Residency Log: Entry #3

There have been many things I have learned during this semester of ministry residency. So many, in fact, that exhausting all of them individually would pollute this post; a brief summary will have to do for now. You can subscribe to my newsletter for updates exclusive to my residency by either filling out that pop up form you saw upon visiting my page, or by clicking here.
I have grown in my self-awareness substantially because I experienced a heavy season of exhaustion, depletion, and even desolation at points. The vast array of circumstances leading to feeling drained put me in a position where I was forced to either complacently whither and wallow, or take a step forward by letting go of all control I harbor in scenarios both good and the bad. This has left me in a position where I abandon my freedom to secure the outcome and rely on faith alone, which I seriously struggle with. I know this is nothing new because most, if not all religious people struggle with this to some degree or another, but admonishing this reality is never easy. It takes ownership of one’s self-awareness actually being self-knowledge, admitting fault to how they cultivate their spiritual growth in private. Though this conclusion is a hard pill to swallow, it tills the soil for flourishing as God intended for humanity. The balancing act I have tried cultivating I was running on empty and came to this realization when I realized my idea of flourishing was actually a self-centered idealistic pursuit for personal achievement, which was crafted for my comfort more than it was my wellness. Since then, I am aware of what is required in the realm of self-awareness, reflection, and processing; all of which are built on a cruciformity. Here are some of the specific areas I would like to highlight:

• Poor time management is the result of prioritizing the urgent over the important
• Exposing my garbage and failure doesn’t kill my pastoral credibility when done in an appropriate fashion. On the contrary, it makes me a better leader.
• Having a morning routine is essential to my wellness and discipline
• Just because ministry often feels like a competition doesn’t mean I should enable these notions
• Boundaries are needed. They demonstrate responsibility and should never be avoided
• There is nothing pompous or arrogant about acknowledging my gifts
• It is a disservice to the church, both local and global, when I withhold the gifts God gave to me serve others with
• I can provide pastoral care with consistency and authenticity, but if I don’t prioritize my own spiritual and emotional well-being the pastoral care will always be sub-par.

These are just a few of the many points I could list regarding this first semester of residency. I look forward to the upcoming semester and will keep you in the loop with anything new.

Looking Forward…

Israel in January 2019!

One of the components of my degree program is to take a 11 day trip to Israel. The Israel study tour happens every January, and Alex and I are saving up for the 2019. The total cost for the trip is just shy of $5600, which includes everything and is due by August 1st 2018. (flight, bags, hotels, on land travel, and three meals a day).

We have started saving already, and are brainstorming ideas to raise the funds so we can pay for the trip without getting into debt. Please pray for us as we begin this process! If you or anyone you know who would consider helping us financially, we would be extremely grateful! You can help us by clicking the button here, or sharing the link with others. Anything helps!







Side note: Thank you to Ginny and Kregel Academic for sending me the lovely coffee mug birthday gift shown in the picture above. I’ve enjoyed every book of theirs I’ve read; click the link to read my review of their publication The Spirituality of Paul. If you are a blogger looking add a few book reviews to your page, you should check out the Kregel Academic Blog Review Program! They’re quick to respond with excellent literature and cool coffee mugs that illuminate my morning coffee experience. Feel free to tell them I referred you


Book Review—Dictionary of Paul and His Letters by InterVarsity Press

dictionary of paul and his lettersThe IVP Bible Dictionary Series has been an extraordinary reference set, and I have utilized it for every research paper I’ve written. This 8 volume set always finds its way onto the Bibliography page for whatever I’m studying, continually proving this reference’s value to be both unique and timeless. I find something new every time I crack one of the volumes open, and never grow tired of the newness experience. The entire series truly serves as a gift that keeps on giving, and the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters is no exception from said gift-giving. The compendium’s praise and reputation are both well-deserved. To put bluntly, buy this book…seriously….don’t read any of Paul’s writing’s until you have a copy on your shelf… just kidding (but seriously, buy it).

Edited by the late Gerald F. Hawthorne, as well as Ralph P. Martin and Daniel G. Reid, this collection of Biblical scholarship encompasses everything Pauline within a dictionary format. In this work you will find a surplus of in depth articles including extensive cross-references and bibliographies, all of which are easy to navigate. What I found particularly helpful was the index of contributing authors at the beginning of the volume; following each name is the topic(s) in bold font which they were contributor’s for. However, one thing I found a little strange was the absence of N.T. Wright and E.P. Sanders. Their contributions are considered groundbreaking with their impact on what contemporary Pauline scholarship is today: E.P. Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism was monumental to the New Perspective on Paul, and N.T. Wright has written exponentially on an array of Pauline topics.  I’m assuming the absence is more than a simple oversight, but most would understand why it struck me as odd when their names were not listed.

I should explain what brought me to revisit the book time and time again leading to the overly exhaustive favor for this reference. In the realm of Pauline scholarship, I have grown fond of the cultural, historical, and sociological factors rooted in the apostle’s context. Digging deeper in these areas has brought new light to the surface of Paul’s thought, forcing me to ask, “Is this what I want Paul to say, or is it what he actually said?” This volume has given me clarity with Paul’s rhetoric, but even more so has stretched my perception of the apostle’s mission in a Greco-Roman context. Some of the articles I found both insightful and helpful were:

-Man and Woman by C.S. Keener (p. 583-592)
-Household Codes by P.H. Towner (p. 417-419)
-Social-Scientific Approaches to Paul by S.C. Barton (p. 892-900).

This volume will bless anyone looking to dive deeper into the Pauline studies. The plethora of fruitful research presented by the numerous and highly acclaimed contemporaries of Pauline scholarship is worth its weight in gold. As the back cover describes, “In a field that recently has undergone significant shifts in perspective, the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters offers a summa of Paul and Pauline epistles,” and they hit the nail right on the head. Fortunately enough, IVP has made this 1,000+ page volume available for an affordable $54, which you can purchase from their website by clicking here.

The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters is a one-of-a-kind reference work designed to better equip every students of the Bible. I am convinced that every teacher, student, pastor, theologian, and lay person should not dig deeper into the apostle’s theological, cultural,  and literary context unless they have this within arms reach. I guarantee you won’t find another reference devoted to Paul that is this affordable.

Disclaimer: Thank you to IVP for kindly providing me with a review copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are my own and were not affected by this provision.