Installment 3 of Calvary University’s Advancement Department seven commitments. The third commitment I want to talk about today is:
Don’t make decisions without prayerful discernment.
What is the easiest and, at the same time, the hardest to do? The simplest, yet the loftiest? The weakest and most powerful?
It is prayer. Our heavenly Father desires us, nay, commands us to do so. Luke 18:1-8, which is the story of the persistent widow states, “Then he spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.”
Pretty straight forward that we should pray and not lose heart—we should persevere. Jesus Christ gave us examples as to how to do so. Look in Matt. 6:5-18; Luke 11:1-4, 3:21 (the beginning of His ministry), 23:46 (His ministry ended in prayer).
He tells us in John 14:13-14, “And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” This is not rubbing the magic genie bottle or the name and claim it. If our walk is with our Lord and Savior, what we ask is going to be according to His will for us and others.
Nehemiah is a great example of prayerful discernment. In chapter 1 he comes to God with a broken heart when he hears about Jerusalem. He gives adoration to God, confesses the sins of Israel, states the promises of God to His people, recites former mercies of God to Israel, and then pleads for God’s favor in the eyes of the king for he is the king’s cupbearer. In Neh. 2:2-7, the king asks Nehemiah why the sad countenance and Nehemiah explains it to him. Then the king asks him, “What do you request?” “So I prayed to the God of heaven and I said to the King. . .”
Nehemiah pleaded with God in chapter 1 and then when the opportunity presented itself, he made his request, and it was granted above what he requested.
Whenever there is a need at Calvary that I must to present to people to support, I ask God for guidance as to who to approach and what to say. Names come to mind or I notice other names in another task.
Spend time in prayer with God as He is your Father. He will guide and direct you. You talk with your earthly father, mother, wife, children, and friends right? How much more should we talk with our Heavenly Father?
Don’t let your prayer life follow this destructive pattern:
Hurrying through prayer so we can check off the box for the day.
Then, the time spent in prayer is shortened & our inclination to pray dwindles.
Prayer is crowded into a corner & depends on fragments of time.
Finally, our duty has lost its importance.
Phil. 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
You Can Help Support Education for Veterans, Soldiers, and Their Families
Calvary University (CU) administrators decided to offer the lowest tuition rate to a special group of people – active military personnel, veterans, and their immediate families (spouse & children). You can give generously to help CU sustain this program, but you may ask, ”What’s the impact?” During the 2016-2017 school year, 24 students were in this category and Calvary expects this number to grow with this new initiative. Join us and show your patriotism and your faith through a donation to Calvary University. https://www.calvary.edu/donate/ We need your support to sustain this special offering.
Anything But Free
A direct correlation exists between the soldier’s service and a society’s freedom; however, ironically, the soldier’s life is anything but free. When my lifelong friend and I graduated from high school, he chose to serve in the United States Navy to mitigate the expense of college. The slogan “See the World” misled many a recruit in those days who, later, would have been all over the world and seen only a few port cities. “It’s not just a job. It’s an adventure.” This slogan left many a recruit wondering about the definition of “adventure.” For the most part, the inside of a ship or military base was what many soldiers experienced. I often hear a veteran’s tale about his or her unique service experience that sounds like anything but “freedom” to this civilian.
I remain grateful for the military service of my family and friends, and I hold special appreciation for the effort of every soldier. I learned respect for the women and men in uniform because they served for me by proxy. I believe this occupation deserves my admiration because I enjoy the freedom that was paid at a dear price (and not by me).
A Big Sacrifice
One who believes and follows Jesus Christ must recognize that freedom comes at the price of another. Jesus quoted Isaiah but fulfilled Scripture when He said, “He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives … to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). God’s Son did not provide liberty to the captives and to the oppressed by doing whatever He wanted. In fact, Jesus was limited to the narrow parameters of His Father’s plan for the redemption of sinful man (Matthew 7:21; 26:42; John 14:20). Believers know Jesus sacrificed His life’s blood for the atonement of sin. Many call this the “ultimate sacrifice”.
Soldiers face sacrifice at many levels including the possible “ultimate” one of life. Indeed, many men and women continually give as they work to resolve past experiences that present challenges in life moving forward. Without personal experience, I can only relate a few minor instances largely insignificant compared to a past warrior’s life. According to the Defense Manpower Reporting Center more than 7% of all Americans have served in the military at some point in their life (https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/dwp/index.jsp). This fact leaves little doubt that most readers understand how soldiers give something of themselves during their military career. Like many of you, I empathetically understand what they give.
One might expect the price of freedom would prompt enough fortitude for citizens to appreciate what was accomplished through someone else. Paul argued, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1). So it seems, the one “set free” must remain steadfast against the temptation to return to the former slavery. Unfortunately, believers find themselves enslaved to sin. Soldiers often find their sacrifice means little to a free society.
The benefits afforded to soldiers through legal mandate seem like a small reward. My aforementioned friend found, after receiving his Good Conduct Medal, that his expert training had little civilian relevance. A college education was desired and needed and earned. Many mistakenly believe soldiers get free education through military benefits. This simply is untrue. Soldiers and veterans look for military friendly schools (like CU) that can make needed training affordable. Men and women of the armed forces deserve help from their brothers and sisters in Christ as we can relate to their gift.
A Call to Action
Please allow me this indulgence: On Independence Day 2017, celebrate by thanking your Savior and by thanking a Soldier. Prayerfully consider giving to CU so we can continue our Military Benefit program. Remember, someone else paid for your freedom. And, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
On Tuesday Calvary hosted the Belton Chamber of Commerce for a luncheon in our Student Life Center. Our own Joe Dapra prepared the food, and Dr. Skip Hessel, our Chief Development Officer, gave a presentation on intergenerational management. He shared behavior characteristics of the different age groups and the most common issues in managing multiple generations within the workforce. Events like this one are a fantastic way to build relationships and promote Calvary. It is our pleasure to be a part of this community and to serve local businesses in this way.
Dr. Skip Hessel speaks to the Belton Chamber of Commerce.
God graciously kept the rain away from our 16th Annual Golf Tournament last Friday! 110 golfers played in the tournament, and several went home with prizes. Calvary is grateful to all of the businesses and individuals who donated more than 50 prizes for us to give out to hole contest winners, winning teams, the winner of the putting contest, and those who claimed door prizes. We are especially thankful for our major tournament sponsors: MidAmericare & Patmos Healthcare, Heritage Benefits, Northland Sonic Drive-ins, and Prosperity Advisory Group. Calvary could not have a successful fundraiser like this without the support of these businesses and others who sponsor holes and carts. We definitely want to express our gratitude to each one who had a part in this tournament.
In continuing to share Calvary University’s Advancement Department’s seven commitments, the second commitment I want to talk about today is:
Trust God To Be The Fundraiser.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible on giving is II Corinthians 8:1-15, “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace.But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.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 by his poverty might become rich.And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it.So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.As it is written, ‘Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.’”
Paul is using this passage to encourage the Corinthian church with the example set by the Macedonian church. The Macedonian church was going through a severe trial, which might have been persecution because of their new belief in Christ or experiencing an economic downturn. Either way, the fact remains they were in a harsh time, but they gave beyond their means. I’m not saying this to place a guilt trip on anyone, but Paul is telling the Corinthian church that in spite of their severe trial, they can give beyond their ability. The two main points I desire to share are:
vs. 5-“And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.” The Macedonians gave liberally because they FIRST gave themselves to the Lord. We must remember that whatever we give to the Lord, we are giving Him what is already His own. And, nowhere in the Bible does it instruct us to give away what we absolutely need for our existence.
vs. 12-“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” There are numerous times when a small gift has been received by Calvary University and the giver states, “I wish I could give more.” My response is two-fold. God knows your heart and many small gifts add to a large one.
We just need to give ourselves to the Lord and HE will prompt your heart to give when He wants you to give. When you hear of a particular need, prayerfully ask God what part of that need can you supply. God is the ultimate fundraiser.
Calvary University’s Advancement Department has seven commitments that they hold to, and I would like to share them with you over the next seven weeks. The first commitment I want to talk about today is:
Be Spiritually Prepared for the Battle.
Eph. 6:13 says, “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” What evil day? Eph. 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Being wise means one whose action is governed by piety and integrity—be wise in a practical sense.
Why is it important to be spiritually prepared? I Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” The first two directives, be sober and be vigilant, are future-active commands. We are to be self-controlled and watchful. For me, being self-controlled means spending time with God, by reading and prayer. It means bringing ourselves under control of the Holy Spirit so that we are watchful and prepared. If we are not spiritually prepared, Satan can push us off course and we ruin our testimony for God. We start accepting the world’s measuring stick for what our standards should be and take others off course with us. A successful athlete will tell you they are prepared for the game because if they are not, they will probably lose.
If I’m not prepared for the spiritual battle, Satan will deter me from meeting with supporters, encouraging them, and talking to them about financially partnering with Calvary University as we educate, equip, and engage students to live and serve in the church and the world according to a biblical worldview. We need to be spiritually prepared so we will be victorious for God and not lose to Satan.
These are some thoughts that challenged me and I wished to share them with you. A very blessed day to you all! And may you be vigilant in your spiritual walk for the days ahead.