Graduation Day, part two

In seminary, most of my homework was due at 11:59pm on a given day. Many people turned their homework in at 11:58. And here I am, sneaking under the wire again, posting my Wednesday blog right before it turns to Thursday. But I was pleasantly surprised to find in grad school, I was no longer that student that waited until the last minute. I mean, I definitely did sometimes, but for the most part, I was different.

I never graduated from college. There was a lot of shame and fear attached to that fact. So I was really nervous when I started at DTS. Our seminary is hard for really gifted students, so I had no idea what it would be like for me. So I came in prepared and determined. I read everything before we had class. I usually finished my homework before we learned it in class. I know this may sound excessive, but it was really beneficial for me.  It meant that when we went over things in class, I understood the idea and was listening for the details, or for the big picture, or for the application. I knew which areas I had struggled on in the homework and needed to pay attention to in class. I knew what questions to ask. Not the questions that make the professor think how smart you are, but the questions about the parts that I really didn’t understand. So by the time we were done with class, I really understood the topic. And often then I could go over my homework again. This was hugely helpful in language classes.

Of course, then there were the papers, the big writing assignments everyone is familiar with. Yeah, I was terrible at those. I would have a ten-page paper, and after one and a half pages, I had said everything I wanted to say. I had spent my life taking huge theological ideas and getting them down to four minutes, really down to four to eight lines with some exposition in the verses. But grad school papers are taking a seed and growing a huge tree from it. I was a miner digging through the coal for a diamond who was put in charge of a garden. The skill sets just didn’t mix. Fortunately, a doctoral student heard me complaining one day (I’m not proud of that; it’s just true). And he was a huge help. He said my papers were strong, had good solid points, and were to the point. Now I needed to write a one and a half page paper on each of my points. Tada! 10 page paper!

So I settled into the academic life. I loved it. One, I loved learning more about the Bible. I could extend this blog series for a year, just telling you stories from seminary. And two, I liked the concrete predictability of it. If you do this, learn this, complete this, you complete the course and get a good grade. The thing is that life isn’t like that. Marriage doesn’t have a syllabus. Parenting doesn’t have an end of the semester. Or a spring break. So, I did the work. I followed directions. And I trusted that God was sowing things into me that would help my wife, my kids, and others. I don’t know how well I did on that end. I guess that grade is still an incomplete. And incomplete means there’s still hope.

Tune in next week for the reunion of the academic and the artist. Thanks.

 

Todd

Graduation Day, pt. 1


On May 12, 2018, I graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with a Masters of Theology degree. It was a long time coming. I never graduated from college the first time, leaving to continue a career in music. But decades later, my amazing wife encouraged me to pursue this line of education. I believe her exact words were “You study more than anyone I know, and you’re NOT IN SCHOOL!” I believe she recognized that God had gifted me in learning and I was passionate about the Bible, so if I had an opportunity to combine those, it would probably serve me well. And she was right.

One of the things I remember about starting school at DTS was that one of our advisors came into class and said, “When people find out you’re going to seminary, the first thing they are going to ask you is ‘What are you going to do when you’re done?’” And she was right. I got asked that all the time, often followed by “Are you going to pastor a church?” So, I was very grateful for what she said next that day, which has obviously stuck with me ever since. She said, “You don’t have to have the answer to that question.” What freedom! I knew that God had brought me there, but I couldn’t be sure why. I didn’t know what was next. I was just trying to get through Greek.

So I thought I’d write a few blogs about my experience in seminary. And the natural place to start was with “Why did I go?” So here are two main reasons.

  1. I love the Bible.And I had an amazing opportunity to learn more. DTS is well-known for its excellence in biblical languages. I had the chance to learn Greek and Hebrew and read the scriptures in the original languages. What an amazing privilege! I also got to take classes in Bible Exposition where I learned a lot about the larger picture of the Bible. I mean, I’ve read the Bible as lots of little pieces, but in class, those pieces were part of a whole. I already understood the main overarching story of the Bible, but I learned a ton about the larger stories within that story. I still remember the day that Dr. Klingler came into our class and outlined the Pentateuch (Genesis­–Deuteronomy), explaining it as God’s promise and fulfillment in establishing Israel in pictures on a white board in about three minutes. So helpful.

 

  1. I care about training the next generation of ministers.And honestly, I felt unprepared. As we put together a worship leader development program in Austin, I felt like I had a lot of experience to share and a few scriptural highlights. But that’s not what I wanted to give to the next gen of young men and women who follow this path. I wanted to really pass on a deep understanding of scripture that all of the sudden, I wasn’t sure I had. Specifically, I wanted to be able to help worship leaders form a biblical concept of worship from the whole Bible, not just a couple of favorite verses.

That’s why I went. That’s all I knew. I loved God and wanted to understand his word in a better and deeper way so that it would shape my life and so I could share it with others.

The new blog plan is to post new blogs on Wednesday. So check back next Wednesday for part two of the graduation reflection blogs. And comment below. You don’t have to write about what I wrote. In fact, why don’t you share with us why you’re doing what God has you doing right now? You don’t have to know what’s next. God can take care of that. But what is the path that has brought you to today?

 

Todd

CONSIDER HOSTING A WORSHIP TEAM WEEKEND!

Beginning in 2018, Todd will offer a three day event combining a worship training conference, a Saturday evening community concert, and a Sunday morning worship service presentation.

The conference theme is “Building and Applying a Biblical Theology of Worship,” and combines insight and experiences from his decades of worship leading, his master’s degree studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and his teaching responsibilities at Visible Music College.

This unique, engaging, and affordable event is the culmination of years of mentoring and study. Click here to download a PDF brochure with all the details. Or, simply contact Scott Huie at H2O Artist Agency for more information.

Glory to our Great Redeemer chord chart

C (4 meas.)

C                        C
Glory to our great redeemer
C                      G/C
Spotless Lamb for sinners slain
C                                   C
My pardon purchased, my ransom paid
(F   G)          C
Glory glory to His name

(F/C C)            (G/C C)
Glory to our great redeemer
(F/C    C)               G
Died my death that I might live
(F/C   C)      (Am     G)
Such costly grace He so freely gives
(F     G)      (Csus C)
Glory glory to His name

G                     (F C/E)
Glory to our perfect sacrifice
G                             F
A Lamb whose blood covered my shame
G                              (F C/E)
The wrath of God poured out and satisfied
(F     G)        C               C
Glory glory to His name

(F C/E)            (G/B C)
Glory to our great redeemer
(F   C/E)                  G
Once an enemy, now reconciled
(F    C/E       Am)        G
This stranger loved as an adopted child
(F     G)      (Csus C)
Glory glory to His name

F     F     Am/E    Am/E    Dm7    G     Csus     C

(F C/E)            (G/B C)
Glory to our great redeemer
(F  C/E)                 G(build)
Conqueror of death and hell
(F    C/E          Am)       G
He was resurrected, raising me as well
(F     G)      (Csus C)
Glory glory to His name

G                     (F C/E)
Glory to our perfect sacrifice
G                             F
A Lamb whose blood covered my shame
G                              (F C/E)
The wrath of God poured out and satisfied
(F     G)        C               C
Glory glory to His name
(repeat chorus)

(F     G)        C               C
Glory glory to His name