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
“Who turned off the lights?”
My friend the urbanite moved to the Piney Woods of East Texas. With little orientation, she stepped out on to her porch the first night. IT IS DARK IN EAST TEXAS! She said her immediate response was, “Who turned out the lights?” No neon, no digital billboards, not even flashing stop lights – just stars. What? Just stars and many, many of them… more than she had ever seen in her life. She had no idea what the heavens held.
No, she didn’t immediately fall in love with the woods. No, she didn’t jettison her yearning for city life. But she did begin appreciating what you can see when the lights are turned off.
My next door neighbor moved from the Dallas metroplex to our woods. She, like my other friend, had never lived outside miles of artificial lighting. She also did not know the frequency of power outages in our rural area. The first big storm taught her a valuable lesson. During the night she headed to the bathroom, flipped on the light, but saw nothing. She made her way to the sink and tried to look in the mirror – but saw nothing. She was in total darkness.
“Dick, Dick, I have gone blind.” Her bleary husband woke up to her frantic cries. He got up with the flashlight, tried other lights and diagnosed the situation: power outage. Once he calmed her down, convinced her she was indeed among the sighted, and overcame her “we are moving back to where the power doesn’t go out!” she learned to love the dark nights.
Each of us has times when we feel like the lights were turned out on a dream, or a goal. Maybe we need to stop and appreciate the stars in the new situation. Perhaps we need someone to shine a flashlight and show us it may not be what we originally assumed.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Our lives, faith, and scholarship are dedicated to the glory of God.”
Such an affirmation from a faculty member. What can we do as prayer supporters this month? Where can we lift them up in their work? Our commitment for these years is one of standing in belief, friendship, and faith with Christian higher education, especially the twelve schools in our BWFLI Network.
Would you stop during this month remembering the challenges they face? Would you pause to thank the Lord for the calling on the careers of those who choose to serve in Christian higher education? And would you encourage students who make their education choice one which strives to bring honor and glory to the Lord God Almighty?
We are called to join as Christians strengthening one another. During this month may Jesus Christ be praised on the school campuses, in our hearts, and in the world.
Fixing One’s Heart
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
6 Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. 8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials (Daniel 1:1-9, NAU).
10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezr. 7:10 NAU)
Two young men, Daniel and Ezra, set their hearts and minds on being faithful to God while they lived in a foreign or hazardous environment. Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food (tasty though it must have been). He was willing to submit to the king’s educational regimen, but not to eat his (idol-related) food. Ezra purposed in his heart to become a student of God’s Word, so that he would not only live in obedience to it, but might also proclaim it to others.
Soon, students will return to their college campuses, where temptations abound (even in Christian colleges). Pray for these students that they, like Daniel and Ezra, will set their hearts on remaining pure and on knowing and obeying God’s Word. Pray for faculty members and staff that they will model and encourage godly living.
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Weekly Thought – August 7, 2018
Fred once sent his daughter a scrap of paper with just a few words: “Brenda, opportunity is not mandate.” He was trying to succinctly tell her every open door did not necessarily require walking through. Fred considered every decision carefully, rarely letting impulse interfere with the process.
The BWFLI Roundtable schedule for fall is robust. Teams will be in Kentucky, Texas, and Illinois. Keep praying and supporting financially when possible. Each gift is gratefully received and carefully used.
Call or Mandate
There’s a difference between a mandate and a call. A call is personal; it comes to the individual. A mandate is collective, corporate. The mandate is the organization’s reason for being; the call is the individual’s reason for service.
A leader needs to have a sense of call, and dedication, to serve effectively. Prison evangelist Bill Glass emphasizes this in training his prison counselors. “You have volunteered to be a counselor, but you have dedicated your life to personify Christ in this prison.” He goes through a litany of experience that might exasperate, even frighten, a volunteer ( e.g. getting cussed out, having urine thrown at him, or hostile body language shown). The dedicated counselor will hang in and not be driven out by these behaviors.
A call may change. A person might sense a call to a different organization, or a different form of service. Sometimes I think the call may lead someone out of ministry.
Recently I talked with a pastor in Iowa whose primary ministry was in the teaching role in a church populated by older, long-time Christians. I asked him how he was doing and he admitted he was very unhappy. And not surprisingly, so was the congregation. I asked him, “What is your real love?”
“Winning people to Christ” was his quick, passionate answer.
“In your saint-saturated organization,” I said, “there are probably very few who haven’t heard and responded to the Gospel. When you get up to preach you don’t see anyone who needs salvation. By gift, you are an evangelist. Have you considered leaving the vocational ministry and going back to automobile sales where you are constantly in touch with unsaved people?”
“That’s when I was the happiest,” he said.
He let his ego, family demands, and social expectations push him into seminary and the pastorate. I later checked on him. He resigned from the church, went bac into sales, and is extremely happy and effective. His call “to win souls” did not match the organizational mandate to do expositional preaching for mature Christians.
Many I know need to seriously determine if their call and their organization’s mandate are in sync.
This week carefully consider: 1) How did I recognize my call? 2) What is the primary mandate of my workplace? 3) Who in my environment can help me analyze the fit?
Words of Wisdom: “A leader needs to have a sense of call, and dedication, to serve effectively.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Nevertheless, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so must he live. I give this sort of direction in all the churches.” (1 Corinthians 7:17 NET Bible)