What I Learned from English 1A

In preparation for completing my degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership at Fresno Pacific University (FPU), I took an English 1A class last fall.  English 1A is a basic reading and composition class.

Many a friend found it ironic that someone who has penned a book and over 570 blog posts would need to take a basic English class.  But, I needed the class for FPU, so I took it.

English 1A was taught by Rob Sledge, a professor I had taken twice while attending California State University, Stanislaus.  Rob is a great guy, and when I saw he was teaching the class I needed to take for FPU, I registered as soon as possible.

While in the class, I learned many new things about writing style, grammar, etc.  But what stood out to me the most were three statements he made in class that I believe are profound.  Let me share those with you and add some of my own thoughts to them.

Still waters run deep

I’m still thinking through this one.  I’m not sure entirely what it means, but I do know that the unseen can be powerful.  When we simply look at things on the surface, that’s when we are misguided and mistaken.  I first realized the importance of looking at what is beneath when reading the Bible in 1 Samuel 16:7.  This is where the prophet Samuel is looking for God’s new anointed king.  He is looking at several men, but is unsure who God’s new king is.  That’s when the spirit of the Lord says to Samuel:

. . . “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)

When looking at people we need to look deep. Still waters do run deep, and we need to look deep into those still waters to see what is truly there, below the surface.

When we get what we want, we often realize it’s not what we wanted

How true this one is.  Many times in life we set goals, work our butt off to get those goals, but when we get them we wonder if it was worth it.  Especially when we make sacrifices along the way.

Again, we need to look at those still waters that run deep.  The object of a goal isn’t just reaching the goal, it’s much more than that.  When we reach a goal, the lasting impression that we have is who we become in the process.  Let me share that again with different words.

What is truly meaningful about goals is not what we achieve, but it’s who we become in the process of achieving those goals.

For years I had a dream of becoming a professional golfer, but those dreams didn’t come true.  Even though they did not come true, the most satisfying thing is that I became a strong courageous man in the pursuit of those goals.  And that has helped me serve others on a level I never would have been able to serve at if I hadn’t pursued those goals.

Imperfection is the common ground where everyone can meet

This is another profound statement, but this one goes against the grain of common wisdom.

Many people believe that when you talk about your success people will flock to you and follow you.  Not true.  If you want to impress people, talk about your success, but if you want to connect with them, talk about your failures.

Question: What lessons have you learned from professors you had while in college?

By Christopher L. Scott

Christopher L. Scott serves as senior pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington. Through his writing ministry more than 250,000 copies of his articles, devotions, and tracts are distributed each month through Christian publishers. Learn more at