INSIGHT::A Year in Review

So I haven’t updated this site in a very long time.  Now that school has officially ended, I thought I’d take some time to write about the program that has dominated my time lately; hence, the lack of posts. 🙂

INSIGHT officially began on orientation weekend, August 21-22, 2009.  Over that weekend, I met everyone in person whom I had only met over Facebook up to that point.  I was so excited to get started before that weekend, and meeting people face-to-face only escalated my happiness.  It was clear from the start that God’s hand would be on us all year.  I remember so many great moments from orientation weekend; it’s actually really funny to think back because we didn’t know each other at all and we were all just trying to get a feel for what the year would be like.  Everything was new, exciting, and adventurous back then!

But we soon settled into our routines.  The INSIGHT curriculum is very intense academically.  We spent most of our time on homework, but we did our best to spend as much time as possible with each other, too.  I discovered that I had a lot more time to spend on extra-curricular activities than I expected, once I settled in to the routine.  That was nice. 🙂

The INSIGHT curriculum is an intense birds’ eye sweep through history, from the beginning of time until the present day.  The second semester focused primarily on church history, beginning in the first century and ending on the modern church.  There’s a lot I could say about all of that, but I want to focus this post primarily on the spiritual benefit I received from this year.  To do this, I’ll divide the rest of this post into categories.

The community

By far, the best part of this year was the BCS community.  The community extended past the first year INSIGHT class to include the sophomores and some of the seminary students from time to time (those guys are crazy busy!).  I was unspeakably blessed to be a part of a community in which Jesus and His truth were common and central themes in our relationships.  We had so much fun studying in the RC and just hanging out together!  I’ve benefited a ton from just being with all of the students, and seeing their great passion for Jesus.  I can’t wait until next year when almost all of the guys will be back!

The professors

Seriously, we had the best professors in the world.  Joe and Ryan were our main teachers, and they both blessed each one of us beyond belief.  They each put unbelievable hours into preparing lessons, thinking about the material, praying for us, and loving us in countless ways.  Ryan lived on the floor below most of the guys in Minneapolis, and Joe was close by too.  We had so much fun with them, but they also did a wonderful job of treating us like real people with real struggles living in a real world of pain, pleasure, sadness, and joy.  They equipped us to live more joy-filled, Christ-centered lives by letting us struggle through questions and issues and helping us respond to them with a Christian framework.

I am still so in awe of Joe and Ryan’s passion for Jesus and their zeal to see us come to treasure Him through the material that they taught.  I’ve been so blessed through their influence in my life.

The location

Part of the fun this year was getting to spend so much time in the wonderful city of Minneapolis.  Minneapolis is richly diverse, big, busy, and fun.  I personally really enjoyed being in Minneapolis, seeing its culture and experiencing some of the excitement that it has to offer.

The other cool thing about Minneapolis came out of a tour of the city that happened toward the beginning of the year.  Then, we learned so much about the evil that goes on in the city…it was a sobering time.  But we also saw some of the incredible ways that God worked because of all of the brokenness in the city.  That time heightened my love for Him and helped me feel just another example of how our God brings beauty from pain.

My classmates

Seriously, they rocked.  I was blessed by their commitment to Jesus, their love for people, their passion for the lost, their fun-loving spirits, their willingness to converse about deep things of heaven, the good memories we shared together…ahh, so many things!  I wish we had more time together.  However, I praise God for every moment we shared!

They’ve taught me many valuable lessons, such as how to think deeper about life and how to care for one another.  Observing how the guys and girls in Minneapolis have ministered to each other and developed friendships has been really cool.

Also, I’ve been so blessed by cohort discussions.  On Tuesdays, our class split in half and went through two books throughout the year, shared prayer requests about a great variety of things, and just got to pour into each others’ lives.  I was blessed by each of them, and their commitment to the gospel!  What a blessing those brothers and sisters were and are in my life.

Lessons learned

Well, there are many!  But here are a few.  First of all, I’ve learned that God is able and that He is on our side.  One of the great blessings of approaching history from an integrated perspective is that you get to see how God has used many ordinary people and events in history for His great purposes.  Nothing, including pain, happens without a purpose.  God is able to bring such beauty from pain.  It’s encouraging to know that the same God who parted the Red Sea and called down fire from heaven and calmed a storm is the same God who worked in history through people like Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Whitfield, and many others, AND He is the same God who is living and active in MY LIFE!  Wow.  We can truly run to Him in our pain.  It’s such a blessing to know this Rock.

I’ve learned to think deeper on many levels.  I’m learning to ask questions that I didn’t know I had or were important before.  This year has given me an intense love for the gospel.  I’m learning to catch distortions of grace all over the place.  I can hardly listen to the radio or read the newspaper now without taking issue with something.  I thank God that He has deepened my worldview and helped me know what I believe and why I believe it.  I used to believe certain points of doctrine just because my parents or my church said they were true.  This program has challenged me to think for myself and reevaluate all of my presuppositions.  I’ve learned a few surprising things.  Mostly though, this program has encouraged me in my faith and encouraged me to keep pressing further up and further in to Christ.

Thank you, Andrew, Kristi, Hannah, Brandon, Luke, Devin, Bethany, Becca, Sam, Brad, Shane, Katie, Ryan, Liz, Jeremy, Ryan G. and Joe R., for a wonderful year!  Thanks for challenging me in my faith and for the wonderful Christian community that you have become to me.  I love you guys and I hope that this summer will be a time of rich refreshment for you all, as you reflect on everything that God has done in your lives this year, and continue to pursue Him with all of your hearts.

The INSIGHT class + Luke, an awesome sophomore =)

Psalm 126.3
The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.

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About Joe Eaton

I praise God that my standing before Him has nothing to do with who I am or what I've done; it is found solely in the perfect life that Christ lived in my place, and His which atoned for my sin. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God"..."There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

2 responses to “INSIGHT::A Year in Review”

  1. talithapiper says :

    the INSIGHT students are so awesome! loved hanging out with them!

  2. Courtney says :

    Hmmm…this brings back so many memories from my class. I’m so glad you guys had such a great year. God is so good to us to give us the insight program and all it entails. What I need to keep remembering is to not stop at the blessing but to run up the blessing to the blessing-Giver. And that was one of the huge lessons I learned during the aftermath of insight…

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