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The air in Houston is just plain HOT in the summer.  Temperatures soar into the high 90’s and stay there.  By the middle of the morning the nasty partner of Southern heat joins in the unpleasantries.  High humidity.

From practical terms we refer to such days as two shirt days.  I carry an extra shirt in my truck or make sure that one is handy in my office, neatly hanging behind the door.  On especially sweaty days I will head to the club, swim a half of mile and then take a long cool shower.

Time and appointments are not always friendly to a human seeking relief from the relentless heat.  There are moments when the air conditioning of my office, my truck or my home is like a refuge where island hopping is the standard fare for the day.  The temptation to complain is high but never recommended.

Instead, we Texans learn to put on a happy face and say something good.  “The humidity is good for your skin,” we laugh.  No one really believes this words but it certainly brings about a moment of laughter that brings just a moment, ever so brief from the brutal weather outside.

Duty called.  I needed to get to other side of our building.  If I had wanted to I could have keyed the entrance passed through several doors on my way to the other end of our campus.  Instead, I braved the idea of walking through our outside atrium.  It meant stepping into the outdoor weather, albeit briefly.

Steeling my soul, I opened the door and walked briskly through the garden.  Surprisingly, the temperature and humidity did not grip my breath away.  In fact the weather, while warm, was quite pleasant.

My steps slowed to a casual stroll.  Why wasn’t the torturous Houston summer weather strangling me?  I stopped and looked up.

A canopy green took the place of a human-made ceiling.  Trees nearly blocked out the sun.  Well-watered flora moderated the small oasis.  Here I smiled at the summer and thought, “A true respite is built into this building.”

I am going to like it here in our new campus.  This unexpected feature was value-added to our bustling campus of students digging into their graduate studies.  Stumbling into and onto this refreshing discovery made for a memorable day.

Do you have a place of relief from the summer heat?

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

My graduate program directed me into the new Academic Center.  The class was called Inductive Bible Study.  It was taught by Dr. Howard Hendricks, fondly known simply as Prof.

I had done my research.  Upper classmen had assured me that this would be one of my favorite classes.  But, their universal enthusiasm made me suspicious.  Was this a underclassman hazing?  No class could be that outstanding, could it?

We didn’t have to wait for Prof to come into class.  He was already there watching as we came in and found a seat.  I don’t know about others but I felt his eyes watching us.

No, it wasn’t scrutiny.  Rather, it was something good.  I’ve been watched in the past and it was always a bit creepy, but this time there was something good about it.

When the clock struck the top of the hour, “Wham!” he began class at a dizzying pace.  It wasn’t fast and uncontrolled but extremely deliberate, planned, purposeful and amazingly captivating.

The class time buzzer sounded.  Our first class was over and I hardly knew that time had raced by so quickly.  I was hungry for more.

After a day of classes I was looking forward to my assignments.  At least the one class that I had with Prof was on the front burner of my mind.  I dove into my work with enthusiasm.

I looked forward to this class every week.  Steadily I learned a method to study the Bible on my own.  It wasn’t dependent on commentaries, imagination or someone else’s work.

Following the principles of Observation, Interpretation and Application the insights of the Bible began to open up.  Discovery was exhilarating.  This experience was more than just the elation of emotions, it was investment of time and effort that was producing lifelong jewels of truth that would mark my life and service to the lives of others.

After decades of ministry, I am thoroughly convinced that what I learned in that class from Prof marked my life for a lifetime.  The habit of independent Bible study is my daily routine as I prepare to deliver God’s Word to His people.  For lives that are hungry for spiritual truth this preparation of a feast emerges from this habit of discovery.

What is amazing is that this way of skillful living is not exclusive to the professionals behind the pulpit.  Instead, it is a practice that can be learned by anyone.  Try it; I highly recommend this way of life.

photo credit:  google image