Thursday, May 26, 2016

Memorial Day Retreat

This weekend Lesly and I will be fellowshipping with Faithful Life Church. We spent Memorial Day with them last year as well (see here), and it was unforgettable. Last year I taught the youth, but this year I'll be teaching the whole group. One of my former students will be translating into Korean for me. I can't wait! Absolutely can't wait. We have a lot to cover.

The Next Greek Course In Greenbelt

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thanks, Dad!

My dad wanted me to call him right after I submitted my dissertation. It was great to hear his voice, and it was awesome to tell him, "I just turned it in." It means a lot when you make your dad proud. Not only did he tell me over the phone, but he even sent me a text! And I replied with my thanks–the typo was free. Don't you just hate auto-correct?

Dissertation Submitted!

Tonight I submitted my dissertation to the Complutense University in Madrid. The title is "The Greek New Testament of the Complutensian Polyglot: Vatican Manuscripts and the Gospel of Matthew." I can't believe it, folks. Hitting send felt so good. Thank you each for praying for me. I needed every single one of those prayers. And please don't stop. This isn't the finish line, but this is definitely the last stretch. I've rounded third. There's only one more base to touch.

Have You Ever Eaten Peruvian Food?

If you've never had Peruvian chicken, you're simply not livin' like you oughta be! This is what lunch (and dinner) looked like yesterday. Delicious. Go to your nearest Peruvian restaurant this week. You won't be disappointed. Be sure you get the platano. Trust me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dissertation Update

The finish line for my doctoral studies at the Complutense is getting closer and closer. It's exciting. The hardest part of a race isn't the start, it's the end. That's when your legs feel like jello, everything is numb, your heart is beating out of your chest. That's where I'm at right now. I'm running toward the finish line. My dissertation needs to be submitted on May 26th. From there it will go to evaluators, and should it be approved then to the doctoral committee. Assuming that happens, it looks like it will be reviewed by the doctoral committee during the first two weeks of July. My defense will be the next step. From speaking with the department and my doctoral advisor, the defense would take place in September. Absolutely amazing! God is so good. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. 

Happy Birthday, Carl Sanders!

Yesterday was my friend and colleague's birthday. Carl celebrated his 30th (?) birthday. Well, something like that. His lovely wife invited Lesly and me to join them for dinner across the street from Trump Hotel in downtown D.C. Dinner was excellent, and getting to spend time with the Sanders was the highlight of the night. I wrote Carl a letter yesterday that basically said men ought not be remembered for their accomplishments–not the buildings they build, the books they write, or the money they make. The best mark of a man ought to be the relationships that they have. And I am definitely a better man having Carl as one of my friends.

Lesly Loves Helping Students In Greenbelt

Not a day goes by where I don't walk through our library in Greenbelt and see Lesly loving on the students and helping them any way she can. I just walked through the library a moment ago and snapped this picture. Way to go, Lesly! You're the best!

My Favorite Gun In The Whole World

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Becky Black Memorial Fund To Fight Endometrial Cancer

Tonight's a big announcement kind of night. Big! I got an email yesterday afternoon from Dave Black letting me know that it was official––the Becky Black Memorial Fund to Fight Endometrial Cancer is official. I can't describe exactly how I felt yesterday thinking about this opportunity. It's an opportunity to remember MamaB, and Lesly and I did a lot of that last night. Really not a day goes by without remembering her, her impact in our lives, our marriage, our walks with the Lord, our dreams, our family . . . Becky (we called her MamaB) means the world to us. But this memorial fund is more than just an opportunity to "remember" her. For Lesly and me, it's an opportunity to do something Becky spent her life doing, namely serving others and showing them the love of Christ, even while she herself was fighting cancer. That was MamaB.

One of the most difficult times in our life was when Lesly's dad was diagnosed with stomach cancer. When you find out someone you love has cancer, your world changes. Ours changed right after Christmas in 2011. The next eight months were tough, real tough. If it weren't for how God put special people in our lives, it would have felt unbearable. One of those persons that God had in our life was Becky. Here she was, dealing with her own diagnosis of cancer and yet she was there loving on us, emailing Lesly down in Honduras, encouraging us, and finding every way she could to serve us and meet the needs that arise when your world changes. She showed us how simple (and sacrificial) acts of kindness can take the sting out of the terribleness of cancer.

That's why Lesly and I are so excited to hear about the Beck Black Fund. Here's an opportunity for us to do something simple (and sacrificial) in the fight against cancer. Fights aren't best defined by what they are against either. If there's an "against," there's always a "for." This one is for those whose world has changed. This one is for everyone who gets impacted by this terrible disease.

For more information on the Becky Black Memorial Fund to Fight Endometrial Cancer and the work of Dr. Victoria L. Bae-Jump (who specializes in endometrial cancer research at UNC Lineberger), please visit the page by clicking here. Please consider making a donation. You can even leave your donation in memory of someone you love. That's what Lesly and I did tonight. We remembered MamaB and Rigoberto, her father. Join us, and by all means share the link––post it on your blog, tweet it, share the Facebook link (Lesly just did). Can you imagine if we soar past that goal that was set! I'm hoping we fly past it! Let's show everyone just how low that goal really is!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Another Great Graduation Pic

Here's one awesome pic from Saturday. Peter Sim and his family are very special for Lesly and me. It was a real privilege to be there to celebrate with his family! We wouldn't trade it for anything! Congrats, brother.

Graduation Commencement On Saturday

Graduation ceremonies are always special, always exciting, always encouraging. This past Saturday we celebrated all that God has done in the lives of our graduates. Philippians 4:13 is so true. And for our students who have sought to do their studies by the strength that comes from the Savior, this verse has a proven true. Our God is not just the God of our lives, he is the God of our studies as well. And graduation days are moments we get to place everything before our God in total surrender as we move out into the world, better equipped for a lifetime of ministry.

Monday, May 2, 2016

What's The Past Month Been Like?

You all know I'm writing like a wild person, trying to wrap everything up for the dissertation in Spain. The official due date is June 1st. That's not far away at all. Anyways, I really appreciate your patience as I get this project taken care of. It's been a busy four or five weeks. The next four are bound to be even busier. Graduation is next week. My Greek students are working on their Greek exegesis projects. They turned Part 1 in yesterday. Exciting! Lesly and I were down in North Carolina like four weeks ago. I had the privilege of being summoned for jury duty. While we were there, it was nice to swing by and see Dave Black and catch up at the Robin. I've had my Capital teammates swinging by the office on a regular basis just to catch up and to encourage me! I swung by Carl's class last week and snapped a picture of him with his theology class. They were discussing the relationship of technology and culture. And you know what? Lesly and I were playing Yahtzee the other night and on the first roll I rolled all 1s . . . Yahtzee!!! You should have seen the expression on Lesly's face when it happened! By the way, I still lost. It never fails. Play Lesly at your own risk. She is the master at Yahtzee. The highlight this past weekend was catching up with my friend Alex. He's back from Asia and we got to grab lunch while he was passing through the capital. Lesly chose a Peruvian restaurant down in Waldorf, MD. It was absolutely scrumptious. It's hard to beat Peruvian food. How about some pictures? You get the idea.

La Copa Y La Gloria (The Cup And The Glory)

Greg Harris' book The Cup and the Glory is translated into Spanish and now available online free-of-charge as a PDF. The title in Spanish is La copa y la gloria. What's the book about? In a short sentence: This book is about how God uses suffering to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ and make his name great so that he is glorified in this life and the life to come. There aren't a lot of books on suffering, probably because most of us don't "get it" or because we'd rather search the Scriptures for something that sounds more beautiful. Suffering is hard. But it's part of the Christian life (Phil. 1:29-30). And our suffering, if we follow the Lamb in the steps he has laid out for us, can result in the praise and honor and glory of our Lord when he is finally revealed to us. This is one of my must reads for every Christian. Grab some tissues, prepare your heart, and spend some time thinking about this very important part of walking with Christ. You'll be glad you did.

You can download the book in Spanish by clicking here. If you know someone who speaks Spanish, please share it with them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Greek Residency This Week

I was back in the classroom with our students for BIB516 this week. We had seventeen hours to talk through Greek and exegesis of the New Testament. I think we made some good progress. It was a lot to cover and practice, but we made it! Here's the class in action: