Fifty-five students have participated in this week’s J-Term classes. That is the highest J-Term enrollment in many years. While many of the students came back to campus to attend these classes, some viewed the sessions online. J-Term is beneficial for students looking to lighten their course load in the future by taking one class this week before all the others start. The flexibility of online participation is an added bonus! The courses offered this week were Bible Study Methods/Hermeneutics, Counseling Cross-Culturally, American Military History, Music Technology, Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics, and Conflict Resolution.
Dr. Gromacki taught Bible Study Methods/Hermeneutics.
Ken Tibberts taught Counseling Cross-Culturally.
Dr. Bitner taught American Military History.
Dr. Cone taught Ethics.
Dr. Hessel taught Conflict Resolution.
Joel Williamson taught Introduction to Philosophy.
Calvary alumni, Patricia Miller and Rachel Gorman, are the authors of the recently released book, God’s Wisdom for Women: Topical Scripture and Encouragement. Mrs. Miller graduated from Calvary Theological Seminary in 2000 and is currently the Biblical Counseling Department Chair here at Calvary. Rachel Gorman is her daughter and a 2010 Calvary graduate. Mother and daughter teamed up to write a book that points women back to Scripture for the answers they seek about lifestyle, daily struggles, relationships, and more. God’s Wisdom for Women is available at christianbook.com, mardel.com, amazon.com, and other sites in both spiral-bound and ebook format.
God’s Wisdom for Women by Patricia Miller and Rachel Gorman
November 28 – Calvary University announced that Dr. Joaquim Braga will transition from Biblical Counseling Department Chair to the Adjunct Faculty role he formerly held. Dr. Braga was part of a bold initiative to lead the department from Brazil, while developing a Brazilian counseling ministry and extending Calvary’s reach into Brazil. After successfully leading a redesign of Calvary’s Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, and after relocating to Brazil to launch his counseling ministry there, Dr. Braga concluded that he would not be able to effectively serve in both roles, and requested a transition back to the adjunct role. Braga explained, “The only reason I’m asking Calvary to consider finding a replacement for me is because I really believe that having someone on campus will be incredibly beneficial for the program…I have come to realize, through my experience these past several months, that it will be difficult for me to do that job well while also starting our counseling and teaching ministry in Brazil.” Braga added that he very much looks forward to staying involved as an adjunct faculty: “I have absolutely loved the interactions with the students as department chair these past several months – interacting with them always energized me and encourages me spiritually.”
Dr. Cone expressed his gratitude and appreciation for Braga’s ministry and is glad Braga will be able to continue as faculty. “Dr. Braga is a tremendous example of a man who practices what he preaches. Just as he is teaching our students to serve others from a Scriptural foundation, he is doing that in his own life and ministry. And sometimes that means making really difficult decisions about priorities and time commitments. I am proud of Joa, and thankful he is a member of our faculty. I think our students are paying attention and recognize that there is as much to be learned from observing how our faculty live and make decisions as there is to be learned in the classroom.”
Dr. Cone added that Calvary will be seeking a Department Chair for the Biblical Counseling department who will be able to build on the good work done by Dr. Braga and his predecessors in advancing Calvary’s strong commitment to God’s word as sufficient and authoritative and to providing students with the best training and most usable credentials.
Christmas time is a holiday celebrated throughout the world as many Christians reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ and what this birth has meant for the world at large. However, there is another important holiday that may have a tendency to be overlooked by many and this is the holiday of Thanksgiving.
The history of Thanksgiving is not just a uniquely American holiday but in terms of the Christian faith is extremely significant. The previous concept of a day of Thanksgiving comes from George Washington, the first president of the United States, who had issued a proclamation for a day of “Thanksgiving and prayer” for all fellowships and denominations on January 1, 1795, in light of the victory of the American Revolution. A portion of George Washington’s proclamation is stated in the following paragraph:
…I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the manifold and signal mercies which distinguish our lot as a nation.
George Washington. Proclamation 6—Day of Public Thanksgiving. Retrived from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65500.
George Washington’s motive for this proclamation was to seek the Lord, thank Him for all of the blessings that He provided, and to keep the citizens from a proud heart, as noted below:
I, George Washington, President of the United States, do recommend to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States to set apart and observe Thursday, the 19th day of February next, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer…for the prosperous course of our affairs, public and private; and at the same time humbly and fervently to beseech the kind Author of these blessings graciously to prolong them to us; to imprint on our hearts a deep and solemn sense of our obligations to Him for them; to teach us rightly to estimate their immense value; to preserve us from the arrogance of prosperity, and from hazarding the advantages we enjoy by delusive pursuits; to dispose us to merit the continuance of His favors by not abusing them; by our gratitude for them, and by a correspondent conduct as citizens and men…
George Washington. Proclamation 6—Day of Public Thanksgiving. Retrived from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65500.
A day of Thanksgiving, for George Washington, had in mind a day set aside for the saints to pray, reflect and ponder the goodness of God and His benefits to the citizens of a young nation. The same idea was echoed by James Madison, the fourth president of the United States when he writes:
It is for blessings such as these, and more especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace, that I now recommend that the second Thursday in April next be set apart as a day on which the people of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their hearts and their voices in a freewill offering to their Heavenly Benefactor of their homage of thanksgiving and of their songs of praise.
James Madison. Proclamation 20-Recommending a Public Day of Thanksgiving For Peace. Retrieved from: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=65984.
The proclamations of both George Washington and James Madison (and even Abraham Lincoln in his proclamation set aside the last day in November as officially Thanksgiving Day) highlights a very important characteristic of the saint, and this is the attitude of thanksgiving.
There are many verses in the Scriptures that discuss the saints and their thanksgiving to the Lord. If the Israelites wanted to offer a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” to the Lord they would do so by a peace offering (Lev. 7:11-14). This specific offering was to honor God and how He was the source of their provision and sustenance. There were those in Israel who were charged with singing songs of thanksgiving to the Lord (Lev. 22:29; Neh. 12:7). A person who played a musical instrument was to offer thanksgiving to the Lord (Ps. 33:2). Additionally, the Psalms are replete with the psalmist offering praises of thanksgiving to God for His works (c.f., Ps. 6:5; 9:1; 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 42:4; 50:14; 69:30; 95:2; 107:1, 22; 116:27; 136:1-26; 147:27).
In the New Testament, there are many verses that speak to the attitude of thanksgiving in light of the Christian’s attitude. Paul often addressed the saints by personally giving thanks to God in his letters (c. f., Rom. 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3; 1 Thess 1:2;). Paul also instructed the saints to be thankful to God and His works (Col. 3:5, 3:17; Eph. 5:4, 5:17-20). A believer can give thanksgiving, not just by praying but singing to the Lord (Col. 3:16-17). It is observed for the Christian to be thankful in every circumstance, good and bad, is also within the will of God (1 Thess. 5:17-18). The author of Hebrews mentions when a believer gives God thanksgiving they are giving a sacrifice of praise to Him, expressing their gratitude to God and His benefits (Heb. 13:5). In other words, thankfulness for the Christian is not just reserved for one day out of the year, but it is to be an essential quality of the believer’s life.
By contrast, the unbeliever refuses to honor the Lord as God and does not give thanks to Him and the things He has done. As Paul addressing the believers in Rome stated below:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom. 1:18-22 NASB emphasis mine
This is the reason both George Washington and James Madison proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to churches in the establishment of this nation: to remember the Lord and all of His benefits. They understood that without the providence and goodness of God, this nation would not have been successful and would not endure. They also understood that it would keep the hearts of those who sought Him humble, knowing that all things that are given to men are given because of the hand of God. The modern history of why Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday is far divorced from the origins of the proclamations of Washington, Madison, and Lincoln. However, the eternal word of God still to this day instructs every believer to give thanks to Him, irrespective of the events and the day. For the believer in Christ, every day is literally “Thanksgiving Day.”
As believers in Christ who are looking forward to Thanksgiving Day let us reflect and give thanks to the Lord for all of the things that He has done and has given to us, not just for the turkey and stuffing with all of the side dishes on the table. In addition, let us continue to give thanks to Him beyond this particular day. For by doing this we are completing the very will of God for us and giving honor and glory to Him.
For those who attended Calvary in the last ‘90s and early 2000s, Dr. Joaquim Braga is a familiar face. He is a fun-loving Brazilian who earned his bachelor’s degree and M.Div. from Calvary. Joa and his wife, Connie (Arbeiter CTS05), then moved to Texas where he earned an M.A. in Biblical Counseling and a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. Since 2011, Dr. Braga has been traveling to Calvary periodically to teach as an adjunct professor.
We are thrilled to announce that Joaquim is now stepping into the role of Seminary Biblical Counseling Program Director. One of the reasons we are so excited about Dr. Braga is how he is using his biblical counseling skills to impact the world for Christ. In October, Joa, Connie, and their children will be moving to Brazil to live out the gospel by counseling and teaching individuals, couples, and families. Dr. Braga feels that there is a good plan in place for him to direct the program while living and serving in South America. It will involve God’s help, of course, plus hard work, administrative support on campus, technology, and some trips to Kansas City, but Joa has big dreams for growing the program for God’s glory.
Dr. Joaquim Braga
Click here to find out more about the Prepare/Enrich Certification Workshop that Dr. Braga will be leading in September. This is for anyone who works with couples in a pre-marital or marriage context. You must sign up and pay by August 30.
Prepare/Enrich is one of the most widely researched relationship assessment tools. Professors and students at colleges and universities worldwide use their scales as a tool to conduct and evaluate their research regarding the changing reality of relationships. More than 4,000,000 couples have prepared for marriage or enriched their relationship through taking the P/E assessment and working with a Certified Facilitator. The assessment itself has been proven to improve relationship satisfaction; however, there is something extraordinary about the relationship a Facilitator develops with a couple that truly helps the couple grow more than they would on their own.
Now, YOU have a chance to become a certified facilitator! If you’re a church leader or in a counseling ministry that deals with premarital/marriage/relationship counseling and are looking for tools to help you create structure, then the Prepare/Enrich seminar with Dr. Joa Braga is an excellent resource. Those attending the workshop will become certified on Prepare Enrich and be able to administer and use the inventory in their ministry with couples. This training is a required assignment for those taking Marriage and Family Counseling this fall.* If you have already taken the class but would like to become a certified facilitator, we would love to have you sign up. Below are more details:
$100 covers the training cost (all materials and one free assessment to use with a couple).
Training to take place 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday, Sept. 9 in the Langmade Room at Calvary University. There will be a lunch break, but lunch is not included in the fee.
Prepare/Enrich is a great relationship assessment tool to be used both in pre-marital and marital counseling.
If you are someone who works with couples: counselors, pastors, mentors, marriage ministry lay leaders, etc.
Simple to use, Scripture-based/supported, valuable counseling tool with tons of resources for the leader and the couple.