Saturday, May 9, 2009

Essay for Fuller Application

Fuller Theological Seminary

Instructions: Communicate clearly in written English.

A. Reflect on your past Christian experience, including the most significant spiritual event/influence in your life, the role of Christ in your religious experience, the effect your faith has on your worldview, your involvement in Christian service, your perceived gifts/calling for ministry, and your reason(s) for attending your church. (minimum 250 words; maximum 500 words)

ESSAY 1 with Melissa and Matt’s edits FINAL:

I first met God in a Hong Kong Sunday school when I was seven. My brothers and I were the only English speaking kids in the class, and the teacher attempted to explain creation using nude pictures of Adam and Eve. In junior high, my youth pastor explained that I was separated from God and in need of salvation. I readily asked Jesus into my heart. Since that moment, I have been a seeker of “good” with a passionate servant-heart for others.

My first exposure to the destructive power of pornography occurred in my neighbor’s basement during that same summer. The spark of curiosity, the power of porneuo warned against in 1 Corinthians 6, had an insidious and eventually destructive impact on my introverted adolescence.

I joined the Army with its hazing and coming of age, yet still sought after “good". I married a young woman with two daughters and we raised two more. I was promoted, grew in experience, and assumed roles of husband and father. We led Bible studies and youth groups and, as I watched the unfolding drama of society’s ills and pernicious lies, my passion for reaching new generations for Christ exploded.

But I was living two lives. The fa├žade - a man recognized for his work ethic, leadership, and love of family. The truth - a struggling man who kept pain, sin, compromise, and addiction wrapped in an unbreakable cocoon. Eventually, lack of trust and monstrous selfishness formed a destructive cycle that spun out of control.

My world imploded and my family left. I endured dark and searching solitude, and realized my personal incapacity to fix anything. This illuminated the mystery of the Gospel. The essence of the resurrection became a freeing and healing fission that multiplied hope within my hopelessness. Grace became real. And, as Bonhoeffer writes, it cost something. It cost God his only Son. At first that grieved me. But when the cloud of condemnation and lies dissipated, I saw that God loved me so much that he would do anything for me, even if it meant following me into the blackest depths. God’s plans embraced and encompassed my own, and I became new.

Suddenly, serving others became a delight rather than an obligation. Community became my new identity. The Lord established the most intimate friendships I have ever had. We became a band of brothers who encouraged and challenged each other through the junk of broken life. Serving with Navigators and Cadence International we adventured, laughed, prayed, cried, and became alive in our vulnerability. I became part of The WELL, a community of believers that exists to continue the redemptive work of the Son. God wants to heal all people, and he wants to do it through us! Along with the writer of Psalm 91, I found rest in the shadow of something much larger than myself. I want to be within the center of the Father’s will and become the hands and feet of Jesus. That is why I exist.

B. Reflect on how attending Fuller Theological Seminary would complement your present Christian experience and/or help you to achieve your future professional and vocational goals. (minimum 250 words; maximum 500 words)

And Moses said to God, “who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you.”

My military career has culminated and will come to a close shortly as I retire this uniform after 20 years of service. In the same way as God will use my hurt, pain, and transformation to help others, I believe the experiences I had in the military were not in vain. God will use my training, travel, relationships, leadership, and vast amount of lessons learned for his glory in the kingdom. I have dealt with crisis after crisis in the past two decades and God has brought me through each of them.. Only through His grace has he given me a resiliency and blessing to overcome and endure. Like Daniel, though I don’t purport to have an ounce of the strength of character of this hero, God has brought me through the crucible and released the jaws of the lion. I’ve learned to rest in the shadow. God has given me a burning desire to work for social justice, help transform lives, engage in urban development and eradicate poverty. It is in my blood to respond to the many crises of my fellow humans, and especially unreached people groups who need Jesus and their own cluster of flourishing culturally relevant churches.

I’m at a crossroads in life. I have a corporate resume that could lead me to a well paying career in Washington’s belt-way or in a federal building with no windows making plans for war or other governmental operations. But I know this is not the direction I am to go.

It is no accident that in January of this year I felt led to enroll in the Perspectives course through Manhattan Christian College and simultaneously lead a small group study of the Truth Project at my home.

I believe Fuller is the stepping stone I am to use to cross into life’s next chapter. It will be a time for growth and transition, and more importantly a time to put my faith into action and be grounded with greater knowledge to be an effective Kingdom worker. The MA in Cross Cultural Studies ties into my BA in International Relations and my calling to serve in overseas or domestic urban ministry. I think I will come away from the Fuller experience with a more technical understanding of things like micro-enterprise development and sustainable agriculture. I believe Perspectives adjusted my lens to see God’s focus on justice and human rights, human and social transformation, globalization, public policy, and humanity’s gifts in the arts and culture. Studying at Fuller will equip me with tools to execute programs that support God’s purpose. Dedicated and unhindered time with faculty and fellow students in Pasadena will be an opportunity for me to be in an encouraging place where we can motivate each other to act justly, love mercy and walk more humbly before our God.

1 comment:

Stoneslinger said...

I was NOT accepted to study at Fuller, by the way.