Friday, August 20, 2010

Lesson from Church History

If you read this entry of my blog, you will realise that I was quite reluctant to read Church History book.

But reality started to hit. First exam!

Well, I think I need to explain a little more on what I meant by first exam.
The Church History total score consists of:
- 3 exams each valued 20% (total 60%)
- 1 assignment valued 40%
The first exam was scheduled to be held on 18 August. And two weeks before that, from the 13 chapters that will be tested, I only have read first three chapters. After I read chapter 3 I just stopped reading it, totally not interested. I really thought the book was boring.

But God has its own way to change me. To make me realise that studying Church History is part of His plan to shape my understanding and my life. He let things happened in my life that encouraged me to enjoy the process of study.
1. The letting go of A. This is the most important lesson.
I have been stressing myself with my own expectation to get A. I used to always told myself that I need to get minimum B because it is a requirement to continue my scholarship and to continue to study further. I felt stressful and unsecure. I need to get good score, but I don't like to read the book. How????

In these times, God has spoken so many things to me. Through my quiet times and through the lecturers. Gradually, I changed the way I think.
The main point is not to get A. The main point is to give my best and leave the result to God. I remember vividly my OT lecturer said in class, "God does not accept you because of your score. Whatever score you have, whether it's A or not. God has accepted you. God has accepted you for who you are." Amen! :) At that time I felt very peaceful and secure. Yup, God accepted me. It is ridiculous for me not to accept myself. And why should I worry about what the scholarship organisation or what the church think of me if GOD himself accepted me?

2. Primary source
While I don't like to read the book, I like to read the two articles that the lecturer gave to us as a material for discussion. The articles are amazing!
One told about how people must undergo 3 years of church membership class! In the early church, they took matters more seriously. They would examine the job, the life and the character of the cathecumen. My church membership class is only 6 months, and in most of my classmates' church are even shorter. The day before their baptism, the cathecumen must pray 6 times a day and fast (!!!) And there are many more requirements. It shows how significant baptism was for them.
The other article told stories regarding martyrdom in Lyons. It was so mind-blowing and heart-wrenching. I can't imagine myself in their situation.
They are heroes of faith. Their suffering and death brought glory to God. What an example to follow.

3. The presentation on martyrdom in Friday chapel service by my Church History lecturer's family group.
It was amazing, to see martyrs from all parts of the world, including Indonesia, particularly among the Bataks. Interestingly, they also presented about martyrdom in Japan.
Well, I am definitely more theologian than historian. I'm so weak in memorising years. Fortunately, I've got a theologian lecturer that prefers to find theological values from events in Church History compared to memorising years, names, and places. Thank God :)

After the gradual encouragement, I started to gain interest in Church History and began to read my Church History book again, chapter by chapter... No pressure on me. I told myself, "Relax, Ita. Just read chapter by chapter. If in the end you cannot finish all the chapter, it is okay. Just enjoy the reading and the process of learning. If in the end you score low, It is okay. There will be two more exams after this. And there will be assignment. There are still chances to improve your score. Don't be too hard on yourself. It is the first exam anyway. As long as you have done your best according to your capability, any results will be fine."

I feel secure in His everlasting arms and His unconditional love :)
Peace and security is needed most in exam. If we are stressful in facing the exam, it will be more difficult for us to remember the things we have studied.

And... How's the result? I'm satisfied. Definitely higher than I have expected. *Well, that's basically what happened when you lower your expectation :p*
Really thank God! :D

Bible Quiz

It is a common practice for TTC to held a Bible Quiz for all full-time students at the beginning of the semester. The purpose is to give a brief description for the lecturer on the students' knowledge of the Bible so they can teach us accordingly.
I remember that I finished the quiz very fast. Why? Because I dunno most of the answer. I decided not too push myself to answer correctly, because that would give false impression on my Bible knowledge. If I don't know the answer, I will skip. I won't pretend that I know.
Then I received the result. It's 63%.
It IS low :p I asked some of my friends on their result... 79%... 88%... 70%... and I heard that one of the students got 94%!
I was not disappointed. The result totally reflected my Bible knowledge. I might be the only student who never read the whole Bible.

I remembered in Theology class we were talking about it with the lecturer. And he mentioned, "Your faith is not measured by how much Bible facts you know."
Well, I replied, "Amen" :)
But, of course, it doesn't mean that I can just go away with it. I am now more realised on how important for me to be to study at TTC and how important the weekly OT quiz for me :)

The next day after I received the result, I pondered about it. I was reminded by what Oswald Chambers mentioned during my quiet times a week before. I flipped through my journal and I found this note:
"Oh, the bravery of God in trusting us! Do you say,"But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing good in me and I have no value?" That is EXACTLY why He chose you. As long as you think that you are a value to Him, He cannot choose you, because you have purposes of your own to serve"

Tears rolled down from my eyes when I read that quote again. I prayed. I thanked God for choosing me, this girl with little knowledge of Bible. I felt so unworthy, yet God trust me.
God... trust... me.
Wow, this is something big. Beyond my comprehension. Which is the very reason to believe more that it is God's works. Totally His works.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Be Thou My Vision

It's been 6 weeks I did not attend IEC Singapore Sunday Service due to TTC church visitation.
I missed singing hymns with the congregation. Churches in Singapore (at least the ones that I attended) don't really put so many hymns in their praise & worship...

Anyway, so happy that I finally can sing "Be Thou My Vision" again in a Sunday Service! :) Usually I just listened to it myself in my room... :(
Specially love this song! Look carefully to its words... so God-centered... so encouraging... so full of commitment and determination...

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Classes @ TTC

Been busy in the past month since school started. No update for so long because lately I prefer to write in my journal. Yes, I still prefer writing by pen :)

I have not followed Facebook for 3 days! Haha... Somehow it just never crossed my mind. Too engaged with classes, readings, and enjoying community life here at TTC :) So fun, so inspiring, so mind-changing. In the process of life-changing, I guess.

Too many things to talk about. But I will write about my classes at TTC now.

Monday is "Mission and Evangelism" (M&E) class. What is good from this class is that we always start with prayer for missions around the world. It keep us updated on what is happening in the world out there and grow our compassion for people.
We are supposed to do several projects. One of them is to write a reflection on our participation in Mission Trip. Well, I must say that I'm totally amateur in this area. Zero experience. I have never been to a Mission Trip before (there is a high probability that I am the only one in class that never been to MT before).
Me & 4 friends are planning to visit Cambodia from 28 August to 6 Sept. Well... cannot say much anything now as we are still in the midst of preparation.

Tuesday is "Old Testament 1" (OT1) class, which I am a Subject Representative (basically assisting the lecturer in some duties and being a mediator between lecturer and classmates).
A great experience as a Subject Rep! It is a pleasure to serve the class and the lecturer. I myself honestly has been blessed with this responsibility.
It makes myself busier, yes, but it is also a great learning for me. I knew that the lecturer is a very busy person (look at the list of all her responsibilities at TTC - lecturer, Acting Chaplain, Warden- not to forget that she is a wife, a mother, and a preacher!) but she replied to my email fast and she would patiently explain to me on the matters when I really didn't know what to do. And she would do it in a way that is very encouraging and friendly. This has motivated me to keep doing the best because I know that she is doing her best.
Another good thing is.... Every week we have quiz!!!! :p The lecturer assigns us to read one Book for each week starting from Genesis. It is an interesting experience with its own struggle that I would need a special post to talk about it.

But I like the lecture! I'm so into OT now! I would happily read the Bible and read more than the required readings. It crossed my mind that if I have a chance to study further, I would take OT as my area of research.
If I have to describe OT, I would say that it is so deep and so rich with theological values. OT is the "Bible" that Jesus read throughout his life, right? If I wanna be like Jesus, must study the Bible that He was studying :) It is good to master both Old and New Testament. We will definitely be more like Jesus.

Wednesday is "Church History" class. Sadly to say, the class that I was most reluctant to go to. Why? I have problem with the textbook that we use. It is so boring that I found myself sleeping almost everytime I was reading it! >.<>

Thursday is "New Testament 1" (NT) class. The lecturer is also my Family Group mentor and a great Theological blogger. His blog is the top 100 Theological blog in USA!
A very nice person indeed, and he is so efficient in teaching as he would carefully chose his words in delivering his lecture. He also chose for us a more interesting textbook with full of colour, pictures, and maps (definitely helps me as a visual person) :D Well, NT is not something new for me as I took night class in other Bible School on NT before. But a different teacher means a different perspective so it is still interesting.
I would happily dedicated this blog post to him as our conversation with him today in Family Group about his blog has inspired me to return into blogging again :)

Friday is "Theology 1". Love the lecture and couldn't ask for more! :) He is a Professor in Christian Doctrine. He is like a " Theological dictionary in the form of human" :), and he would make a thick Theology book into a concise presentation. I am amazed! :)

For a full list of TTC lecturers, visit this page. You could try to make a guess on which lecturer teaches each of my 5 class :)

Ok, that's all for today. Will tell you more stories of my TTC life later :)