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
“Do the twenty, son, you will not be sorry.”
My twenty year old grandson joined the USMC after graduation from high school. From a very early age being a Marine was a dream. He planned and lived a life consistent with eligibility for service. I once asked him why he stayed away from the bad habits of many his age. His answer is permanently imprinted on my heart: “Those things might have been fun for a short time, but when I looked long term, I saw if I got involved in those things I would be disqualified from my goals, so I said no.”
During his Christmas Leave we had lunch together. While we ate, a woman walked up to the table and asked, “Are you in the Navy?” “The Marines,” he answered. “Congratulations! My husband and I retired from the Army. We chose to do our twenty and it was the best decision we could have made. So, do your twenty!”
It made me think about commitment. We live in a disposable culture. Expensive appliances are expected to wear out after 7-8 years; athletic shoes are rated for 12 months; computers are ancient if not replaced every 18 months. Sadly, relationships and jobs are often short to mid-term.
As the woman said there are definite benefits from extended time frames. Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. There are 8760 hours in a year. Clearly, expertise requires time. As a new corporate officer, I sat in serious meetings with difficult outcomes. The senior officer handled complex issues with poise and insight. After several months I knocked on his office door and asked, “How do you know to handle situations so well? I want to be able to think through problems like you do and resolve them with clarity.” “Brenda, it is a matter of time. The details may be different, but after years of management experience I have seen every variation of the same problems, so I have learned how to resolve them.”
We lived in Southwestern Colorado and immediately involved ourselves in community activities. One day I asked a woman from a multi-generational ranching family, “Margaret, how long will we need to live here before we will be seen as locals?” Without batting an eye she replied, “At least 25-30 years.” No wonder we felt like outsiders after 12 months!
My grandson may not “do the twenty,” but I do believe he has the character to take the long view as he makes decisions. And even at my age I see the benefit of putting down roots in my community.
Time counts; character counts; and commitment counts.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“…what I can offer you is a glimpse into the world of a 20-something who sees thousands of young evangelicals being spiritually and emotionally targeted on Christian university campuses, in college ministries and at churches nationwide by a growing liberal movement cloaked in Christianity.” Excerpted from Chelsen Vicari’s book: “Distortion”.
This month please take these words to heart. Pray for protection, wisdom, and boldness as our campuses are under siege. Thank you for being on the front lines.
Please pray this month for 1) safety of all in the new semester 2)spiritual fortitude and growth 3) strong financial support. Our men and women who lead are courageous. Their faithfulness to the mission of promoting excellence and developing maturity requires tenacity. We are thankful for them and look to the Lord for His favor and blessing.
Looking to Meet Needs
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 3 And He said, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on (Luke 21:1-4, NAU).”
“1 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, 2 that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. 3 For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, 4 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints (2 Corinthians 8:1-4).”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).”
This is most certainly a time when many needs will arise, among students, administration, and faculty. It would be easy to be like the Levite and the priest, who consciously looked the other way, rather than to minister to the badly injured man on his way to Jericho (Luke 10:30-37). It is even easier to excuse ourselves from helping when we think we lack the means to do so. Not so for the widow, or for the Macedonians, who gave out of their poverty. I cannot help but think that the Macedonians were motivated by the fact that Jesus became “poor” in order to minister to them in their need of salvation.
Let us pray that on our college and university campuses there will be students and faculty alike who will be alert and looking for needs, and who will sacrificially give to help meet them. Needs are not hard to find when we are actively looking for them.
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Weekly Thought – February 2, 2021
Fred helped many with their problem solving processes when he distinguished between a problem and a fact of life… the first has a solution; the other is a given. To invert them creates frustration and an unhealthy obsession. This week the excerpt is from content focusing on facing problems.
Thank you for praying for the ongoing progress of BWFLI (Breakfast With Fred Leadership Institute). As we change delivery options, we stay true to the mission of “stretching and blessing the next generation of leaders – to the glory of God.”
Problem? Make a Plan
Are you having relational or financial problems? How about health or emotional problems? Any major problem can be approached in an objective, logical way. Organizing the facts, and building an action plan keeps you from taking a passive posture.
Here are three legs of a planning stool:
1) Accept the seriousness of the problem. A friend has pancreatic cancer; it is serious. It is not psychosomatic handled with denial or even words of affirmation. Many current cults attempt to erase the reality of disease. But as one of my friends says, “You can’t cure diarrhea by denying it.” That may be a bit earthy, but memorable. Right? The first step in planning is to accept the reality.
2) Externalize the problem. I’m indebted to my friend Dr. Kevin Gill for a significant understanding of illness. When I was covered with the external effects of penicillin poisoning I said to him, “Kevin, my body is sick, but I’m not.” He smiled and said, “You are the kind who gets well.” Then he told me executives are the easiest patients to cure because they have a practice of externalizing problems, organizing them, and working on them objectively. He said the most difficult are those who internalize them thinking the problem is caused by guilt, punishment, or unfairness. I was speaking in Fresno, CA at a men’s meeting. I used Kevin’s quote and afterward a young badly came up to me. His physical disabilities were very apparent. He thanked me profusely, saying, “For the first time I have some words for how I feel. My body is disabled; I am not.” Ben Hayden pastored the First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. He told me that one of his members went through a cure for leukemia, sparking a nationally recognized book about his cure. He sent me the book and with it three pounds of letters his member had written. The great progress began when he became a “student of my disease.” This meant that simply as a third party he was going to examine the disease, being objective about it. Externalize, don’t internalize.
3) Use the problem as a learning experience. When a close friend received a cancer diagnosis he told me, “Fred, I have a new mentor: cancer. In my mind I think of it as Professor C.” There’s real wisdom in never losing the good of a bad experience. There is seldom, if ever, an experience that doesn’t contain a nugget of good. And as we learn we have the opportunity and responsibility to share with others what has been taught.
This week carefully consider: 1) What am I facing this week? 2) What comes close to overwhelming me? 3) Which of the three legs is most in need of shoring up?
Words of Wisdom: “Never lose the good of a bad experience.” (Editor’s note: in the vast library of “Fred Saids” this is one of the favorites.)
Wisdom from the Word: “Who is a wise person? Who knows the solution to a problem? A person’s wisdom brightens his appearance, and softens his harsh countenance.” (Ecclesiastes 8:1 NET Bible)