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
“We’re going to practice until the congregation is totally relaxed thinking how easy the music is.” The choir director went over and over a most difficult passage with the goal of its looking easy. Dad used to tell me the sign of a professional is in the art of making it look simple. “You don’t want anyone to think you are struggling.”
“Don’t ever let them see you sweat” was a popular byword years ago. It was an admonition to keep one’s cool.
Nathaniel Hawthorn, early New England author, put it bluntly and succinctly: “Easy reading; hard writing.” Giving life to a thought is similar to birth… from conception to delivery is a process requiring inspiration, effort, and even pain.
A wise leader of industry once advised, “Show me the baby, don’t tell me about the labor pains.” Most people have no interest in the complete rehashing of the creative process, but prefer to view the outcome. But we must commit to the entire process, right? The delivery, even the pain, has a distinct purpose and its own beauty.
We are called to excellence and a key element is the ability to produce and perform seamlessly. It takes work, but how pleasing it can be to all, including ourselves. Practicing to the point of relaxed performance brings satisfaction and joy.
Let’s look at year end and see what it will take to make it look easy, finishing 2021 well.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Christian higher education benefits all of society.”
Educating, training, and developing men and women of excellent character, academic credentials, and vibrant faith no longer affects just the Christian community. The graduates go into a culture which has little understanding of Biblical values. Some go into vocational ministry, but many more go into the work world equipped to influence society through their work ethic, vision, and skill. Their faith foundation gives them a true north which grounds them in turbulent times. Their boats are sailing on choppy waters.
Let’s pray for their preparation, their freedom from distraction, their clarity of purpose, and strength to complete the course. Let’s also remember their families who stand behind them, often sacrificing to make this education possible. We must also lift up faculty, staff, and administration, asking the Lord to provide direction, endurance, and joy.
Responding to the Coming of Christ
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“ Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL'” (Matthew 2:1-6, NAU).”
Is it not amazing that men (apparently non-Jews) of influence and power made that long, arduous, journey from “the east” to Israel, in order to worship the King of the Jews, and this prompted by an unusual cosmic sign? At the same time, the Jewish people of Jerusalem, had the clear prophetic revelation of the coming of their Messiah, and even the place of His birth. And yet that which excited and motivated the men from the east only troubled the people of Jerusalem! They were not even willing to travel a few miles to the place of our Lord’s birth.
The same responses will be evident this Christmas season. Some will rejoice, and eagerly worship the King, while others will ignore Him, at best, and oppose Him at worst.
May this Christmas season be a time of rejoicing and worship on our college campuses.
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Weekly Thought – November 30, 2021
Fred treasured his friendships, nurturing them through the years. In the 1950s he spent hours traveling across the country. Because nonstop flights were nonexistent, he had long hours in airport layovers. Not one to waste time -or connections- he had a file of 3×5 cards organized by city with the contact info on everyone he knew in that town. His secretary would load his briefcase with all the travel necessities including the pertinent cards for the airport stays and a roll of change for the pay phone. These calls kept friendships alive and fertilized his large network. This is an excerpt from a commencement speech.
An Educated Heart
I want to congratulate you on completing your degree. You hear about life-long learning, but just as key is an educated heart. One evidence is a right evaluation of self-worth. I am convinced Christians should understand their identity in Christ without buying into the false emphasis on image and esteem which the current culture emphasizes.
A friend of mine was a professor who came to faith in Christ late in life. During a conversation he said, “True dignity happens when genuine pride and genuine humility unite.”
We in the Christian community think of pride and humility as antonyms when actually they are two sides of the same coin. Don’t you feel that you can be justly proud of being God’s child, a member of His family? A wealthy business friend in Boston and his wife took a girl off the street into their home for a year to help rehabilitate her. Each night after dinner he would go over the catechism he developed for her which began with the question, “Why does God love you?” Her reply was: “Not because I am good but because I am precious.” Then the second question was “Why are you precious?” The reply: “Because Christ died for me.” Once when speaking in East Texas a little 80 year old woman heard this story, and hurried to speak to me afterwards. “Thank you, Mr. Smith. All my life I have wanted to be precious and now I know I am.”
You unite that pride with genuine humility and you have a truly educated heart. True humility is best defined as “not denying the power you have but admitting the power comes through you and not from you.” Denial is lying; attribution is truth telling. Some people develop a false humility by bad-mouthing themselves. This perpetuates a lie. We are to feel good about ourselves when we as a member of the Body of Christ knows we are being used. The power is not ours, but His. In this is dignity and the realization of self-worth, not image driven self-esteem, but God’s self-worth.
Another evidence of a learning heart is a homing sense – a magnetic pull for home. Just as the carrier pigeons never lose the pull of the home pad, the educated heart draws toward the Father…His values, His plan, and His community. In a graduating class this large. Many of you will get lost in the trees as you chase the dollar, fame, or even service. In this lostness, you need your homing instinct to activate driving you back.
I visited recently with a CEO who told me of veering away from his “old time religious principles,” making decisions with faulty foundations. He said he finally had the desire to “come home.” He realigned with the church finding true direction.
The challenge is to remember the lighthouse of your faith which will always shine the way home.
This week carefully consider: 1) If I were speaking to college graduates, what would I say? 2) How do I reconcile pride and humility? 3) What system do I use to nurture relationships?
Words of Wisdom: “Humility is not denying the power, but admitting it comes through you and not from you.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with a heart of mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12 NET Bible)