Time in California

Last month Blaire and I wrapped up our final classes for our second year at seminary! We then traveled to California to see family. We loved every second of our trip (aside from my root canal and the titanic dead leg I received from my younger brother, Eric, upon arrival). It was great as always to see our friends and family in California and to worship with them at The Shoreline Church.

IMG_0304We are so grateful for all the love and support we received in California. We went to Downtown Disney and became godparents! This is future superstar Chandler Hope McGuirk!

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Lastly, this is my beautiful mother, Karen. She has been busy decorating the yard this spring. Blaire and I can’t wait to see it next month! We will be in Pennsylvania visiting friends and family from July 19th -24th. This will be an important time for us to visit our friends at St. Paul’s Church and for me to completely destroy my younger brother, Eric.

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Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Time is no guarantee of wisdom. You can grow old and die a fool… If you’re learning everything the hard way, you might want to ask yourself if it’s possible that you’re hardly learning.”
– Erwin Raphael McManus, Uprising

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
– Theodore Roosevelt & Brené Brown

 

 

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Finishing Year II

Blaire and I are currently two years and two-thirds of the way through our time here in New England. We mostly love it but over the past month we have been buried in books and notes preparing for our finals. By God’s grace we finished well! Blaire studied really hard and knocked her final tests out of the park. I’m so proud of her because these were the first tests she’s taken in 8 years! She’s the best.

Jonah Gu!

This semester has marked some major transitions for us. I started my job at the church while remaining a full time student and Blaire became a student while maintaining the same hours at her job. Needless to say we were busy. Fortunately, this business made us more dependent on God and dependance always makes it harder to believe the lie that we can do life without God. Blaire and I are learning that the things really worth doing are usually harder but they also provide an opportunity to grow closer to God.

Spring in New England

Now it’s time for us to take some much needed vacation to be with family. We will be in California visiting friends and family from May 17th to the 26th.

Prayer Requests:
Safety while we travel.
For an upcoming trial regarding one of Chris’ loved ones.

Praise Reports:
Patti Peviani and Karen Colangelo are the best moms ever! (Happy Mother’s Day!)
Our church now champions the Foster Care program for the North Shore!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
– Theodore Roosevelt & Kent Kusel

“Knowledge is good, method is good, but one thing beyond all others is necessary; and that is to have a head, not a pumpkin, on your shoulders, and brains, not pudding, in your head.”
– A. E. Housman, The Application of Thought to Text Criticism

Spring at Seminary

Blaire and I have survived another New England winter! This season has been an incredible learning experience for us as we attempt to balance work, school, and ministry. We are both learning so much at Seminary but I can confidently say we still don’t have it all figured out.

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Will there be snow in heaven? No.

Over the past few months I have been able to plan and participate in our churches Global Missions Retreat as well as connect with the local and global missionaries. It is always so interesting to hear about the different approaches to making a difference in a community. It can sometimes be easy for me to forget that Jesus left comfort to bring light into the dark places everywhere he went. Jesus loved broken people enough to break bread with them.

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Providence, Rhode Island

Prayer Request:
Less than 3% of people in New England claim to have any sort of relationship with Jesus. Many people are struggling with depression and deep personal wounds. They often feel angry with God and hurt by the church. This can sometimes feel more like the mission field than our time in Mexico. We share the gospel here because we believe that where the Sprit of the Lord is, there is freedom!

Praise Report:
Blaire and I have been able to see God moving in real and amazing ways. We have seen deeper joy in our marriage, unity and openness at our church, and the loving impact that humility brings to our community.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
– African Proverb

“It is certain that a young man or woman who fervently loves God, although adorned with limited gifts, will be more useful to the church of God with their meager talent and academic achievement than a vain and worldly fool with double doctor’s degrees who is clever but has not been taught by God.”
– Philip Jacob Spener’s Pia Desideria

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Frozen pond, adult child.

In the Beginning… of our Year

The year is off to an exhilarating start! In January I was able to take a compelling class on “Practical Apologetics.” Apologetics is the art of “reasoned arguments in the justification of something.” In this case we explored the topics of absolute truth, how millennials think, post-modernism, the existence of good and evil, and the relationship between faith and science. I was really challenged by these topics and discussions and would highly recommend Christian Apologetics to anyone with questions. (Which I think might be everyone.)

Blaire also began her classes in January. She is taking a class on Christian theology and another on the life of the historical Jesus! She can usually be seen lugging around a copy of The Institutes by John Calvin. I am taking a class on the history of the church over the past 500 years, one on the theology of the Old Testaments and the last one on the critical issues in the Christian mission to Muslims. Our small group is going through the book of Acts and can be seen “in action” in the picture below.

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Serving at the shelter

Aside from shoveling, this season has been great so far! As the new Global Mission Intern at our church I am able to serve and support our global missions team as well as our churches missionaries. I will also work toward the mobilization of prayer and missions training for the congregation.

Gaining this experience has really been invaluable for me. I am thankful for all the support and the opportunity to serve in this capacity.

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Yeah, we shovel.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“The great art of life is to moderate our passions. Objects of affection are like other belongings. We must love them enough to enrich our lives while we have them, not enough to impoverish our lives when they are gone.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress

“Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“You can’t beat Lewis and Tolkien.”
― C.M.D. Colangelo

Colangelo’s 2018 Overview

This year has been one of the hardest and most rewarding years we’ve ever had! Thankfully, so many of our loved ones braved the elements to come visit us! We really can’t thank them enough! In 2018 I took 13 classes (a full load is 10)! Blaire finished her reading course which completed her Associates Degree in Biblical Studies with the University of the Nations, while crushing it at her job all year, and finding time to help lead worship at our church and feed me… needless to say my wife is incredible!

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She also finds time to take me to my favorite store; Savers!

The month of December marks the half way point of our season at seminary. Time definitely flies! Much more importantly the year ended with Blaire jumping into her own Seminary education! She has been accepted into the Master of Arts in Christian Studies degree program! Starting in January Blaire will be both working and studying part time so I know she welcomes your prayers.  I have also started in a new position at our church. Beginning this year I will be serving as the Global Missions Intern at the First Presbyterian Church of the North Shore. I am grateful to say that since leaving the mission field in 2017 this is one of the most concrete steps I have been privileged to take in pursuit of God’s calling on my life. God is good!

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Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Our wounds are not signs that we are bad or guilty. Our wounds are the sacred openings through which grace can enter our lives.”
– Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety by Robert Gerzon

“Fear can go to hell
Shame can go there too
I know whose I am
God, I belong to You”
– Bryan & Katie Torwalt

Thanks Given

First and foremost I’d like to say Happy Thanksgiving! Blaire and I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who’s taken the time out to see what we’re up to and what God’s been up to in our lives. We know that none of this would be possible without prayer, friendship and all those who have decided to partner with us! It really is a humbling gift to live with gratitude for so many. That being said this has been an eventful month!

Breakthrough in the city!We were able to visit New York City with our close friends the Lee’s… and we loved it!

Later on in the month the Peviani’s, (our parents on Blaire’s side,) came to visit us! We were able to see Boston, Cap Code and the North Shore as the leaves were changing… which I have not captured a single pictures of.

In other news, Blaire has decided to apply to Gordon-Conwell to begin a degree in Christian Studies! We are both ecstatic about this decision to continue to pursue God’s calling on her life in this way! We would love and appreciate your prayer for this and for survival as the temperature has been around zero degrees this week. You may be able to see our excitement in this picture of the first snow which historically took place in NOVEMBER.

First Snow

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“There is more than one sort of prison, Captain, I sense that you carry yours wherever you go.” – Chirrut Îmwe (Rogue One)

“I Freed a Thousand Slaves. I Could Have Freed a Thousand More If Only They Knew They Were Slaves” – A Book by Dhirubhai Patel on Harriet Tubman

“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Phil 4:11). “Paul was not dependent upon any external circumstances. This is the true secret of Christian contentment, wherever it is found. We cannot make our own circumstance; we cannot keep away the sickness, the pain, the sorrow, the misfortune from our life; yet as Christians we are meant to live in any and all experiences in unbroken peace, in sweet restfulness of soul.” Contentment by J.R. Miller

What I Learned About Rest

This month I went to a silent retreat called “Soul Sabbath.” The silence part was pretty straight forward but our opening instructions were a little shocking to me. I could tell the Nuns who hosted our group were fully aware of the culture we carried with us. They passed around a basket collecting cellphones and electronics of any kind as soon as we walked in. They only told us a few things before we were dismissed to our respective rooms. They told us where the bathrooms and fire exits were in addition to the location of the trail through the woods so we didn’t get lost. Lastly they said, “Most importantly, know that you cannot accomplish this rest. In fact if you’re doing it right you won’t accomplish anything today. You will rest”

Apparently my group was as confused as I was. “Can I read my book?” someone asked “What about catching up on my prayer journal?” said another. “Can I stand in line at the DMV or maybe watch some paint dry?” I thought to myself as I surrendered my phone and the only work I brought.  Again the staff were not at all surprised by our… cultural confusion.

“If you get tried you can take a nap.” One of the leaders said slowly. Then they paused, looked out at us and told us something I had never heard before. The infant cries out to the parents for everything they need and it is the responsibility of the parents to listen and love the child. But if you have children you know how sweet it is when your child falls asleep on your chest. There is an inexpressible love and trust to that silence. How often do we lay our heads against the chest of our heavenly Father in essence saying, “You have comforted me and I trust you. I trust you enough with my life… to rest.”

It wasn’t easy but I can confidently say I accomplished absolutely nothing that day… and I don’t think I’ve ever felt closer to God’s heart.

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The Topsfield Fair with friends

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Forrest, Jenny, a deer, and Batman… as usual.

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Blaire’s Photography of FALL!

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Ravi Zacharias speaking at chapel 

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“Dan Rather, an anchor for CBS, once asked Mother Teresa what she said during her prayers. She answered, “I listen.” So Dan turned the question and asked, “Well then, what does God say?” Mother Teresa smiled with confidence and answered, “He listens.” For an instant, Dan didn’t know what to say. “And if you don’t understand that,” Mother Teresa added, “I can’t explain it to you.” – Max Lucado’s Just Like Jesus

“If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs) than the love of God is the end of wisdom (1st John).” – Dr. Tom Pfizenmaier

The Department of Redundancy Department.” – Pastor Greg Hills

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin of Hegel’s Dictum

 

Seminary Year 2: All the Facts

Have you ever wondered what kinds of books are assigned in seminary? Probably not… and look no further. This semester I’ll be taking 5 fairly diverse classes and I thought it might be interesting to add the required reading for those classes. I’ve also underlined my top recommendations (even though I’m still working through most of them). Just in case any of them seem interesting enough to warrant further reading.

Class: Spiritual Formation for Ministry
Required Reading:
1.) Ruben and Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants.
2.) Thomas, Gary, Sacred Pathways: Discovering Your Soul’s Path to God.
3.) Foster, Richard, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
4.) Macchia, Steve, Crafting a Rule of Life.
5.) Ash, Christopher, Zeal without Burnout: Seven Keys to a Lifelong Ministry of Sustainable Sacrifice.
6.) Benner, David, The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery
7.) Any kind of Prayer Journal for your personal use.

Class: New Testament Interpretation (Blaire’s auditing this class!)
Required Reading:
1.) Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th edition (NA28) (Greek New Testament)
2.) Fee, Gordon D. New Testament Exegesis, A Handbook for Students and Pastors
3.) Green, Joel B, and Lee Martin McDonald. The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts.
4.) Green, Joel B. Hearing the New Testament: Strategies for Interpretation.
5.) Metzger, Bruce M., and Bart D. Ehrman. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.
6.) Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral.

Class: Advance of the Church in the Non-Western World
Required Reading:
1.) Gonzalez, Justo L., The Changing Shape of Church History
2.) Hastings, Adrian, ed. A World History of Christianity
3.) Kim, Sebastian and Kirsteen, Christianity as a World Religion
4.) Walls, Andrew, The Missionary Movement in Christian History

Class: The Black Christian Experience: From Africa to the Americas
Required Reading:
1.) Carter, Anthony J. On Being Black and Reformed: A New Perspective on the African American Christian Experience.
2.) Daniels, Robin. This Holy Seed: …Early Churches of North Africa.
3.) Gonzalez, Justo L. and Ondina E. Gonzalez. Christianity in Latin America:
4.) Lampe, Armando (editor). Christianity in the Caribbean:
5.) Sanneh, Lamin. West African Christianity: The Religious Impact.

Class: Perspectives: On the World Christian Movement
Required Reading:
1.) R. D. Winter, S. C. Hawthorne, Perspectives on the World Christian Movement
2.) Perspectives Study Guide

I’m enthusiastic about this semester probably because I haven’t counted the total number of pages I’ve just listed or the number of pages I’ll have to write. Blaire may be the most productive person I’ve ever met, and she loves the fall weather! Needless to say she’s even more excited.

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IMG-1645Great time camping with friends!

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“The Word of God is food for our souls. Living bread. All too often we feel ashamed for missing our time in the Word but when you miss breakfast you don’t feel ashamed… you feel hungry.” Ps 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” – Dr. Petter via Jake Williams

“Jonathan Edwards farted.” – The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine

Vacation Celebration!

The month of August may have been the most difficult yet rewarding month so far. The Greek II summer intensive class honestly tried to kill me but by God’s grace and the help of my neighbors Jake and Josiah, I made it through! I should buy them Chipotle. Seconds after completing my 3-hour Greek final Blaire and I flew to California beating our checked bag by only 4 DAYS! Aside from that and the 24-hour delay on the flight back, our trip was unbelievable. These are the highlights…

 

This is Chandler Hope McGuirk! This tiny angel is our brand new niece and Blaire’s current obsession (for obvious reasons). It was great to see Blaire enjoying her niece because she has been Wonder Woman this summer. She worked full time while finishing up her Reading Course and somehow managed to help lead worship at our church and workout and put food on the table everyday! That was a run-on sentence but it shows how hard she’s been working and how badly she needed to see her family.

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We also saw a shark! Alan and Patti took us to a Darius Rucker Concert for my birthday!  And we helped serve at The Shoreline Church! (It was an eventful trip.)

 

Lastly we got to stay with the Bisant family and see little Joey. If you would like to hear more about Joey’s incredible journey please visit caringbridge.org/joeybisant.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

—Horatio Spafford (1876)

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring. (And my older brother Tony)

Top 3 Advantages of Biblical Greek

Why even Learn Biblical Greek?

Interestingly that was my main question entering “Summer Greek.” It would be nice to study the Bible in its original languages while in ministry but is it really necessary? God’s Word is God’s Word, right? Well to be completely honest with you I’m still on the fence about it. This has easily been the most academically challenging summer of my entire life. I’ve been studying 15 hours a day 7 days a week and sometimes I feel guilty even taking full breaks to eat meals. It might seem like a small price to pay for knowing 80% of the New Testament as it left the hand of Paul or John but I have had to continually remind myself why I’m doing this. What follows are my top 3 reasons for learning Ancient Biblical Greek.

#1 The History:

When Alexander the Great set out to conquer the known world he intentionally introduced the Hellenistic age by forcing all conquered people speak the same language. The New Testament is written in this form of “Koine” (κοινη) Greek. “Koine” just means “Common” because it was the common language used by all people. My Greek textbook encourages me that two major lessons can be taken from this. One, Paul says, “In the fullness of time God sent his son” (Gal 4:4), and part of that fullness was a universally understood language. And second, God uses the common language spoken by all people to communicate the gospel.

#2 The Words:

I believe the greatest hurdle for learning Biblical Greek is also what makes it the most rewarding. Greek words are “fully loaded” meaning they contain more information then we can sometimes translate into English. For example there are roughly 8 different variations of every noun. This may seem like a lot but not compared to the 36 different forms of every verb. These forms are a headache to remember but they also help clarify what the creator of the universe was saying about our eternal salvation. So… there may be some validity in learning them.

#3 The Lost:

I considered naming this section “The Truth” because when it comes to the Bible the truth (or lack there of) can make all the difference but the truth is the Bible has always been for the lost sheep. Paul says in Philippians 1:15-18 that, “some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others… do so out of love… But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” Like everything else at seminary I’m realizing it’s a lot less about me and a lot more about Jesus. (Surprise, surprise.) It has been helpful for me to remember that I’m only here because Christ has already freed me from so much pain and emptiness in this life. Additionally He has called me (like all Christians) to offer the opportunity of that same love and healing and fulfillment and joy and salvation to others.

Our Favorite Quotes Right Now…

“All that is gold does not glitter, – Not all those who wander are lost; – The old that is strong does not wither, – Deep roots are not reached by frost. – From the ashes a fire shall be woken, – A light from the shadows shall spring; – Renewed shall be blade that was broken, – The crownless again shall be king.” – Gandalf

(Blaire is reading “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R Tolkien)

3 Years! Can you believe it!?

Just in case you missed our 3 year anniversary.