I want to begin this month’s newsletter by offering an apology for taking so long between newsletters. This morning in chapel I heard a tremendous lesson by my good friend and colleague, Corey Sawyers. In his lesson, Corey noted that “An gratitude unexpressed is ingratitude.”
The work that I am so privileged and blessed to be able to do is only possible through the generous support of brethren who believe in the work that I and others are doing and are concerned with that work. I felt powerfully convicted by the account in Luke 17 of the 10 lepers that Jesus healed, but only one returned to show his gratitude. Jesus asked the question, “But the nine—where are they?” (Luke 17:17). I don’t want to be one of the nine any more. So, let me close this portion of the newsletter with this:
At the end of August, the Denver staff and Extension staff (as many as could make it) assembled at the Eternal Purpose Retreat Center in the foothills southwest of Denver for our annual Staff Retreat. This is always one of the most encouraging and uplifting times of the year for the institute.
This year I gave a short report on my new job as Dean of Graduate Studies. At the time of the retreat, I had been on the job in this new position for only a little over two months. Therefore, my report consisted of not much more than
a “state of the program.” I was very happy to acknowledge the fine work that Will Hanstein has done over the last 11 years in building this program. I hope to be able to adequately fill his shoes and help the program to grow even better in the years to come.
I also was blessed to lead some of the singing at the retreat this year. The presentations of the works this institute is involved in, the devotionals, sermons and worship at this retreat are so uplifting, it is impossible to come away at the end of the weekend not feeling charged up for another year of work.
Next week (October 27-30) is scheduled one of our Blitz Weeks, which is part of the Masters program here at Bear Valley. Students in the program are required to take four Blitz Week courses as part of their work towards a Masters degree.
The Blitz Weeks are aptly named. The classes run from Tuesday through Friday, leaving Mondays and Saturdays for travel. There are two courses offered each Blitz Week. Students taking both classes will be in class from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. (chapel is scheduled at 10:00-10:30) for one class, and then 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. for the other class. It is a full day!
For this Blitz Week Dr. David Lipe of Freed-Hardeman University will be teaching Postmodernism in the Church for the morning class, and Dr. Jerry Martin of Amridge University will be teaching Joshua, Judges, and Ruth for the afternoon class.
This will be my first Blitz Week as Dean, so I am once again thankful to Will Hanstein for coordinating our instructors for this Blitz Week (and the next two, as well). In addition to teaching my own classes in the undergraduate program during the week, I will be making airport runs (to and from) and making sure the class is set up and everyone has all they need (including the most important supplies - donuts and coffee) each morning. On Friday we will have a lunch out at a local restaurant with all the Blitz Week participants (students and staff) and the local Bear Valley staff. It's a full week, but a great and profitable week. I covet your prayers that I will be up to the task of managing it all.
A New Quarter Begins
As I was able to report to many of you in my personal reports this Summer and Fall, we had a rather large incoming class in August. Counting children and spouses, our numbers at the congregation increased by 39 with this group.
The first quarter ended on October 2, the last day of finals. In that quarter I taught the freshman and sophomore classes a new course in our curriculum, English Composition. I am pleased to say that everyone passed!
On Monday of this week (October 19) we began our second quarter of the school year. I am again teaching the Freshmen and Sophomores. This quarter we are studying another new course, Genesis. Now, I do not mean to say that we have never taught Genesis before. What we have done is separate the book of Genesis from the rest of the Pentateuch, giving it its own quarter of study. This will give us more time to focus on the text of a book that covers more of human history than the rest of Scripture combined. It is a great study and a great class!
Let me say again how much I appreciate each one of you and the encouragement and support (whether financial, moral, or spiritual) that you give us in partnering with us in this work. We owe everything to God and I am as convinced of this as much as I am convinced of anything, that you are part of His plan to bless us in this work.
God bless you and thank you for your interested in and support of this work.