24 Nov 2014

Semester in Scotland Blog Posts

Reading the Word

Something I love about this semester in Scotland is all the time we have with  people from church!

We had a night recently when Jennie and I went to a café with about a dozen ladies from church. We enjoyed hot drinks & yummy deserts, laughing together at some of the café’s art:

cafe art

We talked about chocolate, we talked about people we love.

I heard stories about husbands and children, and I told stories about my own family.  We discussed knitting sweaters, owning dogs, and reading books.

I remember we had a particularly interesting conversation about reading.

It was mentioned that attention spans lessen as we age.  We can’t remember what we’ve just read; it’s harder to concentrate than it used to be.

This was a rather sad train of thought… until we remembered our favorite book!  Whether we’re old or young or anywhere in between, we will *always* have God’s help understanding and remembering His Word to us in the Bible.

Paul writes that we understand the things of God because His Spirit is in us and in those who teach us (1 Corinthians 2). Also, since all who belong to Jesus have His Spirit (Romans 8:9), He will *always* be there to help us understand His living and active Word.

This is beautiful news! It is encouraging for the Lord’s dear, gray-headed saints… and it is encouraging for clueless blondes as well.   Praise the Lord.

Pick up and read the Word, my friend.

Pray… pick up… and read.

Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you. –Isaiah 46:4

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
–Psalm 19:7

Rosie Perkins


The Christian Ministry

When last we met, I told of some of the adventures we had that week, galavanting through the country.   However, this time, there was something in one of the  classes that really stuck out to me recently.   So here it is.

Evangelizing.  Matthew 28:19-20, known as the Great Commission, tells us that we are to go and make disciples.  The Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John echo this, and in Acts 1:8, Luke tells us of Jesus’ declaration, that we will be His witness in “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (ESV).  So Christ commanded us to evangelize.  I’m sure most of us knew these passages and this command.  It wasn’t these verses that stood out to me, but there lay the foundation for what I am going to say.

What stood out to me was not in our Reformed Evangelism class, but in a book Ethan and I were reading for the Christian Ministry class, a book titled The Christian Ministry: with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency.  This book is written mainly about the office of the minister, his responsibilities, things that can cause his preaching to not be productive, and sections about how he should build his sermons and preach them.  Now, I have no plans of being a minister.  I loathe speaking in front of people, and I’m terrible at it.  I think the professor of my Intro to Communications class was being merciful to me when he passed me with a high grade.  So when I started this book, I wasn’t very interested because I wasn’t going to be a pastor (also because it was hard to read at first, as it was written in 1829).  I didn’t realize how applicable it was going to be for me.

The part of the book that really impacted me was in the fourth section: “The Public Work of the Christian Ministry”.  This part focused on the actual preaching of Scripture: the preparation for composing and preaching sermons, how to preach God’s Law, the different aspects of preaching the Gospel according to Scripture, the types of preaching, and the spirit of preaching.  The types of preaching, whether on specific topics or a whole book of the Bible, or whether it was written out or preached without notes, didn’t really mean that much to me but the rest of the section I realized I could apply to my own evangelism.

“The Scriptural preaching of the Gospel” and “The Spirit of Scriptural preaching” were very applicable, as they spoke about preaching the various doctrines, as well as the spirit and the attitude behind the preaching.  Preaching in boldness (being unashamed), wisdom, plainness (making it clear to someone who wouldn’t understand the words we normally use), fervency (showing our passion and that it is important to us), diligence (not slacking off), singleness (solely for the glory of God), and love (love of God and love of others).  I looked at these and thought to myself, “Wow.  This book was a lot more applicable than I originally thought.”   It’s true what they say: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”   Even if you don’t like an assigned reading, that doesn’t mean that you should just disregard it.   There can still be beneficial knowledge that you might otherwise miss.

Philosophical thoughts from the American Mathematician,
David Beer

Autumn Break

Hey there! I hope all is well with you and yours wherever you may be.

We have been working hard studying and learning from some pretty great people. We’ve been loving the community we are in and the church family that has welcomed us so selflessly into their lives.  Sometimes the best way to ensure that you don’t forget all that you have been learning is to take some time to reflect and relax.  This brings us to our recent autumn break.

For break my parents were able to come and visit.  It was great to have them here, not simply because we were able to spend time together, but because they were able to get a glimpse into the whirlwind of adventure and learning I have been blessed with these past few months.

Since the public transportation is a lot better than what I am used to, we were able to use that great system to experience multiple parts of the UK.  Of course the adventure for break began with a tour of Airdrie and a small day trip to Edinburgh.   During the week we spent a few days exploring London, a part of a day in Glasgow, and a few days exploring Inverness.

I could go into ridiculous detail telling you each and every amazing thing we were able to experience, but that would take way too long.  So I thought that I would pick my top moments.  My parents and I were able to see the crown jewels of both Scotland and England in a matter of three days.  In three days we saw jewels of such immense worth that I will never be able to fully understand.  We were able to see the amazingly large display of poppies at the Tower of London.  Each handmade poppy represents one allied life lost in World War I.  The sheer number of poppies were a reminder of the frailty and shortness of life, which we often take for granted.

In Inverness we were able to take a boat trip on Loch Ness.  It was a gorgeous day and the best part was that we were able to experience it while relaxing together.  Perhaps my favorite part was that my parents were blessed to experience not one, but two Sundays at the church here in Airdrie.  They witnessed the body of Christ coming together to worship their Creator, half a world away from where my family lives.  They witnessed the community that has welcomed the Semester in Scotland students with open arms and has extended hospitality far beyond what we could have ever asked for.  They were able to see that though the world seems so big sometimes, when you are part of a family with a Father who created that world, the miles between His children who love Him seem to fall away.

-Jennie Smith

Jennie and parents

Outside the entrance to the crown jewels inside of the Tower of London.

The poppies outside of the Tower of London​