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
“You just Benjamin Buttoned me!” My friend laughed as she said this. “Do you know what I mean?” Obviously I didn’t. Yes, I knew the movie about the man who grew younger as he chronologically aged, but I didn’t get the connection.
“Old people seem to want to talk about themselves all the time, especially about their illnesses and complaints. You just asked me a question about me. I call that Benjamin Buttoning because you are not acting your age, but much younger!” I laughed and accepted the compliment from my much younger friend.
She is right – at my nearly 80 years conversations about health, the closest and best buffet, and the sad condition of the world dominate most exchanges. Long ago we forgot the art of listening, asking questions, and then listening again.
When I inquired about a Zoom class she is teaching her face lit up. I really cared about her life without seeing her as simply someone to hear my stories and receive my “gathered over the years wisdom.” A lesson was learned in those two hours we spent together. Whether you are forty, sixty, or eighty you want to be heard.
My youngest grandchild once looked at me during a visit and said quite seriously, “Are you listening to me?” How easy it is to put on a face that looks like attention while the mind wanders away. Children quickly learn what true listening looks like. Yes, eyes and ears are a powerful combination.
I don’t want to be a crotchety old woman complaining about my aching back, my lactose intolerance, or certainly not my occasional incontinence. Young ones will discover those on their own soon enough. I want to ask questions that uncover their hopes, dreams, fears, and concerns. Only if I cede my talking time to them will I ever have the privilege of knowing what they are thinking.
When you live alone you have thousands of rolled over words to use. It is tempting to spend the bulk of them posing as a “wisdom figure.” Aging sadly allows “diarrhea of the mouth” which discourages others from engaging us socially. Haven’t we all heard, “Don’t sit down with her – she just talks about herself constantly.”
Be a Benjamin Buttons who gets younger, more curious, more interactive, and certainly more attentive to others even as the calendar says he should settle into old age. My Dad was known for saying, “I have to get older, but I don’t have to get old.” Neither do we!
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“What is truth?” Pontius Pilate
As a bruised, and abused Jesus stood before him Pilate almost rhetorically asked “What is truth?” He did not even wait for the answer. He certainly wasn’t hoping to engage this barely alive Jew in a philosophical discussion.
But the question is at the heart of Christian higher education. Colleges and Universities were founded with the mission of instilling truth, wisdom, and excellence into students. They rightly answer the question year by year as they educate students in the ways of the gospel, applying it to the academic environment.
This month they prepare for the next semester, planning for ways to draw students into meaningful conversations about what is truth. More importantly, they will engage them in the knowledge of who is truth.
Please pray for the students, faculty, staff, and administration as each and every person confronts the person of Jesus Christ. Pray for them to desire the truth of the word rather than that of the world.
The Student and Servanthood
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
35 James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:35-45, NAU).
Whether it is intended or not, the educational system can create a competitive spirit. A competitive spirit is what we find, all too often, in the disciples. Who is the greatest? (Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 9:33-36; Luke 22:24-27). Jesus contrasted what we might call secular (in the above case, “Gentile”) leadership and spiritual, godly, leadership. The former is about being served; the latter is about serving.
Our Christian colleges and universities seek to train and equip spiritual leaders. Let us pray that servanthood is modeled by faculty and staff, and that this becomes the perspective of the students who are destined for leadership in the future. The college campus is the perfect place for a spirit of servanthood to be expressed and to grow.
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Weekly Thought – June 28, 2022
Fred valued friendships and worked hard to nurture them. Networking wasn’t a commercial endeavor – it was relational. In our common vernacular we ordinarily use “relationships,” but Fred was partial to “relation.”
Qualities of Excellent Relations
Relations require time – quality time, not just habitual or ritual appointments. This time should be applied within the moving scene of life. In business terms time in relationships is like applying working capital to create the most good at the right time.
Mature relations also require compromise. As unique individuals, these compromises are between people with varying upbringing, traditions, ideas of what life should be, past experiences, and goals for the future. When we can find areas of overlap, the relation may develop more naturally.
I am often asked about man to man friendships, My answer is: “when the little boy in me likes the little boy in you we can begin developing a friendship.” Men generally establish relations through working on projects together, whether in career, community service, or church. One of my long-time business colleague retired. We knew we wanted the friendship to continue so we agreed to serve together on a corporate board. This gave us common experiences, opportunities to strategize, spend time profitably, and deepen an already well-established friendship. We subsequently served on several Christian ministry boards, as well as other corporate consulting situations which lasted until his death.
Another key element of strong relations is the sharing of friends. It is one of my joys to know that a friend of mine should know another one. Often networking has a negative connotation with the idea of using others for personal advantage. I am total disagreement. I am convinced of the profound benefit of connecting others for their own good. One of my friends is considered a premier networker, known nationwide for his ability to identify potential relationships. He constantly keeps in mind “who do I know who should know Fred?” Knowing his desire for good to emerge gives me a great sense of responsibility in these introductions.
The cultivation of relations is not casual, nor random. It requires great thought and discipline. The outcome is difficult to quantify. To stop and see the work accomplished through decades of friendships brings satisfaction. To know healthy, mature relations are part of my life goal of stretching others gives me confidence I can be helpful and productive.
This week carefully consider: 1) What do my friends have in common?2) How do I think about the value of connecting friends?3) Which of my friends should know each other?
Words of Wisdom: “Relations require time – quality time, not just habitual or ritual appointments.”
Wisdom from the Word: “They help one another; one says to the other, ‘Be strong!’“ (Isaiah 41:6 Net Bible)