Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Bridging the Word and the World

9/20 2012

“You know who Abraham is, right?”

It was Wednesday evening, a time that had grown to become my favorite time of the entire week, for I would spend about an hour with sixth grade girls talking about God, well, that is after they updated me on their boyfriends, Justin Bieber, and the Kardashians.  I loved watching them grow and earnestly seeking God, asking me questions that most adults are afraid to admit even having.  This particular night, I had been explaining why the significance in the sacrifice on the cross and the fulfillment of the covenant.  They didn’t understand what I meant by the latter part, so I started explaining about the covenant with Abraham but I could see in their eyes the glazed over expression of not understanding.  I paused, then asked the question that hosts the title of this blog, and received this in response.

“You mean, like, Abraham Lincoln?”

I swallowed my surprise and used the rest of the time guiding them through what I could of Genesis, prescribing to them to read specifically the story of Abraham for the following week in case more questions would arise.  And they did, as usual.

That was months ago, but it still haunts me, for those girls are now seventh graders who will one day become adults and potential leaders of the church, yet the stories that are fundamental to their foundation are not being woven into the fiber of their beings.  And if the Word is not in the framework, what’s going to hold the house together?  Granted, yes, each of these girls are of church attending familes who’ve been bequeathed Bibles of their very own and thus have ample opportunity to read it themselves. The thing is, children do from example.  I myself grew up in a church going Christian home, but I always remember there being dust on the family Bible.  In fact, there probably still is, and it wasn’t until at college that I came to know and understand it’s significance in my daily study.

So, the question that should be asked right now isn’t who are going to be our children’s examples, because we already know that answer – it’s us.  The question we need to be asking is are we going to be the examples our children need?  And the Church needs?  Or are we going to keep the dust on our Bibles?

Rebecca Dix, M.Div student

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6/28 2012

Serving God

PreachTheWord

Last week I spent an afternoon visiting with two graduates of PTS. They were also recently ordained Baptist ministers. Both men shared their desire to preach and teach, to receive a call to a church. I was struck by their passion and willingness. They talked about their fear the first time they preached. They talked about feeling more comfortable teaching and visiting.

They acknowledged that ministry is not about comfort. It is about serving God and serving the people of God. As a pastor, they will be called into many situations—situations of care, concern, and sin.

These two men acknowledged their need for personal devotion and prayer; their need for accountability and repentance. They too are people with situations of care, concern, and sin.

In this conversation with two PTS grads, the Spirit was present, God was glorified, and Jesus Christ was proclaimed. It was a magnificent moment of reflection and honesty. It was a moment of greatness for the Church.

Tara Fanton, Senior, MDiv student

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5/18 2012

Have Thine Own Way, Lord!

This is a time of great change for students at PTS. As yet another academic year draws to an end, we begin to transition. Some students anticipate a break from studies by going home to be with loved ones or leave for a vacation. Others will begin summer employment, CPE, and summer languages. For those who are graduating, the reality of completing the program is hard hitting. As we celebrate those who know where they will be serving, we also celebrate those who don’t know what is next. Regardless of where we find ourselves, change is upon us. The directional pull of change is strong. It is strong because the sovereignty of God is always at work in that change. For this, I am grateful.

On the days where I am overwhelmed, I find myself singing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” This hymn has preached to me over the past three years. The hymn was written by Adelaide A. Pollard who was a Bible teacher and hymn writer. Pollard, was hoping to go to Africa as a missionary, but could not make a way financially. Greatly discouraged, she attended a prayer service at church when she overheard an elderly woman praying these words “It really doesn’t matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your own way with our lives.” Those words inspired Pollard while she contemplated the story of the potter in Jeremiah 18:3. When she returned home after the prayer service, she wrote all four verses of this beloved hymn. Although I don’t know what is next for me beyond PTS, I trust that God will continue to have His way in my life so as to reflect Christ in me by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so He will in us all.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

Melanie, Senior MDiv student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

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