“On a tour of Cambridge, we walked into King’s College Chapel, and I immediately sensed the presence of God.” department, where he gave weekly chapel announcements. Because we were at a Christian school, we took our petitions to the Lord with campuswide, 24-hour prayer services, but he passed away Oct. 20. We wondered why God didn’t answer our prayers. After Jamie died, I learned how important it is to be absolutely dependent on the Lord. In every season, in the good and bad, we belong to God. Jamie helped me in my relationship with Jesus. I wish I could say more about him and to him because he aided me in getting back on the path toward accepting my ministry call. Lee asks each of its students to do a study-abroad trip, so I signed up to go with a bunch of my Theta friends on a trip to Israel and Egypt. I had always wanted to go to Israel, and though it didn’t fulfill any of my requirements, I felt something pushing me to go. During Christmas break my junior year, the situation in Israel and Egypt became hostile. Since bombs were going off all the time, our professors decided to reroute the trip. Instead of the Middle East, we went to England, Ireland and France. We had done all of our classes in preparation for the trip and were set to leave in early May. I planned to study for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) once I got back from the trip. I already knew what kind of test score I needed to get into Northwestern 20
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University, so this trip was an incentive for me to hit the ground running. In Europe, the best part was walking the campuses of Trinity College in Dublin, Cambridge and Oxford. I kept thinking about what it would be like to study at places like that. On a tour of Cambridge, we walked into King’s College Chapel, and I immediately sensed the presence of God. It’s hard for me to explain the feeling, but again, I heard Him telling me to “do the church.” That same voice I had heard eight years ago seemed to make more sense now. God wasn’t calling me to do my dad’s church. He was calling me to His church, and in that moment, I cried, realizing this was His direction.
Responding to God’s Voice
After returning home, I started to look at seminaries and divinity schools. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew this direction was from God. This was when things started to make more sense regarding my dad’s calling. When I told my dad what happened in England, he advised me to listen to God because when He calls us to do something, our best response is simply to follow. We don’t try to explain it away or rationalize it; we just do it. We go with the feelings we may have because, often, the Holy Spirit talks to us using our emotions. It requires faith in responding to God, and my dad served as a good model for that. Since my biblical Greek professor
MICHAEL STERNSlives in Franklin, Tennessee. Sterns has a B.S. in Business Administration with minors in Theology and Religion. Graduating from Princeton Theological Seminary this month, he plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and move into vocational ministry. c h ar ism asb est . com
Sterns, left,and his friends visit Cambridge University, where he sensed God’s leading for his future.
went to Princeton, I looked into attending seminary there. I didn’t know much about the school other than that I loved my professor, and he highly recommended Princeton. The fall break of my senior year, I visited Princeton Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary. It felt strange only looking at one school, so I was trying to keep my options open. My girlfriend, Arielle, and I went to Westminster, but for some reason, it didn’t click. The next day, I went to Princeton, and when we got out of the car, it was as cold and rainy as it had been in England. I looked at my girlfriend and smiled. It felt right. I asked questions about the school and its history, but what really sealed the deal for me was walking the campus. It looked just like the schools I had seen in Europe. Arielle and I walked into the Princeton chapel, and I couldn’t believe it looked exactly like King’s College Chapel. It all seemed to line up for me, and I went with it, knowing this was where the Holy Spirit was guiding me. The course of my life brought me to Princeton Theological Seminary. Each event pushed me closer to where I am now, and I can only thank God for that because I know He is the One driving my history and my future. The transition to seminary was one of the easiest experiences of my life because I didn’t have to convince myself to go. God had already done the work of bringing me to the place where He wanted me, so I never felt anxiety about my calling. After I let go of what I wanted to do and surrendered to the will of God, things became more natural and, really, supernatural. The question I’ve been asking God throughout this journey is, “Where are You leading me next?” I haven’t gotten a clear answer yet, but I’m going to rest assured that God is still leading me. I simply have to go and do the church.
Published on Mar 30, 2016
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