Disturb Us, Lord

Greetings, My Ladies!
I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello before I head off to my first day of classes. I’ve been in new student orientation the past several days but today is the real deal and I can’t wait! For those of you who care to know the details, I am working on a Th.M. (Master of Theology) in Biblical Studies at a local seminary just outside of Atlanta limits. This particular Th.M. is a one year advanced Master’s program for students who have already completed a Master’s degree within the field. There are only five of us in the Th.M. program! The program was right up my alley because it is primarily research oriented and I was looking for something that would help me really grow in my research and writing skills. Not to mention all of my Bible classes assume knowledge of Greek and Hebrew, so I will also grow further in my knowledge of the languages as well. Can’t beat that. My classes are the following: Romans, Th.M. Research Seminar, Exegesis of Mark, Christology, Theology of Isaiah and the Exile, and Song of Songs. Pretty sweet schedule, right? Oh, and did I mention that Columbia Theological Seminary is about ten minutes away…? That helped, too. Columbia is Presbyterian and since I am from a different denominational background it will make for a new kind of atmosphere for me. I am really looking forward to being a tad bit out of my comfort zone. Already I have met people from a very wide array of denominations.
We had chapel during orientation and so many things were different about the service. We had a liturgical reading and sang hymns I had never heard of and we did all this in a chapel with beautiful stained glass, a center aisle, and hard wooden pews. I took a few shots of the chapel yesterday because I thought it was so delightful.
But amidst all of the differences in the service, I couldn’t believe how many things were exactly the same. First off, the President of the seminary welcomed us during our chapel service with that old and very standard joke, “Welcome to Columbia Theological Cemetery!” If you have been to seminary, you know well how this joke is completely predictable and yet it works every time. Because, unfortunately, it is true. Seminary often ends up being a spiritually dry time unless a student is intentional about not letting it be so and this was exactly what Dr. Hayner preached about. His text was John 5.36-40, a text that has become so very dear to me over the years.
“I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.”

The part that really gets me is “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life.” There was a long stretch of time during my first several years of theological education that I did not pray. At all. I sat in classes and sermons and rather than receiving the word of God, I listened for leaders to make a theological mistake. And then I would sit around with other students and we would talk about the theological mistakes and whatnot. And we did and said all of this in the name of piety. We would “humbly” explain how we revered the word of God and we didn’t want anyone distorting it or tainting it or mishandling it. Now, don’t get me wrong, those kind of statements are appropriate and noble but when you add a very hard heart, a critical spirit, and a lack of intimacy with God to it- well, it simply isn’t authentic and things go downhill. Very fast. Now this is not everyone’s experience but it was mine. For a season. Thank God He allowed me to live on. My Mom was the most instrumental person in my life in helping guide me out of that dry season. She would often say to me “this is not bearing good fruit in you, Darling… have you spent actual time with the Lord today?” I no longer had the love of God in my heart and it was starting to surface in the way I criticized and looked down on other people and in the way I neglected time with Jesus Himself (see John 5.42).
But the catch here is that during that dry season I was studying Scripture more intensely than I had ever studied it before. Yet I was no longer engaged with the One to whom Scripture points, Jesus. I was no longer receiving life itself. This is a good reminder for all of us who love to study Scripture and my heart leapt for joy when Dr. Hayner preached on this very issue during orientation. Those of us who tend to assume that our spiritual maturity is directly equal to how much Scripture we read on a particular day would do well to keep this verse at the forefront of our minds.
Now, I am not saying that a person can be spiritually mature without reading Scripture but what I am saying is that a person can study Scripture rigorously and not be spiritually mature. Indeed, Jesus said that a person can “diligently study” the Scriptures yet refuse to receive life in Him altogether. The difference here is profound and chilling. There is a right way to read the Scriptures and a wrong way- the wrong way is to read them spiritually detached from the One to whom they point. So, all this to say, I am looking forward to a year drenched in study of the Scripture but I am grateful for the warning and all I know is that I don’t want to go back to that dark place again.
I want to end this blog post with a poem that was also a part of our chapel service but coincidentally is a poem that one of my dear Professors from Wheaton used in his classes on the first day. It made me feel at home. You’ve probably heard it before but it blesses me anew each time I read it.

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
[Sir Francis Drake]
The Library… where I’ll be spending the bulk of my time. It is a pretty nice sized library for a small seminary. The Librarian told me that almost all of the shelves are Bible and Theology!
The side view of the Library…
Have a great Thursday! It’s almost the weekend! Don’t you love four day weeks…?
Love to you,

200 Responses to “Disturb Us, Lord”

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  1. 51
    Dionna says:

    The campus looks beautiful – but the name of your classes alone is enough to stretch my brain!

    I think God has gifted you in this area and I look forward to benefitting from your knowledge in future bible studies. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. 52
    Susan says:

    Thanks for your good words, Melissa. As we begin our Bible study season with "Jesus the One and Only" I'm challenged to see indeed the One and Only.

  3. 53
    Lynn Cowell says:

    What a beautiful blog! I love it and the pics were gorgeous.
    Time with our kids…it goes so fast! One way I redeem it is by reading a devotion to them at breakfast. We also read through a list of "I am's…" from God's word on the way to school.
    Hope you stop by by again!

  4. 54
    Anonymous says:

    Ah Melissa….you are so deep! And I love it. I love the perspective you bring to everything. Thoughts I never think~ ideas I never have. You deeply enrich my mind! Thank you dear one for sharing so much of yourself with us! I feel so blessed! jean

  5. 55
    Debra says:

    You are your mother's child. I can feel the same passion for Christ from your writings as I do from your Mother's. From one blessed Mother to another, Beth I know you are over filled with joy for the path that your daughter is walking. How blessed!

  6. 56
    Jennifer in Acworth says:

    I remember my twenties when I loved studying the scriptures…loved studying but not the author. I cannot even fathom that now but ut was so true. The practice of being academic was always important to me but now I see that was to lift myself up. Thank you, Jesus that You make all things new and that Your mercies are indeed new every morning. I love the hand in handedness of study and relationship now. The Word is alive (I typed alove…an it is that too ~~ a real love of mine now). I totally got you today, Melissa.

    Enjoy your studies now with new eyes and new appreciation. I bet the Word will leap off the page now…without the need for 3D glasses!

  7. 57
    Dori says:

    Dear Melissa,

    What a privilege to hear your heart today!

    I wrote your mother a note just yesterday…another note that will never get mailed because I always thinks that she probably just gets too much mail…about how her message of your strong-willed nature nearly killing her when you were growing up has given me hope in raising my own strong-willed little girl.

    It challenges me to keep on praying that God will channel all of that fire and all of that passion and all of that strong-will into a fiery love for Him, a passion to study His Word that tells of His greatest and faithfulness, and the strong-will to face temptation, be His Voice and point others to Him.

    This post is proof positive that He can do just that with my Lindsey!

    Blessings, my friend. I needed to read this today and thank you for sharing it!


  8. 58
    Anonymous says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for your testimony. I am also a survivor of seminary training. ๐Ÿ™‚ And those were some difficult years for me too. There came a time after I left, that I had to make a very conscious decision to receive the Word of God on simple faith and trust that His revealed truth is TRUTH. Seminary was wonderful…but it messed up my faith in God. I wouldn't trade that experience but I thank God that He pulled me through that dark time and He was more than able to humble me.

    Best of God's blessings to you while you study and I hope you are fully anointed to walk the path He has purposed for you.

  9. 59
    Anonymous says:

    Melissa-I loved your blog. It reminded me of something I overheard one of our DBU students say to another as they walked on campus yesterday. He remarked, "I consider studying hard and making good grades an act of worship." May you "worship" all semester long!

  10. 60
    Anonymous says:


    I cried through most of your post. My head knowledge of God is pretty strong, but my heart knowledge is not. I know I blame God for something that happened in my life that has sent me down a road of depression and sadness. I just am not sure how to get past it. I know that it is affecting every area of my life. Please pray for us that feel our dreams haven't (and may never) come true. Thanks.


  11. 61
    tiggerdaisy says:

    You truly inspire me, Melissa. Truly, you do.

    Thanks for sharing your heart, the Scripture and the poem. Your word today spoke volumes to my soul. My intent this fall is to get deeper into Scripture, but I must focus on my relationship with Christ before, during and after I soak up His Word. Thank you for that gentle reminder.

    I look forward to learning more about your new adventure in future posts! I am a student for life, or at least that is what my mom says! haha I truly love learning and hearing about another's educational journey.

    Prayers and blessings to you,

  12. 62
    barbara head says:

    Melissa, you are so enormously talented. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. I especially liked the poem. U can't wait to hear all about your adventures at "cemetary". You simply bless my socks off. Thank you, sweet Jesus, for Melissa!!!!

  13. 63
    Anonymous says:

    How I admire a young lady so devoted to Our Lord Jesus and the Word. You are truly an inspiration to our young people. I only hope and pray that my 14-year old daughter will have a love for His Word like you "Moore Girls" do. I appreciate all of you so much.
    Much Love,
    Bobbie Lancaster
    Danville, KY

  14. 64
    Jen H. says:

    I LOVE that poem… I printed it out to hang up! Thank you for sharing it and I wish I could sit in your classes with you! God bless! ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. 65
    Nichole says:

    Wow, I had never heard that poem before. I'm printing it out and sticking it on the fridge…next to Beth's DC commissioning from a couple years ago. And no, I didn't even attend that one. It just need to read it daily. That's all.

    Be blessed and remember to schedule in some REST for yourself. Praying that you will feel the Word of the LIVING God breathe down your neck in a shocking way!

  16. 66
    lori says:

    Love it… that poem is beautiful

  17. 67
    Tisha says:

    Melissa-wow-what a testimony! I too agree with Amanda that you are already an excellent writer. Being so transparent with us about your "dry season" actually inspires a bigger thirst in me for the real LIFE that is only found in my Savior, Jesus. Thank you for this.

    Much love,

  18. 68
    Lora says:

    The brick paved walk ways, lamp lights, architecture, iron work, urns of flowers, natural sunlight pouring through stained glass – the whole earth is full of His glory!

    I see you following in your dear mother's footsteps.
    Disturb me LORD!

  19. 69
    TraciG says:

    Well, now that was a zinger, right between my eys. I tend to be a little hyper-critical myself. I'm working on it… Sometimes its hard to know where that balance is between loveing people and loving truth. Thanks for the reminder that all the head knowledge of our Lord means nothing when we don't take His love and relationship along with it!

  20. 70
    Bobbie says:

    What a peaceful looking campus! Enjoy your year and know that you'll be in our prayers. Your classes sound so interesting and I hope you will share bits and pieces throughout your time there.

    Thanks sharing your testimony and the pictures! You're a blessing to all of us…

  21. 71
    Larsen Family says:

    Good luck with your studies this year.

  22. 72
    Laura says:

    My husband is going to seminary right now to be a Presbyterian minister, something I am currently struggling to be at peace with. Not because I disagree theologically but because I often have a bitter heart towards the unfamiliar/different. Your words are encouraging to me, as I see you embrace the change with excitement and appreciation. Thank you~

  23. 73
    Rachel says:

    Oh I am so jealous! I would love to study the Word of God in this environnement!

    I pray that you will grow in Him during those studies! And I'm sure you will.

    Thank you for your testimony.

  24. 74
    Christine Roskamp says:

    Wow Melissa,
    In reading your post I can apply this to the assignment your Mom gave us last night in class. To keep notes or journal any disclosures God gives us whether it be in a scripture, person, sunset, book, etc. Your post hit on a variety of areas for me. My post would be way to long to explain what they are so just trust me when I say your post had a tremendous impact that will help me on so many levels. Since Tuesday's class I have logged in 3 prior to yours now being number 4. One of the others has to do with the total number of ladies that will be meeting with me to sit together next Tuesday evening in class for your Mom's study some of whom have never met before. It is 7 and as one of the ladies pointed out to me when I told her how many…low and behold the very number for perfection – completion as was discussed in Tuesday night's lesson. I just stepped back and said, "Whoa!"
    Between you and your Mom, awareness around us is being plopped right in our faces and the ride is wild and incredible. Thank you for allowing God to take you to the places he has and will to come because we in Siestaville will be drinking from that well of living water learning from and being nurtured by it.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Keep it coming!!!

    Much love and blessings as always.

    Christine Roskamp
    Houston Siesta

  25. 75
    Rebecca says:

    beautiful Pics!!

  26. 76
    Anonymous says:

    how neat the way God revealed himself to you on this first day of school-the "Script" and the poem! That poem is SO good! You are Blessed….. i'm supposed to be noting how God reveals himself to me and for me it is always a Heart-thing…..i saw it in Amanda's poster problem and now i see it in your heart- God always reveals himself to me in the hearts of His Children… Love this revelation (this opportunity), Melissa! i thank God for letting me hear what you are saying!

  27. 77
    kctibs says:

    Melissa – Please keep us informed on what you are learning. I am intrigued and can't wait to hear all about your study material and your experiences.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Kelli in Colorado

  28. 78
    EstherRD says:

    Awesome Melissa,
    I needed to read this and be reminded about the one who I want to grow closer to instead of just have more knowledge of. I will be praying for both of us in this area!
    God bless your semester!

  29. 79
    happymcfamily says:

    I find your enthusiasm for learning absolutely adorable!
    Your mannerisms remind me a lot of myself (maybe that's why I think it's adorable, lol)… except that I haven't come remotely close to committing myself to pursuing such a depth of study.
    I have to say that your talking about it is making me crave it and I will probably get straight off of this computer and go do some Bible study. Seriously, I would love to go to seminary at my own pace (oh my goodness, I could never take your load!), just for the joy of learning, without feeling like I need to create a career out of it to "get my money's worth" (especially since I already don't technically use the degree I have, lol). I actually think it would be fun… cause I'm a little bit geeky like that:-)
    I can already tell I'll want to read whatever book you are planning on writing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the pictures, love the poem, love the testimony. Loved the whole post. It just sort of "fit" and was kind of a positive confirmation regarding some things in my personal life. It is what I like to call a little "sunshine butt-kicking"… you know, conviction that makes you happy because it immediately compels you to action and you know you are doing right by it.

    Blessings for you, girl.

  30. 80
    Dori says:

    P.S. Melissa, I'm thinking that Colin may benefit from your digging further into the Song of Solomon. I'm just sayin'! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. 81
    GentillyIzzie says:

    That comment about the cemetary unfortunatly is incredibly true. Our President here in New Orleans told the first day of Orientation, which seems like a lifetime ago now, "You come into this seminary atmosphere ready to tackle the world for Jesus, and somewhere along the way we end up with brains the size of watermelons and the spiritual life the size of a pea." Oh how true that is…..
    I hope you have a tremendous semester in the word!

  32. 82
    Shellie Paparazzo says:

    I'm excited to hear all that you learn this year. Someday, I may go to bible school, too. I hope so. I know I would love it. Right now I'm too busy helping my kids with their school work.

  33. 83
    jane says:

    Isn't it amazing how God causes each one of us to experience different "trials" and come through victoriously…so that through them we can be a testimony to others?!

    Oops! I might've said more but just noticed my 1 1/2 yr daughter has gotten into my "prayer box" somehow and has scattered index cards all over the floor…

    Thankful for you,

  34. 84
    Melody says:

    I loved your post today because I too am starting seminary- tomorrow! I've heard from so many people about the spiritual dryness that can take place in seminary when you are so entrenched in studying the word, but not intent on the Word himself. My prayer for you and for me is that we would never be so caught up in the study of theology that we miss out on anything God has for us, and I know to hear from Him I must attend to Him. I will pray that you focus on Him alone!

  35. 85
    Julie says:

    I have loved your moms work and have recently just been a regular to the blog. I was floored when I read this last post. I went to Columbia, there and had a very similar experience. Dr. Hayner was one of my advisors while I was there. His wife was a classmate of mine. We graduated together in 2006. What I fought with there was the fact that I was terrible at the academic realm of seminary an it tested my faith to the very core of my being. One of the only things that kept me going to finish was my call from God to the ministry. I think it is so awesome that you are there. It is a small but beautiful campus. I do not live far from the area if you need anything just let me know. Blessings on this new venture.
    Love in Christ,
    [email protected]

  36. 86
    jennyhope says:

    Melissa…this is such a word. Been there done that…and then I was sifted like wheat.
    I heard your mom talk one time about being critical and judgmental even at the tv. I have had to watch my heart because I will find myself almost yelling at the news and not praying one lick over the situation. Anyway, I will remember to pray for you! SO glad you have this opportunity!

  37. 87
    Valerie says:


    I've always enjoyed your writings and today's post was no exception! I've been going through that "dry" season you wrote about (and I am not in seminary). Despite my reading, studying, and overall self immersion in the scriptures I started to feel an unexplained and unwelcomed lack of enthusiasm (for lack of better words). I want so desperately to constantly and consistently be filled with the Spirit but instead have felt a void. Admittedly I had started to slack off in my daily prayer time figuring as long as I was spending time in the word, I was "doing my part" and everything would be fine and dandy.

    Today I was just plain angry. I didn't want to pray, I didn't want to read scripture…in all honesty I just wanted to sit and do nothing. Against my own wishes I picked up my bible and started to read. Today I read John, Chapter 5. I re-read those very words you wrote on the blog as they seemed to strike a cord at the time. I had not read your post yet. I thought of your mom's gentle command at Tues night's bible study to keep a journal of how God reveals himself to us over the next ten weeks.

    I prayed today for God's presence, for his wisdom and guidance and today he has given it.

    An entry for my journal!

    Thank you for the post and thank you for the poem! That is going on a wall somewhere!

    Good luck this semester!


  38. 88
    Bina says:

    I know my comment is the bottom of about a million…but wanted to say thank you for posting this! I love the part where you spoke about being mature or not mature in Bible reading (in bold)…it really struck a chord within my heart!
    Huggles to you today!

  39. 89
    Anonymous says:

    Is that Dr. Hayner Steve Hayner who used to be at University Pres here in Seattle?
    Blessings on your yeaar in His Word,
    Donna L.

  40. 90
    Heather C says:

    Isn't it humbling when the Lord reminds us from whence we've come, and that He alone is at the center of it all… all the knowledge, all the studying, even the applying — without Him as the prize, it's worthless and hypocritical. Thanks for the reminder today! Good luck with your studies!

  41. 91
    Anonymous says:

    I'm alittle jealous… enjoy school study for all of us!
    Liz H

  42. 92
    Marla Taviano says:

    Oh, oh, OH! New favorite post of yours!!

    I'm drooling over your classes, the library, all of it.

    And THRILLED that you came back to Jesus.

    Now, go learn more stuff to share with us!!

  43. 93
    darla says:

    the chapel is incredibly beautiful!!! i would love to sit there for hours..hard pews and all!!

    I love the poem "Disturb us" i never read it before and all I can say is "yes , Lord, disturb us"

    Melissa, you have always been a gifted writer and I am excited to see what this year brings for you and all of us who will reading.. Praying for you

  44. 94
    Shari says:

    Melissa…Word in due season for me. I am in seminary and buried in the word but dry in spirit. Your honesty compels me to press into the things of the heart and spirit so as not to lose the true God in the midst of my study about God. May every teaching you sit under fall like rain on your spirit! I will be buried in the books, holed up in library as well… with you in spirit!

  45. 95
    Traci says:

    I don't want to go to that dark place again either! Thanks for the encouragement. I thought I was the only one going to dark places.

    Blessings to you this next year. Hope you will still be with LPM!


  46. 96
    Tammie says:

    Yeah! I attend Columbia International University… 2 hours away… a wonderful wonderful place!!! Thanks for the reminder! God is workin' me over in my time here… He is so good!

  47. 97
    Melissa says:

    Donna, yes, I am assuming it is the same Steve Hayner.

  48. 98
    Kristib says:

    I'll be praying for you as you start this new adventure! Your classes sound very interesting. I hope you will share some of what you learn with us; especially about Song of Songs; a book I haven't studied much.

    God bless!
    Sending much love your way!

  49. 99
    Shelly says:

    Wow, Melissa, I loved what you wrote! Thank you for sharing what you did so authentically and honestly. Your post had me wishing I was sitting across the table from you engrossed in conversation. You even answered my question by telling us how you were gently led out of that critical season. Such a relatable story, at least for me. Nothing convicts me quite like realizing I am being judgmental and unkind all in the name of "love" or feeling a sense of superiority…ICK!!!!

    I can't wait for you to share what you are learning this year. The pictures were great!


    Portland, OR

  50. 100
    Brandi says:

    Thank You Melissa for reminding me that it isn't about how much I know, but WHOM I know that truly matters. My heart is wiser than my head sometimes. Thanks again.

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