Editor’s note: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger includes items from:
Oklahoma Baptist University
100 Make Professions of Faith during
Bluefield College Christian Emphasis Week
BLUEFIELD, Va. (Bluefield College) — More than 100 students made professions of faith during Bluefield College’s 21st Annual Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week, September 26-28.
Motivated by the challenge of keynote speaker and nationally renowned youth evangelist Tony Nolan, who urged the students to be bold in their faith and to consider their day of reckoning, the students pledged not to be timid Christians and to believe in God with all of their heart.
“God is using Tony in phenomenal ways,” said BC campus minister David Taylor about Nolan’s inspirational ministry. “He is reaching thousands of young people with the power of God’s word, and this event (Christian Emphasis Week) has impacted the lives of dozens of students on our campus and in our community.”
Sponsored by Drs. Gene and Jane Duremdes of Princeton, West Virginia, BC’s Christian Emphasis Week is designed to challenge students and the community at-large to “examine their spiritual lives” through the facilitation of inspirational speakers, like Nolan. Sensing a “special calling to share with the students of Bluefield College some of the blessings [they] have received from the Lord,” the Duremdes say their hope is that the annual event provides the opportunity for students to “seek answers to life-impacting questions.”
“It’s their (the Duremdes) desire that every student at Bluefield College know the love of God,” said Taylor about the purpose of the annual Duremdes event, “and that through Christian Emphasis Week students have a genuine encounter with Christ.”
And that they did this year as Nolan spoke about society’s view of Christianity and how the world wants to put Christians in a corner to keep them quiet. He shared descriptions of God’s marvelous creative power and scientific details of how He sustains the universe in order to encourage the students to defy the world’s view and to be bold in declaring their faith.
“We can’t let the world rob us of God’s awesome creative, sustaining, forgiving power,” Nolan told the students. “The God of the universe is still God, and if He can do all this (creation) from scratch, imagine what He can do with your life.”
Nolan, the son of a “mentally insane homeless prostitute,” also shared his life story of mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of foster parents and an adoptive father who often told him, “I wish I’d never bought you.” He spoke about how he turned to drugs and even attempted suicide to end his pain and suffering.
“I came to the haunting realization that the highs (from drugs) were never enough to completely rid me of the pain and hurt,” Nolan said. “I realized I needed a creator, a sustainer, a forgiver. That’s when I surrendered my life to God and experienced the redeeming power of His grace. From then on, my life has been radically changed, but not because of anything I did, but because of the love and the saving grace of God.”
But, Nolan said, he’s not the only person who needs God. We all have sinned, he said, and fall short of the glory of our Creator. In fact, he told the students, “we all will have a day of reckoning, a day where we will all stand before the God of the universe and give an account of our life.” He used scripture from Matthew 7 where Jesus declares, “not everyone who says, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven” to urge the students to be prepared for that day.
“Do you know for certain that these verses are not about you?” Nolan asked the students about the scripture that describes God sending away people who mistakenly thought they were believers. Romans 10, he suggested, provides the answer and implores Christians to base their belief in God on more than just knowledge and speech.
“Make sure this (being sent away by God on judgment day) doesn’t happen to you,” Nolan told the students. “Make sure you have a proper belief in Jesus. You got to have that belief in your heart and not just your head.”
More than a hundred BC students responded to Nolan’s pleas during Christian Emphasis Week with first-time and renewed commitments of faith.
“One thing Tony does consistently in his message is reveal the love of God,” said Taylor. “He shows us how God loves us, how much we need God, and how we can grow in our relationship with Him.”
OBU Students Experience Missions in Zambia
By Alex Shirley/OBU Communications
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — Seven Oklahoma Baptist University students and one staff member, in a month-long OBU Global Outreach trip, ventured to Zambia, spending the first part of their venture in church-planting in the remote village of Isoka and the second part serving children at the New Day Orphanage in Mapanza.
IMB representative Blake Kimbrough, with the help of the Baptist Mission of Zambia, has been taking the gospel to many unreached villages for more than six years. Kimbrough is a representative of the mission board’s northern evangelism team in Zambia.
While many students are involved with ministry at OBU, in Shawnee and in surrounding communities, few are privileged to experience hands-on ministry under the leadership of a church planter.
“I’ve had pastors pour into me, but never a church planter like this,” said Hannah Burnett, a sophomore family and community services major from Richardson, Texas. “This was a completely different experience for me.”
With the experience of serving alongside a full-time church planter, students witnessed firsthand the challenges faced when planting seeds of hope with people who are unfamiliar with the Gospel. With barely more than 1,000 Baptist churches in Zambia today, servants such as Kimbrough and others in the Baptist Mission of Zambia hope to reach the “God-sized goal” of 10,000 churches.
During the first leg of the Global Outreach trip, the OBU group camped out in the Zambian bush, hiking miles to and from areas neighboring the village of Isoka. In the village, they spent time with local people to build relationships and, when possible, to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Dayla Rowland, who serves as student ministry associate of evangelism and mobilization at OBU, led the trip last spring. She said one of her favorite things in the African bush was the night sky. With no nearby cities or bright light sources, the Zambian sky is free of light pollution, allowing the stars to shine brighter than most people probably have seen. Viewing the countless stars and Milky Way system each night before bed was “an incredible reminder that the Lord is Creator God,” Rowland said.
Following their two weeks building relationships in Isoka, the OBU students travelled 14 hours by truck to the town of Mapanza. In this location, the students spent 10 days serving children at New Day Orphanage, working alongside missionaries Blu and Darbi Tidwell.
“Ever since (the Tidwells) moved to Zambia … I thought that one day I would love to work with them,” Rowland said. “This trip was the fruition of that dream.”
The vision of the New Day Orphanage (NDO) is to give Zambian orphans hope for the future by fusing together three necessary elements to success in this third-world country: A Christian worldview, Zambian culture and a quality education. OBU students assisted in the “Christian worldview” aspect of the orphanage’s mission.
Students connected with the children by teaching electives at school, visiting the local clinic and conducting a soccer camp for the kids. In addition to ministering to the children, the students also assisted in the construction of a cheese cave to serve the orphanage’s practical needs of food preservation storage. The students’ impact at the orphanage proved not only significant and meaningful to the Zambian children, but also to the OBU students themselves.
“I encourage all students, faculty and staff to take an opportunity to ‘go’,” Rowland said.
Participating in Global Outreach Trips helps fulfill the mission of OBU students, faculty and staff on Bison Hill who seek to engage a diverse world. An entire week of OBU’s fall semester – called “GO Week” – is devoted to educating students about opportunities to serve through international missions experiences such as the Zambia trip, as well as local and regional venues.
“You learn things when you go somewhere unfamiliar,” Burnett said. “It changes you. Challenges you. Deepens your faith.”
About 60 OBU students, faculty and staff participated in GO Trips during the summer 2012 semester. To learn more about OBU’s Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, visit http://www.okbu.edu/academics/theologymin/go.
For information about the Baptist Mission of Zambia, visit http://www.bmoz.org/.
To learn more about the New Day Orphanage in Mapanza, Zambia, visit www.newdayorphanage.org.