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Back to school: “What’s that in your coffee?”

January 10, 2018

7Yesterday was the first day back to school from the Christmas vacation break, and the first hours of class time were borderline hilarious. Some of the students are blearily grunting like Neanderthals while the others are silently urping up remnants of leftover holiday cookies.  Every once in a while I get a waft of a post-burp gingerbread smell in the air and I grimace.  Some students shuffle down the halls with a gait that reminds you of something between Blind Man’s Bluff and a trip to the gallows.

My breakfast drink consisted of a full cup of effervescent Airborne bubble drink;  I am protecting myself from any and all flu dangers that might be sneezed up in the room.  You ought to hear some of the sneezes!  I am surprised that their eyes stayed in their head.  Well,  I’m ready to fight any infection;  it’s hand sanitizer and cold tablets, brother. Too many years I have fallen down with a severe cold that I caught whenever I walked through a cloud of flu particles that had been part of a drive-by sneeze.   I had read somewhere that cold germs can stay afloat for up to three hours after the initial sneeze.  I take no chances.

My Old Testament Survey class came shuffling in.  “I really need something to wake me up,” gasped Aaron.  “Please, do you have anything?  I’m starving.”  I open up my desk drawer and find two cast off Christmas chocolate Santas and a month-old Reese’s Christmas tree candy.  “Thank you, thank you,” he wheezed as he tore open the Santas and gulped them down.  I don”t think he even removed the wrapping of the Reese’s candy before he swallowed it.

New Testament Survey was similar.  “Where’s my paper?” asked Bert.  “You didn’t give me the handout sheet on Matthew.”

I pointed to his desk.  “It’s right in front of you,” I said.

“Oh,” said Bert, rubbing his eyes.

“Boy, you’re really tired,” said Anna, stirring her coffee.

“Don’t talk to me,” said Bert.  “You’re just as bad.”  He pointed to her stirrer.  She had accidentally picked up a pen instead of the plastic fork.  She was stirring her coffee with her pen.

The energy picked up as we moved along throughout the day.  The good ol’ classroom pizzazz picked up and I was fielding questions on the book of Matthew, the background of Ruth, and the detailed writing of Luke.  I love in-class discussions.

In Bible Leadership we started working on our brand-new website that will be a Bible reference for teens, giving a book-by-book study of the Bible.  You can see it by clicking here.

I almost forgot to tell you about how the whole day started.  We had a powerful prayer time before school, emphasizing the emptying of ourselves so that Christ may shine without interruption.  Nine students gathered in my room and had a deep quiet time of prayer.
It’s a principle we’re working on in my classes; that of being a vibrant Believer by putting Christ above our own personalities.   In 1 Corinthians 4, I found a powerful word that Paul used as he was dealing with a pride issue with the Christians in Corinth. He reminded them that Christianity was not a fashion or social privilege, but a relationship with Jesus and a downright grassroots feet-on-the-ground ministry to others, whether verbal or non-verbal. He brought the point home in the middle of a strongly worded passage:

“For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake…”

The word ‘spectacle’ is theatron, from which we get our word “theater.” When Paul said we Believers have been made a spectacle to the world, he wasn’t complimenting us, nor was he making this an exciting pride-filled prospect. He referred to the way the apostles had been publicly humiliated.  The same goes for us today – we often face humbling situations because of our faith.  We’re “on stage”, being watched all the time to see if our faith is real.  Many times those “stage events” can be a real test of our character, and often we face humbling events to test our pride.  This kind of humiliation was both a slam to the pride of the Corinthian Christians as well as a cold shower to wake them up to the reality of service here on Earth.  It applies to us as well.

Doesn’t matter whether we’re bleary from post-Christmas blahs or not.  We have a mission, friends.  Time and conditions don’t matter.  No excuses.

That’s what we’re talking about in my classes now, especially in Bible Leadership;  we need to have a faith that is honest.  We should be 24/7 in our walk with Jesus so that others may see Christ. We’re praying for strength to be willing to step out and show Jesus, no matter if it means alienation or scorn here on campus, at sports, in after-school or weekend jobs… wherever.

Oops, time for class.  I must run.

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