When You Don’t Use Your Bachelors Degree

Recently, I started doing “writing prompts” with someone, and the one for this week is “Write about a passage of Scripture that was influential to you and why”.  Here is what came to mind: 

musician

I have Bachelors of Arts in Vocal Performance. Many of my undergrad years were spent studying music theory, faking my way through sight-reading, rehearsing endless hours in a piano room, and entertaining/annoying my friends with “Shower Time with Betty” when-no lie-I’d sing Disney songs while in the shower, and they’d gather in the common area to listen & sing-along.

And then I graduated, and 100% of my jobs since graduation have not required nor even preferred a degree in music. How do I feel about all of those hours on stage, in rehearsals, and in a green room? How do I feel about the random information stored in my head about picardy thirds, Porgy & Bess, and how to find and secure the ideal practice room?

I discovered how I feel about all that while reading through the book of 1 Samuel a few years ago. Matt Chandler (a pastor/speaker/author I wish was my friend) said this to summarize where we’re at in Israel’s history:

And then Israel began to grumble again. It’s weird. They started to complain again. Here’s what they were whining about. ”We’re tired of hearing directly from You, God. We want a king. Give us a king, not just a leader. Because the other nations have kings.“ And so God gives them a king, a man named Saul. People Magazine 930 B.C. voted him ”Sexiest Man Alive.“ Saul is a foot taller than everyone else, he’s the best hunter they have and other men feel like lesser men in his presence. He is made king, and it does not take him long to believe the hype about himself. He falls out of favor with God, and God anoints another to be king, David. Now David plays the harp, but you’re not going to jack with him. When he goes and hears Goliath talking noise, he goes to fight him and the rest of the soldiers start mocking him a bit. He says to them, ”God gave me the lion, He gave me the bear; He’ll give me the head of this dog.“ So David’s going, ”I’ve killed a lion and a bear, and both of those were by God’s power and God’s might. God will give me this fool’s head.“ So he plays the harp, but you’re not going to go, ”Hey, harp boy!“ Because you’ll lose your teeth. So in the end, David plays the harp, but he’s a man after God’s own heart.

Doesn’t he have such a way with words? 🙂 So I’m reading 1 Samuel 16 and it gets to verse 18 and it says, “One of the young men answered [Saul], “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” So Saul says that sounds great! Bring him here! He ends up loving David as a musician and thusly allows David to stay in the King’s court.

That is what was so incredibly impactful to me.

Let me explain, we all know the rest of David’s story. He didn’t stay a full-time musician, he didn’t become a world renowned harpist. God continued using his gift of musicianship and artistry in many ways (cough cough entire book of Psalms), but God’s purpose and plan for David’s life was far greater than his musical aptitude. God used David’s musicianship as the ship that sailed him into the port that was to develop him into the man God called him to be. The man that would lead Israel. The man that would defeat Goliath. The man that would repent deeply after sinning grievously. The man that would, through the power of the Holy Spirit, compose scripture. The man that was after God’s own heart. The man from whose lineage came the True and Better Adam.

God used music as the vehicle that took David into the palace. There God developed a beautiful relationship between Johnathon and David, the likes of which has never been seen on any other page of Scripture. God used David’s musicianship as a vehicle to get him into the palace to show him the inter-workings of the kingdom, of affairs of war, and how to interact with other countries’ noble man. Music is what God used, but it wasn’t the end goal.

Pretentious as this may sound, though humble I long to be, I feel like my life in a very small way parallels that of David’s. Hardship as a child, a skill and love for music that took me to a place that transformed me, namely my college, and a life marked by both failure and a heart for God. At LBC I was developed and sought after as a musician. However, God used my time there on such a grander scale. He developed friendships with Emerald and with Amy that have transformed me forever. He gave me an opportunity to observe, experience, and execute intentional & righteous leadership that has prepared me for the role in which I am currently serving. I learned perseverance. I developed passions. My mind’s eyes were transformed in how I see myself, others, and God himself.

The point wasn’t the palace, the point wasn’t the harp, the point was who God was creating in the palace because of the harp. Likewise for me, the point wasn’t Lancaster Bible College, the point wasn’t vocal performance, the point was the person in me God was creating at Lancaster Bible College because of vocal performance.

 

How Did Your College Education Shape You?

I have a Bachelors in Biblical Studies, a Bachelors in Music Performance, and a Masters in Leadership from Lancaster Bible College & Capital Bible Seminary. I now work at The Factory Ministries in Paradise, PA as the Youth Center Director—working mostly with teenagers in poverty to introduce them to Christ and help equip them to lead healthy lives. 

In some ways, my time and major at LBC did not “prepare” me for my responsibilities as a Youth Center Director. My studies did not teach me how to budget for events, or how to respond to suicidal students, or how to recruit committed volunteers. Fortunately, my education experience at LBC was so much more than information, content, and job prep. 

My time at LBC instilled in me a love for learning, showed me the value of introspection, and cultivated my love for knowing God.  My time at LBC inspired a love for ministry, molded my work-ethic, and gave me the opportunity to be invested in by amazing, godly men & women. My time at LBC rooted my faith in understanding and discipline, and sparked a desire and confidence to share the good news of the Gospel with anyone who will listen! These passions, values, and skills have been imperative to my work at the Youth Center. 

My ministry at the Factory Youth Center is so wonderfully centered on building relationships. I have the privilege of investing in relationships with the teens that come to the Youth Center, with my team of volunteers, with teachers and administration in our school district, as well as with local church and business leaders. We believe that all significant life change happens through significant relationships, and that the gospel travels best over bridges of relationships. I see that very truth modeled in my own life through my experience at Lancaster Bible College. My moments of significant life change didn’t occur during programs or events. The lessons I cling closest to today aren’t because of their astounding content. When I really reflect on who I am today, and how I do ministry–it’s greatly because of the people, the relationships I formed during my years at Lancaster Bible College. 

I am the woman, and therefore the ministry leader I am today because of Dr. Teague’s humility, Dr. Bigley’s kindness, Dr. Soden’s brilliance, Dr.Sidebothum’s tenderness, Amy’s friendship, Emerld’s prayers, Josh’s passion, Kim’s accountability, Mandi’s encouragement, Timmy’s example, Kristen’s steadfastness, Jess’s patience, Carrissa’s thoughtfulness, and Judy’s support-just to name a few. My time at Lancaster Bible College-through education and relationships-shaped who I am, how I think, and what I value. I am beyond thankful to be the Youth Center Director at The Factory Ministries, and beyond thankful that God used my time at Lancaster Bible College to prepare me to do the work He has for me there.

grad

“Just” Finished Judges, Ruth, and 1st Samuel

I’ve gotten super behind on my book posts! So today I am playing “catch up”and going to go back through my devotional journals and try and explain what I’ve learned from reading Judges, Ruth, and 1st Samuel. It was actually SUPER encouraging to read the journaled observations I made from the text and it was a great reminder to myself that GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS WORD–but WE have to be IN IT to hear it. I’ve heard him both sweetly and sternly teach me through these pages, and it motivates me to read more!

Bible

This is a a little different from my other posts, but I’m just going to share one “take away” from each book that I journaled about.

Judges: It’s interesting how people dislike the Old Testament portion of the Bible because it is so gruesome and filled with wars. Conquests, slaughterings, a fat king knifed to death, and a woman taking a tent peg through the temple of her foe are all found even just in this one book. But me, I LOVE that this kind of stuff is in our Bible! It makes it such an interesting read, and helps me understand (and root for!) the Main Character all the more!

Can you imagine LOTR without the battle scenes, the bitten off finger, or the son nearly burnt alive? There’s heroism, true love, perseverance, friendship, and goodness. You need both elements of discomfort and beauty to make a captivating story.  We the audience get to experience SUCH JOY in the triumph precisely because of the gruesomeness the characters had to endure.

LOTR

This is what I think of as I reflect on Judges. Yes, there are scenes that make me grimace, my heart race, or my stomach churn. There are villains that are pure evil, that could give me nightmares. But that is reality, and it is what makes our Hero SO great and his victory SO EXCITING. Reading through the OT is painful and confusing at times. But I know that the New Testament is coming, and the battle will FINALLY be won, the enemy defeated, and the last boat out of Rivendell has a spot on it for me. 🙂

Ruth-My big take away from Ruth was the idea that GOD GRACIOUSLY REDEEMS SO MUCH; He is sovereign over even our hardest pains. Here’s a list of hard things in the book that he HAD A PERFECT PURPOSE FOR.

  • There is a famine in Naomi’s hometown, and they have to leave 😦 (So hard to say goodbye to everything and everyone you’ve ever known)
  • Naomi’s sons marry Moabite women 😦 (Iwonder if this BROKE Na’s heart?)
  • Naomi’s husband dies 😦
  • Ruth is childless 😦 (maybe she struggled with infertility? Who knows?)
  • Naomi’s oldest son dies 😦
  • Naomi’s youngest son dies 😦
  • Ruth and Na are seperated from Ruth’s sister in law
  • Boaz is single (I wonder if he ever struggled with that?)
  • Ruth can only get a job gleaming
  • The “other redeemer” had children and therefore could not buy the field from Naomi

We serve a redeemer my friends. A good God who is in control of ALL things.

1 Samuel-In this book God, through Samuel, establishes a monarchy in Israel–first with Saul, then with David. God’s obvious sovereign hand is beautifully all over these pages. 🙂 Though many are very familiar to those of us who have grown up in a church, the stories in this book are were surprisingly captivating to me during this read through! One of my takeaways (it was hard to pick just one!) was the grace of God in giving beautiful friendships. I love the story of Jonathan and David and it caused me to think about my friendships and praise God for the ways he has brought us together and sustained our love for each other.

I hope this post encourages you to be in the Word as much as it did for me! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!

 

With love,

Betty

Just Finished Joshua

I really liked this chapter in the story of God!  If someone were to ask me, “What’s the book of Joshua about?” This is what I’d say!

It’s the story of Joshua, successor of Moses, leading the people of Israel to the land God promised them way back in the day.

The Israelites FINALLY-after all those years wandering around in the wilderness, and dying off-FINALLY get to enter the promise land. But they don’t waltz in to their new home sweet homes, no. There are already people living in this (BEAUTIFUL (ch.15!)) land, so there need to be quite a number of battles to conquer the land listed. And Joshua is the human instrument God uses to lead them.

God establishes how Joshua is just as much a leader as Moses was through Josh doing similar miracles (parting a sea sounds familiar-ch. 3) and having similar experiences (holy ground 5:15). The people trust him and follow him. He’s not perfect. Sometimes he acts before he thinks (Josh-I soooo get you) and when he makes decisions without consulting God first-they often go very wrong. Fortunately, though he is in charge over battle-which is a very difficult thing I imagine, he has his God to be the one to fight. God is the Divine Warrior, who is faithful to his people and matchless in power.

To the one who is uncomfortable with the war in this story, I say this: War is a part of life on this fallen world until the Lord returns. But know that with God, it has NEVER been about racial or ethnic concerns that a nation is blotted out-instead-it is always due to injustice and immorality. Sometimes, that even means striking his very own people! (Ex. 32., Num 25:9, 26:65).

Even in this book, God’s people are still constantly encouraged to know and obey the book of the law (1:8) and to do it with all their heart (24:14). I was definitely encouraged to obey, love, and cling to the Lord wholeheartedly through the book of Joshua.

“Guard My Heart”?

Always Guard Your Heart Inspirational Life Quotes

Guard my heart? As my beloved co-worker, Kim, would say, “What the hun does that mean?!”

It’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot, used a lot, and yet-not thought about a lot.

What does it mean to guard my heart? When I give that advice to others, and to myself…what am I actually saying?

For some reason, today, when thinking about being “on guard” for my heart’s sake- I immediately got this mental picture of two little french men:

Okay, that’s not exactly what surfaced in my imagination-but it’s pretty close. The french warning “en garde!” is a term in fencing translated “On [your] guard”. It is a call to a fellow fencer to adopt a defensive stance in readiness for an attack or bout. It’s what I shout to my brother just as I am about to hit him with the empty Christmas wrapping tube!

Be prepared for an attack!

Hm. So that’s what I’m telling people do with their heart? Guard it, because it is going to be straight up attacked?

Yes. That is precisely what we should mean. Guard your heart, your valuable heart, because there always is something/someone attacking it.

[Fear//Stupid Satan//The world//Other’s Negativity//Lies//Insecurities//Disbelief.]

Guard your heart, your seat of emotions, constantly-KNOWING that it is going to be attacked! To guard is to be alert, attentive, and ready to fight. And we fight with the sword of truth-read God’s word constantly! Hear God’s truths through pastoral wisdom and encouraging friends!! Believe God’s truth by acknowledging the lies you are tempted to believe and walk yourself to what is Truth.

Don’t be a sucky guard for your heart.

 

Expect to be attacked.

Pay attention.

Know how to fight.

And for goodness sake, fight to protect the heart you were given to guard.