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
“Convenience with no commitment” was the tag line for the movie theater club program. The promo showed all the benefits of paying $8.99 per month for the listed privileges. Finally, the screen filled with those words: “Convenience with no commitment.” Some marketing genius certainly took the pulse of the buying public.
Sadly, that is the tag line for too much of our culture, isn’t it? A social scientist years ago observed major changes can occur by appealing to two factors: comfort and convenience. We will actually give up our freedoms when driven by these two. It is a subtle transaction, but effective. We buy products which are not only new and improved, but provide ease. We hand over the keys to our lives for comfort. Hardship is not cool!
As we begin a new year, perhaps we can stop, do an evaluation of our values, and reassess the importance comfort and convenience play.
The second part of that phrase is unsettling – creating discomfort for me. “No commitment.” Decades ago Glen Campbell sang of the freedom he felt because no “ink stains on a piece of paper” kept him in the relationship. His bedroll stashed behind the couch was a testament to his love for her because she didn’t tie him down. As a “woman of years” I have a simple analysis of this philosophy: HOGWASH!
Until we plant our flag and say like Martin Luther, “Here I stand – I can do no other” we are still children. It takes courage, endurance, and tenacity to boldly persevere. This is true for relationships, jobs, community volunteer efforts, and even hobbies. Gladwell wrote about developing expertise saying it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours to gain mastery of a subject or skill. Imagine how many it takes to forge a healthy, lifelong relationship.
Deep roots are required for tall trees. A subterranean hole as deep as the building is high is necessary for skyscrapers. Commitment which stays the course is a critical element for maturity.
May we exchange “convenience with no commitment” for a true and lasting adherence to standing firm, even when it is uncomfortable, inconvenient, and just downright disagreeable, knowing the reward is great.
At the end of the first month, here’s wishing you “Happy 2020.”
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“In times like these, we need a Savior.”
The praise song of the 1980s rings true today. “For such a time like this” were words spoken by Esther’s uncle thousands of years ago. They, too, resonate in 2020.
Our Christian schools were birthed out of a desire to educate and train men and women to live as followers of Jesus day in and day out — within the faith community, as well as the broader one. This aim has not changed, just as the belief that we are born for our own time, and season remains relevant.
Christian educators are facing the whiplash of secular thought and hostility toward Biblical faith. We stand with them knowing this is their time, their calling, and their challenge. It is our privilege to pray, financially support, and encourage them as they exercise their God-given purpose.
This month please consistently lift up those who have chosen to follow the Lord in leading the next generation. Pray for their strength, their protection, their awareness of His purpose, and great hope in Jesus.
Finding Our Unique Role in the Church
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:4-11, NAU).
10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
The Bible is clear that every Christian is uniquely gifted, and thus has a unique role to play in the church, the body of Christ. Knowing one’s spiritual gift(s) is crucial to finding one’s place, not only in the church but in the world (think of Joseph, and Daniel, for example).
Let us pray that our students will recognize God’s spiritual gifts in others, and desire to discover how God has uniquely gifted them, so that they may have a clearer sense of the path God has for them in the future. And let us pray that in their college years their gifts will be developed. Let us pray, too, that each gifted student will be actively involved in a church where those gifts can be developed and utilized.
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Weekly Thought – February 4, 2020
Fred spoke with insight, wisdom, and elegance. His ability to think was a God-given gift which he treated as a stewardship. In January, 1981 he spoke to an unnamed group in Dallas. The entire speech is powerful, but too lengthy for these brief messages. We hope these snippets stimulate your thinking.
Recently I met an old and prosperous friend who wanted to relive earlier times. Once an active layman, he is now inactive. I asked him if he remembered the verse, “When it is day I long for the night and when it is night I long for the day.” He became quiet and then barely audible said, “Fred, that’s me.”
He needs to reorder his life. Like too many, when given the choice of filling the soul or the pocketbook… he grabbed the cash. His poor soul had been on a stringent diet.
A pastor friend told me of the large industrialist, who owned his town, but was seldom seen and never appeared in church. When he was near death he called the pastor and asked him to visit. “When I came to America I heard there was a pot of gold at the rainbow and I went in search of it. I found the gold, but lost the rainbow.”
In East Texas I first learned of pine beetles. I saw them on the trees and thought they were alive. They looked completely natural, but when I took a closer look, they were hollow. Often I have to remember how possible it is to become hollow while looking alive. The inside seems to go before the outside.
It isn’t easy to keep the inside renewed for sometimes life seems to be a lot of activity and very little being… too much slant and not enough balance. We use up the inside in maintaining the outside.
I truly wish I could help the many bored, frantic, angry, even violent and meaningless people who cross my path – people who need to laugh, to love unselfishly… those who need relief from a social life that has become rote and empty. I see executives whose business life is their only life. We live with family life fractured and scratchy… the home little more than a transfer station. Some of us have let our bodies become little more than clothes racks or display mannequins. We need to help each other on the constant internal renewal of spirit worthy of respect, attention, and affection.
Recently, the President of a large financial institution called “just to visit.” I enjoy those calls. As we talked, I sensed the pace was almost frenetic so I asked, “How are you keeping your head together?” “Work, work, work” was his answer. I highly value work, but there should also be the mystical awe of life.
Malcolm Muggeridge defines life as a mystery to be illuminated not a problem to be solved. When true awe disappears, life becomes boring and repetitive. In America (and particularly in Dallas) I fear we substitute acquisition and entertainment for genuine awe. As a poor kid in the slums of North Nashville I spent hours on the curb looking up at the stars – in genuine awe and amazement. I probably haven’t had many times with better feelings of the bigness of the world and its Creator.
Part of awe is gratitude. I have a dear atheist friend in the oil business who returned from an extremely successful venture in Australia. “Fred, one of the most frustrating aspects of being an atheist is having no God to thank when things go well and you know you are blessed beyond what you deserve. In those times it would be satisfying to have a God.”
Real meaning in life is filling the soul, finding the right perspective, and saying thank you.
This week carefully consider: 1) Have I sacrificed the rainbow for the pot of gold? 2) How healthy am I on the inside despite how good I look on the outside? 3) What triggers gratitude right now?
Words of Wisdom: “We use up the inside in maintaining the outside.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:8 NET Bible)