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A Homework Assignment and a Book

February 20, 2009

bk_tnwd_000016I’ve begun my second class of seminary called:  Christian Formation:  Vocation of Ministry.  It’s another introductory course, and although it’s not studying the likes of Old Testament Theology and History of the Church (things that I would eat up with my nerd ways), I find these classes very helpful in terms of discerning my call and how to minister to others seeking to find theirs.  In any case, I’m reading two books right now:  The Call by Os Guinness and Hearing God by Dallas Willard.

I’m loving Guinness!  Admittedly, I was initally put off by the title, as my mind conjured other similar sounding titles of popular Christianity such as:  The Purpose Driven Life and Your Best life Now.  However, Guinness is sharp.  He utilizes the words of many influential Christians and non-Christians and shows the desperate need of humanity to embrace the singular call to know God and follow Jesus.  He is not trite or surface level at all.  Here a a couple of gems:

Quoting  the Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov, “For the secret of man’s life is not only to live…but to live for something definite.  Without a firm notion of what he is living for, man will not accept life and will rather destroy himself than remain on earth” (2).

“Do you know only the soft-gospel invitation of our convenience-loving age, or have you been mastered by the no-concession summons of God’s call?  Have you experienced ‘the discipline of dismay’?  Chambers [Oswald] is amost as stern as his master when he writes:  ‘If we have never had the experience of taking our commonplace religious shoes off our commonplace religious feet, and getting rid of all the undue familiarity with which we approach God, it is questionable whether we have ever stood in his presence” (66).

I purposefully chose him quoting others, because that’s the greatness of his book in my opinion–the ability to synthesize a multitude of sources.  He quotes from the likes of Nietzsche, Rand, Picasso, Voltaire, but also the likes of Lewis, Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Bonhoeffer.

It’s a good read so check it out.  As far as Hearing God, it too is solid, but I’m not nearly as into it.  Now, I enjoy Willard, mind you, but it’s just not hitting the spot the way The Call is.

Okay, now a homework assignment that I will share (for any interested).  I had to post this week on coming to my sense of calling, the methods that I used in coming to Asbury, and what gifts have led me to where I am.  Again the class is all about determining a greater sense of our vocation (so we don’t waste $35000 dollars on classes that we don’t need!)  So here is my post:

Coming to know the Lord at an early age and having a defining moment in my early teenage years, I had the foundation for a passionate devotion for Him.  There have been times in my life where I have loved and been consumed by the presence of the Lord.  However, being a passionate guy by nature, I have also been, at times in my life, “passionate” about sin.  This has caused a great deal of confusion about my ability to serve the Lord and lead others, but from a fairly early age, I knew and felt a strong sense that I was called to be in ministry and lead others in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Even with this strong “sense” I’ve never been able to say like Winston Churchill once said, “I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial” (The Call 75).  Instead, as I’ve read the likes of Wesley, John Fletcher, D.L. Moody, A.W. Tozer, etc., I’ve realized that as Guinness says, “There is no higher or more ultimate passion than a human being ablaze with a desire for God” (75).

So a great deal of my method, thus far, has been to heed a “sense” of calling, and cultivate it by fulfilling the one desire that I know to be true and lasting:  more of God.  That’s the first part.

Secondly, in my senior year of college, I was forced to reexamine a great deal of my faith and in a sense start over.  This began what I know to be a life long search and commitment to having an intellectually sound faith.  This cuts both ways in being able to graciously answer skeptic’s questions, but also provide truth and correction (is that too strong a word?) and hope for the body of Christ.  That’s why my heart jumped when I read Guinness’ understanding of his call:  “Part of my calling, as I have discovered it…has been to make sense of the gospel to the world (as an apologist) and to make sense of the world [or convey Christianity through the world’s eyes] to the church (as an analyst)” (73).  This is more or less my passion; however, I see my role being fulfilled differently, because I see my self deeply involved in church ministry, whereas Guinness does not.

My desire for academic studies, my passion for worship (I love guitar!) and spiritual formation, and my heart to see the church be what it’s meant to be (see Ephesians 4!), are my gifts and longings that have spurred me to Asbury…and hopefully Princeton or Oxford someday!! 🙂  That may be a long shot but it’s always good to have dreams eh??

“Let it be according to Your will O Lord.  In the mean time, check out The Call.

Be blessed.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Sam permalink
    February 24, 2009 3:32

    Os Guinness is awesome bro – I’m glad you’re getting into him. He has that “logic on fire” approach that I love so much. He’s one of those foundational authors that you come back to over and over again, like a C.S. Lewis, G.K Chesterton, Watchman Nee, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

    • jonathangroover permalink*
      February 24, 2009 8:41

      “Logic on Fire.” I like that. I had always heard of Guinness, but I had never read anything by him. I think you’re right…he will be a guy that I go back to. He brings it hard, but at the same time he’s non-confrontational about it. That’s hard to do!

  2. Tracey Groover permalink
    February 28, 2009 5:39

    Glad to see you found some time to blog again. I’ve missed reading them but really enjoyed our conversation the other day. What you said made sense about transformational meetings as opposed to informational meetings. Got me kind of excited! Can’t wait for you to get home!

  3. March 6, 2009 1:44

    Groover… love the thoughts, and you’re making me jealous because I really wish I was studying this stuff!! I’ll check out the books too, they look good!

    Blessings… Meridith

    • jonathangroover permalink*
      March 6, 2009 8:26

      Thanks Meredith! I need to add you to the blogroll!

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