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
“Remember who you are, where you are from, and what you represent.”
Our parents adopted this phrase as a farewell admonition when we were children, especially our Mom. I can still see her standing at the door as we left for school (walking, of course, in those days!) smiling and speaking these words.
Years later they still ring true. They encapsulate a fundamental trio of principles which are critical to healthy living.
In trying to pass this on to my children I was amused by my son who asked innocently “Mom, what do we represent?” A profound query, isn’t it?
In today’s fluid, floundering world these three “remembrances” erect a foundation for stability.
Who you are – I am a child of God, daughter of the King who was created with purpose and intention. I have gifts to be used in the body of Christ and skills/talents which are to be used for the good of all. I am a woman designed to live out His plan for me. As a child I could always say “I am the daughter of Fred and Mary Alice Smith.” That spoke volumes about the expectations, responsibilities, and joys.
Where you are from – This usually had a geographical answer, but it was deeper than that. I was from a family who valued integrity, faith, and responsibility. I am from the heart of my parents with their hopes for me to be a productive woman. As I aged I could look at all my experiences, travels, and relationships with an eye to defining them as part of the answer. Every chapter of my book was illustrated with my “where I am from” stories.
What you represent – This one puzzled us as children. But as we grew it became the most important of the three. We represented our family, our faith, and our work. We strove for reputations that preceded us with pride and honor. We wanted to be thought of as men and women who cherished the right and stood for the true. We represent the Lord Jesus Christ and in addition, our country, our church, and our communities. We represent those who are interested in discovery, curious about life, and eager for adventures. We want to represent the grateful who seek to grow.
Think about your answers and perhaps consider challenging your friends and family to respond.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Spiritual vitality speaks to the desire for a transformed, holy people who are purified and set apart.” – Kevin J. Brown, Ph.D., President of Asbury University
Has there ever been a time when our university students needed to build on the reality of Jesus Christ as now? Where better can our younger generation find the combination of preparation for God-honoring careers and soul-deepening faith? How can we stand with them? Prayer, words of encouragement, and financial support.
Our schools need us this fall. They are facing the continuing implications of the pandemic. As they valiantly attain to achieve their goals, we must stand beside them. The world wants to erase all Christian influence, particularly in higher education.
Please pray diligently. Stay up to date with the school that the Lord has put on your heart so you are knowledgeable and current. Send strengthening words to administrators. Check in with faculty, staff, and students you may know. We are one in the bonds of love and Christian fellowship.
Identifying With Those Who Are Suffering
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘This message you have given me from the LORD is good.’ For the king was thinking, ‘At least there will be peace and security during my lifetime’ (Isaiah 39:8, NLT).”
“3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies (Hebrews 13:3, NLT).”
“4 Yet ours were the sufferings he was bearing, ours the sorrows he was carrying, while we thought of him as someone being punished and struck with affliction by God; 5 whereas he was being wounded for our rebellions, crushed because of our guilt; the punishment reconciling us fell on him, and we have been healed by his bruises (Isaiah 53:4-5, NJB).”
Hezekiah was relieved when he learned that the consequences of his folly would fall upon a coming generation, and not his own. That is not a very noble approach to suffering.
In Hebrews 13:3 we are exhorted to have a different perspective on suffering. We, who are not suffering, should identify with those who are suffering, as though their suffering is our own.
But the highest view of suffering is that of our Lord Jesus, who deserved no suffering at all, but chose to identify fully with sinners, and to endure our suffering, the suffering we deserve, so that He might bear the punishment for our sins, and we might be saved.
College and university life can be somewhat self-contained, so that the adversities experienced by others seems remote and unrelated to us. In this time of adversity and great suffering, let us pray that our students, faculty, and we as well deeply identify with those who are afflicted.
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Weekly Thought -October 19, 2021
Fred excelled in disciplining his decisions. He, also, made this exercise part of his mentoring. He knew healthy organizations depended heavily on the skill of leadership in assessing situations and making wise, effective decisions.
As leaders, our decisions determine the character of our organizations. We cannot afford to make exceptions for ourselves. If the President cuts corners, it sets standards for the entire organization. In my experience, dishonesty at the top encourages it throughout.
I have seen some leaders overlook “small dishonesties” as a way to glue the organization to the leader through guilt… it may even become an informal perk. If the company philosophy says honesty is the best policy, then it must be the only policy. My mentor at GENESCO had a policy: “If it has to be done, it has to be done right. If it can’t be done right, it doesn’t have to be done.” Where others took short cuts we had to work to find creative solutions with integrity.
Leaders must recognize that their character directly affects how they operate. They must make disciplined decisions. For example, working from the desire to maintain total control does not usually result in a healthy organization. Some leaders operate with the agenda of protecting personal position. Leadership development in such situations is thwarts personnel development.
I was once in a ministry reorganization that raised the control question. “Is this work his or His?” “Does it belong to the leader or to God?” When I hear a ministry leader say “God called me to head up this organization” I want to ask “For what purpose: to give you a lifetime job, or that the mission might be accomplished?” Control driven ministry leaders are usually more self-serving than God-serving.
Certainly there are times of emergency when unilateral control may be required for a short time – until the emergency is resolved.
Control oriented leadership doesn’t establish succession. I was once asked to take the helm as President of an organization that had long been led by a dictatorial head. I knew my team approach would not be profitable because the staff was trained to act on orders, not to think through solutions. I couldn’t in good conscience ask people who hadn’t taken responsibility for results for years to begin to think for themselves. My experience teaches me the perpetuity of the healthy organization is management’s first responsibility, and so leadership development at all levels is of prime importance. Successful succession is a leader’s responsibility and often a test of character.
Think carefully about: 1) What measures do I use to assess the health of an organization? 2) How careful am I to make disciplined decision – even in the smallest matter? 3) Who looks up to me as a model for character development?
Words of Wisdom: “Leaders must recognize that their character directly affects how they operate.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Listen to advice and receive discipline, that you may become wise by the end of your life.” (Proverbs 19:20 NET Bible)