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
Put away the duvets, store the flannel sheets, and turn on the fans – it has gone immediately from spring to summer. Or so we thought a week ago. Today, fires are being stoked, sweats are awakened from their hibernation, and soup sounds good! The cold rain, and the dreary 50 degree days followed 90 degree scorchers just three days ago.
What do we learn from this? Don’t move to Texas unless you are “Semper Gumby” as a friend says… translated “ever flexible!”
A majestic flag dominated the front entrance of a Dallas business until a swift wind tore it from its pole. Why? Because it was permanently affixed without any slack. When it was restored its infrastructure contained springs. I have an American flag attached to my log house. At first I nailed all four corners, but soon discovered the East Texas breezes will fight desperately to unseat any nail! So, on those days the top hangs firmly from the log, but the bottom waves patriotically.
Living with no “give” leads to disappointment and often breakage. Age and years teach willow tree wisdom….a slight bend is not only structurally sound, but much more graceful.
The Bible speaks of “stiff-necked people.” They were actually arrogant and egotistical, but they were also focused on control and having their own way. These characteristics don’t play well with a life goal of finishing well. As we learn to surrender the urge to be in charge we learn the softness of submission to God. In turn we experience the joy of more satisfactory relationships.
Tomorrow it may be sweltery again, and all the accoutrements of the cold snap will be snug in their summertime beds. But the lessons of flexibility will continue to grow us as acclimated Texans.
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“Christian higher education is on the forefront of current cultural challenges.”
We know these significant issues require men and women of integrity, competence, and imagination to provide solutions. Praise God for the commitment of our schools to serving the living God in this era.
This month as our schools complete a semester, graduate seniors, and send students and faculty to represent Christ throughout the world, let’s stand with them.
Thank you for joining together as prayer partners to hold up our fellow believers in Christian higher
education. And let us rejoice with gratitude for their message of faith and excellence.
Free to Serve
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13, NLT).
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another (Galatians 5:13, NRS).
Paul knew that the freedom the Galatians had found in Christ could be misused in a self-indulgent way. And so he exhorted the Galatian believers to use their freedom as an opportunity in which to serve others in love.
As we appear to see some “light at the end of the tunnel” so far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned, much wanted freedoms are beginning to be restored. With these freedoms comes the opportunity and temptation to use them in such a way as to indulge ourselves, rather than to sacrificially serve others.
Let’s pray that God would give our college and university students a renewed zeal to use their freedom to serve others.
Likewise, let us pray that we, along with faculty, staff and administrators, model such servanthood in order to motivate our students to serve others in love.
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Weekly Thought – June 1, 2021
Fred thought strategically. His analytical style allowed him to maintain objectivity. A strong element in his approach was the clarification of passion. This week, his words build on his rational view of passion.
“Passion is concentrated wisdom with high energy in the pursuit of meaning.” That definition is one of my favorites.
Effective leaders are imbued with passion. It gives energy to the business; it sustains in difficult times, and it gives hope.
My theologian friend Dr. Ramesh Richard says, “First in life, decide on your passion. What is your first love? If you have multiple passions, you’ll be ripped to pieces internally, resulting in a fragmented, random life. If anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ is your first love, you will fall into idolatry.”
The advantages of a clear, healthy passion are multiple: 1) brings purpose, unity, intensity, and concentration; 2) gives intentionally to life; 3) provides depth keeping us from the shallowness of mediocrity.
Examples of passionate leaders: 1) Solzhenitsyn had an undying passion for truth and principle; 2) Mother Teresa, a passion for the dying; 3) Moody, Spurgeon, and Graham – a passion for souls; and 4) Churchill whose indomitable passion of will gave the British the needed wartime stamina.
I see two sources of passion: 1) Received as a gift- the person is born with an exceptional capacity for passion. They can unite the mind, heart, and spirit. They have the ability to lose themselves in a cause, dedicating themselves to a single purpose. I listened to an older writer being interviewed by a younger one.” If you had your life to live over, what would you do?” His answer: “I would find something big enough to give myself to.” 2) Vision – the clearer the vision, the more focused the passion. If the vision becomes blurred, the passion becomes dissipated. In an organization where everyone buys into and fully understands the passion and purpose, all effort is unified with high energy. An organization without passion is a car without gasoline, a rocket without fuel.
Passion does not always express itself the same way in leaders… one may be quiet, and another effervescent. It is a mistake to equate passion with charisma.
The purpose of our passion must have integrity. I have heard leaders complain that their employees don’t have the same desire for success that they do. On further examination, often I found the dedication was to personal success, rather than organizational success.
I often ask a question: “Is the object of the passion worthy of the commitment?” The Apostle Paul, a man of exceptional passion, was willing to be accursed if his purpose was not accomplished. Self-sacrifice is the acid test of our passion. While passion supplies hope, tenacity, energy, it also increases vision. It creates its own reality.
I like the prayer of the old saint: “O, Lord, fill my will with fire.” He was asking for passion with a receptive, expectant attitude toward God. A pure passion turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.
This week carefully consider: 1) What is my primary passion? 2) How am I expressing this to those around me? 3) When do I get unfocused about my vision?
Words of Wisdom: “An organization without passion is a car without gasoline, a rocket without fuel.”
Wisdom from the Word: “But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end.” (Hebrews 6:11 NET Bible)