Archive - April, 2011

Interview about Thriving at College

Daniel Darling, Senior Pastor of Gages Lake Bible Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago has posted a short interview with me about Thriving at College. Here’s one exchange:

I like the fact that you delve into more than just the typical, “Stay pure, keep your faith” wisdom we dispense to departing college students. What other pitfalls do college kids fall into?

A big one is assuming that college is a continuation of high school. High school is highly structured: you’re in class much longer, but much less is expected of you out of class than in college. And living under the same roof as your parents provides a significant measure of accountability – one that’s absent when you leave for college.

That means students need to have the self-discipline to log off of Facebook and study for significant chunks of time. There are other pitfalls, like living off of credit cards and getting into serious debt.

Actually, the structure of Thriving at College is that it unpacks ten common mistakes college students make. Check out the Table of Contents.

Read the whole thing.

Michael Hyatt interviews Jim Collins

Michael Hyatt, Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, conducts a 10-minute interview with Jim Collins, leadership/management/productively guru and author of several significant books such as Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t, which I really enjoyed a few summers ago, and, more recently, How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In.

David Wilkerson Killed in Car Crash

David Wilkerson (79), author of the phenomenally best-selling The Cross and the Switchblade, has been killed in a car crash, Charisma and CBN are reporting.  Wilkerson is also the founder of World Challenge Ministries.  Wilkerson’s wife Gwen was also involved in the accident, and was rushed to the hospital, where she is apparently in critical condition.

A live-streamed memorial service will be held at Times Square Church, which was founded by Mr. Wilkerson.  The date has not yet been determined.

HT:  Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Gene Veith – A Primer on Vocation

This Modern Reformation article by Dr. Gene Veith gives a great overview on the doctrine of vocation. Veith’s writings, particularly Loving God With All Your Mind and God at Work were very influential for me as I wrote the academic chapters of Thriving at College.

An excerpt:

The doctrine of vocation is the theology of the Christian life. It solves the much-vexed problems of the relationship between faith and works, Christ and culture, how Christians are to live in the world. Less theoretically, vocation is the key to strong marriages and successful parenting. It contains the Christian perspective on politics and government. It shows the value, as well as the limits, of the secular world. And it shows Christians the meaning of their lives.

The Swedish theologian Einar Billing, in his book Our Calling, noted how our tendency is to look for our religion in the realm of the extraordinary, rather than in the ordinary. (1) In vocation, however, God is hidden even in the mundane activities of our everyday lives. And this is his glory.

Check it out.

Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones by Kathy Keller

A half-hour interview of Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of the award-winning The Jesus Storybook Bible , conducted by Kathy Keller, wife of Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC. [Click below – they’ll ask you for an e-mail address, then you can watch it. Nothing happens for the first 70 seconds…skip them.]

Fairness, President Obama, and Paul Ryan

In a Washington Post article, Arthur Brooks argues that conservatives miss an opportunity in refraining from the fairness debate, which President Obama repeatedly initiates in his remarks on the Ryan budget for 2012 and in regards to deficit and debt reduction in general. Brooks also responds to the argument that our society is inherently unfair, that birth and sheer luck have more to do with success than hard work.   Most provocatively, he explains that “when politicians argue that, for the sake of fairness, we must raise taxes on the entrepreneurial class…they are unwittingly undermining the possibility of achieving the opportunity society they regret not having.”

Check it out.  Brooks is the author of The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future.

Job scene improving for new college grads

USA Today reports that the job market for new college grads is much better this year than it was last year: employers plan to hire something like 10-20% more grads than they did last year.

However, those lacking a college degree are seeing a much different picture: an Associated Press-Viacom survey revealed that “only about a third of the 18- to 24-year-olds who aren’t in school said they have full-time jobs.”  And less than a quarter of them work part-time, which means about 40% of them are totally unemployed.  Many site the high cost of college as the main obstacle toward getting that degree.

That’s My King – Dr. S.M. Lockridge

He is risen!

HT: Timmy Brister

Did Jesus Spend Saturday Night in Hell?

The Apostles Creed begins:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead.

Many of us were raised with the notion that Jesus went to hell on Friday after dying on the cross. For a day and a half, he preached in hell before his resurrection on Sunday. The Scriptural support given for this view primarily comes from a few passages in I Peter. Here’s one:

Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (19) in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, (20) because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (1 Peter 3:18-20, italics added)

However, it is more natural to read I Peter 3:18-20 as referring to the earthly ministry of Noah, through whom the Holy Spirit preached. We see Peter refer to the Holy Spirit’s ministry through Old Testament men earlier in I Peter: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” (I Peter 1:10-11, italics added) Peter is telling us that the “Spirit of Christ” spoke through the prophets and also through Noah (cf. II Peter 2:5, where Noah is called a herald (or a preacher) of righteousness). Of course, Noah’s contemporaries ignored the warning to repent and are now “in prison” (i.e., hell).

Here’s a related text in I Peter that is likewise challenging.

They are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; (5) but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (6) For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. (1 Peter 4:4-6, italics added)

The simplest translation here is that Peter is referring to those who responded affirmatively to the gospel preaching, but had since died by the time of this letter. They are (presently) dead, and they were (recently) “judged in the flesh the way people are” (i.e., they died, cf. Rom 3:23), and are now alive in the spiritual realm (i.e., they are with God in heaven). Peter is encouraging his readers that those currently maligning Christians will likewise stand before God’s judgment soon enough.
It should be noted that this interpretation is consistent with Jesus’ promise to the repentant thief on the cross: “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43, italics added)

For more, see John Piper’s  remarks.

UNC to add median grade data to student transcripts

The average college student in 1961 earned about a 2.5-2.6 GPA.  Over the last decade that number has swelled to well over 3.0, even though college students studied (on average) 24 hours/week in 1961 as compared to only 14 hours /week in 2003.  In an effort to curb the many upward pressures on student grades, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, starting next fall, will include information about the median grade in each course a student takes, along with students’ rankings by percentile against their peers in every class:

The move to adopt “contextualized transcripts” was approved a year ago by the university’s Faculty Council. On Friday, the council approved additional legislation that defines what data will appear on the new transcripts.

Beginning in 2012, each student’s transcript will include a “Schedule Point Average” both for individual terms and cumulatively. That number represents the grade-point average for the average student taking the same courses. The Schedule Point Average will give an idea of how rigorous a student’s schedule is and how that student performed compared with others in the same courses. (Think strength of schedule for academics, not just basketball.)

Read the whole thing.

I discuss the importance of meaningful student grades in Thriving at College (Tyndale House Publishers, April 2011) as well as in an article to appear in the July-August 2011 issue of Modern Reformation.

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