Limping to the Finish Line

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fall 2016 - That's a Wrap

Well, it was a real difficult finish for me as I struggled with my health over the past month, but by God's grace, I pulled it together and finished out my first semester at DTS.  While I haven't been well enough to keep my posting schedule here, I had just enough strength to limp my way to the finish line and I submitted my final assignment just before Christmas to close out the BE101 course.

Difficulties notwithstanding, I had a great semester and I have high expectations for an excellent grade.  Here's a brief wrap of my final month of BE101 and in the coming days I'll write more about my overall experience at DTS this semester.

I Can See the Finish Line

Monday, November 21, 2016

Home Stretch

I've now completed over 75% of my coursework for BE101 and with only 4 more short weeks to go, it's time to dig in and sprint to the finish.  While my health has not been overly cooperative, I feel good that I'll be able to suck it up to make a final push to the finish line.

A Little Hiatus

Monday, November 7, 2016

Back At It

It's been a little while since I last posted, but I'm still here chipping away at my school work.  I've surrendered a little bit of my work ahead cushion, but I think I'm in decent shape for the next couple of weeks.  Lots of things to catch up on.

Knee Deep in Research

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Fun Continues

Another week is now behind me and things are going along nicely.  I'm still running a little over a week ahead and I'm looking to expand that a bit in the coming days.  Module 6 has been a blast and I should be wrapped up with the second learning activity in the next few days.  Lots of things learned this week so read on to hear more about it.

Slowly but Surely

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Plodding Along

Hard to believe I'm closing in on the mid-point of my first semester here at DTS.  It's been a great experience thus far and I think it's safe to say my expectations have been exceeded.  While it's a lot different than a traditional classroom setting, I really like this task-oriented style of learning and I've definitely gotten comfortable with the flow of the course.  I'm slowly but surely plodding along, however, I've got some work to do over the next two weeks.

Christ and Social Media

Monday, October 17, 2016

What You Share Says a Lot

For the developed world, social media is an indispensable medium that saturates our daily lives.  We use social media to communicate with family and friends, network with industry colleagues, engage in discourse, educate ourselves, and even do our jobs.  Like any other form of communication, how we engage says a lot about who we are.  So what responsibilities do we have towards Christ as Christians when it comes to using social media?

It's Not Work When It's Fun

Friday, October 14, 2016

Time Melts Away

I'm going to end up spending a lot of time on my learning activities in Module 6 but it's not because I have to, it's because I want to.  It really isn't work when it's fun!  The farther I get into this class, the more interesting and enjoyable the experience is.  Yeah, I struggled with the previous learning assignment a bit, but that seems ages ago as I'm completely consumed with the latest assignments.  Wow. 

The Great Module Unlock

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

 Lots of Work to Do

Yesterday was a big day for my online BE101 class.  A total of 7 new modules became unlocked which will take me all the way to December 7.  I actually like this as now I have plenty of time to roll along at my own pace over the coming months.  Some of the learning activities are going to be pretty involved, so the sooner I get going on this great module unlock, the better.

This Week in Chapel

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

Suffering Reproach for Christ
Dr. Lon Solomon on October 4, 2016

Dr. Lon Solomon delivers a spirited and engaging message in the chapel on October 4 about the cost of living the Christian life that God has called us to live.

Pseudo Fall Break

Friday, October 7, 2016

A Lazy Cool Fall Weekend

I had a challenging week this week outside of school so I kind of took the week off.  I needed it.  Given that I was a full week ahead on my assignments, this isn't a big issue.  But my latest learning activity is giving me a little heartburn.  I still have 5 more days to work on it and a full 4 more days until the next assignments unlock, so it's not the time to hit the panic button just yet.  Just a little time for a self made Fall break.

This Week in Chapel

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

Priests to Our God
Dr. Jim Allman on September 2, 2016

Dr. Allman tackles the subject of our service to God as Christians in the world today and how that ought to be shaped by our studies and our Time at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Smooth Sailing

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Benefits of Staying Ahead

Week six is just about to peek over the horizon and for me, that means it's time to start working on Module 4.  I'm still the better part of one week ahead and the extra breathing room is really coming in handy.  It's a nice thing to be able to work at my own pace.

Time to File Week Five

Friday, September 30, 2016

Time Flies...

Hard to believe another week is just about over but it's time to file week five.  Overall a very good and productive week as I'm just about finished with Module 3.   I'm really settling into a steady rhythm and while the assignments are getting a little harder, they're also getting a lot more fun and my learning is definitely expanding.  Keep reading to get the skinny this week on my learning development and to check out my statistics after week 5.

Getting to Know Logos

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Learning Logos

I'm working on lots of things for BE101 at the moment but the most exciting thing I've done recently is to start kicking the tires on the Logos Bible Software program.  I'll be honest, it's an intimidating package to get started with.  But with a good old-fashioned "wonder what this button does?" attitude, I'm beginning to see the power of this tool.  Well, that and some helpful training videos...  

This Week in Chapel

Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

Don Geiger on September 1, 2016

Pastor Geiger reflects on the history of Dallas Theological Seminary and Dr. Chafer.  He also offers some practical advice to students on how to maximize their time and efforts during their studies.

What's in Your Worldview?

Friday, September 23, 2016


Your worldview matters.  It shapes how you approach everyday life and the plethora of challenges that always seem to be hidden around every corner just out of sight.  Your worldview can steer you to hope or destroy you with fear.  So today I'm going to pose the question, "What's in your worldview?"

Also going to tackle my weekly class wrap-up and roll out a new graphic for my BE101 statistics!  Hard to believe that I've already put 20% of this course in my rearview mirror.  Some very interesting numbers are emerging which are testing some of my original hypotheses.

Just Keep Swimming

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Yo-Yo Effect

Life has been downright wacky for me lately.  I fell a little behind schedule in class. Then I got ahead of schedule. Now it looks like I'm going to fall a little behind again in the coming weeks.  Things do happen and there is no sense getting flipped over by the things you can't control.  So when life gets you down ... Just Keep Swimming...

This Week in Chapel

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

How to Ruin Your Time at Dallas Seminary
Dr. Charles Swindoll on September 14, 2016

There is no way I could pass up a message with a title like this.  I'm glad I listened in as it was exactly what I needed to hear.  Dr. Swindoll lays out his first of four points during this Fall 2016 series.

Week Three Debrief

Friday, September 16, 2016

Taking Things in Stride

Time for the week three debrief.  Well, I've been thrown off my schedule a bit due to some things that are happening locally, but I'm still slightly ahead.  Just have to take these things in stride.  Besides, what would life be like without getting served a curveball every now and then?  Hence the importance of planning ahead!

Coursework Ahead

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Back to Work!

The next round of assignments became available this morning and I'll have two weeks to work through Module 2.  While I'm feeling pretty good after all I've learned in the first module, I'll need to collect myself and get after some new challenges with the coursework ahead.

This Week in Chapel

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fall 2016 Chapel Message

On Listening
Dr. Stanley Toussaint on August 31, 2016

Heritage week brings Dr. Toussaint to chapel to share a practical message on Psalm 19.  He delivers his message with a patient charm that reveals his love for God and confidence in His Word.

Week Two Wrap-Up

Friday, September 9, 2016

Trying To Find My Pace

As I wrap-up another week, I find I'm settling in quite well.  I've managed to get slightly ahead which is both good and bad.  Good in the sense that it is always better to be ahead than behind.  Bad in the sense that I hit a little lull in the action by mid-week and I'll need to wait until next Wednesday for my next round of assignments.

Overall, it was another good week.  First assignments, first grades, and more getting to know my classmates.  My schedule seems to be working so far and I'm certain that by October, I'll find an even pace in my work.

Achievement Unlocked

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

First Assignment Submitted

I've been poking at my learning assignment for the past couple of days and I got to the point where the more I tinker, the less I'm satisfied with the result.  So last night I decided to go ahead and submit my first learning assignment and put that behind me.  I think I did pretty well but let's wait and see if that squares with reality.  I can, at any rate, chalk this up as an achievement unlocked!

What now?  I'm a solid week ahead in my class and it doesn't make sense to read ahead quite yet for Module 2.  I have a little bit of an idea what my next assignment will be and if I'm right, I've actually got that one pretty much done as well.  So I have some time to burn.  Tonight I'll attend a chapel service or two and then maybe I'll dive into learning how to use Logos.  But that's really it for now.

Time to Go Wayback

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fire Up the Wayback Machine

George Santayana was famously quoted, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  You might be inclined to wonder, what does that have to do with attending a class in seminary?  Well, that is a very good question and I'm glad you asked!

Last week we began talking about the importance of observation in studying the Bible.  Specifically, the ability to identify the basic grammatical structures and syntax of a text.  How an author used language elements to express thoughts and ideas is important to ultimately being able to properly interpret a passage.

After listening to the professor and reading my textbook last week, I'm convinced I must have been either asleep or brain dead during my English classes some 33 years ago.  I recall nothing!  And this makes up a significant portion of my first learning assignment in BE101.  So it's time to fire up the Wayback Machine because if I have any hope of completing this assignment, I'm going to need to learn some English grammar, and fast!

This Week in Chapel

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Chapel Overview

Chapel attendance is a mandatory requirement for all seminary students, even online-only students.  While chapel is held every weekday on campus, online students are only required to attend a minimum 10 chapel services per semester.  Fortunately, DTS provides apps which make keeping up with the services easy.

This Week in Chapel

Overcoming the Fault Lines to Following Jesus
Dr. Mark Bailey on August 30, 2016

Week One - In the Books

Friday, September 2, 2016

Well That Went Well

I waited all summer long to get started and now I get to put week one in the books.  I couldn't be happier with the start of the semester and the structure of the online program.  As long as I stay focused and disciplined, I expect to finish the course without any problems.  I also anticipate being challenged and learning a lot as we progress through the class.

Getting My Feet Wet in Class

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

First Day of Class Recap

Yep, it's finally here.  I felt like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning; I was so excited to get started.  Spent a lot of time at work yesterday looking at the clock, waiting for the day to end so I could start focusing on the class.

Okay, okay...  I cheated a little on my lunch break and did one of my reading assignments.  I just couldn't help myself - sue me.

One would think that the first day of an online class would be a little boring.  Consider me surprised that in fact, there was a lot of interesting stuff going on.  It was nice to finally get my feet wet in this experience.

BE101 - Ready, Steady, Go!

Monday, August 29, 2016

False Start - Kind of...

Officially, online classes begin tomorrow, not today.  But, DTS has posted the course module content to Canvas this past weekend so students can begin reviewing the material a few days ahead of time. We've been asked to wait to begin recording and submitting our work, but at least we can get a jump on the coming weeks.  So basically, it's "Ready, Steady, Go!" for BE101.

In addition to sharing some initial observations about the BE101 online course and my plans for the coming weeks, I'll also share my thoughts on the first live stream orientation for new online students which was held this past weekend.

Hodgepodge and Potpourri

Friday, August 26, 2016

 Random Thoughts Before Starting

Today is the Friday before school starts and I'm looking forward to enjoying my last weekend of freedom.  I don't have anything specific to discuss today so I'm simply going to share some random thoughts and little left-out tidbits.  Hence the title, "hodgepodge and potpourri".

Organizing the Unkown

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting Organized

The early temptation in preparing for an online class is to just sit back and manage the tasks when they become available.  Clearly, there is an organizational structure to the class which will naturally encourage students to keep pace, but is this enough?  After all, time can be a fickle friend.  When you really need it, it always seems to turn up missing.  Therefore, it makes sense to get organized.

I honestly feel a little bit like my kids right now.  It’s binders, paper, sheet protectors, and pencils galore.  The only thing I’m really missing is a new set of clothes – although I still have a few more days…

But seriously, there is more to getting organized than just loading up on the supplies.  I’ll need to set up a schedule which includes budgeting for class time, reading, homework, and chapel.  I’m also going to need to factor in that there are a number of additional systems and resources I’m going to need to get familiar with given it’s my first semester.  So today I’ll share my thoughts on how I’m getting organized.

Gearing Up for BE101

Monday, August 22, 2016

BE101 – Bible Study Methods and Hermeneutics

Only one more week until class starts and I’m really itching to get going.  I’ve decided to do some preparatory work in advance of the course. Hopefully, a little time spent now will help me get the most out of the class when it actually begins.

While there's not too much I can do ahead of time, DTS provides two resources that allow me to get a jump on the upcoming semester.  First, they publish their course syllabi well in advance.  And second, they offer brief course previews that give students an idea of what to expect in their classes.  Today I’ll discuss how both of these items are helping me get ready.

Just One More Thing...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Required New Student Surveys and Assessment

Just one more thing to tidy up before the start of the semester.  All entering students are required to complete a number of surveys and a test of knowledge before beginning classes.  Being enrolled in an online-only Master of Biblical and Theological Studies program, I needed to complete the following;
  1. Entering Student Doctrinal Survey
  2. Entering Student Questionnaire
  3. Entrance Questionnaire for Student Services
  4. Test of Biblical and Theological Knowledge
Overall, these activities required about a little over two hours of time.

DTS First Impressions

Friday, August 19, 2016

Because You Never Get Another Chance...

Ask anyone, first impressions are important.  When we meet someone or work with someone for the first time, it’s natural for us to want to put our best foot forward.  We hope to leave a lasting impression about who we are and the constitution of our character.

First impressions are also important outside of personal relationships.  In consumer-driven societies, companies spend millions of dollars promoting and defending their brands.  They recognize this investment will draw clients who have a need for their products.  How well a company identifies with the needs of their clients will ultimately determine the client’s satisfaction.

I had an opportunity to make my first impression on Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) during the application process.  Now, I have the opportunity to evaluate what kind of first impressions DTS made on me.

The Search for a Seminary

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Planning My Search for Seminaries. 

With all the possibilities, how should I go about researching and finding a good seminary?  I know that once I find a school, I can use the framework I developed to make an informed decision.  But how to go about actually get started in research was an interesting challenge.

Since I really didn't have a particular school in mind when I decided to go to seminary, I needed to come up with a plan to begin searching for schools that might meet my requirements.  After giving it some thought, I came up with a few ideas to at least get me started.  Within a few short days, I had all the information I needed to begin evaluating a good list of seminaries.  Here's how I decided to do it...

Defining Goals and Limits - Part II

Monday, August 15, 2016

Designing a Plan for Selecting a Seminary

Deciding to go back to school is a big decision.  I needed to design a plan that enables me to efficiently and consistently evaluate different schools.

In formulating a plan upfront, I'll save a lot of time when I begin narrowing my school choices down.  In Part I of this post, I began discussing several questions.  So far I know; what my goals are, what kinds of programs I'm looking into, what kinds of schools I'm willing to consider, and that I'm looking for an online degree program.  Today, I'll pick up where I left off and finish discussing my seminary evaluation criteria.

Defining Goals and Limits - Part I

Friday, August 12, 2016

Back to School, Now What?

Deciding to go to school was kind of the easy part.  The challenging part is deciding which schools to actually apply to.  It became pretty obvious right up front that there is no magic solution to finding the ideal school.  However, having made the decision to go back, it's relatively easy to put a little extra work into choosing the right school.

Besides, schools are like shoes; there are many different kinds that appeal to people with many different needs and many different tastes.  I just had to start ‘trying some on’ to see which one would be the best fit.

Forty-Something and Back to School

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

It's Deja Vu All Over Again

I’ve been a registered student for over half my life and I believe I’ve more than done my time.  After two engineering degrees, I feel like I earned my leave from the academic world. Never again would I be shackled to the unceasing grind of classes, lab work, projects, homework, presentations, essays, quizzes, exams, and all-nighters.  I’d been dreaming of that day since the third grade.  And there I stood, finally free.

So imagine my predicament to finding myself on the threshold of returning to school.  My leave from the academic world amounted to little more than a furlough.  I must be nuts.  Not just nuts, certifiably nuts.  I’m a full-time husband to a wonderful wife, full-time father to four rowdy little boys, and a full-time professional in the corporate world.  Add in my participation in a local church plant and I’m a pretty busy guy.  So what gives?

My Journey in Online Seminary

Monday, August 8, 2016

Plans are Starting to Come Together

I've decided after careful consideration and thoughtful prayer to pursue an online degree program at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).  Making a decision to pursue any degree is fraught with uncertainty and I think that is only compounded when deciding to study entirely online.

I've decided to create this blog to document my exploits in the hopes that I might provide you with some insights which might help you in your own considerations for study.