Archive for October 6th, 2013

Another Failed Attempt to go to Church & Romans 5

For the second time in three weeks, I tried to go to a new church, but could not. I picked out the church I wanted to go to, PC, last night and looked on Google Maps for directions. Using the bus system, it would take me about 20 minutes to get there. I set my alarm for 9:30 to give me plenty of time to eat and make it to church for the 11:00 service, but ended up dozing until about 10:00 after waking up. I ate breakfast at R and then got to the bus stop at 10:45, so I knew I was going to be a little bit late, but I wasn’t expecting it to take 20 minute for the bus to arrive. I got off the bus around 11:20, and had to backtrack a little bit because there was not bus stop where Google Maps said I should have gotten off. When I reached the address given on the church’s website, around 11:25-11:30, I found a large sign saying “PC has moved to ____.” I don’t own a smart phone, so I had no way of finding out where said new location was, and walked back to the bus stop feeling frustrated.

There were two good things that came from my journey this morning. First, I know how to get to the downtown mall because PC was about a 5 minute walk from it. Second, as I was waiting for the bus I saw an empty van drive by with a decal for TPC. It was headed toward OH, where students can meet to get rides to various churches, so I think that it may have been going to pick up students. If that was the case, I may have a chance to go to TPC after all.

Because I couldn’t go to a real church service this morning, I’m going to spend some more time with Romans 5, which I read last night and didn’t want to start talking about because there was so much I had to say. First, in the first paragraph of the chapter, Paul writes that “We [Christians] rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5: 3-4) I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought about pain or grief like that, even though it should be true. It actually reminds me a lot of a common question non-believers may ask of apologists: why do bad things happen to good people? Surely, some of those bad things are a direct result of sin, but I think that God can use them to build our faith.

In verse 7, Paul says that “One will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die.” As he is saying, there are rare occasions where a human will offer his life to save a “righteous” or “good” person. He continues by comparing this to God’s sacrifice for us. The key difference is that Jesus died, not for the righteous, but for all sinners, or all mankind. (Romans 5: 8) ALL mankind. None of us deserve to be saved, but that doesn’t matter to God. He wants all of us, and gave everything so that we could be saved and have eternal life with Him.

The rest of the chapter is dedicated to presenting a really interesting and beautiful comparison of Adam and Christ. Paul writes that Adam’s temptation and failure to resist it brought sin and death into the world for all of humanity. But Jesus did exactly the opposite: through his death, he has saved us all from our mistakes and the inevitable death that comes with it. Paul also, in his description of Jesus’ death, repeats the term “free gift,” emphasizing how we have done nothing to deserve it, but don’t need to. Verse 18 is probably my favorite verse from the section: “Therefore as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” That’s pretty awesome.

I have some work to do, but hope to making at least one more post today. I’m not sure whether I will count this as my Daily Devotion, especially since I read it last night, I just didn’t write about it. We’ll see how I’m feeling.

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Romans 5: Introduction

Tonight I read Romans chapter 5. There’s a lot of things that I want to share, but I need some sleep too, so I will save that for tomorrow. I will share the first verse of the chapter though: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” More tomorrow…

Two Day Recap

The past two days have been exhausting, but really good. Friday morning I had a couple of hours before my first class (German) at noon. I was able to finish all of the lab report and pre-lab work for my chem lab, which was really good. In German, we took a quick test, and then we were allowed to leave, so I got out of class half an hour early. I practiced horn for a little while, and had one of my best run-throughs of the Strauss Horn Concerto I’m working on. It’s extremely difficult, but beautiful and I really like it. I grabbed a quick lunch at OH, went back to my dorm and got my things and changed for chem lab.

Lab was also really short. We were measuring the absorbance of UV light by sunscreens, so after preparing the solutions, analyzing them with a spectrometer, and peer-reviewing our lab reports from last week, we were allowed to go. I hadn’t gotten much sleep Thursday night, which I think I mentioned, so the extra time to just relax and de-stress a little bit before marching practice was good.

Marching was actually relatively hard. There was a good bit of movement and dancing for the show we were working on (and performed at the game today, meaning Saturday), and the music wasn’t particularly easy either. Coupled with the warmer weather and humidity, it was a pretty sweaty practice. On the way back to my dorm from rehearsal, some band people and I stopped at C, a convenience store/mini-food court underneath OH. I got a milkshake, which was pretty good.

After stopping at my dorm, I went to a party at the Quack Shack, a Chi Alpha house that one of the saxophones in Band Bible Study lives in. There was music and dancing inside, but there was also a campfire and chairs just to sit around and socialize, which is what I did. I got to meet a couple of other people in Chi Alpha and in other sections of the band, which was a lot of fun. The one bad thing about the party was that it contributed to my going to bed much later than I wanted to.

This morning I had to be up at 7:15 in order to catch the 7:45 bus over to the band building. Unfortunately the dining halls don’t open until 9:30 or 10:00 on weekends, so I had to make it through rehearsal on an empty stomach before we were fed. Rehearsal went pretty well. It wasn’t quite as hard as Friday night’s but it was really productive. The football game was okay. We lost, which was really frustrating because we had two touchdowns (and several other big plays) taken back because of what I thought were bogus penalty calls. It’s also very hard to stay excited about the game when your team is down by an increasing margin of 14 points in the fourth quarter, and need to stay with the band even as most of the rest of the crowd is taking off. But it seems like everyone liked the halftime show, which is good.

Since the game, I’ve just been relaxing, talking to N and watching TV with my suitemates and some of the people from upstairs. It’s been a good night, but I am not looking forward to the work I’m going to need to do tomorrow.

Richard Strauss – Horn Concerto No. 2, Movement 1 (Performed by Dennis Brain, Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Philharmonia Orchestra)

I’ve been working on the first movement of this (very difficult) piece for about eighteen months, on and off. It may be my very favorite horn concerto, and I hope that someday I will be good enough at it that I can perform it. This recording is of Dennis Brain, who might have been the best horn player of the twentieth century, had he not died in a car accident as a young man.

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