The week of intensity is over. My senior pastor has returned, and I am taking a day off today. I didn’t realize how much I needed to rest until I was sitting in the chair this morning and didn’t want to move, at all. I’m so grateful for a fantastic staff and community at Grace that rallied together last week to make a funeral service that was very meaningful for Jay’s family and friends. Go Grace!

Today I begin to shift gears. This January I have not had any classes to attend for school. I’ve been devoting all my scholarly attention to studying for the Theological German exam. That happens this Friday. Yikes!! I’m very nervous about it, since this will be my third attempt to pass it. If I ever needed the gift of tongues, it is now!

The textbooks for my final semester have started to arrive. I will be taking two courses this semester. The first course is simply called “The Congregation.” It is a systematic theology course that looks deeply at what the church is and what it can be in this late/post modern world. There are twenty-one books assigned for this class! The professor is Patrick Kiefert. I’ve never taken a course from him before, so there is that little tinge of anxiety over the unknown. The other course is a very practical one that is intended to help us design our dissertation proposal. It is actually a follow-up course to the Statistics class I took in June. The professor is great and I’m really looking forward to it.

Starting February 11th, it will be time to hunker down and get into the rhythm of balancing full-time PhD courses with “part-time” ministry. I’m technically supposed to only work 30 hours per week at Grace, but I don’t think that has ever happened. The part time status at least gives me the freedom to not have to put in full office hours every day. I usually study for school in the morning and then go into the office in the afternoons.

The great news is that this is my LAST SEMESTER OF CLASSES!!!! After this I shift into the mode of self-study as I prepare to take my comprehensive exams in the Fall.

I have two weeks to shift gears. I can do this, with God’s grace.

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