URSHAN

Graduate School of Theology

                                    
            NEWSLETTER

 

Where Your Treasure Is

Each one of us has a treasure – a treasure that we hold dearly and guard fiercely. Treasures mean different things to different people. For some, ornate homes, fancy cars, fashionable duds, status symbols, padded portfolios, and the like serve as their treasure. They expend time, energy and resources to gain, hoard, and flaunt what the Bible says that moth and rust will eventually corrupt.

Others recognize treasure as something more eternal. They define treasure as the guiding principles of their lives, core convictions by which decisions are made and from which actions flow. At UGST I was able to discover what lie in my treasure chest. Much to my surprise and dismay, those things that once held such luster proved to be nothing more than Fool’s Gold. I lived most of my life believing that achievement equals importance. Or more aptly put, that recognition of achievement equals importance. My identity revolved around accolades and ‘atta’ boy’s’. The ambition of accomplishment proved my worth to others, myself, and, according to my distorted notions, even to God. I was walking a path that followed the expectations of others and serving a God that was highly conditional and rather difficult to please. The saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ but imagine the alarm when I discovered that my own well-guarded treasure was little more than trash.

One by one I removed valuable notions about life from my treasure chest. Not valuable because they held worth but valuable because that’s how things are treated when they have been around for a long time. ‘Accomplishment equals importance’ had to go. ‘What other people think matters the most’ had to be discarded. ‘God loves only a certain version of me’ was put on the curb. At the bottom of the chest, there was a glimmer of light. Having removed the dust I discovered a mirror, and what I saw was at one and the same time the saddest and happiest moment of my life. I saw myself with unkempt hair and sunken eyes and bruised cheeks, full of imperfections and far from the glossy self-image that I had for so long adored. But I also saw reflected in that mirror the hint of glory, the face of Jesus, the image of God that lies in each of His creatures, and I heard in my spirit the words, “I love you just as you are.”

This discovery led to a determination. The power of choice is one of our defining human characteristics. Regardless of how the treasure made its way into my chest, I now possessed the power to discard false notions about God and about me, and I could adopt truths about God’s nature and my status in His sight. I determined that I am important – not because of what I have done – but because of who I am. I am a son of God, redeemed by His blood, and sealed with His Spirit. I believe that God loves me no matter what, and I long to be loved like that.

Other nuggets of truth that I will forever treasure because of my Urshan experience are the sufficiency of Christ and the sovereignty of God. Sufficiency and sovereignty. Fancy twenty-five-cent seminary words, but they succinctly express deep concepts that altered my life. Christ is enough. Jesus is all I need. And you only discover that when He is all you have. I found everything when I had nothing. When my treasure chest was completely empty, only then was I completely full.

And if God loves me this much, He also knows what is best for me. His Will, though at times obscure, (even during my journey at Urshan) is perfect. God prefers character transformation over my comfort and convenience. God allows suffering to come into my life as part of the process of conforming my stubborn will and bitter brokenness into a life and a person and a husband and a father and a pastor that will bring Him glory. Though there will be times I do not understand, and though there will be times that I chafe against it, and thought there will be times that it causes me much heartache and personal pain, God is in complete control, and He knows what is best for me.

Having defined, discovered, and determined my treasure; I am now devoting my life to defending my treasure. Admittedly, not everyone will agree with the decisions I make, but I cannot assume responsibility for others’ reactions, only for my actions. Inevitably, people will offer back to me trinkets from the past kindly and sincerely suggesting, “Why don’t you put this back into the chest?” “Please, don’t let go of that. That really is valuable.” “This one has been in the family for years.” We defend what is most valuable to us. We defend with fences. We defend with boundaries. We defend because it is more than just treasure – it is a matter of core convictions. It is truth about what we believe concerning life, concerning God. So, my pursuit will be to “love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love my neighbor as myself” and to encourage others to do the same.

-Graduation Banquet speech by Curt Fee '08: husband, father and pastor in Davenport, IA

Contact Information

704 Howdershell Rd.
314-921-9290
www.ugst.org

 

Admissions Director
Rhonda Morley
rmorley@ugst.org

 

Distance Learning
Marjorie Truman
mtruman@ugst.org

 

Registrar
Gayle Yoder
gyoder@ugst.org

 

Chief Academic Officer
Evelyn Drury
edrury@ugst.org


 Standing Together for Truth: UGST Symposium

Symposium crowdOn November 6-7, in conjunction with the Oneness Leaders' Apostolic Fellowship Summit, UGST will host the 7th annual Symposium. This year features specialized tracks for Biblical Studies, Pastors, Counselors and Orality Studies as well as joint sessions with Oneness Organization leaders, a special service for all Apostolics and a discussion of dispensationalism.

Download a schedule or view it online.

 

 Upcoming January Terms

JTerm class

 Mission of the Church (January 5-10): This inquiry into the mission and form of the local congregation will be lead by Adjunct Professor, Courtney Stewart. The course will focus on issues of purpose, leadership, organization, finances, and planning in the formation of the church as a faithful community.

Revival and Revivalism (January 5-10): This examination of the history of revivals and their influence on the church life and growth is taught by Adjunct Professor, Robin Johnston.  Special attentions will be paid to modern revivals, especially those which influenced the Pentecostal movement.  The class will seek to discover the theological and biblical principles of those movements and apply them to the contemporary church.

Luke-Acts (January 12-17): Adjunct Professor, Steven Beardsley will lead the study of the Lukan narrative in the continuing story of the ministry of Jesus to the apostles and the church. (Prerequisite: New Testament Foundations)


Pastoral Counseling for Couples in Crisis (January 19-24): Lecturer of Practical Theology, Cindy Miller teaches an introduction to a conceptual model for understanding marriage.  This course will provide an in-depth look at marital distress and dysfunction, theory, and the tools/techniques used in intervention work with the goal of establishing marital stability, health and growth.

 Special Message for Alumni

Greetings:

As many of you have heard, UGST has attained Candidate Status with the Association of Theological Schools. This means that our school has received official academic recognition and the benefits of accreditation. These surely are exciting times for our school. Included in this process is a two-year self study that will assess all facets of UGST: including the alumni. I have been asked to serve on the steering committee to serve as a representative for the Alumni Association. Mike Hall and Marjorie Truman are also representing alumni on other committees.
 
The self-study is a two year process that focuses upon three key areas for improvement: Institutional Issues and Concerns, Formal Educational Program and Primary Participants. We will discuss each sub-committee in the next issue. The self study is vital for final approval from ATS because it demonstrates our commitment to academic excellence and mission integrity. It is very important that you know about the self study for a few reasons:
 
1. Transparency -- You need to be aware of the accreditation process. Your input did not end on graduation day. Marjorie and I will be sharing details with you as we progress, and we welcome all of your feedback on ways to better understand and/or communicate the information.
 
2. Transformation -- These processes and documents are not meant to just get our school through a "hoop". Rather, they are to be a continual blueprint by which we can constantly better our institution. Your input is required here regarding opportunities to implement and/or avoid change.
 
3. Theology-- Our theology can and must speak more than from pulpits and classrooms. This is an opportunity for our Spirit-led theology to flow into the "business" of building our institution. These are moments that our school can really shine. This self study will incorporate how our theology and processes are inter-dependent with each other. Once again, your input is welcome here.
 
This self study is incredibly important to each and every alumnus. It validates the positives of our educational experience, while giving opportunity for us to focus on areas of improvement that each of us may want addressed. This is a direct opportunity for our alumni to help make our school a better place for future Apostolic leaders of the 21st century.

Blessings,
Nathaniel Binion, MTS '03
Alumni Association President

 

 UGST's Journey to Candidate Status

 

 


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