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A Dormant Dream and a New Song

February 6, 2023 | Dr. Jim Keena

Sing to the LORD a new song;
    Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation
    from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD,
    and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
    But the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
    Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

— PSALM 96:1-6 (NASB)

For this issue of Inscribed, we asked our faculty to reflect on these opening words from Psalm 96. We are eager to see how the Lord will use YTI and our new property to sing God’s “new song” in our community and around the world. As we look ahead, we remember the ways God’s “new song” has been sung through the history of the church—including in our own lives—as the Lord builds us together on the foundation of Christ Himself.

This edition of Inscribed is inspired by Psalm 96:1, “Sing to the Lord a new song!” It praises God for providing a permanent home for Yellowstone Theological Institute. This new facility will enlarge our capacity to equip Christian leaders and serve our community.

Psalm 96 opens with a three-fold call to sing, sing, sing! Then verse three is a call to “tell”! It reads, “Tell of his glory among the nations, his wonderful deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:3). This article tells the story of the “new song” of my new role at YTI. It’s the story of God’s “wonderful deeds” in the life of my wife Kim and me.

I served as a Pastor for twelve years in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. In 2003, I sensed God’s call to become a professor at a Christian university. Months later, I resigned from the church, our family relocated to Chicago, and I enrolled in seminary. Four years later, I had completed all the coursework except for writing a dissertation. Then, at the perfect time, a job opened at the Christian college in the town we previously lived. Being hired there would have been a dream come true. But our dream wasn’t God’s plan. We were disheartened when someone else was hired for the job.

When “Plan A” failed, we turned to “Plan B,” returning to the pastorate. Several months later, I was hired as the Lead Pastor of a church in Bozeman, Montana. After twelve fruitful years of ministry, my wife and I sensed it was time to leave. So, in January 2020, I announced my resignation from the church. Then, exactly thirty days later, I was offered the position of Professor of Pastoral Theology at YTI! Being hired was an answer to prayer and an awakening of a dormant dream.

Since then, I have enjoyed serving at Yellowstone Theological Institute. Here are some of the “wonderful deeds” that “tell of his glory.” (Psalm 96:3). Working here reminds me that the God “who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6). And what God stirred in us twenty years ago is what I’m doing today. When teaching, I know I’m doing the “good works, which God prepared in advance” for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). And it’s been a joy to teach students God’s Word and to equip them for the ministry. After two and half years of serving at YTI, these are a sampling of God’s deeds as I “sing the new song” of my new role!

Dr. Jim Keena

Professor of Pastoral Theology and Church Relations

Dr. Jim Keena was senior pastor of the Evangelical Free Church of Bozeman from 2008 through early 2020, when he joined the faculty […]

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