Archive for Teaching

.:: A Prayer from Solitude for My Students

Posted in adolescence, disciplines, Prayer, spiritual disciplines, Theology with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by Walter

One of the courses I teach is Spiritual Disciplines and a significant portion of that class is actually practicing the disciplines when it is feasible in class.  Today I got to share in practicing solitude with them as we dispersed across the green on campus and spent a hour in solitude on an amazing fall day.  Here is a prayer that I wrote for my students during this time:

My prayer for them is that they could be FULLY PRESENT with you God as we commune together in Solitude.

May the peace of Christ dwell in their hearts as they declutter their lives from the noise of the start of a busy week.

May they be taken to the dark parts of their souls and do the difficult work of self-reflection.

May they see you God in the delicate beauty of Autumn that is breaking through.

May their souls be still.

May they be taken from loneliness to intimacy as they experience Your Presence.

May the warmth of the Autumn sun be a gift and reminder of Your Grace.

Father, they are so busy-they had tremendous amounts of stress bearing down upon them–please come near to them in this time.

Give HOPE to those struggling with classes, grades, homework.

Give PEACE to those with problems with family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, roommates.

Give HEALING to those with health issues and medical problems.

Give RELEASE to those with financial struggles, job schedule issues, and those who need just another hour in their day.

As they encounter Your Presence in solitude whisper into their souls that You are Fully Present with them.


.::Classroom Joy

Posted in Life, Teaching with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by Walter

There are these moments that a teacher gets to share with their students that are magical. The electricity that fills the room when there is this connection between the student, teacher and subject. It is a comradarie of knowledge that intersects forming something beautiful and exciting.  It is this tremendous symphony when all three parties (teacher, student, subject) are in perfect harmony united together.  The teacher isn’t dominating with his or her downloading of the subject.  The students aren’t draining the process with their apathy or distractions.  The subject isn’t confounding the discussion with its insistence to confuse the other parties.

There is this hunger and thirst for Truth that emerges and is not satisfied until all the rocks of knowledge are overturned and discussion and argument, interrogation and wonder are exhausted.

It is those moments when ENGAGEMENT between these three are fully intertwined: student, subject, teacher.  Time is not an element.  Students (and teacher for that matter) do not check the clock on the wall to see how much longer is left in class.

These moments are GIFTS of God.  It are those times that feed the soul of teacher and student that affirm the process of education.

These moments are Transcendent–They usher us into a subatomic-sized part of God’s mind when we stand face-to-face with Truth and all the wonder and beauty that are inherent in such a discovery.  They are holy . . . set apart.

These are the moments students and teacher live between–energized from the endorphin rush that such discovery of Truth provides and journeying towards the hope of more discovery and moments like these.

This place is joy.


Posted in Ministry, Teaching with tags , , , on August 30, 2009 by Walter

I came across this quote today:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn . . . “is to learn something.  That is the only thing that never fails . . . Learn why the world gas and what wags it.  That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.  Learning is the best thing for you.”

–White, The Once and Future King, p 183.

There is nothing like going through your day and Truth, deep Truth, finding you.  This passage illuminates one of the fundamentals of life–when you are learning, you are taken to something LARGER than yourself, something transcendent and suddenly, your own problems are put into perspective and one’s sadness is at least averted for the time being.

When one learns, they are taken to places lagers, more complex, more interesting, so different, so interesting, so thought provoking, so beautiful than one’s normal life.

One of the mantras that I have bought into comes from Rick Warren whenre he says, “Leaders are Learners.”  He says that when one ceases to learn, they lose their ability to lead others.  The task of learning is a life-long pursuit of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.  It is a journey whose nirvana is never realized, but its rewards are always noticed.

This is one of the biggest problems that I have witnesses is many churches.  They have lost their desire to LEARN.  Yes they have worship, yes they have sermons, yes they even have Bible Classes with inventive names; however, what they lack is the honest attempt to venture into the unknown and ask, “What if?”  To seek out beyond the barriers of our faith that we are so comfortable staying behind.  Much of what we pass off as learning in our places of worship is merely affirming that which we already believe and are comfortable with.

Look at what Jesus does with his followers:

“You have heard it said, BUT I tell you.”  He is pushing people beyond the familiar, beyond the Sunday School answers nad leads them into uncharted waters of faith.  I guarantee that those who put into practice those “But I tell you . . .” truths were taken on a wonderful and amazing journey in the Kingdom.

So pick up a book from a different section of Border’s then you normally shop at; turn to the History, Travel, or Discovery Channel and watch something you don’t know anything about; take a class at your local university (like Lipscomb); try a cuisine or restaurant that you haven’t ever tried; or go on at trip to an exotic locale, or maybe pick up the Bible and listen to it for the first time or read something you haven’t in it before.

>Finals Motivational Speech

Posted in Teaching with tags , , , on December 13, 2008 by Walter

For those of you going through the trials of finals,  here is a little pep speech to help you through this week:


Posted in Ministry, Teaching, Theology with tags , , , on December 12, 2008 by Walter

I am sitting here watching my students write, and write, and write for their final.  My hope is that this is a final that is much more about implementing the concepts from class into real life situations and less about rote memory skills.

This is my Introduction to Youth Ministry students who have become a really great community over the past four months as we gathered together twice a week to hash out many of the different issues and skills necessary for entering in to youth ministry.

  • My hope is that they are THINKERS more than COPIERS as they embark upon youth ministry.
  • I hope they think OUTSIDE THE BOX of traditional youth ministry and do something wild and crazy for God.
  • I hope they don’t just replicate what they have seen, but listen to God’s voice.
  • I pray they gather a TEAM of committed adults around them and not do Lone Ranger ministry.
  • I pray for LONGEVITY in ministry for the sake of their heart and the hearts of their students.

I just want to say “Thank You,” to my students from this semester and I hope our paths cross often.