In Case You Missed It

At his personal blog, Alvin Reid shared eight suggestions for eager new seminarians. Dr. Reid writes:

I remember a cold, windy day in January, 1982. My wife Michelle and I arrived in Fort Worth as newlyweds with everything we owned in a small U Haul trailer. We moved into our little one bedroom, furnished apartment with little materially but great dreams spiritually. I hobbled on crutches from a knee operation. We were broke, but we were called, and that was enough.


That was 35 years ago, but it seems like only yesterday. If you are a brand new seminarian, I have a few things I hope will encourage you to help you for the next few decades.


Michael Guyer posted at the Intersect Project urging college students not to waste their time in college.

Summer is almost over. The semester will soon begin. Perhaps it’s your first semester in college or your last. Your schedule will be full of new classes. You will interact with new people. You will experience new opportunities. You will have renewed focus and desires…


  • to grow in your education
  • to grow in your friendships
  • to grow in your desires and passions
  • to grow in your skills and abilities
  • to grow when your love for Christ and for others
  • to grow in your love and commitment to the church
  • to grow in your heart for the nations
  • and to grow up to be the man or woman that God desires you to be.


All of this newness does not last forever though. These opportunities and desires often fade as quickly as they came. Your classes get old. New friends become old friends. Opportunities either don’t come or slip away. You find yourself in the same old ruts. And that renewed focus and desire morphs into distraction and discouragement. Before long, you feel like you are wasting your time—wasting your college.


At his blog The Wardrobe Door, Aaron Earls shared six reasons to read dead writers.

With so many books being published today, if you’re like me, it’s hard to keep up with all the ones you’d like to read.


In order to keep up with modern culture and know about the important conversations happening around us, we can be tempted to strictly focus on new books and ignore those from previous eras. In an introduction to an English translation of On the Incarnation, a seminal work by the African theologian Athanasius, C.S. Lewis wrote about the importance of reading old books.


In fact, most of his introduction is spent encouraging readers to value works by authors who were dead and gone.


He wrote, “Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old.”


Of course, today, Lewis is one of those dead writers and his books now qualify for the advice he gave while living. But why should you read books that are not quite hot off the presses?


Here’s five reasons from Lewis in his introduction and one from me.


On the LifeWay Pastor Talk podcast, Marty Duren and Bruce Ashford discussed what Lesslie Newbigin can teach pastors about a Christian approach to American Politics.

What could a little Brit named “Lesslie” possibly teach American pastors about a Christian approach to American politics? Recently, Marty Duren interviewed me on his podcast, “Pastor Talk,” giving me the opportunity to outline some lessons we can learn from the life and work of British theologian Lesslie Newbigin.


To access the podcast, click here.


In a post earlier this week at his blog, Chuck Lawless shared eight reasons he needs to put his phone down during meetings and conversations. Dr. Lawless writes:

I admit my struggle here. I’m so accustomed to having my phone with me that I almost unknowingly and reflexively check it continuously throughout the day. I’m trying, though, to put it away during meetings and conversations. Here’s why.


Twenty Thousand Days Beneath the Sun

By: C. Ivan Spencer

Editor’s Note: Dr. C. Ivan Spencer is Professor of History and Philosophy at The College at Southeastern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the recently published book: ‘Tweetable Nietzsche‘.

Twenty Thousand Days Beneath the Sun

Lord, reveal to me the end of my life

and the number of my days.

Let me know how short-lived I am. (Ps 39.4 HCSB)


For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by,
like a few hours of the night. (Ps 90.4)

Teach us to number our days carefully

so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. (Ps 90.12)


People don’t count off their days under the Sun, but their years. Ask anyone their age, and you’ll get years, not days. Birthday candles are easier this way. It’s an Egyptian thing. The year eludes us and misleads us as a psychological marker of age and time. Too long, too expansive to grasp. Scan the ocean with your eyes. Like the year, you lose scale and distance. The Psalmist asked God to reveal the number of his days, that basic unit of time we should still use to understand life’s passage. Today, (August 9, 2017) I mark 20,000 days of existence. (Don’t…add’m…up. It’s 54.8 years) 20K seems a small number. Any one of us might put 20K miles on a car soon, or spend that many dollars.

Ignorant of the year, people long measured time with the seasons, moons, and days. The Psalmist wrote in those times. The Hebrew word for year means a cycle of seasons. They didn’t have a ball drop in Jerusalem at a precise second. Only later did people learn that the moon did not sync well with solar movements of time. Lunar calendars wander around on the solar calendar. This can still be seen with the date of Easter, which always baffles people. Neither does the day sync up perfectly, thus the Leap Year. What, if any, matter does it make on the human psyche if we measure life in days, lunar months, or years? The day, an easily marked and reasonably smaller increment, helps people measure time in a psychologically pleasing manner. We do, after all, each have a circadian rhythm. Now with modern technical precision, we can measure time in nanoseconds, even femptoseconds (billionth and trillionth). Great for computers, but of little psychological significance. What is time anyway? Some say it’s illusory. Einstein proved (yes, proved) that time moves at different speeds in different places around the cosmos. It even moves differently for my cat on the floor because she is closer to the earth’s gravity. Knowledge of this is what makes our GPS devices work. But, what does a cat care about time…or anything but food? Humans live acutely aware of time and animals don’t. Like all of the abilities that set us apart from the furry kingdom, temporal awareness can make us miserable if we don’t see those powers from God’s perspective. He tells us to mark our days.

God surely knows every temporal stream. Geek that I tend to be, I calculated the formula for my age using the Psalms. If a thousand years equals a “God-day” then my 20K Earth days = 1.31 hrs. In other words, I’m only 1 hour and 20 minutes old on God’s “Psalm Time,” which I liken to his eternal viewpoint in my mediation on God.  So, what would one of my 20K days be in God’s “day?” No worry. I’ll do the math. It’s about .25 of a second. A whole day of our Earth time is a split second in God. Of course the Psalmist probably isn’t literal, but he very well may be given what Einstein learned about time. Places exist where time moves that differently to our Earth time. Einstein 3,000 years after the Psalmist gave us the math that the Psalmist had revealed to him by God. The Psalms call attention to everyone’s vapor-like life and that God knows all, operates in all, time streams.

I’ll probably not see another 20K days here on Earth. God numbers them, and unless he reveals our number like the Psalmist asked, we must wake up daily with the thought somewhere in our mind that this may be our last here on Earth. As Gandalf told Frodo, “All you have to do is decide what to do with the time given to you.” God tells us to be aware of our days. Number them. I’m at 20K today. I’ve numbered them carefully as he said. Where are you? What will you do with your days?


Studenthood and Time Management

By: Jayson Rowe

Editor’s Note: Jayson is the editor of Between the Times, works in the Information Technology department at SEBTS, is a graduate of the College at Southeastern, and is currently pursuing his M.Div at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

In 2014, at 34 years old, and after over a dozen years into a career, I came back to school to prepare for ministry.

I will candidly admit, I occasionally look back at my previous normal life and I’m a bit jealous of all the free time I once had. Nevertheless, being a seminary student truly is a calling. Because I am following God’s will I am genuinely happy—yet, that doesn’t make me any less busy.

Students here at Southeastern come from many walks of life, and are in many different stages of life, but we have one thing in common—we all have a lot to do. We have school responsibilities, family responsibilities, church responsibilities and most have work responsibilities.

Thankfully, in my time at Southeastern I’ve never been late on an assignment and, in fact, I’m usually finished with things early. This is pretty astonishing, as I have historically not been a very organized person, and could have even been considered a procrastinator most of my life.

I wanted to share some best practices I have learned since returning to studenthood which have helped me personally manage my time as a student.

Know how much time you have:

Before anything else, you must take into account any obligations you have outside of school. Know how much time you will be able to devote to school work every day. Have realistic expectations of how many credit hours you can take each semester. You may be sure of your abilities, but at some point, you will be at the point of no return, or as Dr. Benjamin Quinn likes to say, it’ll be “that time of the semester” and you have no choice to but to dig in and get it done.

Plan your semester:

As soon as you get your syllabuses (and it is syllabuses and not syllabi. You can verify this with Dr. Bruce Ashford) plan out your semester. Make note of any weekly assignments (quizzes, reflection papers), any exams, any book reviews, and any papers or research projects. For any long papers or major research projects, give yourself a due date that is 2 weeks early. This will give you time to not be under pressure, and to have plenty of time to take your work to The Writing Center for feedback, edit well, and turn in polished work.

Know your speed:

For weekly reading, understand your personal reading speed, and know how many pages per day you need to read to complete all assigned reading for the week. Likewise, know your writing speed, and understand how your reading speed relates as you do research for writing. Always over-estimate how long it will take you to do something, and don’t procrastinate.

Work diligently:

It is not helpful to know your reading and writing speed if you are not working to full capacity. When you are on, be on. If you have three hours per day to devote to school work, turn off all distractions and give yourself up to that task fully for three hours.

Rest often:

Try to have one day of rest each week. I have tried to maintain Sunday as a day free of schoolwork. I can’t say I’ve been successful for every Sunday over the past three years, but most have been free from school work. It’s important to have a balance. Remember the first step, and try to make sure you are able to get things done in the amount of time you have budgeted for school work. Time is constant—we all only have 24 hours in each day, and you have to budget time just like money.

In closing, remember this: It is okay to get a ‘B’ in Church History if that keeps you from dropping below an ‘A’ in Family. It’s okay to get a ‘B’ in Theology if it keeps you from dropping below an ‘A’ in your personal devotional life.

Finally, let your school work reflect 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17—do everything with a worshipful heart.