The Story of Seminary

I am stubborn. I am so stubborn that when I hear from God that I am supposed to be doing something, I’ll dig my heels in and say “Maybe tomorrow”.

There was a Pastor I had been working that was AWESOME. My heart is completely consumed for Jesus and His people, and I could tell this guy’s heart is as well. So, when I would get frustrated about injustice or passionate about a team not loving people well, he would calmly listen and direct me wisely.

After a couple of months working for him, he asked if I had ever considered seminary. I laughed as I had never considered working for a CHURCH, much less going to seminary! He told me I should pray about it and talk to HR regarding steps. I smiled and nodded and left.

A couple months later he stopped me in the parking lot and, fairly firmly, asked why he hadn’t gotten a call from HR stating I had started seminary. I shuffled my feet, made excuses and nodded and smiled, again. He made me promise to at least get information about it.

YEAH! My way out!!! I could get INFORMATION about it and tap out.

I could tell God was shoving me to get this done, but feelings of inadequacy and my stage of life told me it would be a reallllly stupid decision. Soooo, I stalled. Then because I had made a promise, I talked to HR and let them know my Pastor wanted me to get some “information” on seminary. I was promptly sent an invite to HR for a 15 minute meeting. AWESOME, I had kept my promise and I’d scoot out of there ASAP.

When I arrived, I saw the smile on the HR ladies face, and got a tad bit nervous. As another woman arrived, her eyes landed on me and she excitedly said, “You are going to seminary, too!”. I of course said, oh NO, I was only there for information. Looking back at the HR woman, I now distinctly remember seeing a twinkle in her eye that filled me with dread.

We prayed to start the meeting and then HR slid over a folder to each of us. As I opened it, there was a letter saying “Congratulations, we acknowledge you as a Minister…”etc… I was in shock. I said, “WAIT. I am only here to get some information on seminary!” HR looked at me and said my pastor, and the church, wanted to give me a temporary license while I finished seminary. Not to worry, I only had to take 5 courses to make it official.

WHAT?!?!?! I remember pushing the folder right back at her and said NO THANK YOU. I am in NO way a minister. I don’t need a title…I could NEVER imagine being Pastor Julie or Minister Julie or ANYTHING like that. I would like to stay in my little world downstairs encouraging, equipping and empowering God’s people to do what God built them to do. Thanks, any way!

I will never forget…she looked me straight in my eyes and said,”Everything this paper says, you are already doing. You are already a minister of God. This is just us, saying we acknowledge that.” I replied that I thought that was really nice, but lets keep it at that, and not worry about anything else.

She then rocked my world by saying, “I hear you. Again, you are already doing what God put you here to do and I hear that you don’t ‘NEED’ it. I want you to pause and think of the women who come after you. The ones that will grow up in this church and need strong women to look up to. This will help THEM.”

At that point, I acted in a very mature and professional way and started crying.  Me?!? A minister?!?!?! Me crazy, wild, prodigal, partying, loose, Julie….a Minister?! But if it’s to help others….

I could never imagine those words together. Minister Julie Sathoff. Nah-uh.

I told her I would pray about it, talk to my people then get back to her.

Sooooo, I called my husband. I said, “You will NEVER believe what happened!!”
As I explained the meeting to him, he was silent. Finalllllly, he said, “Well OF COURSE this happened. Can’t you see the path God has you on? This is You.”

That was a dumb answer, so I ignored it and planned to talk to my small group that night. THEY would agree there had to be some sort of joke! When I went over it with them, they were exchanging “looks”. When I asked their thoughts, they echoed my husband. “Julie, we are surprised it took this long. You are so good at helping other people on their paths, why can’t you see God has a path even BIGGER than this for YOU.”

That was REALLY stupid.

So I called an old long time friend. She responded by first laughing hysterically, then agreeing it sounded about right…then threatened to post old “Prior to Christ” pictures on social media. (I love her).

My last phone call was to my Mom. She was the one who cried and was upset. Born and raised in the Catholic faith, for me to officially be turning from it would break her heart. She wanted me to REALLY think about it and pray about it as her opinion was NO.

Sadly, this was the push I needed to say, “Yes”. Weird, I know, but we are all broken and my brokenness showed me – sometimes it takes opposition to strengthen my resolve. I am working on it.

Seminary hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would. I am learning by leaps and bounds. I was done with the 5 courses needed to be “official” months ago, but I am continuing as I know that is what God wants for me.

What I learned today…I thought there was no possible way I could be in school and work and have 3 boys in sports and activities and small groups and be in a small group and be a present mom and present wife, all while in school…but hanging on to Phil 4:13 I am seeing GOD is the one making it all happen. I love Him.


Don’t Be a Nodding Head

As a teacher/speaker/coach, I LOVE interaction when I am looking at the people in front of me. (As long as no one is throwing anything).

When there is a strong point I am trying to make, I get excited to see eyes light up and heads start nodding in agreement and excitement. Though I get excited that others are listening and getting what I’m trying to get across, but that is not the end goal. I don’t want others to just hear what I share, I want them to MOVE on it.

I could be the best speaker in the world who inspires people in pep-rallies over a retreat or conference, but if I don’t motivate you to MOVE in to an action that makes your life and walk with God better, it is a fail.

*Disclaimer – I am not the best speaker in the world or even close to it.

Who are your favorite people to listen to? Are they Bible study teachers? Motivational speakers? Pastors? Do you listen to them or do you really HEAR them? Do you nod your head, agreeing to what they say, or do you set a plan in place to start changing your life regarding what they taught?

If you hear or read something inspiring today? How can you put a change in to effect, today? Even if you just changed your behavior for the better by just 2% a day, in less than 2 months, that would equal a HUGE change!

What I learned today…I can learn a lot, daily. Unless I put what I’m learning in to practice, it will be wasted.


Seminary Starts Back Up Today

I am one who THIRSTS for knowledge. I love learning from others, hearing opinions, reading how others have made things work, or how they haven’t. I rarely feel “filled” to the brim with all I would like to know. The only time I truly feel like my brain will explode is when I read the Bible. There is so much to learn.

Each time I read it, I learn something completely new, or it reminds me of something I have forgotten. Even if it’s a verse I have read 100 times, I’ll get something new from it and once again be in awe of how I see something new, depending on the season I’m in.

All of that being said, I am not built for being educated in a traditional way. It is very frustrating for me to have to cross t’s and dot i’s as I’m built for a fast, fluid and flexible mentality. There are a LOT of you who are built for education and that is FANTASTIC. I am just not one of them.

As I jump in to this next class on the Old Testament, I hope to be able to share with you all that God is showing me. Not because I HAVE to be in the class, but because I am choosing to.

Would LOVE your prayers!

What I learned today…it is OKAY for me to not like school. Some people aren’t built to.

Stuck on David: Numero Uno

I am completely stuck in 1 Samuel 17. The whole thing!!

For example, in the first 2 verses –

“Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.” (vs 1-2)

Okay, something hit me. Notice the Philistines gathered their forces for war, while Saul and the Israelites assembled.

If I was a betting person, based on these two sentences, I would’ve bet on the Philistines. However, in life I don’t. When something needs to be done, I generally look for the fastest and the strongest. The ones who can get-it-done.

What these 2 verses remind me of, is that I might be trained to jump on the train of the fastest moving, shiniest, strongest looking, etc.. thing available, and I should be praying for who GOD wants me to lean on or fight for. Not necessarily who I think should be backing. God knows the story of everyone all around us. Those teams, groups, people who might not arrive to a task theand ready. They might be the ones who show up and need time to process the situation. It might even look like there is no way they could ever succeed at the deed…but if God wants them to, they will.

Who is around you that you may be overlooking? Do you consistently go to your “go-to” people rather than giving others a chance?

I am a firm believer in try. Try and succeed, woooo whoooo! Or Try and fail…and learn.

Both are okay.

What I learned today…I need to pray for God to open my eyes more to those around me that I might be overlooking.

I have never opened my Bible.

Lately I have heard soooo many people say they have never opened their Bible. GREAT people who have been going to church most of their lives and/or say they are a Christ follower.

There are some REALLY great books out there that will teach you HOW to read the Bible to get the most from it. My challenge to you is to START to read it by first opening it. Once you get in the habit of opening it, then get a book on how to study it.

I wanted to let you know how I got myself to open the Bible. The first is finding one you like and can carry. I have a small backpack NIV Bible that I started with. There are a lot of versions available. My suggestion is going to the YouVersion app or Bible Gateway and type in a verse that you like. Check out all the different versions and see what suits you. People around you will argue that their version is better, but I would rather YOU enjoy what you are reading…so you want to do it more. You want to make sure it is a size you can carry, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Now, to start off, you will be tempted to buy Bible Tabs… I would suggest NOT doing that. As that will have you giving up on learning where the books are before you even try.

Next, once you have your Bible. Take a minute to “Google” search some of your favorite verses. Find them, then highlight or underline them.

Then, if you go to a church like mine, they hand out notes like these at service –

Fill-in Example

Your goal is to bring your Bible to church with you. As soon as you sit down, start digging in. Look at the first verse on the page, and look to see where you can find it in the table of contents. DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED that you have to look at the table of contents! Everyone has to start somewhere! Find the book, chapter and verse you are looking for and highlight or underline it. For example, I would start with the verse above, 1 Timothy 6:12a.

Now, you will see that there is an “a”. That means they are talking about the first part of the verse. the (NASB) is the version of the Bible they used for the verse. If you have a different version that is OKAY. I go to the verse and underline it, then if it is a verse like 1 Tim 6:12a I will put exclamation points, arrows, etc… as that is a GREAT verse to memorize! Now, if I like the verse, the way it reads in my Bible, terrific, if I like the handout’s version more, I will write ( checkmark + NASB ) which tells me to “check” the NASB version.

I go on to do all of the verses at the service. Above there are 26 verses included in this one lesson! If I don’t have time to underline them all, I do it in the car on the way home or during my time with God during the week.

After I have underlined all of the verses, I take the remainder of my quiet time that week to look at the verses before and after the ones that I really connected with. I underline anything that jumps out at me.

This method got me so very excited to look in to the Bible more! I was learning so much, which in turn lead to even more questions, so I purchased a Study Bible. In the Study Bibles, they have a lot of great information AND verses that reference other places in the Bible that are connected with the area I’m reading!

If you just read this and thought, “That is great, but I still won’t open my Bible”…don’t judge me for saying this…but you need a bathroom Bible. The bathroom is the one place WE ALL go to and spend time in. Put one on the back of the toilet and as soon as you sit down, open it. If you need more direction, put a Bookmark like THIS in it to give you suggestions on what to read. It’s another way to start to read it!

I hope, you see how easy this is can be with HUGE rewards. To have a good relationship, you have to work on getting to know the other person. To have a relationship with Jesus, you need to get to know Him through the Bible. YOU WILL BE BLESSED.

Here are a couple of great books on how to read the Bible that I would suggest –

Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods

40 Days In The Word

To watch this service for the fill-ins and to practice CLICK HERE.

What I learned today…not to assume everyone reads the Bible. Ask and influence them to either read it or share what they were reading and learning. It is truly a game changer in life as all the answers we need are in it. We just have to open it and digest it!