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 haven’t changed one bit. You look just like you did years ago!”
It had been 16 years since I was together with this friend. At first blush these words cheered my aging heart (and ego), even though I knew she was wrong.
As the glow faded, the thought occurred to me, “Brenda, if I think about that seriously, it is an indictment. Have you changed since college? Do you have new interests, new skills, deeper knowledge, more wisdom?”
Sadly, I admitted I improved on skills already developed by age 20, deepened my interest in subjects already introduced in early life, and practiced habits created in my 30s. But am I a different woman, or simply a more experienced model of my younger self?
Then, I switched the direction. “Perhaps you set your life course early, establishing your core values at a young age.” I think there is truth in that. My Breakfast With Fred work requires me to read thousands of words written by my Dad throughout his life. One of my ah-ha’s has been the way his foundational thinking matured, but did not change over decades. At 30 he held beliefs expressed in his 80s.
So, then what is the conclusion? Being a more solid Brenda founded on a firm faith is a good thing. Failing to add new skills, new interests, and experiences is not. Allowing fear to keep me from joining in on uncomfortable activities (like learning new games, singing solos, zip-lining, snorkeling, or hiking mountains) leave me unchanged.
Growing requires pushing beyond known boundaries. Perhaps I can risk a bit and the next time I see her she will tell me “You look like you are having great fun in your old age!”
by Brenda A. Smith, BWFLI.com, BreakfastWithFred.com
“The leaders are here.”
This crisp telegram supported Alice Lloyd’s belief that indigenous leadership existed in Eastern Kentucky, deep in the Appalachian Mountain range. Her Boston friends heard the stories of men and women who could be developed through education. Thus, in the early 1900s she dedicated her life to bringing leaders to the fore. Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky is the living memorial to her faith.
Christian colleges and Universities continue the uncovering of men and women with leadership qualities, living a life of honor and excellence. The leaders certainly are there on these campuses.
During this month of May, students are completing their semester studies, planning for summer, and graduating to future activities. Please pray for them: safety, freedom from anxiety and fear, clarity of direction, and maturity of faith.
Thank you for praying faithfully each month. The dependence on God and the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit is uppermost each of their days. I know each of our schools would greatly appreciate messages of encouragement from you. Thank you for joining together in prayer.
Job, Us, and the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Bob Deffinbaugh, Bible.org, BWFLI.com
Who would have thought that we would be able to identify so closely with the Job of the Bible, the most godly (and also prosperous) man on earth at the time? Job suffered huge financial losses.
Many today are suffering great financial loss because of the pandemic. Job suffered the loss of his family, and so many around the world are mourning the loss of loved ones to the virus. Some are suffering physically, even as Job suffered terribly.
Our colleges and universities are now facing challenges no one even imagined. Students are having to make substantial adjustments to a new way of living. Some foreign students are virtually trapped, because they can’t go home to their own countries, and the schools where they were students have virtually shut down. This is a time of faith-testing and faith-growing, for students, staff, and administration. Let us pray that they, like Job, remain firm in their faith, trusting in God for who He is, rather than for what He gives.
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Weekly Thought – May 26, 2020
Fred wrote and thought much about relationships. Last week we introduced his thinking on the excellence of them. We continue this week with thoughts about a critical challenge: religious differences between friends.
Thank you for praying as we bring Fred’s wisdom to you.
Faith and Friendships
Religious differences can test our friendships, even to straining the quality of the relationship. It can be the most volatile factor of sustaining a long term connection.
The knowledge of God’s will, the interpretation of God’s Word, loyal ties to an institution, along with traditions of denomination and family combine to create intensity in our beliefs and opinions which affect our relation with others.
It is easy to generalize our unique relation with God into a pattern for everyone else. When our faith walk leads us to believe we know the will of God, we can unconsciously come to apply that knowledge to ourselves, but to others, as well. Young friends of mine used to parody the Four Spiritual Laws of Campus Crusade by saying “I love you and have a wonderful plan for your life.” This can definitely throw a clinker into a friendship.
I have signed many “statements of faith” holding forth the tenets of New Testament dogma. I have never seen one featuring these words: “I am currently living in love with my fellow Christians and will continue to do so as tenaciously as I hold the other points of doctrine.”
Often we find it much easier to fight for the faith than to exemplify it. Our relationships illustrate our real beliefs. The non-Christian world of the first century would say, “Behold the love they have for one another.” Even the keeping of Christ’s commandments was predicated on love: “If you love me, keep my commandments.” In the early days of Christian contemporary music a Catholic priest named Peter Scholtes composed a song which became an anthem for the 1960s Jesus movement: “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” It was sung by long-haired youth, and three-pieced suited businessmen.
The only genuine ecumenism is based on love first before organizational unity. Doctrinal harmony is critical, but making sure it is core dogma and not just preference is an outworking of love.
Often when some of my more ardent doctrinal friends criticize other Christians, I ask them: “Do you think they are going to heaven?” This usually stops them for awhile and even with hesitation they say, “Certainly. Why?” Then I give them my simplistic conclusion: “If they are going to heaven, they are part of the body of Christ and I have no option as to whether or not to associate with them and to love them. We are part of the same family.”
Therefore, excellence in friendships (especially long term ones with diverse religious backgrounds) requires a purposeful effort to practice love, seeing others without personal filters as the only answer (as much as possible).
This week carefully think about: 1) How many friends do I have who hold dissimilar religious traditions? 2) What can I do this week to focus on loving and not judging? 3) When does oneness in Christ become real to me?
Words of Wisdom: “The only genuine ecumenism is based on love first before organizational unity.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The one who loves his fellow Christian resides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.” (1 John 2:10 NET Bible)