Friday, January 06, 2006

Ready to Start Again, and Resolutions for the Upcoming Year

Well, I've taken some time off from my blogging. This year we had a four week hiatus between semesters, which I have enjoyed to the max. We have one more week before we start back. This semester, I will be teaching the following courses at OCC:
  • Greek IB
  • Spanish II
  • Old Testament History II
  • Cross-Cultural Mission Trips
  • Perspectives on the World Christian Movement
The last two are non-traditional courses. The Cross-Cultural Mission Trip will actually end during our Week of Evangelism (traditionally called Spring Break in other educational venues). During that week, I will be leading a group of students on a short-term trip to Costa Rica. Early in the semester, the class will meet once per week, doing pre-field orientation and readings on cross-cultural work. After the trip, we will meet briefly for de-briefing, write a report, and have a celebratory event (party).

I will merely be the Professor of Record for the Pespectives course. Perspectives is a course offered nationwide in over 150 locations each year. This is our 3rd year to offer the course in the Spring Semester. I took the course for graduate credit from Trinity International University/Evangelical Divinity School in 2003 (though I had done many of the readings when I was in graduate school the first time in the 1980s). The University of Nebraska accepted that course (3 credits) as a part of my Ph.D program there. For our Perspectives course, we will have guest speakers come in each week, which we will share with our Springfield, MO site. A highlight this semester will be the inclusion of Dr. Ralph Winter as one of the guest lecturers. Dr. Winter is the founder of the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California, and a primary author in the course reader. That will be a treat.

So, my three principal course assignments will be, once again, Greek, OT History, and Spanish.

Which brings us to Resolutions. I don't usually like New Year's Resolutions, but this year, I made resolutions in 3 primary areas:
  • Diet
  • Physical Fitness
  • Bible Reading
Back in August, I joined Weight Watchers Online. During the summer months, I saw my weight reach an all-time high that both shocked and scared me. My wife had dabbled in Weight Watchers for a while earlier, and tried to get me to commit to the program with her, but I resisted. So, when I saw my weight peak higher than ever before, I decided to do something about it. I dropped more than 30 pounds. The time from Thanksgiving through the New Year's Holiday Weekend is a difficult time of the year for dieters. I wrote briefly about that a couple weeks ago. So, between Christmas and New Year's, our family decided that we would have a weight loss contest. It started out just between my wife, Rose, and our daughters, Charissa and Kim, but Steve (Charissa's husband) wanted in as well (At Legget & Platt, where Steve and Charissa work, they have weight loss contests frequently). Steve's participation just about required mine as well. We visited our son, Greg over the New Year's weekend. Both Greg and Emily (his wife) wanted in as well. So now, we have seven people in a 10-week competition. I am back on track with Weight Watchers Online. My variance from the low weight over the difficult period was 4 lbs., of which I have already dropped 2, so at this writing, I am now 2 pounds over my Weight Watchers low. Yesterday I ran into a young married couple that was on campus visiting from Washington state, where they now live. They had never seen me this light, and asked me what I was doing. That was gratifying, but that requires the second resolution: physical fitness.

I am basically lazy by nature. I do not understand runners. I can think of a hundred thousand things I would rather do than to get up early and run. Several of my colleagues run. I think that 3 of them have run marathons. I know that I don't want to do that. When I was younger, I could handle running, if there was a ball involved. About 25 years ago, I can remember dribbling a basketball back and forth on our patio for 20 minutes, constantly moving. You couldn't have coerced me into just running for 20 minutes. The addition of the basketball made it palatable. Now, though, I would just rather sit on the couch. The week between Christmas and New Year's, a new fitness center opened up about 6 blocks from our house. It is called Nitro Fitness, and is a combination of Circuit Training and Core Training. It is designed to be the kind of fitness center, where clients have 24/7 access, and can get in a balanced workout in a little over 30 minutes. I decided to join, and have been there 5 times already. We'll see what kind of results I get after six weeks. That component, combined with wiser nutritional intake, should be an aid.

Final resolution, that of Bible Reading. I've got a new twist here. I have frequently read through the Bible with one-year plans. We have used the One-Year Bible and One-Year Chronological Bibles in reading plans. That is nothing new. On my PDA, I have PocketBible, which comes with DailyReader, from Laridian. So this year I am reading through Tyndale's One Year Bible. The neat thing by doing it on a PDA instead of a printed Bible, is that I can read the text in whatever version I have in my system. I have previously read through the Bible in the NIV, NASB and The Message. This year, I am reading it in the fairly new English Standard Version from Crossway. Logos Bible Software will be releasing a Reverse Interlinear based on the ESV later this year. You can see some references to that on Logos' blog here or here. Still, that part of my Bible Reading Resolution is not too exciting. The truly revolutionary (for me!) resolution is the next part. I am ashamed to admit this in a public forum (for the 3 readers of this blog), but I need to make it public, in order to be held accountable. I teach first year Greek in a Bible College, and yet, I probably have never read the entire Greek New Testament. So . . . during 2006, I plan to read the entire Greek New Testament. I used the Bible Reading plan built into Libronix software to create a plan. Basically I can read the entire Greek New Testament at the rate of about 25 verses per day. I created two plans. The first plan (which concluded during the month of February) includes the Gospel of John and 1-2-3 John (usually considered to be easier Greek). When I finish that plan, I will begin again in Matthew, and then proceed straight through the New Testament (excluding the portions previously read), finishing Revelation by the end of the year. It has been exciting so far!

Since my mentioned our trip to Texas, I might as well include a photo taken of me with Eli, the younger of our two grandsons. He will be 2 in March, but is already manifesting some of the mood swings associated with 2 year old kids. He is cute, don't you think?

Well, that's about it for right now. I am currently reading Portable Dissertation Advisor, and Jim Garlow's (2000) How God Saved Civilization: The Epic Story of God Leading His People, The Church.


Amy said...

Hello Fish! I didn't realize you posted blogs. Good luck with your New Years resolutions and I hope you're feeling refreshed after the break! - Amy B.

Melissa Tomko said...

Hey, thanks for the comment on my Xanga. I'm sad that I won't be taking any classes with you this semester, but I'll still make it a point to come see you. You're not getting rid of me!

Take care, and I'll see you next week!

Amy said...

I came across your post to Amy McCray when I checked her Xanga. I think it is sort of neat that you post blogs and leave comments. Have a great weekend! - Amy B.

Jrg said...

"me and Eli"????!!! College prof? Almost Phd??? hello?????

Actually, I'm catching up on reading about you since we only see each other Easters and Thanksgivings.