Hey, my name is Preston. I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2011, moved up to Jackson, Wyoming for a few years to work with the church and play in the mountains, and now attend Regent College in Vancouver, BC. I have a lovely wife named Deanna who I get to share life with daily, and we really hope our lives point people to Jesus.
I hope this blog gives you a snapshot of my life as a husband, a disciple, and a guy who loves being outside and seeing what there is to see. More importantly, I hope it offers a helpful perspective for you on who God is and what He's about. Feel free to ask questions about either.
The disciples knew their Scriptures. They knew who parted the seas and who led their people with cloud and fire. Yahweh did. And now here stands Jesus, their teacher and friend, commanding nature – just like Yahweh. And they were terrified. God, here, with us? Could this be? Jesus’ humility astounds me. Yes, it was God himself standing in the boat. He did not come in Kingly robes and glitz. The Son of God came humbly, as a friend and Rabbi, proclaiming the Kingdom of God with truth and love. Don’t forget this as you proclaim the Kingdom of God today in your life. Proclaim it! But do so humbly, with truth and love.
How has pride affected the way you imitate Christ?
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, forgive my pride. Enable me to think of my own image, possessions, and desires less and to humbly serve like you. Thank you for your endless love and compassion. Amen.
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak
I have been introduced to the idea of vocation this semester as something totally new than my former understanding — a “job”. I’m learning that vocation and occupation are, for many (probably most) people, very different things. The two hopefully overlap at times and in ways, but our vocation is something much deeper than our source of income. It is what we must do, what our heartwills us towards above all else. It is where we come alive.
What is your vocation? It often takes digging under layers of expectations, skewed self-images, and fears to discover, but the journey is well worth it. For when we sort through these things and begin to be the person God created us to be, we enter into life with a freshness and vitality that changes our world.
Deanna and I are helping write some devotionals on the personhood of Jesus over the next few weeks. I’ll be sharing what we come up with here over the next few weeks. We encourage you to break out a Bible (or Google) to get the passage context that we’re sharing from!
John 11:1-37: “Jesus wept” passage
I think we see the humanity of Christ most in his suffering. Jesus knows suffering; we see this in his Earthly life. Yet his tears in v35 are not for his personal grief—Jesus knew Lazarus would soon be alive again! Jesus wept for the suffering of his friends that day. He wept because he loved them and it grieved him to see their pain. Today, Jesus is still human. He sits at the right hand of the Father, praying for us and I think weeping for our pain. He has not forgotten the pain of rejection, loss, and death. Jesus knows our pain because he felt it himself, and his heart mourns for it. And just like he mourned with the disciples despite Lazarus’ imminent resurrection, so too he mourns with us now and promises resurrection and new life to come.
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, thank you for weeping with us and not leaving us alone, especially in our pain. You, O Lord, know pain better than any other. Thank you for carrying the weight of the world as you walked toward the cross and eventually took our sin upon your shoulders. Amen.
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
Be still. It’s not a suggestion; it’s a commandment. One I need help following. How often are you still and quiet before God?
When we become frustrated or angry with God because life is not going our way, answers seem just out of reach, or things seem harder than they should, we are losing sight of our purpose as Christians — to know Christ. His life was not one of ease and comfort. But by participating in his sufferings and dieing to ourselves, “becoming like him in his death”, we begin to learn the true power of God available to us. The power of his resurrection! Christ will not leave us to merely suffer, just as he did not stay in the grave. Resurrection is promised; resurrection will come.
If I have misinformed you, I apologize. I must recant my claims of “heading off to seminary” in Vancouver, for after drinking a substantial amount of the “Regent kool-aid” this week I have learned that this is no seminary I have come to.
A seminary is, by definition, “a college that prepares students to be priests, ministers, or rabbis.” (Apple Dictionary widget) Regent, by definition, is an international graduate school of Christian studies.
Okay, so what’s really the difference? It did not become clear to me until this week. Not until I started meeting people and having conversations with those who I will soon study alongside. A young high school teacher from Ontario. A youth worker from Taiwan. A business consultant and father of three from Cape Town. A film editor from Portland, an accountant from Beijing, an artist from Calgary. All of these people have different stories and reasons for coming to Regent—I don’t think one told me it was to ‘stand behind a pulpit’. And truly, this list is just from the 20-25 people starting this winter semester with me!
Regent is no traditional ‘seminary’…that is for sure. It is usually not for pastors, yet there are a few Mdiv candidates here and there (of which I am one). It is a place to ask life’s biggest questions for the purpose of exploring them honestly. It is a place that respects the Word of God. It is a place that values rigorous academics but only so long as those academics compel the heart and propel feet.
I am not at seminary, but I couldn’t be more excited about the place God has led Deanna and I to. I will be challenged and provoked at times, of this I am sure. But I feel the love of God in this place. I hear truth spoken and see it engaged with honesty AND grace. And it makes my heart skip a beat. Something good is happening here. It will not be easy…but what worthwhile pursuit is?