Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here am I! Send me.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

"Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!"

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."

The above passage is taken from Isaiah 6:1-8. It's my favorite section of Scripture. I love it because I think that the seraphim flying around is a strange but beautiful picture of God's creation. I also think it's an awesome picture of God's grace and the way He enables us to do His work.

However, whenever I hear people mention this in regards to missions, they seem to camp on verse 8, where God asks who will go out for Him and Isaiah responds, "Here am I! Send me." I mean, it's completely Biblical (seeing how it's from the Bible), but I think you can easily miss what God's done for Isaiah in order to use him to accomplish His purpose.

Isaiah was a man who was unclean. He was imperfect. He was a creature that God had created from dirt. He saw the face of God and thought that he should be struck down dead for it, because he was unworthy to glance upon the glory of his Maker. God's response was not, "It's OK. Just look. I'm not gonna hurt you." The seraph flew to Isaiah, touching his "unclean lips" with the live coal to purge away any filth. Why? Because he'd done great things for God in the past? Not at all. Isaiah 64:6 says that our righteousness and good deeds are polluted garments or filthy rags. No, God sent the seraph to make Isaiah righteous because God is gracious. I think Paul said it great in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 when he wrote, "Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life." It was only when God had atoned for Isaiah's sins was he able to answer God's question with an enthusiastic, "Here am I! Send me."

I think there's a reason that God put that on my heart just a few months before I decided to do EDGE Corps. I know I have sin. I'd be a fool to deny it. When I look at that, it's easy for me to say, "I'm useless. How could God use a wretch like me. I'm so far from His standard of perfection, there's no way He could use me." But when I read about Isaiah, I remember, "Yes, I am useless by my own power. I am far from perfection by my own power. But God has given me His Holy Spirit. I'm not operating under my power anymore. God doesn't see imperfection and sin when He sees me. He sees the blood of Jesus. He sees purity. He sees perfection." I get so wrapped up in what I can do for God or against God that I forget that none of that matters to God. My efforts to correct myself mean nothing. Jesus paid for my sin. Now He wants me for His work. My duty is not to do good to please Him, but trust in Him to lead me in His will. His grace is truly sufficient.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Change is coming

Well, it's been a while, since I've blogged, so I figure I'll update people on what's been going on.

Last week I finished my second senior year at ASU, and I have officially graduated. I have a BA in History with a minor in Religious Studies. It's weird saying that I'm an alum rather than a student. But it's a good thing. I don't want to become Van Wilder or that guy from my choir class who had about 12 years of undergrad. Being a professional student is too costly and doesn't allow room for maturity.

As you may know, I was really struggling with what to do after I graduate. As you also may know, I decided a couple months ago that I was going to work full-time with the Navigators in a program called EDGE Corps. So since I applied and got accepted, the question that everyone, myself included, has been asking is where in the world I'm going with EDGE. It was pretty much accepted that I wasn't going back to ASU but was going to some school in the Southwest, most likely in SoCal. All of my staff at ASU knew but wouldn't tell me. I was told that when I came up to the Glen Eyrie, I would have to wait a couple days before we did some ridiculous physical activity to find out. Turns out, a lot of people knew what campus they were going to, and they didn't want the ridiculous physical activity for about 7 of the 60 people, so we checked in, and got our name tags and folders. Said name tags and folders had our campus name on them. So, I got my room key, looked at my name tag, and thought, "huh. Interesting."

Anyway, I tell you all this to build up the suspense, getting you to wonder where my destination this fall will be. I hope that my plan has succeeded. I hope it's killing you that I know and you don't yet. Well, I mean figuratively. If it literally is killing you, then... well, I'd apologize, but you wouldn't be able to read the apologize, seeing as you'd be dead.

Well, now is the moment of truth. Now is where you find out what will be replacing Sparky, seen below.

Blogosphere, Sparky the Sun Devil. Sparky, blogosphere.

Well, I will tell you that I was correct in assuming that I would not be going to ASU. I will also tell you that I was correct in assuming that I'd be going to SoCal. Anyway, I can't think of anything else to stall with, so I will tell you that I will be joining the staff at San Diego State University. I can't say that I will become an Aztec, but I can see myself forsaking Sparky easily. Sadly enough, there is no mascot, at least that I could find by skimming the Wikipedia page. Gladly enough, I have an awesome hoodie that has ASU in big letters on it. I figure I can cover the A with SD, and it'll be acceptable, though ASU's colors are maroon and gold and SDSU's colors are scarlet and black.

But, anyway. That's what's been going on in my life. I'll spend the summer FUNdraising and working at the theater. Once I'm 75% funded, I'll be able to go on campus. Funding is every EDGEr's favorite part of the job, so this summer will be fun (I hate how sarcasm is lost in written word). If you want to donate to my cause, let me know. This isn't a funding blog, but seriously, if you would like to be involved, I will not say no.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

If at second you don't succeed...

I took the driving test again today. It took all of 2 minutes. I hit a cone while parallel parking. I would be considerably less upset if 1) I hadn't already passed that part yesterday, showing that I can in fact parallel park and 2) parallel parking were actually a useful skill. Seriously, how often do people parallel park? Why not a 3-point-turn? Why not a left turn at a major intersection? Now I wasted one more try at a license because I couldn't see the cones at all in the side mirror or out the window.

Boo to you, DMV and parallel parking.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Testing, testing, 1-2-3

I just finished my final finals week. It was a time of great testing and great papering. And it's almost over. Here are the results:

MUS 356 (Musical Theater, online): 14/15 on the final, and perfect scores on all the assignments that weren't tests. On the other tests, I got 5, 4.5, and 10, respectively. Those are all out of 15. My total for the class is a 73.5%. Solid C

MUS 354 (Hip Hop, online): Each exam for this course had 2 parts--the regular exam and the analytical listening exam. For the exams, I got 100/160, 80/160, 88/160, 168/240. For analytical listening, I got 27/36, 24/36, 24/36, and 18/72. That's 62.9%. Solid D.

HST 307 (Something about Africa, slavery, and gender): For the map quiz, I got an 80%. We had reaction papers that we had to write, but he would only collect them occasionally. This semester, he collected them once, on a week that I didn't write one (which was every week). So I got a 0 on that. Then we had 3 book reviews. I got 54/66, 50/66, and 56/66. That's amazing considering I didn't do the second one. That's how amazing I am/Dr. Hamel is. For the midterm, I got 209/250. There was no posted grade for the final paper, but I got a B- posted, which is higher than the C was expecting/hoping for.

SPA 202 (Spanish): My Spanish teacher was crazy and absent more often than anyone else in the class. The final was split up into 2 parts--the listening and the written--which had the first part in class on the last day and the second part during finals week. When we turned in the second part, we got a progress report. For participation, I got 83%. For the exams, I got an 81% (which was dropped), a 90%, and a 95%. I have 475% for quizzes which she never gave us, so that's cool/she's crazy. I got a total 98.5% for online homework, which I never did because she never assigned it (she said to go online and do a couple problems for each chapter, which I never did because nothing was concretely assigned). I got 100% on all of the compositions, grades that are higher than what I got on those assignments. I got 93% on my oral exams, which are higher than what I actually got. For the listening portion of the final, I got 34/40. I didn't do too well on the written exam, but with all those grades, I have about 114%, so I'm not really worried about this class, unless she looks at it and says, "Oh, I'm crazy, shouldn't be teaching at all, and these grades aren't correct. D!" But I don't think that's gonna happen, so I'm guessing an A.

The most recent test I took was not at all for school, but for a driver's license. I passed the written exam with flying colors (those colors are actually fairly close to the colors of a failing grade, considering I was 2 wrong questions away from not passing, but the colors were flying nonetheless). Then I took the driving test. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to parallel park, which was the first thing I had to do (of course). I nailed it on my second try. Then I drove around, and was told that I was going 30 in a 25 zone and didn't give myself ample time to stop at lights and signs and when I was turning, which resulted in me slowing down, and then slamming the brakes pretty hard. I think that was an over exaggeration, but I wasn't administering the test. Anyway, with all that, I was told that I need to take it again. That makes me :-(, but whatever. I'm confident that I can pass within the allotted 3 tries.

Any fun test stories?