Monthly Archives: August 2012

Orientation 2012

This week was orientation week at The Master’s Seminary and I was greatly humbled earlier this year when the seminary asked me, along with eleven of my fellow students, to be an orientation leader for the seventy incoming students who start this Fall.

As much as possible, and as early as possible, the orientation leaders committed themselves to welcoming the incoming students (not forgetting their wives and families) and assisting them, in any way possible, with their shift to Southern California.  This often meant, physically moving furniture, unloading trucks and generally answering any questions about the seminary or life in Los Angeles.  Once all of my guys were settled into their new homes, I combined with another group and hosted them all for a BBQ meal.  It was a great chance to get all the men together and for them to meet each other before Orientation.  The friendships formed in these early days are very important as they will all go through seminary together and even beyond.

This year, orientation was a little different.  A lot of the usual events occurred, such as the lunches, the campus tour, the dreaded English grammar and bible proficiency exams and the dessert evening, but a change to the preaching program this Fall meant that the seminary slotted the ‘Fundamentals of Preaching’ class into the orientation.  What a thrill for the new students to come to orientation and spend three hours each morning listening and learning from two of the foremost preachers going around today: Dr. John MacArthur and Dr. Steve Lawson.  Man, how I would have loved that at my orientation last Fall!  Here is the first session on the first morning which was presented by Dr. John MacArthur (I even spotted myself in the video!).

To serve as an orientation leader over the past few months has been a wonderful experience as well as enabling me to meet more of the men that God has sent to the seminary in preparation for ministry.  It is fascinating and quite astounding, how each man has a remarkably different background and story as to how they came to the seminary, yet the evidence of the providence of God working in the background in each of their lives is very familier.

I am grateful for each of these men and looking to further developing my friendship with each one as the semester progresses.

Venice Beach

Denise and the girls are travelling to Lake Tahoe tomorrow, so we decided to take a family afternoon out at the beach.  We had not yet been to the famous Venice Beach, which is only a forty-five minute drive from our house, so after church, we headed there.

Venice Beach is famous for many reasons. One such reason is the bodybuilding era of the early 1970’s where people such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other famous bodybuilders used to regularly work out at the area known as ‘Muscle Beach Venice’.

We arrived at Venice beach but once we saw the twenty-five dollar charge to park near the beach, we decided a walk would be nice, so we drove a few miles away from the beach until we found a free park on the side of the road.  This took some time as Venice beach is obviously a popular place to spend Sunday afternoon as there were cars and people everywhere.  Almost every possible parking space was taken and many more were trying to find a space to park.

After grabbing some lunch at the beach and taking in some outdoor basketball, we walked a few miles up and down the Ocean Front Walk, which was interesting.  The atmosphere was definitely carnival-like and packed with a broad variety of stores, street performers, artists and musicians.  While the experience was interesting, there were some elements along the promenade that made my girls a little uncomfortable.  One such element was the existence of several ‘clinics’ where you could legally buy marijuana for medicinal purposes.  From what I could understand, you would visit one of the clinics, pay a fee to get a consultation with one of the Venice Beach marijuana doctors in order to get approval to buy some marijuana as treatment for whatever ailment or chronic condition you might have.  Like I said, some of what we saw was interesting.

After taking in the sights along the Ocean Front Walk, we spent some time on the beach before heading home.

Magic Mountain

Earlier, I wrote briefly about my recent ‘battle’ with New Testament Greek grammar.  Before I took this class, I promised my girls we would go to Magic Mountain after the class was done to celebrate. So, two days after Gladiator Greek was finished, I took my girls and two of their cousins to Magic Mountain.

Magic Mountain is a predominately roller coaster theme park located in Valencia, CA, a very handy five mile drive from our house.  By all accounts, it has the most roller coasters out of any park in the world.  Some of the rides are of the very extreme variety, so if you are into fast and down-right frightening thrill rides, then Magic Mountain is the place for you.  Certainly, the roller coasters at Magic Mountain elicit superlatives, such as: fastest, tallest, biggest and freakiest.

We chose a good late afternoon/evening because even though the day was still warm (approx 100 degrees Fahrenheit), the local schools had just returned back from their summer break which meant that the park was not crowded and the lines were minimal.  Having said that, I am a bit indifferent about very short lines as while I don’t like to wait an hour for a ride, the waiting allows an enforced break between rides.

The rides at Magic Mountain are classified by ‘thrill’, so we warmed up on a couple of the ‘moderate thrill’ rides before jumping on the ‘maximum thrill’ rides. We started on ‘Ninja’ before heading to ‘Colossus’ and ‘Goliath’, which features a 255 feet drop and several steep banking turns. Next was ‘Scream!’, a maximum-thrill ride which has seven inversions at a very fast pace.  We then headed to the DC Comics area (my favorite comics brand as a kid, as I found Marvel just too far-reaching) and onto ‘Batman’ which had several steep banking turns and five inversions.  Next was ‘Riddler’s Revenge’ which features six upside-down turns – but in the standing position.

All the time we were at the park, I checked on the health of the kids and encouraged them to let me know if they wanted to sit a ride out.  While my concern for them was genuine, at this point of the day, it was also under the guise of my own self-preservation and dignity.

We then moved on to two of the easier paced rides, ‘Gold Rusher’ and ‘Jet Stream’, before ending the day with ‘Superman’ and ‘Tatsu’.  ‘Superman’ was a very short ride but quite thrilling as we were suddenly thrust backwards over 100 miles per hour then up a height of 415 feet, and back down again.  To get an idea, check out this video.  All the kids were nervous about this ride, but enjoyed it immensely.

As we were driving to the park, my nephew Caleb was apprehensive and excited at the same time.  He commented that the day at Magic Mountain was either going to be the best day of his life or the worst day of his life.  In the end, it turned out to be close to one of his best days and I am glad that my girls could share the day with him and Erin.  It was a fun day out, but very exhausting.

Gladiator Greek

Over the past six weeks, I have been engaged in battle – learning Biblical Greek grammar in just six weeks.  This was very intense because we learned in just six weeks what is normally taught over one year.  I now know why this class is called, ‘Gladiator Greek’.

The amount of memorization required in this class in such a short period of time was particularly taxing and difficult.  We not only had to memorize a lot of vocab but also umpteen charts and paradigms covering most aspects of New Testament Greek including the verb conjugations, noun declensions, participles and participle parts, adjectives, periphrastics, pronouns, infinitives and much more.

The exciting part of this class, however, was the thrill of translating all of 1 John straight from the Greek New Testament bible.  Going through the translation process brought all of what we learned in class together and being able to translate straight from the Word of God was a thrill.

I am so thankful to the Lord who is using classes like Gladiator Greek to batter me and shape me into a person who can be useful to Him.
Solio Deo Gloria!