real danger in living in such a way that people see themselves as both the means as well as the end of their lives. We can be neither, and yet we naturally clamor for both. When independence pervades in the human heart, great and terrible evils come to be normal, commonplace and deemed as natural. The attitude of self is what is at the very heart of what captured Adam and Eve in Genesis 3, and what holds men captive today. The act of taking the forbidden fruit represents the defiant and independent heart of man to trust in himself over God. It is to rebelliously tell God “I don’t need you!”
When we trace the concept of independence back to its roots, we find them deeply imbedded in the soil of pride. Pride feeds, grows, develops and maintains this self-sufficient mindset. James 4:6 states that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” It is compulsory for the Christian to combat the sinful mind by replacing it with one that capitulates to the mind of Jesus.
This has two practical applications to how the Christian must submit their thoughts to Jesus.
Prayer is such a personal experience for each individual. For some believers it’s an essential part of their walk with the Lord, for others it’s like a new foreign language, something we deeply desire and honestly fear. Some might even feel uncomfortable praying with others. Like anything new, we need to take baby steps to make it part of our daily routine. Not everyone is going to have an amazing prayer life on the first try. But like all things worth doing, if you take baby steps in cultivating this essential life component, you will eventually grow to have a deeper prayer life. This begs the question, what exactly is prayer?
As mothers and wives, we spend our lives taking inventory. We could quite possibly do inventory for a multi-billion dollar business with all the knowledge we have acquired! Every year and several times during the year, we are restocking the proverbial shelves of our lives and homes. We each have our very own Esty store. Actually, it is more like a super Walmart. We stock everything; food, clothes, furniture, bathroom supplies, bedding, cleaning supplies, and you should check out our huge inventory on toys, not to mention, our Christmas Store. At our companies we aim to please our, ever so little and some not so little, clients.
You want it? We’ve got it!
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar. She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s work for her servant girls. She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is energetic and strong, a hard worker. She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night. Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber. She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy. She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes. She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns. – Proverbs 31:14-22
We are constantly refilling orders every day, but who is taking a spiritual inventory?
This past Sunday as I sat under the teaching of my Pastor, I listened to every detail he spoke on submission and I could not have agreed more with the teaching (you can listen to this and all of our sermons online right here). Spot on, well done, executed perfectly, precisely and right on the money, I say! So…
“Don’t grow up, it’s a trap.”
That’s the way the picture of a street sign read in a whimsical Facebook post. I think most of us can identify with the desire to forego the roles of adulthood and return to the memories of endless summers without a care. Yet, the simultaneous reality produces a conflicted heart, because all at once I desire the simplicity that childhood affords while pursuing the freedom that can only be provided commensurate to maturity. In a very real way, I believe this statement is symptomatic of a deep seeded problem within our culture today.