Still in the Holy Land!

24 Oct

Well, it’s been a while since I last posted from Israel. Things have been pretty busy here with my classes; every week we have at least one, usually two, field trips or hikes to various regions. Just this last week we were up north in Galilee for eight days. We got to tour tons of biblical sites all over the area and swim in the Sea of Galilee every day. It’s so cool to see all these places where Jesus walked and taught and performed miracles. One of the benefits of going to a Christian College with a great study-abroad program! Here in Israel, I have been constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness and His caring nature. He is the same God today that He was 2,000+ years ago, and He loves us enough to be intimately involved in human affairs. I am also continually struck by the reality of the Scriptures. For example, I Kings 12 talks about the high place that King Jeroboam built in Dan. It was basically a religious structure with an altar and a golden calf idol. When we were at Dan, I stood on that high place! It’s very sobering to see evidence of such blatant idolatry. If you think about it though, people are the same today that they were in 931 BC. Idolatry isn’t gone, it just takes new form. Instead of worshipping golden calves and clay figurines, modern man worships sex, pleasure, hedonism, etc. Humanity today needs a Savior, Jesus Christ, now as much as ever!

Shalom from Israel!

02 Sep

Welcome to my first blog from the Holy Land! I have now been here for eight days, and won’t be leaving until mid-December. I am here with a group from my Christian College, studying the Bible in the land of the Bible. ALready, we have spent two days in Old City Jerusalem, and in the next week we will be spending at least two more. I have so much that I could say about where we are going and what we are doing, but suffice it to say that we are going to all of the main religious sites (e.g. Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Western Wall, etc.) as well as some more remote and harder to access sites that require hiking. Our final hike of the semester will be from Jericho to Jerusalem, which is about 14 miles long and gains 3600 feet of elevation.

I have already learned just how much I don’t know about Israel and Jerusalem. Both are so much smaller than I ever envisioned, and feel less “foreign” than I expected. I am definitely the ignorant American who has a lot to learn about other cultures haha.

Stay tuned for more as the semester goes on!

 

Summer plans

22 Apr

Well, summer is almost here. Only three more weeks at school! It’s crazy how fast two years goes by. It feels like just yesterday I was checking in as a freshman at my Christian college. Anyways, what are my plans for the summer?

I’ll be working for the Bureau of Land Management as part of a Recreation Crew. We will be building and maintaining ATV, jeep,
dirt bike, and mountain bike trails, as well as other public use areas like campsites and restrooms. I will spend my time outside working with hand tools, riding the above mentioned vehicles to access our worksites, and interacting with people who recreate on BLM land. Pretty sick job.

I also hope to read some good Christian books, keep up with my Greek studies, learn some basic Hebrew, work out a bunch, and catch up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while. Not to mention spending time with family and going to some baseball games.

I’m definitely looking forward to summer, but maybe even more for what comes after… IBEX! For more information about what that is, see my earlier blog entitled “Studying overseas.”

 

 

NBA game, anyone?

24 Mar

It’s really easy to get stressed out at college. Lots of homework, job demands, and so on can make life crazy. So, every now and then, it’s good to take a breather and enjoy some time with friends off campus. That’s why I went to the Staples Center in LA with 11 friends to watch the Clippers play the Grizzlies today. Even though traffic was horrible, some of the best conversations happen on long, boring car trips, and so spending forever and a day in bumper to bumper traffic on the freeway before and after the game was a good chance for us to catch up with each other and talk about summer plans.

Though schoolwork is definitely my first priority (after the Lord, of course), I have to be careful to not forget to take advantage of my flexibility as a student, and go do fun things when I can. Plus, I may never live near LA again when I graduate. Might as well take advantage of cheap NBA tickets, cause that sure isn’t an option back home!

 

Intramurals

17 Feb

Everyone should play intramural sports at a Christian college. Last semester I captained an Ultimate Frisbee team, and this semester I’m on a Basketball team. There are a bunch of reasons to play intramurals: first, they’re fun. Everyone loves a good game. Second, they’re a great way to meet people that you might not otherwise get to know. Third, they foster great Christian fellowship; we pray as teams before our games, and then usually hang out and get food or something afterwards.

I would definitely encourage anyone who goes to a Christian school to be involved in intramurals!

Time Management

26 Jan

As a college student, I know what it means to be busy. Classes, work, church, ASB, and so on all vie for my time. How on earth do I get everything done with excellence, and still find time to sleep and play the occasional basketball game or go on a date? Enter good time management. I firmly believe that the key to success in college is not how inherently smart you are (though that never hurts), but how well you manage your time. I am so convinced, in fact, that I wrote a paper and gave a 20 minute powerpoint presentation on it in one of my classes last semester. The paper is attached to this post. To read it, click click here. I would encourage you to do so, simply because I want to help you, the prospective student, to be prepared for the next step in your education. The practical tips in my paper are things that I wish someone had told me before I went to college. It matters not if you are going to a Christian college, junior college, or large state university. So please, read and enjoy.

Bust the Bubble

29 Dec

You’ve probably heard of the “Christian College Bubble.” It’s the notion that when you go to a Christian college, you enter into a bubble, a place that is somehow different from reality. Well, it’s true. You do.

Depending on your college of course, the vast majority of your friends and professors are going to be Christians. Not that you will never have to think critically or examine your faith, but you are in a Bible-saturated environment. Definitely not the real world.

Is that a bad thing? No, unless you let it be. It’s a great place to grow in your faith and be equipped. But the danger is that you can go months without sharing your faith with a nonbeliever, answering an angry atheist, or simply interacting with the real world.

The key is to get out of the bubble on a regular basis. Get out into the community and meet some Buddhists and some Agnostics and some Mormons. Interact with people who believe differently than you do. Fulfill the Great Commission like we are commanded to.

One way that I have found to do this is through sports. This next semester, I will be playing in a men’s basketball league off-campus instead of playing in my college’s intramural league. I will also be skiing (in Southern California, no less) with some friends from the dorm AND another guy who doesn’t go to my school and isn’t a believer. Another way is through academics. For example, I will be taking an EMT course at the local community college in the spring of 2013.  However you choose to do it, regular interaction with the outside world is critical for any student at a Christian college.

Studying Overseas

02 Dec

Next fall I will be spending a semester in Israel! I will be one of 40 students going as part of a program that my Christian College offers. We will be staying at an extension campus near the city of Jerusalem. Much of our time will be spent traveling and studying at various Biblical sites, from Bethlehem to the Mount of Olives to Jericho and more. I will also spend a week traveling in the Mediterranean; I don’t know exactly where yet, but possibly Greece.

I am enthralled at the opportunity to study the Bible in the land of the Bible. I trust that the Lord will use that time to strengthen my faith and encourage myself and my fellow students of the truth and historicity of His Word!

Associated Student Body

17 Nov

Being on Associated Student Body (ASB) at a Christian College is an awesome blessing. We get to plan campus-wide events, as well as events for our particular dorms, and essentially oversee the life and atmosphere of the school. Currently I am supervising a food drive, which we have done in cooperation with an outside charity. Overall, the two things I have enjoyed the most are the fellowship within ASB and watching people around school have fun at the different occasions we put together.

The fellowship is definitely unmatched. When you work closely with people on challenging projects you can’t help but build lasting bonds with them. I have spent many late nights in ASB meetings laughing with friends and planning opening night celebrations for our athletic teams or evaluating Day of Prayer or Make a Difference Day.

Equally fun to the fellowship that goes into planning and running an event is sitting back and watching people enjoy it.

I would definitely encourage everyone to consider being on ASB at their school!

Outreach Week

16 Oct

Last week, we had a week of off classes to send out 50 teams of students to different churches in Southern California. We call this event Outreach Week. The teams worked with various churches to do a combination of work projects and evangelism (street, sports, door-to-door, etc).

I was a co-leader in a group of twelve students who went to Cornerstone Community Church in a small town called Atascadero. We worked with the junior high and high school youth group to do park, street, and beach evangelism, as well as labor projects such as splitting firewood for the pastor’s family to heat their house.

The highlights of the week:

- The team unity. We bonded like a family in no time, even though some of the members didn’t know each other before the week.

- The discipleship that took place between the college students and the youth group kids. They were super eager to share their faith, and we got to help them hone their evangelism skills.

Outreach Week was definitely one of, if not the, highlights of my semester so far. I love being at a Christian college and being able to apply the things we learn from Scripture in the context of the local church.

Sam's Blog

My College Experience