Tag Archives: CIU

Lessons I’m Learning in the Loss of My Teaching Position (Part 3 of 4)


Many of you know that I have been teaching theology and other Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 8.24.12 PMsubjects at Columbia International University for about 19 years.  That chapter in my life has now come to an end.
Because of declining enrollment in the seminary and the need to get Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 8.15.35 PMthe budget in line with our upcoming accreditation visit, I and nine other CIU employees were let go:  four faculty and six staff.  It was a sad day when we each learned that our contracts would not be renewed for the coming year.

But God is faithful — and we are keeping a list of how He is meeting our needs!  Here are several items on that list —

1.  The Lord (almost immediately) gave me the opportunity to teach a survey of Bible doctrine course to lifers at the Kirkland prison.

2.  I’ve been preaching the month of July in Augusta (in a church whose pastor is battling cancer) and we’ve been a mutual encouragement to each other.

3.  My wife Linda has been a real trooper in standing by me and encouraging me in this time of possible self-doubt and discouragement.

But there are some tears.  Here’s a song by Danny Gokey that expresses some of what I’ve been going through.  And thank you for your prayers for us.


Posted by on July 22, 2016 in unemployment


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Lessons I’m Learning in the Loss of My Teaching Position (Part 1 of 4)

Many of you know that I have been teaching theology and other Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 8.24.12 PMsubjects at Columbia International University for about 19 years.  That chapter in my life has now come to an end.
Because of declining enrollment in the seminary and the need to get Screen Shot 2016-07-02 at 8.15.35 PMthe budget in line with our upcoming accreditation visit, I and nine other CIU employees were let go:  four faculty and six staff.  It was a sad day when we each learned that our contracts would not be renewed for the coming year.

The Lord is teaching me and my wife Linda a great deal through this unexpected end to my full-time teaching career at CIU.

Although the release was completely unexpected, we are working our way through our emotions and seeking the Lord’s will in our situation. We have taken as our verse for this time Psalm 118:17 which says, “I will not die, but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” (to be continued)



Posted by on July 6, 2016 in teaching position


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Seven Pitfalls to Spiritual Success (an audio sermon from Crawford Loritts)

Our commencement speaker, Dr. Crawford Loritts, did Screenshot 2016-01-16 08.32.19a fantastic job in his challenge to the CIU community.

Please listen to this sermon — and take a few notes!

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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in christian life


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Lessons Learned in 62 Years (an audio sermon)


I posted this several years ago — and felt it might be helpful to re-post it!

On my 62nd birthday I preached at Columbia International University’s chapel.  My mother-in-law Mary Anderson, age 85, was able to attend the service.  Here’s a recent picture of her with our dog Scrabble!

Please click below to listen to this 29 minute message.
Always happy to receive your comments!

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Posted by on February 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


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A Theology of Sexuality (a sermon)


I recently preached the following sermon at Columbia International University.  My focus is primarily on how we can reach out to our homosexual friends.  I am open to your comments.

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Posted by on April 11, 2015 in sexuality


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“Five minutes!”  “Okay, I’ll be there in five minutes!”  This was the phone greeting I used for several yeFirefoxScreenSnapz092ars as I was the Starbucks source for my good friend, Dr. Terry Hulbert.

We shared a love of good coffee and good conversation.  Our times together wouldn’t  end with a “Well, have a nice day.”  I would ask him how he was doing and he would ask me about my exploits teaching theology, playing tennis with other old guys, and my heart for sharing the gospel with others.

He retired — became a “Professor Emeritus” — several years ago, and I miss our coffee times together.  His office is mostly unoccupied, although he occasionally comes in for lunch at CIU’s cafeteria.

Yesterday I visited Dr. Hulbert at home, to take away most of his remaining library to sell or give away to students as he and Mrs. Hulbert are moving into an assisted living facility.

FirefoxScreenSnapz093You have entered something very private, I think, when you are asked to go into a respected New Testament scholar and former missionary’s basement to cart away his lifetime collection of books.

Far more important than his library or his own publications is the impact he has had on thousands of student’s lives over the years.  He has challenged them with the question, “What does the text say?”  He has urged them to pursue a committed love for the Lord, to have a vision for this large, lost world, to be a man or woman of grace.   And his life has impacted mine.

The question which looms large in my mind is this:  What will be my legacy?  What memories, what challenges, what intentional (albeit imperfect) examples will I leave behind that will inspire others to say, “My, didn’t he love the Lord and His Word?”

I’ve already begun to purge my personal library, to toss class notes I no longer need, inFirefoxScreenSnapz094 anticipation of someone else sorting through my stuff when I’m gone.  I just hope they won’t forget the good things the Lord has done in my own life — and the promise held out to them that the same Lord can use them to.


[By the way, that greeting of “Five minutes!” was actually the greeting I used years ago with a good friend in Canada to say, “Let’s go play some tennis!”  My friend has since turned his back on the Lord and my heart is broken for him.  But those words — like all of us who give in to the Lord — can be redeemed — and they were with my friend, Dr. Terry Hulbert.]


Posted by on November 5, 2013 in redeemed words


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First Day of Integration of Psychology & Theology Class!


One of the great joys of my life is co-teaching a course at ColumbiaKeynoteScreenSnapz149 International University Seminary and School of Ministry (we have very l-o-n-g cheers at sporting events!) called “The Integration of Psychology and Theology.”

My fellow teacher is Dr. Allan McKechnie and we have a great working relationship with each other.  We don’t sugarcoat the differences between the two disciplines of psychology and theology, but both agree that “all of life is psychological and all of life is theological!”

A video someone shared with me recently illustrates the challenge of trying to help others through counseling.  Please enjoy this short video.  Your comments are the questions which follow are welcome!


1.  Assuming this was a husband and wife, what mistake does the husband seem to be making?

2.  What mistake is the wife clearly making?

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Posted by on August 20, 2013 in CIU


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A Call to LAMENT!

One of the courses I taught this semester is entitled “Theological Methods and Issues.”  This was a weekend course, meaning that it met one weekend a month for four months.  We discussed all kinds of theological topics and the students produced two major research papers.  One was on a cultural issue (such as gun control in North America); the other on a global issue (such as theological factors in global poverty).

Some of the papers were outstanding and I’ve encouraged the students to seek publication.  I will be sharing some of those papers on this blog.

Please take the time to read these papers.  You will be challenged and encouraged in your walk with Christ!

The first paper I’m posting is on the biblical topic of LAMENT.  What is the place of mourning, expressing our sense of loss, pleading with the Lord for His intervention, in our culture?  Please feel free to post your comments which I will pass on to the student researchers.



Posted by on May 8, 2013 in publishing


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Students’ Translating the Good News of Jesus: Example #3


One of my great privileges is teaching theology at Columbia International University Seminary and School of Ministry.  In this semester’s theology class, one of the assignments for my students was to put the Good News about Jesus in their own words, avoiding Christian jargon.  They are then supposed to share that paragraph with one face-to-face friend and also with one online friend.

I’ll be posting some of these paragraphs over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s the third one.  What do you think?

God originally designed a plan that would bring Him great joy; a plan which involved creating a perfect world which He would run in relationship with humans. God created the world as an organic system that would function perfectly if the humans would merely follow God’s leading. Unfortunately, humans disregarded God’s input and tried running the world differently; a way they thought was best. Their foolish and arrogant choice to rebel caused immediate consequences; the breakdown of the system, separation between mankind and God, and pain instead of love. God has to punish disobedience because it hurts Him, it hurts the system and it hurts other humans. The system is still broken today because humans are unable to perfectly follow God and fix the system. This means that our separation to God will continue indefinitely, with each person eventually spending eternity in isolation. God wants to spend eternity with us, though, so He devised a rescue plan. God decided to came to earth as a human, perfectly follow the instructions for right living, and restore the relationship humans can have with Him. Jesus was that person. He lived a perfect life on earth, died on a cross to take our punishment, was raised from the dead three days later, and now teaches us how to follow God so we fix the world that we broke. The world isn’t perfect yet, but Jesus promises that one day it will be. He also promises that God will forgive us if we acknowledge our disobedience, ask Him for forgiveness and to choose Jesus as our boss, savior and God.


1.  What evidences do you see of this world’s brokenness?

2.  How does this presentation of the Good News view the after-life?


Posted by on May 6, 2013 in jargon


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The Love of the Trinity


I’m speaking in a Junior class chapel today at Columbia International University. The topic is LOVE and I’m one of three speakers. The aspect of God’s love I’ve been asked to discuss is . . .

The Love of the Trinity

I John 4:8 says “God is love.” But can God be love without an object to love? I John 4:8 actually says: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Understanding the meaning of “God is love” could not be more important, could it?

But love needs an object. Did God have to create the universe and human beings in order to have something or someone to love? Are we doing God a favor by existing, by giving Him the chance to prove that He is love? Or is something much deeper going on in the universe with the Three-in-One God?

And we are supposed to love God in return. Could it be that the reality is that there is much more than simply a God who demands we love Him, a kind of narcissistic deity who needs us so He could love and we need Him so that He can be loved?

One term that theologians use to describe the inter-Trinitarian life of God is the term PERICHORESIS. This term was coined to account for the idea that “the Father is IN the Son and the Son is IN the Father.” (Jn. 1:18).

Perichoresis describes the indwelling fellowship of the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. And this intimacy Jesus prays the church itself will enjoy: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21).

John of Damascus described this intimacy as a cleaving together. Such is the fellowship in the Godhead that the Father and the Son not only embrace each other, but they also enter into each other, permeate each other, and dwell in each other. One in being, they are also always one in the intimacy of their friendship. Some use the terms “procession of the Spirit” and the “begetting of the Son” to express this mutual devotion of the Father and the Son through the Spirit.

Well, so say the theologians. But what do we learn from the Scriptures? Do we have any texts which describe the inter-Trinitarian life before the universe was created? Are there verses speaking of the Father’s love for the Son (who always existed but became flesh in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth)? Are there verses which speak of the Son’s love of the Father? The Spirit’s love of the Son? The Son’s love of the Spirit? The Father’s love of the Spirit? The Spirit’s love of the Father? The answers are: YES, YES, YES, NO, NO, NO, NO. Let me explain:

1. Pre-Incarnate Expressions of the Father’s Love for the Son:

We read in John 17- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (17:24).

In Mt. 12, Matthew quotes Isaiah saying, “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” (v. 18).

2. At His baptism: Jesus is affirmed by the Father: “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (Mt. 3:17).

3. At His transfiguration, we read the following: “Then a cloud appeared and covered them and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’” (Mk. 9:7)

The intimacy of the Father and the Son is often referred to in John’s gospel:

The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.” (3:35) “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.” (5:20). “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again” (10:17); “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” (15:9).

There is a desire for Christ, who is loved by the Father, to be loved by those He redeems. The Father will love us because we love His SON! “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (Jn. 16:27)

There is an INTENTIONAL sharing of that Father/Son love with those who believe in Him: “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Jn. 17:26). Colossians says “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” (Col. 1:13). We’ve been brought into that kingdom of the Son He loves! Can I hear an “AMEN!”?


How does the Holy Spirit fit in? “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). We read of the Spirit’s role in Romans 15: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me.” (Rom. 15:30).

The entire Trinity desires to pull us into this love relationship: “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Cor. 13:14).

John 17:

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”


1. How do we appropriate this love that the Trinity experiences?

2. In what ways have you heard the God of the Bible described in narcissistic terms? How do we counteract those criticisms?


Posted by on December 3, 2012 in preaching


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