A Much Needed Selah

Another year at Portland Bible College 1 is over. I’m a senior now. It’s hard to believe that I have already completed three years. I still at times feel like I’m a freshman who just came in wide-eyed and curious. They say when you enjoy something, it tends to go by much faster.

These past three years have been years of growth, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Though I’m not the same Ashish that walked onto this campus at the fall of ‘05. God has had to change much in me. I’ve walked through seasons and times where I felt the presence of God so close to me, and yet others where I wondered where God was. There were times I felt the corrective discipline of God and other times when I felt I could do nothing wrong. The important thing is that God has been shaping and molding me. I’ve learned the value of embracing and loving people. I am a part of a greater community, in the body of Christ, and I’ve learned that I must embrace that understanding wholeheartedly.

I sometimes wonder why God does things they way He does them. You sometimes wish that God would change you completely instantaneously; the sobering truth however is that the end result of that change is just as important as the process God walks you through to get to that change. I’ve been learning that in these past three years.

A friend once told me that PBC is probably the best place to be a heretic. 2 Now his reason is that the covering and accountability that this college provides you, is like an insurance policy. There’s always someone who’s looking out for you and correcting you if you veer off course. Though I haven’t veered off into heresy, I’ve come close on a few occasions. It’s been the relationships I’ve developed with the spiritual influences in my life that have kept me on the straight and narrow.

I look at the godly people who have shaped me while I’ve been here and all I can do is thank God more and more for them. I look at a Wayne and Alida Little, who so willingly have opened their home to me, and have loved me as if I were an adopted son in their family. I look at a Bob Wagar, who I can throw ideas and frustrations toward. He always listened, never looked down on me, and never failed to give me an answer or correct the way I was thinking. I look at a man like Jack Louman, who I am always encouraged by, and one who never fails to ask me how my mom and sisters are doing.

I look at my youth pastor in Ben Windle, who has taken the time to actually pastor me in ways no one else has. He’s the one who actually took the time to be honest with me even when I was a knucklehead at times in my thinking. I look at my PBC campus pastors in Rich and Angela Miller, who I know have always loved me, and continue to encourage and push me toward great things in God. I look at Jay and Rosie Thomas, who have treated me with so much respect, and who I admire and esteem greatly. I marvel at how wonderful they’ve been to me even through everything we’ve walked through together.

I embrace the biblical understanding that Lanny Hubbard has instilled in me. He has taught me how to study the bible myself, and I consider that an amazing gift to me. I look at the example of Ken and Glenda Malmin, who have opened their hearts to all of us bible college students. Being on the student leadership team at school, I get to see how transparent and real they are with us. I look the influence of Doug Lasit and Randy Mishler and Generation Church, as I remember the sermons that influenced and shaped me through my high school years. I look at the life and testimony of Frank Damazio as he leads this church with the highest integrity and honor. I will always remember that even through the hustle and bustle of running a large church, he still takes the time to ask me how I’m doing without a dad in my life.
Living Now

The spiritual influences of Portland Bible College and City Bible Church on my life have made me the man I am today. There can be no denying that fact. At times the statement, “familiarity breeds contempt,” is rather true. You hard to realize how good you really have it.

For me, as I live my life today I understand that I am, in some way, a sum of all the people who have shaped and influenced me. Yes, there are those silent mentors, the ones you find in books and such. But the flesh and blood influences that you come across week in and week out, there’s nothing quite like it. Seeing the people who you respect so much on such a close level, as they live transparently before your very eyes, it is as much impacting as it is endearing.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve preached at, or gone to another church, and instinctively I realized how much I think, act, and live out the core values of where I’ve been planted now for the last ten years. You don’t realize it until it actually happens to you. When this has happened to me, I’ve only come to respect and cherish the relationships that have molded and shaped me while I’m here.

Living has everything to do now with me understanding who I am, and what I’m supposed to do in this world. There have been rumblings of me trying to figure that out, but the stark reality is that every day is a new adventure in living life for Jesus. I must continue to trust Him to lead me in His will and timing.
Looking Forward

There are lot of great dreams in my heart. Crazy, insane ideas and dreams for what God wants me to do with my life as I live in Him. It boggles my mind and my heart. I don’t know at times what to do with what God’s given me to do. It’s a scary thing, because when God gives you a dream, you have a beginning and a picture of an end, but really don’t know what’s going to happen as it plays out.

I want to remain in the center of God’s will as I move forward. The season of PBC is drawing to a close, and I’m waiting to see what God does in and through me as I begin this next season here in the next year or so.

There’s something I’ve come to speak out in prayer that helps me draw closer to the heart of my Heavenly Father.

Abba, Abba, I belong to you
Abba, Abba, I belong to you
Abba, Abba, I belong to you 3

   1. this is a small bible college based out of City Bible Church, in Portland, Oregon. I decided to come here in the fall of 2005. ↩

   2. If you are wondering, this friend of mine is none other than the ever knowledgeable Matthew Barron. ↩
   3. This isn’t original with me. I actually first heard Brennan Manning, the author/speaker/mystic, speak it at a seminar at George Fox University. Brennan Manning wrote the book The Ragamuffin Gospel. ↩

Ashish Joy