A hallmark of Dallas Theological Seminary is their students’ ability to study the Scriptures and to present biblical truth through a variety of communication avenues. Whether it is preaching a sermon, teaching a small group Bible study, or using a variety of media arts means; it is a goal of Dallas Theological Seminary for all of their students to be able to enthusiastically communicate the Word of God to people. The key definition for the DTS internship’s term of “communication” is that the student is able to persuade others with respect to biblical and theological truth via oral, written and electronic media.
For the Trinity Law School Internship Project, the following slides (artifacts) were presented at the kick off meeting (March 2015). They express and communicate the program need, goals and methods of obtaining the internship goals.
Learning Reflection for this artifact: As I developed and demonstrated the communication skills necessary to present the above referenced slideshow for the internship effort, I immediately learned that presentation skills can indeed become rusty if not practiced over time. In my previous career, I could present engineering change impacts in my sleep; however with this past presentation, my audience were not my typical audience and the topics were atypical as well. I was presumptuous to have believed that I did not need to put in the extra time for presentation eloquence; when indeed I should have. For the next and final presentation, I will be better prepared. This learning experience can indeed carry-over into every facet of life. As Christians who care and love others, we should always do everything we can think of and everything in which the Holy Spirit convicts us of in order to be the best communicators of God’s Word for His people.
The following artifact is an example of a written form of communication in which I attempt to address the particular needs of the law student. Though the writing of these Reflections, I have a brand new respect for what law students must persevere through; especially in preparation of the Bar Exam as well as trying to balance a personal life and family. Communicating God’s Word not just to “teach” but to “remind” (as in this Reflection) Christians how to re-baseline their lives with a strong foundation in the Spiritual Disciplines.
Reflection for Law Professors Artifact
Incorporating a Daily Time with God
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; “(Ephesians 5:15-20 NASB)
As Christians, we are to live in the light of Christ where the light represents our new way of living as we put aside our nature and put on our new nature of spiritual renewal in our thoughts and actions. We are to walk wisely by how we speak, with words of truth and exhortation; by how we behave, not allowing anger to control us; by how we work, with honesty and giving to those in need; and by how we live, honoring and pleasing God as an example in all we do revealing our joy and thanksgiving in all circumstances.
Living every day as such an example to the unbelieving world is a very tall order. How can we accomplish such a daily feat? Verse 16 gives us our first tell; make the most of our time. Verse 17 gives us our second tell; know the Lord’s will. Verses 18-20 gives us our third tell; be filled with the Spirit, sing, rejoice and give thanks for all things always. Understanding that we must make the most of our time and opportunities, seems much easier to incorporate than does understanding God’s Will. Even learning how to be filled with the Spirit and rejoice in difficulties may seem easier to accomplish than does understanding God’s will.
So then, exactly “how” do we live according to God’s Will?
Understanding how to do all of the above, including discovering God’s Will entails a common denominator (amongst many but for this reflection we address one); Scripture. Reading and hearing God’s Word will answer all the above “tells” and reveal God’s Will for the world and for ourselves when we ask the Spirit to prepare our hearts and minds and systematically read and study His love letter to us every day.
Reading systematically simply means reading with intent and purpose, seeking to understand God’s purpose and successfully implementing life changes into our days even when we don’t feel like it. It means organizing ourselves not only in the way we live such as church, fellowship, and journaling etc., but how we approach God’s Word such as a scheduled time of prayerfully reading the Bible, a scheduled time to study the Bible, a scheduled time to sit in a quiet place, undisturbed in order to commune with our Father in Heaven. Most likely, if we do not intently put aside a planned time each day for God, and only allow for a sporadic study “here or there” each day, then we will soon begin realizing the next day that we “forgot” to study with God. It’s possible that one missed day will lead to more and we set ourselves up for failure.
Sometimes, in order to incorporate our time it means rising 30 minutes earlier each day or going to bed earlier; but after this is done for a while, we will soon “desire” this time and feel a true sense of loss if we miss a day.
Reading with intent can mean to pray first and ask the Spirit to guide us and lead us to this day’s revelation. Reading with purpose can mean to seriously regard and to record or journal what the Spirit places on our hearts and minds. And reading with success can mean to apply that day’s revelation into our daily life and at the end of the day journal about it. Reading for life change means to establish a rhythm and sustain it habitually without becoming legalistic or complacent. In summary, there simply isn’t any other way to successfully understand God’s Will or make life changes without the reading Scripture being incorporated into our lives. Reading books “about” the Bible or even reading daily devotionals are beneficial but are not inspired and will not provide us with the same powerful answers that come by prayerfully reading God’s Word.
Finding the right translation for our disposition is a key factor for keeping with our reading plan. After finding a compatible translation (perhaps a web search for “which Bible translation is best for me”), find a schedule-accommodating reading plan. The blueletterbible and Navigators websites have a good selection of various reading plans.
We will discover though, as we progress in our discovery of God’s will and ways, that we will incur times of toil, anguish and affliction. We may be tempted to give up, but by staying in God’s Word we can persevere in “these evil days” and we may even find, to our surprise that there can be rejoicing in trials. This is an example of why we need to have a system in place and be seriously dedicated in our actions, so that when the trials come, we are prepared in this part of the spiritual disciplines. When we set our purposes on God, we will be able to see how God set His Purpose in us and we can walk wisely in this world by faith with our hope confidently set on our eternal fellowship with our Holy Father in Heaven.
Professors: As the mature Christians that you are, you may find this reflection very basic and repetitive of what you’ve heard many times before, however, this is of great benefit for your students as they look up to you and will learn how vital this spiritual discipline is for our lives by your examples and solutions to setting a daily rhythm for Bible reading and study.
- Can you think of any personal illustrations in your life or career that you can apply to this reflection regarding how to make the best use of time and opportunity for your students?
- What might have been some of your successes while you were a student?
- Or how might you warn your students of what can happen when we don’t put intention in our lives to live according to God’s will?
- Do you have any examples of how you may have been blessed for putting forth the extra effort to include God in daily events?