Over the past few years, I have become increasingly aware of how much I have to learn. More and more, I see there are things that make more sense the older you get. To start, I hope these are helpful, but I know there is still much more to learn. Blessings all! AB.
1. Life is grey sometimes—this has been the biggest truth I learned this past year. I am not saying truth is not black or white. In reality all truth is God’s truth. There is a true way to live and act. What I mean by living in the grey is that we must be comfortable living in the balance of extremes. I have found that I live in the middle of two extremes. More often than not, Jesus pulls me to the middle of the conflict. Often times, both sides have validity (not necessarily truth). Choosing sides has created division and hate—two things I seek to avoid in my life when I can.
2. Unity speaks volumes. 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (Jn 17:21–23). Unity functions as a testimony of Jesus.
3. Unity is hard. While it is difficult to be at peace with those who are difficult, it has been lifegiving. God is able to bear the weight of unity. I just try to submit to him.
4. Life moves in phases. As I moved out of my dorm for the final time I was filled with a bit of sadness. I will miss my time at Evangel University. Enjoy the time you have. Invest heavily where you are at now. I spent the past four years really focused on my studies and the people close to me here in Springfield. I am really thankful for my dedication to investing in the here and now.
5. Opposition is not the answer. We must become known by our love, not by our opposition.
6. Closing chapters is sad, but exciting. My coworker this past week said it was sad I was leaving the Library (my job throughout college). I told her, “Don’t be sad. It should be an exciting time to send people off.” I was still a bit sad when I left the Library this past week. Much love to all my Kendrick, IRC, and AGTS friends and bosses! Much love!
7. Marriage is commitment! After our first 5 months I am so thankful for growth and commitment in my relationship with Rebecca! Marriage veterans, newlyweds, engaged, and singles: please value and commit to commitment!
8. Value and care for those close to you. As I looked back on my time at school, I saw that my friend lists was smaller than most. Yet, the people on that list really mean a lot to me. I care deeply and value those close to me and will always invest into that group of people close to me.
9. Be friendly. Most people don’t know this about me, but I sometimes struggle with small talk or engaging with people I am not necessarily close with. I have been intentional the past few to see people as individuals. I am trying to actively portray friendship and care for all those around me!
10. The younger generation has much to learn from the wisdom of the older generations.
11. The older generation has much to learn from the connections of the younger generations. (Life is grey sometimes.)
12. Family is critical. As a minister, I realized that family is one of your first areas of ministry. Pastor or not, teach your family the truths of Jesus. Pastor or not, love and care for your family always!
13. Godly parents are those who invest into their children and care about their actions. Parents who care about their kid’s spirituality and devotion to Christ are game changers. Thank you!
14. Education is a double edge sword. Growing academically and intellectually can make you wiser, but it can make you more critical. You may know more, but you could see less.
15. Christ alone provides our daily bread. The past 3 months, God has provided for Rebecca and me randomly and unexpectedly. He always knows how to provide what we did not know we needed.
16. Jesus is enough. As I studied the Bible more, I had more questions. I came to the point that I could not prove or explain many aspects of faith (miracles, atonement, grace, eternity, etc.). Last year, I finally accepted that I could have faith in Christ and that would be enough. His miraculous nature is a glorious opportunity to believe. Fully understanding is not always the goal.
17. Prayer is hard, but it is the essential. Prayer is something I am always trying to grow in! Lord, help me reach out and listen to you!
18. God will reveal his plan in his timing. Peace will be there.
19. The future is bright. Let not the chaos of the world to pollute your mind. Jesus brings glory into our lives.
20. Knowing Jesus is not enough. You have to be part of his Kingdom. Active work as the people of God is the result of the good news. Jesus is Lord requires action.
21. Church is not the Kingdom. Be a people of God, not spectators.
22. Belonging matters more than simple proclamation. Jesus is revealed more fully when we show in relationally than simply declaring his nature. Word and deed outweigh word.
23. God is always good. Amen.