BWFLI team stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders at East Texas Baptist University
Cliff Shiepe, best-selling author, inspires students
ETBU students gathered at midnight to discuss “What’s Next” and job market tips
Former All-American, All-Pro Bill Glass stirring the athletes
ETBU Steering Committee Chair Emily Prevost and BWFLI President Brenda A. Smith sharing a celebratory moment
“Natalie’s Garden and Nursery”
The colorful sign with floral details drew my attention. The lettering was feminine yet not fussy. The painted door welcomed visitors. The crudely drawn word “CLOSED” and the overgrown weeds indicated the end of Natalie’s dream. The care taken in the front walk, the small Victorian building, and the hope of sharing her love for gardening were still apparent, but the condition of the property told a story of a journey’s end.
I have no idea what happened. Did the small Alabama town not share the vision of a quaint enterprise? Did the little house tucked off the main road deter customers? Did Natalie run out of money? Did she experience staff, health, or personal relationship problems?
I will never know, but it made me think about other dreams which grew for a time then bore the CLOSED placard. Why do some flourish and others fail? Why are some nurtured while others collapse?
These life turns can be learning moments for us. We can give our dreams a decent burial, take away the lessons, and focus on the next step. But this is the rub. Too many times we cradle the lifeless hope, wishing vitality to return. We think perseverance means never throwing in the towel, but stubbornness results in throwing way too many hours, and dollars after it. Churchill is quoted for his “never, never, never give up.” However, there is another maxim which aptly guides: “When the horse is dead, dismount.”
As I drove down the road I considered Natalie and wished for her a productive, blooming life. I envisioned a sense of adventure with other gardens of different varieties blossoming. Perhaps this enterprise had a short lifetime (based on the brightness of the paint and landscaping), but somewhere Natalie is taking this experience and turning it into something beautiful.
I also thought about the dreams in my life… some expanded beyond my imagining; others deflated like a week old helium balloon. But I am stronger, wiser, and even more optimistic. I know myself, my gifts, and strengths… yes. But I also know what areas need serious bolstering where potholes lie in wait for my dream mobile.
Dreams energize us. The excitement of seeing an idea come to life vitalizes us. We must never give up looking ahead, but we must also know that dreams can have expiration dates and the wisdom to read the code helps us grow.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Thank you for including us in prayer for the BWFLI schools.”
His appreciation expressed what we all feel – it is a distinct privilege to stand with the schools. We are coming before the throne on behalf of those who are called to Christian higher education. It is work worthy of honor. It is work which brings joy and satisfaction. But it is also work which the “enemy of our souls” targets.
As we join our hearts together this month we lift up our students as they leave campus on Spring break. May their witness be strong, their standards high, and their protection be ever present. March is a month of transition. Thoughts turn toward next semester bringing decisions, and challenges.
Please pray for our administrators and staff as they lay their plans before the Lord asking for direction and guidance. Pray for them to continue studying “to show themselves approved unto God.”
Priorities and Perseverance
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:7-14).”
Two words come to mind as I read these words from the Pen of the Apostle Paul, writing from a prison cell. The first is priorities. Paul kept his priorities straight. He knew what was most important, and he knew what was not. Paul pursued his priorities.
The second word is perseverance. Paul’s words here speak not so much of his failures, but of his apparent successes. Past achievements that become prominent in our minds incline us toward complacency. Paul would have none of that. He pressed on for the prize of God’s upward call.
Pray for our college students that they will rightly assess their priorities in the light of eternity, and that they will pursue these priorities with diligence, not slacking up but pressing on. And may all of this be the fruit of faith in the Lord Jesus.
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Weekly Thought 3-13-18 – Fred’s ability to fashion a principle-based thought from everyday experiences distinguished him from others. His writings gathered into “daily warm-ups for the race of life” demonstrated his appreciation of quick thoughts which would stimulate conversation.
BWFLI update: Please pray for the two April events at Alice Lloyd College (April 6,7) and Lindsey Wilson College (April 27,28). Your consistent encouragement is appreciated and felt by all.
Warm-ups for Healthy Living
How much I enjoy conversation which starts with an idea and then fires up into something beneficial for all engaged. Here are a few suggestions which might be enjoyable starts:
1) Power. Power is the ability to get things done. It is active, not passive. A thought may be powerful but its power comes from the action it evokes, not just in mental stimulation. We hear about power seats, power ties, and power drinks. But none of them is really power – they are simply images of power and shadows of reality. True power gets things done.
2) Envy or Contempt. Once in a business conference I became a little uncharacteristically pompous, possibly even self-righteous, and one of the other executives with a keen sense of humor said, “Smith, speaking as an outsider, what do you think of the human race?” We may feel that we are stirring up envy when we are really stirring up contempt.
3) Helpful Eavesdropping. Yogi Berra was reported to have said, “You can hear a lot by listening.” I have learned many helpful things over the years by innocent eavesdropping. I was sitting in the Lobby of the Gibson Hotel in Cincinnati listening to two women talking. One was an older lady; the other younger. When the younger asked the older a question I was interested to know the answer. “If you had your life to live over, what would you do with yourself?” The older woman didn’t hesitate but responded quickly, “I would find something big enough to give myself to.”
4) Keeping Your Concentration. One of the in a college basketball game made a particularly good shot and grinned at the crowd. The commentator said to his radio audience, “It’s too early to smile, there is too much game left.” In the Winter Olympic Games, a U.S. figure skater made the difficult jumps and then fell on a very easy maneuver late in his performance. The commentator said “He relaxed too much. He assumed he had done the hard things and the easy things would take care of themselves.” We must concentrate right up to the end.
This week think about: 1) When did I lose my concentration and it caused a fall? 2) How would I answer the older woman’s question? 3) What symbols of power have I substituted for power that gets things done?
Words of Wisdom: “True power gets things done.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NET Bible)