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
“On the road again – making music with my friends.” – Willie Nelson
Quarantining, sequestering, isolating, sheltering – all synonyms for taking my car keys away.
For decades traveling the roads of America with four favorite wheels underneath me has brought opportunities for ministry, connection, and development. March, 2020 changed me from road warrior to home body.
In 2019 plans for an annual trip to The Cove (Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, North Carolina) with friends highlighted the August 2020 calendar. Months passed and the probability of the trip dimmed. However, my intrepid, traveling spirit took charge and with great caution (a 10 day supply of masks and disinfectants) I drove from Texas into the great beyond.
Not only did I attend The Cove, but I added eight stops to visit friends unseen for years. We made music together: stories of God’s provision, protection, and promises. We laughed as we recalled long ago experiences and shared friendships. In the letter to Philemon Paul thanks him for being a refreshment. This verse reverberated over and over as I drove mile after mile. The refreshment of the Spirit poured over each visit.
I once was asked to write out a summary of my ideal job. I found the paper (I don’t throw anything away!) recently. “My perfect job would be to travel by car cross-country, encouraging other Christian friends in the truth of God and the power of the Spirit.” WOW! My Willie Nelson adventure in the throes of pandemic fleshed out this desire. I was on the road again and indeed was making the music of connection with my friends.
Your refreshment may not be a road trip, but look for those who bring life and hope to you, especially in these days. And consider how to brighten the spirits of others, helping them to make their own music.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“In times like these, we need a Savior.”
This is a call to prayer. This is a plea for earnest support. This is a cry to stand strong.
Students are returning, some to physical campuses and others to cyber spaces.
Administration, faculty, and staff are diligently preparing for a challenging academic environment. Most of all, they are strengthening themselves to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. They dedicate themselves to the journey from information to knowledge to wisdom. Their commitment to excellence flows throughout the entire community.
Your help is needed. Please pray for their physical safety, their mental and emotional stability, their academic diligence, and their spiritual vitality. You can stand with them lifting “holy hands” to the Lord God Almighty. Thank you for your loving, faithful prayer. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
How to Find A Mentor
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
“10 Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” 11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?” And one of the king of Israel’s servants answered and said, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word of the LORD is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him (2 Kings 3:10-12).”
It is interesting to see how Elisha was described by one of the king’s servants: he was, “a man who poured water on the hands of Elijah.” In other words, Elisha was a man who served Elijah. And he is not alone in this. Moses was attended by Joshua. King Saul was served by David. Paul was faithfully served by Timothy and others. It is not surprising to learn from Scripture that these “servants” later on became leaders, often taking the place of the one they had served.
I have received numerous requests to be “mentored” by younger folks, and this is not a bad thing. It is good for a younger person to seek the friendship, guidance and counsel of someone who is older and more mature in the faith. But the way I found to get close to those I deeply respected was to find ways to serve them (I confess, often it was by working on their cars.)
I believe that we should pray for the mature and godly men and women in our schools to mentor younger men and women. But I also believe that we should pray for those young people to desire to serve those they wish to imitate and learn from, because it is servants that God raises up to be leaders.
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Weekly Thought – September 8, 2020
Fred experienced four hospitalizations which were predicted to usher him from earth to heaven. Each time he recovered, returned home, and continuing stretching and blessing. After an early one he spent a restless, frustrating weekend. His daughter in whose house he lived realized this pattern would drive the both crazy. She called dear friend Ed Yates saying, “Dad is definitely not satisfied with no activity. Would you invite some friends and come by next Saturday?” Ed began a Saturday tradition which continued until his death. Because chairs were placed around him as he lay elevated, but horizontal, it became known as Fred in the Bed. Donna Skell and JoyLynn Hailey Reed compiled their notes for two years as a gift for his 90th birthday. During his birthday month of September the compilation will be excerpted.
August 21, 2004 Fred in the Bed, part two
Fred talked about stress quoting St. Avalon “The imagination is the fool of the house.” So much of our stress comes from imagination, My ancient mystic friend Francois Fenelon says when we move away from gratitude for today and imagining a better tomorrow we are “insulting the opportunities of today.”
How do you maintain inner strength during stressful periods?
A helpful metaphor is a submarine. As the ship goes down the pressure (strength) inside needs to increase to counter-balance the pressure outside. When we are in stressful seasons we must make sure our internal strength is adequate to offset the external forces pushing against us.
Anger also produces stress. Have you ever known people whose lives seemed to have a thin veneer of civility and calm yet once the surface was scratched anger bubbled up like a volcano? Because of my love for food I also like the picture of Crème Brulee. The crust is thin and fragile. Once punctured the custard is exposed (and in my case, quickly consumed). Stress and anger go hand in glove.
I am convinced there are two types of stress: vertical and horizontal. The vertical is healthy because it pulls you up, Think of a flower on a stem. Without turgor pressure the stem droops. Without the fluids pushing through the cells the flower dies, We can grow limp, as well, One of the best examples is the sense of awe (reverential fear) of God.
Horizontal stresses pull us apart and create damage. Designing our lives to meet others’ demands and standards is horizontal. All the current talk about self-image leads to horizontal stress. We want to have a clear definition of self-worth because we were bought by God through the work of Christ. That is settled and doesn’t change just by what others think or say.
In our competitive society there is a prevailing stress – the fear of losing. The losing by our choosing stresses us. When we make one decision we give up other options. These are the “Y”points. Marriage and career are two of the biggest examples. One of the pitfalls of our current day is buyer’s remorse. “If I choose the left fork and it grows dull, I opt out and choose another road.” The stress of always looking around for the better option steals the joy of commitment.
This week carefully consider: 1) If I were immobilized how would I use my time to benefit others? 2) How clear am I on the differentiation between vertical and horizontal stress? 3) What is creating unhealthy stress in my life right now?
Words of Wisdom: “Scripture emphasizes shelter, refuge, and shadow as roles of God… great antidotes for stress.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The one true God acts in a faithful manner; the LORD’s promise is reliable; he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.” (2 Samuel 22:31 NET Bible)