It’s been a while since Sam and I have updated our site or posted anything new. If we are honest, life has been extremely busy. Both of us are entering into a new season of life, and we have been occupied with the transition, work, and ministry. Both of us will be attending new seminary schools this fall to work on our graduate programs, so life is only going to get busier and more exciting in the upcoming weeks and months.
Before we start school, Sam and I want to give you an update on our lives, share with you our hopes and dreams for this upcoming season, and cast new vision for our site, Always Pursuing.
So, here we go!
An update on our lives.
- I moved to Louisville, Kentucky on August 8th to get my M.Div in Biblical and Theological Studies from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I’m 2000 miles away from my hometown, Rowland Heights. It’s definitely a culture shock! For some people, Louisville is the biggest city that they have lived in but for people like me, Louisville is one of the smallest towns that I lived in. Best way to describe it is, if you’re from LA, imagine a town or city in Big Bear mountain… just a little bigger than that. I’ve been visiting this church called 3rd Avenue Baptist Church. Going there has been a huge blessing so far. Their worship style (hymns and congregational singing), sermons, and the people blew me away since the first visit. Their commitment on Sundays (they meet 3 times every Sunday!! What?!) is something that I’m still getting used to. One thing that I appreciate is that since most of the professors are either pastors or elders, there are a lot of solid churches around the area. You’ll find Albert Mohler, Tom Schreiner, Jim Hamilton, Donald Whitney, and C.J. Mahaney going to local churches every Sunday and serve.
I’m not going to lie and say that it’s been always good. It’s definitely awesome to study under some of the greatest theologians in the world, and to be plugged in a community where almost everyone is pursuing the same goal. But, at the same time, I miss my parents (home cooked meals!), my brothers, my cats (especially my cats), and my church family. I’m not counting down the days just yet, but I feel like I’m going to do that soon.
A lot of things are new. New friends, new school, new home, new job, and new everything in life. But I know God is always good, and He deserves to be praised even in my new season.
- This summer was intense! The last few months were unusually busy because on top of typical ministry activities my church officiated two weddings and a funeral back-to-back. Not to mention I started my graduate program at Talbot School of Theology at Biola University (I’m pursuing an MA in New Testament Theology). I took two intensive courses to get my feet wet: Theology 1 and Hermeneutics. Taking two courses crammed into a few short weeks was almost more than I could chew, but at least I got a taste of what graduate school is like and gained valuable insight about the Bible and ministry. At the end of July, I finished my summer courses and immediately jumped on a plane headed to Indonesia. I was in Indonesia for ten days and being there was a tremendous treat. I got to meet pastors from 32 different countries, minister alongside old friends, and enjoy good food and even better company. My trip reminded me that God is so much bigger than my little bubble in Los Angeles. Seeing Him at work in Indonesia also reinforced my dream to one day use my ministry skills and experience to equip pastors and leaders in other parts of the world. This trip was exactly what I needed before starting another long academic journey because it reminded me of my purpose for going to graduate school in the first place: to contribute to the cause of Christ.
Our hopes for this new season.
- My hope for this new season is just one thing – I want to love Jesus more. It’s exciting to learn Greek and hermeneutics but it’s also easy to be deeply obsessed with the tools instead of being obsessed with the treasure that you’re actually digging for. I want every page that I read, every theological understanding, and every sermon that I listen to affect my love and passion for Jesus Christ. I want to be obsessed with Jesus and His love and glory. I want to echo Paul’s words in Philippians: “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (3:8)
- In many ways, I’m an idealist and a dreamer. I’m always thinking about what God is doing and what his plans are for the future. However, one phrase that God keeps bringing to my mind is, “Be faithful where you are.” And that’s my hope for this season, to simply be faithful where God has me at the moment. That means being faithful with my current ministry at church, being a faithful student, and being a faithful friend to the people God has placed around me. And, most importantly, that means being faithful in my relationship with Christ. Sam brings up a wise point when he says his hope is to love Jesus more. As I grow in my ministry and education, I can only hope that I will also grow in my devotion. But the point is that I don’t want to be restless thinking too much about the future. I just want to be faithful with today and trust God with tomorrow.
The future of Always Pursuing.
Our mission of this blog will stay the same. We hope that the content that you find here will help you pursue the One who matters the most, Jesus Christ. But with a new season comes a new vision-at least for us, seminarians. It’s hard to juggle daily/weekly tasks-memorizing Greek words, serving in/attending church, maintaining our social lives and working-but we believe that writing is something that God wants to use in the future because we are passionate about it and we enjoy it.
With that said, we decided to change our way of doing things on this website. In addition to the type of posts that we regularly posted before, such as devotionals and hermeneutical type posts, we will also update you guys with new things that we will be learning in our classes. Whether it’s a portion of our essays, or new theology, or lectures that we hear, we want to communicate that truth and knowledge so that it would be beneficial for everyone who reads it.
We also want to take this time to thank our friends. In the beginning stage of this blog, we started really slow. But as we kept writing, a lot of our friends came and challenged us, helped us, and encouraged us in many ways. They challenged us to write uncomfortable topics, they helped us to communicate effectively, and they encouraged us by letting us know how much they were encouraged and blessed by this blog. I hope that we will continue to serve you guys, and even though it may not be very insightful and awesome, we hope that you guys will continue to be blessed.
John and I are in a new season, but our pursuit is still the same – Christ. And I pray it’s yours as well.
Sam and John