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
“He’s living the life – he has his own TV, computer, and free Wi-Fi!”
As I overheard this conversation at the restaurant between two Gen Z men I assumed their young friend had moved into his own place, had a good job, and was doing well.
He had indeed moved, but into a Federal prison. I admit I listened way longer than is polite, but their view of the good life fascinated me. “He got fourteen years – man, he is doing great!”
I must admit my stomach turned over as I watched them philosophically discuss the loss of a young man’s early twenties and thirties. “He’s living the life!”
Then I had to think about so many of the Millennial and Gen Z men and women who define their lives by measures foreign to me as an “Elder generation” member. The love of freedom, free stuff, and free will reflect their discomfort with top down authority. They want authenticity from those around them. Their view of the good life is strange to those of us who were born before 1945.
A study of core values showed the distinct differences. However, there was one clear crossover. The Millennials wanted to make a difference in the world; the Elders wanted to leave a legacy. There is a natural nexus between us. We want our lives to count and we want them to experience usefulness and productivity.
Our heartbeat is for an opportunity to share our life stories (failures as well as successes) to help them navigate the choppy waters ahead. We would like to share our values which are rooted in faith. We would love for them to say “This is living the life” because they are truly making a difference in the lives of others.
The young man who is enjoying California sunshine locked up in a Federal prison may think that he has it all, but let’s pray for those who have wandered off the path and need to really understand what the good, abundant life is all about.
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.”
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance, character, and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:1-5, NET).
My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance (James 1:2-3).
It is that time of the academic year when students need endurance. As the Scriptures teach us, endurance does not usually come from a trouble-free life. All too often I hear people praying that God will make their lives “go smoothly,” but that isn’t what the Scriptures tell us to expect. Endurance is developed as we embrace the grace and sufficiency of God, and find it more than sufficient to sustain us. And the more we are sustained, the more confidence we attain in our Lord and His provisions. And the greater our confidence, the greater our faith and endurance.
Let’s pray for endurance for our students, not by asking God to keep them from the difficulties of life, but by sustaining them through life’s struggles.
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Weekly Thought – March 12, 2019
Fred challenged everyone’s thinking. He mentally prepared for every conversation, meeting, and phone call. Unless they really knew Fred and his disciplined thought life they marveled at his reservoir of spontaneity. Questions like these stimulated his thinking and that of others. These brief answers were like a pop quiz, but a lifetime of thought allowed him to respond with depth.
Asking Good Questions:
1. Question: Is work my sickness or my cure? Fred Smith (FS): If our work is the fulfillment of our responsibilities then it can be a great force for health and maturity. Work that is addictive is detrimental. We know scripture says to do our work with all our might and it even admonishes those who are unwilling to work and provide for themselves and their families. Genuine accomplishment is a great benefactor; it gives meaning to life.
2. Q: Do I live an examined life? FS: One of our respected philosophers said that the unexamined life is an unworthy existence. Trying to live an unexamined life is like a doctor trying to cure an illness he has not diagnosed. Examination should have a practical limitation. Its purpose is to point out the elements most beneficial to our living a correct existence.
3. Q: What are the recurring themes in my life? FS: C.S. Lewis said that every person should have two or three major themes. Pursuing these gives us a reason for being. I believe major themes direct our accomplishments. Personally, I have found great satisfaction in studying human nature and how this knowledge interplays with our life decisions and actions. For example, I accept the Biblical theme of the fallen nature of man and its implications for the way our world works.
4. Q: Do I accent my rights over my responsibilities? FS: It is human for most of us to guard our rights more than fulfilling our responsibilities. It is part of our ego structure. We feel more arrogant when we accent our rights and more humble when we accept our responsibilities. Rights make us feel like we are the captain of our fate. When we demand our rights we separate ourselves from others. When we operate from a responsibility base we are pulled together. I like to say rights laminate, or press seal together. Part of our humility is the willingness to be accountable and not a “law unto ourselves.”
5. Q: Do I make good decisions? FS: No one I know has the ability to make all good decisions. That is one of the reasons I have specific individuals help me, using their areas of expertise. Here are a few principles for decision making: 1) I ask myself if I have a choice. If I have none, then I don’t have to bother myself about making a decision; 2) I ask if this is a major or minor decision; 3) Then I consider the short term benefit versus the long term liability. I have found short term benefits have a way of obscuring the long term liabilities.
This week think about: 1) How is Fred spurring me to develop questions? 2) What is my process for decision making? 3) How can I instill responsibilities rather than rights thinking into my family, work, friendships?
Words of Wisdom: “Trying to live an unexamined life is like a doctor trying to cure an illness he has not diagnosed.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For each one will carry his own load.” (Galatians 6:5 NET Bible)