Friday, January 31, 2014

Continuing Education ... Studying Abroad

Perhaps it's common.  We had no real idea on our first day of school it was the beginning of a long, long journey.  Graduation from Kindergarten didn't signal the end of school.  It was just a transition point into Grade School.  Then it was Middle School, or Junior High, as it was called decades ago.  The end?  Uh uh. Nope.  High School was just waiting for summer vacation to surrender.  And, then, it was back to school.  Again. Many went on to college or university, and post graduate studies.


I left that educational system in 1970 when I received my college degree.

However, I've discovered that my education for living life skillfully began at conception ... 9  months before January 4, 1947. I have been bombarded with information from a multitude of sources over the past six decades. The learning curve has seldom been easy.  So many voices, whispering or shouting, "this is the way."  Seldom did these voices agree with one another. They competed for my attention and devotion.  Along the way I rejected much of what I was exposed to and embraced some.

Life is a classroom in itself.  This was never more clear to me than when I arrived in Africa on a 10 day mission trip back in 2001.  My education deficiency was broadly put on display.

The smaller a person's world is the less that person thinks they need to know. The strategy of the fall of man from the intent of the Creator ... way, way back in the begging ... was to limit man to a self-centered concern for no one beyond himself.  Preoccupied with personal comfort, safety, and convenience, each person has been tempted to create boundaries around their personal needs, desires, and pleasures.

God put a love in my heart for the Ugandan people that only be explained by Jesus Christ.  It isn't my love, but it is my pleasure to put in on demonstration and display.  Love builds bridges to unknown territory.  Love breaks down walls designed to keep lives limited.  Love is an  accelerated education course.

Uganda is the best thing that has every happened to me.  It is God's Continuing Education program for me. The focus of this program is not all about culture, contextualization, doctrine, structures, projects, systems, or language.  It is all about progressively learning that Christ must be preeminent (superior to or notable above all others, greatest in importance) in everything.  It is discovering that Christ is the source of ALL I have. Seeking the Kingdom of God FIRST means living with Christ at the center of everything I think, desire, say, and do.

I can't say it any better than Paul David Tripp did in A QUEST FOR MORE:
I could not have written my own story.  My location, gifts, talents, abilities, opportunities, and blessings all come from Him. I need wisdom, strength, love, patience, perseverance, and faith that I do not have on my own. 
God brought me to Africa to teach me what I would not learn in the place of my origin. He brought me here to instruct me and correct me.  To increase my awareness and encounter with His Firstborn Son.  And, to reveal that the people in this nation don't need me.  But, they need the Christ in me.  And, the more I know Him, love Him, and please Him the more of Christ they will be exposed to.

I'm studying abroad and my continuing education will never end.  But, at the end of each day I want to say with Paul the Apostle
When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.


3 comments:

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  2. Love those words of apostle Paul. It is easy to think we need to be persuasive, but it is only by his blessing our words that they can reach someones heart. The learning continues!

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  3. amen, this--
    "God brought me to Africa to teach me what I would not learn in the place of my origin. He brought me here to instruct me and correct me. To increase my awareness and encounter with His Firstborn Son. And, to reveal that the people in this nation don't need me. But, they need the Christ in me. And, the more I know Him, love Him, and please Him the more of Christ they will be exposed to."

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