Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Best Class...for the Umpteenth Time!

Yes. For the umpteenth time. If you were to ask me what my favourite class has been so far at ARISE, I'm afraid I'd have to give you a list. It would look something like this (in chronological order):

Who is God?
Abiding in Christ
Does God Exist? (Apologetics/Faith and Reason)
Sabbath
Dos and Don'ts of Evangelism
Marriage, Family, and Relationships
Music
Origin of Evil
Theodicy
Understanding Homosexuality
Building Community
Sanctuary
Nature of Inspiration

And for today's best class ever: Nature of Christ.

No, the list above is not a list of all the classes we have had (but it does contain the majority). I've especially enjoyed these, and it would be really hard to pick my favourite from the list. So I thought I would let you have it all, as it also gives a bird's-eye view of the kinds of classes we are taking.

But back to today's best class! Awesome insights poured into my mind and created a fountain into my heart, as the beautiful truth of Christ as our High Priest who can ultimately "sympathize with our weaknesses," and was in "all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15), became clear for the first time (along with Romans 8:3 which says God sent His Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh"). After being informed on the controversy over the subject and the two extreme views, we learned that truth is found in the tension between two extremes—like having a string on an instrument perfectly tuned by finding just the right tension (not too tight, not too loose).

It took us about 4 hours to explore just one aspect of the subject, so this won't do it justice, but I'll try to summarize in a few paragraphs.

THE ISSUE: Did Jesus have our pre-Fall human nature or our post-Fall human nature? That is, was He like Adam before the fall—able to form a righteous character by obedience to God's law? Or was He like Adam after the fall—with all the same sinful propensities and inclinations as we have? The two extremes take sides on opposite sides of a huge chasm, using SOP and Scripture to defend and disprove. But the conclusion we came to was simple, Bible-based, SOP-confirmed, true gospel, and life-changing.

First, we studied Jesus in the wilderness and discovered that He was tempted in the three leading temptations found in 1 John 2:15-17: lust of the flesh, pride of life, and lust of the eyes. (All other forms of temptation come from these three leading temptations.) Not only that, but He was tempted to the most ultimate extreme at His weakest and loneliest moment, facing temptations a hundred times greater than anything we will ever have to face.

This surely was eye-opening, but before we could move on we had to overcome the hurdle in our minds that Jesus was not exactly the same as we are. He was God. He actually hated and recoiled from sin and sinful things. We love and run to sin and sinful things. However, when tempted, His human will longed to do something good (like turning stones into bread) both to satisfy His hunger (lust of the flesh), and to answer the devil's "if you are the Son of God" challenge. If He did this, He would have relied on His own divine power, and this was not His Father's will; thus, it would have been sin, because anything that is not God's will is sin.

In summary, I wrote in class:
Christ's human will was His human nature, which is the same as our human will. Our human will is inclined to rely on our human self; Jesus' human will was inclined to rely on His divine self. Thus He meets us at the ROOT of our fallen human nature: SELF.
Then, He took that fallen human will/nature to the cross and left it crushed through the second death—rising only with His glorified human body and divine nature. And in Christ, we can have the same experience. "Christ took our fallen human nature so that He could overcome in our nature in our behalf, and give us perfect obedience as a gift" (James Rafferty, our instructor today). Nothing we do can add to what Christ did in our behalf. This is the true message of righteousness by faith, clearly seen in the truth about the human nature of Christ! And now I understand both truths more clearly. Today's class was truly life-changing, paradigm-shifting, and heart-filling.

This was the best class ever. 

**If you want a more detailed version, or some texts and quotes, just ask, and I'll try to get them to you. For more "Best Class" synopses, stay tuned! Eventually, I will get to that list...or I hope to, at least :)


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Random Conglomerate Post

It's been a long time since I last updated with a real post, and I thought I better let you all know what's going on here at ARISE. We just got back from outreach and I am very tired. But I also just ate supper, so I can't really go to bed right away. So, here goes. Sorry if it is slightly scatterbrained.

Allie and I arrived at Eugene Airport on September 2. I can't believe that was nearly a month ago. We got picked up at the airport by one of the ARISE interns (student from last year who stayed for the rest of the year), named Nick. After a rather long stop at Safeway, we pulled onto the campus which would be our home for the next three and a half months. To be honest, it felt very weird. Weird to be a student again. Weird to be on a campus again. Weird to live in a dorm again. Weird to have deans again (and not be one!). But it was good and exciting. We put our food away and lugged our things to our room, and settled in. I finished up my summer job of music orchestrating as well.

The next day was Orientation day. After breakfast and worship, all 45 of us students gathered in the classroom with the interns and staff. We introduced ourselves and were introduced to each of the instructors (David, Ty, James, Jeffery, Jay, etc.) and other staff as well. Lunch came after orientation (it was awesome!) and then, our first class! It was a great class to start the program with: Devotions, taught by James Rafferty.

Oh, I forgot one thing. To those who would be interested in knowing this, ARISE completely revamped their curriculum this year. We are their 10th class, and also the second class after ARISE and Lightbearers Ministry merged, and every year they try to make it even better. But they've been calling this year's program the best yet. The classes follow "The Story," or in other words, "Pre-Creation, Creation, Fall, Covenant, Messiah, Church, Re-Creation." Now, rather than having a class on Daniel then on Church History, on the Sabbath then on Apologetics, each class falls consecutively in the storyline of "The Story." The more practical classes (such as Door-to-Door, Overcoming, Dos and Don'ts of Evangelism, Abiding in Christ—to name a few we've had already) fall under a category called "The Telling," which is the counterpart to "The Story." It has been really good so far, and "The Story" is helping formulate the big picture in my mind as the classes progress (which is the whole point). I am really glad that I came to ARISE for this program, and I believe that God worked it out for me to be here this year.


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That was part 1. I started writing this post almost a week ago. Goes to show how busy it is around here...

This is part 2.

So what does a normal day look like at ARISE? Here's a bird's-eye view:

Mon-Wed:
7:45 Breakfast (I'm always late unless I'm on meal prep—then I'm early)
8:45-9:15 Worship
9:30 Class (with breaks)
1:30 Lunch (Recently, I've been playing soccer with a few other students and David Asscherick's kids after lunch)
3:30-5:30 Class (with breaks)

Thursday looks the same, except that we go on outreach (usually door-to-door, sometimes doing something on the University of Oregon campus) instead of having classes in the afternoon. On Sunday, we leave at 2:00 and we always come back by 8:00 to share testimonies.

Whew. Enough of the general mumbo-jumbo. Oh, I forgot one thing. On Sabbath, we all go to church in Springfield (neighbouring city), and usually if we stay for pot-luck we bring food. Every year ARISE picks a different church to work with. Sometimes a hike up a nearby mountain is offered in the afternoon.

Now for the exciting stuff! This past Monday one of the interns taught an optional self-defence class. It was a lot of fun; I loved how practical and helpful it was, especially for girls who might find themselves in a city environment in the future (it was good for the guys too). We learned what to do when someone starts choking you from behind, if someone grabs your wrist to pull you somewhere, and other general things too.

Last Saturday night Jeffery Rosario invited us all to his house (he is the only instructor who lives on campus) for a board game/bon-fire party. It was so much fun! We had smores for the second time (the first was at a previous party). Jeffery had told a few of us earlier about a Bible quiz game, and he said that it was extremely difficult and anyone would "get thrashed" on it (especially people like him, who didn't grow up as an Adventist but rather came into the church later). Him and I got in the lead and went head to head, but he won by just one question. And he was right! The questions were really hard.

Well, I'll save the rest for another post. I can tell my writing is degenerating in the effort to get so much information down. Toodle-doo.

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