"First, you need a topic that interests you. Then, you get permission to write to that." So said the chair of the Missions section at SPS (Society of Pentecostal Scholars), who leads the PhD program I'm in.
Because I presented a paper at SPS 2009, he gave other students the go-ahead to write this year. "Don't worry," he said to me. "Someone will back out, and you'll be able to do your paper. Go ahead and write it."
He was right. Someone else did not have time. I pulled information together last summer, but didn't have time to start writing until I was sure I was on the docket. Apparently I quit work at the university just in time: I got a hard deadline one Friday night, the day after I had wrapped up my job. "The paper is due Monday," wrote the chair. I spent 40 hours that weekend writing. Three minutes after the "FINAL! really, final" deadline in February, I hit "Send" to submit my paper. A minute later, the chair sent it on its way to the Society for publication. Whew.
This morning, I read the paper aloud to a group of fellow scholars. It was well received. The pleasure I get from knowing this information makes the subject a good fit for my revised dissertation topic. (I changed topics last Saturday, and will confirm that with two professors at supper today!)
All the speakers at this conference have affirmed that God is able to lead Pentecostals. He confirms his direction with the story of the rest of his work in the world. I've gone ahead as well as I could, trusting that God would direct my path.
Just in time, before I plunge into research design for the dissertation in coming weeks, God redirected my interests to write about missionary women in early Pentecost. I can't wait to get back home to study!
*Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest. Ecclesiastes 11:4 NLT
*Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV
*Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- -the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NIV