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Posts tagged ‘update’

Internship has begun!

Hello everyone!

Thanks for reading! As most (if not all) of you know, I recently moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to begin my internship. Well, the beginning has begun now as of church service this morning. I’m happy to report that, besides some mic difficulties and stepping on the hem of my alb once or twice, the services went fairly well.

Tomorrow I look forward to my first full day with both St. Luke’s hospital and St. Stephen’s Church. I’m hoping they go easy on me for my first day, but you never know. I’ll be learning the ropes at the hospital from 8-4:30 and then head back to St. Stephen’s for evening events including Bible Study. It’s going to be fun, I promise!

I’ll have more to report later (and hopefully some awesome pictures of my new place) when I post again. Hopefully sometime mid-week you should see another post.

Thanks again for reading!

God Bless!

 

– Intern Paul Andrew Johnson

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Planning on “Proclaim”ing again this year!

I realized, quite ashamedly in fact, that I haven’t really shared some great news with my friends and family near and far. So for all who haven’t heard, I’m sorry.

Proclaim Retreat, 2013

With that, I am happy to report that, beginning this Thursday at 1pm, I will begin my adventure to California to attend the Proclaim Retreat again this year. I am excited to see some familiar faces and get to know a ton of knew people as well during this trip. I only hope that I’ll have enough to do between flights on Thursday afternoon/evening and Friday morning as well as Monday afternoon/evening and Tuesday morning. Despite my best efforts, I’ll be spending nearly a day in airplanes or airports before and after the retreat.

If you’d like more information on the retreat, you can click here and it will bring you to Extraordinary Lutheran Ministries’ website on the retreat. Please pray for me on Thursday and Tuesday that my flights go well and send warm thoughts my way over the weekend. I’ll definitely be doing the same and will even try to send a bit of warm weather and sunshine along with it. It’s looking like mid to high seventies all weekend long. Ahh, I can almost feel it!

Quick Thoughts

Hey everyone!

So for anyone reading this that doesn’t attend St. John Lutheran Church, or does but wasn’t at the annual meeting, I gave a quick speech thanking everyone for their support, and explaining this wonderfully and scary journey called Seminary. I can remember that Christmas Eve service, back in ’09 when I sat down with the family and had my life changed for the better. We had been a bit late, so rather than sit on the left side of the church in “our” pew, we were a bit further towards the front and on the right side. Today I decided to sit over on the right side again. Partly because I was thinking about that service, but mostly because I wanted to catch up with Carlyn and Marlene. A tiny fragment of the decision may or may not have been to mess with dad’s head, but I’ll let the reader decide on that one.

In any case, being on that right side again made me realize all that has happened to me in that church since I got that calling again and finally stopped saying “no.” I helped out with communion for the first time and had my zipper down through the whole thing. Thanks again, Jim L for catching that one. I filled in for services when the pastors needed someone to cover, and undoubtedly goofed up something or another each time. I told the pastors I was terrified of the thought of working with youth, so they told me to become a confirmation guide…

The list goes on and on of the amazing opportunities that I’ve had, and the little slip-ups that have occurred along the way. At any one of those times, the congregation could have said “you know, maybe we’ll take you off the list for communion assistant” or “I think next time we’ll just hire a pulpit supply person” or “you’re afraid of kids? Oh, well then never mind.” But instead of those responses I got positive reinforcements, helpful tips (like making sure your zipper’s up before communion distribution) and encouraging nudges to explore my growing edges. I have been nurtured by the church. I have been graced with a loving, forgiving, and understanding family that stands by me and encourages me every step of the way.

My excuse all along to God was that I couldn’t do it. What I didn’t realize was that I was really thinking I couldn’t do it alone. Luckily for me, God has made sure that I didn’t have to. I have been surrounded by love, raised up in a strong faith, and encouraged to fulfill my potential. Along the way I have met truly amazing people, realized the gems in my life with my friends, family, former co-workers, random acquaintances… I can’t do it alone, and that’s okay, because I don’t have to. I only hope I can help others realize that themselves by being a part of their support network. Because the truth of the matter is that God doesn’t abandon us in our hour of need.

Blessings to you all!

-Paul

 

2012 in review!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.Below is their annual report.

A special thanks to Carlyn, Pastor Andrea, Mom and Dad, Shawn Brooks and Tami Brooks-Groth and all my other dedicated readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed this past year, and look forward to the next with me on my seminary journey. Peace and God Bless,

Paul Johnson

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Recharging Batteries: Time at home!

Hey y’all!

Wow, I can’t believe yet another semester is done! I am now officially halfway through my academic courses for Seminary and over a third of the way through Seminary as a whole! It feels like just last week I was starting Summer Greek and now, a blink of an eye later, I’m finishing my third semester and getting ready for the fourth. Then it’s off to a year of internship and a final year of schooling before (I hope) I’ll graduate and get my first call. Where DID the time go?

This past week has been a great time of rest and relaxation. I managed to finally slow down on Thursday (because the Seminary closing MADE me) and then on Friday I made my way home to join the family. I’ve played some cards, chatted with family, gotten a ton of hugs from loved ones, and recharged my batteries at home and at church. It has been a truly amazing time, back in De Pere and celebrating Christ’s birth with my fabulous family and the amazing people of St. John Lutheran in De Pere! Once again, this time of the year has left me in tears, but in a good way. I have been so moved by this season and the wonderful message of Christ’s coming, knowing that it has already happened and occurs each and every day.

I was actually joined with the family; mom, dad and Jim, at St. John Lutheran in Ashwaubenon when I thought of something truly amazing. It had been three years ago, at that Christmas Eve Service in 2009 that I finally stopped running from my call and let God into my life. I used to think I was saying “yes” to God at that moment, but I’ve since realized that I merely stopped saying “no.” In actuality, I do believe my words to God that evening were “Okay, God. You win.” And ever since that moment, my life has been changed so drastically. I look back now, Three years wiser, three years closer to God, 70+ lbs lighter, and can’t help but shed even more tears this Christmas Season in thanksgiving. I am so thankful that God so loved us that God sent Christ as a child to us, and that God–for whatever reason–has chosen me to spread this Good News and is preparing me to administer the Sacraments. What an honor to be given an reminded of every year, and all I had to do was stop fighting with God and let the Holy Spirit work in my life.

If these past three years are any indication, the next three are going to be a wild and crazy experience! Thanks be to God!

Let me tell you a (Picture) Story!

Well hey there!
It has been great going home each month and worshipping with the people of St. John, having the privelege of sharing the Good News, and I’ve loved being able to write each month in the Newsletter to let everyone know what I’m up to. But in the midst of the fun, I’ve let something go for far too long. You see, I was asked to get some pictures of me. Pictures where I don’t look like a sourpuss. You see they wanted pictures that the church could use and hold on to so they remember me and can be reminded of what I look like while I’m away. It totally makes sense, but alas, I kept forgetting and when I did ask my friends for help (my camera broke) either they forgot or I did. But that time is now over, because I have sent some pictures to the church for their enjoyment.

Then I got to thinking… Why should they be the only ones who can look at my gorgeous face? Or what if one of the people from church needs a Paul fix but, woe are they, it’s ten thirty at night and the church is closed? So I decided it only fair to write a blog and tell a picture story at the same time with the pictures we took. A little fun now that the semester is over. I hope you enjoy!

So here I am, standing next to my good friend Martin Luther. We at Wartburg Seminary, being good buds with the man, like to call him “Marty” for short.

Me and my buddy Marty!

Here I am, chilling with Marty!

So what do I do during the week at the Seminary? That’s a great question. I start each day getting ready for class…

Getting Ready for Class

Getting Ready for Ethics

And we always have great discussions…

Talking with Classmate

Talking with Doug Dill. No doubt about the third use of the Law, Phenomenology, Christus Victor or some other scholarly subject.

And sometimes we work together in small groups, especially for projects or for brainstorming on paper ideas…

Peer Editing

Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Peer Editing

And of course, being future leaders in the church, we gather every day at 9:30 for Chapel.

Word of God, Word of Life

Today’s Reading… Word of God, Word of Life.

And sometimes I help out with the services…

All robed up!

Look at me, all robed up!

And we gather together in prayer…

Please Rise

“Please Rise for the Intercessory Prayers”

And silently reflect on our words and actions…

Silent Reflection

silently reflecting on the day…

Then after chapel and more classes it’s time to gather together again for a community and do what we do best. Talk and EAT!

Mmm...Lunch!

Mmm…they always have delicious food for lunch!

Then it’s back to the classes and of course, some studying!

Looking Things Over

Group Study is quite popular here. Yay, bonding!

And we make sure to have some fun and goof off at times to keep things light.

Getting Interrupted

I am not amused at your jokes… nah, I’m just kidding, that was hilarious!

But sometimes you have to find I quiet place to study and read…

Gotta Study!

Gotta study, study, study!

But it’s okay, because it’s pretty cool stuff we’re learning here…

This is Good Stuff!

This is Good Stuff!!! Look at all that highlighting!

And after the studying is done, it’s nice to be able to sit back and relax. I enjoy crocheting dragons and taking care of my plants.

Dragons and Plants

Isn’t he cute?!?! And look at that plant behind me!

Well, that’s all from me!

Merry Christmas!

From all the people at Wartburg, Have a Merry Christmas!

Losing it!

Well it’s official, folks! I’ve lost it! But fret not, because not all of it is bad!

First things first, I think I’m losing it mentally in these last few weeks of the semester. I only have a few assignments left to finish, but they seem to be growing exponentially harder by the hour. Perhaps once my Hebrew Paper is finished I’ll be able to take a few cleansing breaths and start on the next assignment. Only two papers, a fieldwork report, two exams, one reading and a few translations left. I can do this!

The other part of losing it is absolutely fantastic! For those of you that don’t know, when I first felt the call to ministry in late December of ’09, I was 369lbs. Yes, you read that right. YOWZA! I’ve been working on eating healthier and exercising more and am happy to report that for the first time in my entire adult life, I am down into the 200s! I slipped under the 300 mark this morning and plan to keep going! When I looked at a picture of me from first semester at Wartburg, I could definitely see the difference! I’m hoping that by the time this seminary journey is done I’ll be a much healthier, much skinnier and hopefully much wiser person. As it is, I think I’m on the right track 🙂

I would ask for your thoughts and prayers in these next two weeks of classes and the next few months of holidays and food-induced comas. And for all you amazing people in the greater green bay area, watch out, because I’ll be home from the 21st of December to the 1st of January. I can’t wait to see you again!

Blessings,

Paul Johnson

From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
From left to right: Mary, Deb, Me, Kelly
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!
Picture of me when my aunt and mom visited. I was making it rain!