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:
California Baptist University
Oklahoma Baptist University
The Baptist College of Florida
WORLD on Campus
Elliff urges CBU students to heed God’s call
By Kathie Chute & Grace Ferrell
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (California Baptist University) — “Two people per second will die in this world without hearing the name of Jesus,” Tom Elliff told students at California Baptist University Sept. 21. “Is there anybody in this world who has a legitimate reason to expect that you’re coming to give them good news?”
Elliff, president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, asked students in chapel services at CBU to embrace the next thing God showed them about missions.
“If in this room alone we had people willing to respond to God’s call,” he said, “we could have the generation who could change the world. God is asking for our all. He’s asking for everything.”
The CBU community is currently preparing for the Oct. 10 application deadline for International- and United States Service Projects, two programs that send faculty, staff and student volunteers to serve on global and domestic mission fields. Last summer, the university launched the 300th volunteer team in the program’s 16th season.
Elliff told the audience to focus on three words when contemplating mission work — hear, hurry and heed. He urged listeners to open their ears to what God wanted to tell them, to not let their hearts harden to what God was telling them regarding mission work, and to hurry in their effort to do His work.
“If you are hard-hearted, you are hard-hearted because you decided to be,” Elliff said. “Not one person in the Bible is famous for what they thought or felt. They’re famous for what they did.”
As a missionary with his wife in Zimbabwe from 1981-83 and during his travels as president of the International Mission Board, Elliff said he has seen parts of the world desperate for God.
“What are you supposed to be?” Elliff asked. “You’re supposed to be Jesus in those situations.”
Elliff challenged students to inquire immediately about opportunities for service.
“This could absolutely change the course of Christian mission if you are serious about this,” Elliff said to those who stood in answer to his challenge. “There are people who need Christ here and all around the world.”
Elliff compared God’s call to a key he pulled out of his pocket.
“This key is made to fit in one place,” he said. “I can do lots of things with it—tear paper or poke holes—but it only works the way it’s intended to work if I use it to start the ignition of my car. So, too, God has a specific plan for your life. Today if you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart.”
O’Gwynn concludes 21-year tenure at OBU
By Julie McGowan
SHAWNEE, Okla. (Oklahoma Baptist University) — After 21 years on Bison Hill, Marty O’Gwynn is departing Oklahoma Baptist University to serve as vice president for university advancement and external relations at Oklahoma City University. O’Gwynn concluded his service at OBU on Friday, Sept. 21.
At OBU, O’Gwynn served as associate vice president for university advancement and assistant to the president for special projects. He joined the OBU staff in 1991 as director of public relations. He moved to the alumni office in 1996, serving as executive director of the OBU Alumni Association from 1996 to 2005. He returned to the public relations office, where he supervised a staff of five who handled various communications duties for the university. He assumed his current role in February 2011.
As a result of his efforts as alumni director, O’Gwynn was named an honorary OBU alum by the Class of 1958. In 2010, he received OBU’s Meritorious Service Award, presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has exhibited commitment and faithful service to the university.
A native of Central Florida, O’Gwynn earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Baylor University. He completed a master of arts degree in communication from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1986. He worked in university communications at Palm Beach Atlantic College and Shorter College prior to his work at OBU.
In addition to his work with OBU communications, O’Gwynn has been the radio voice of the OBU Lady Bison basketball team. He and his wife Deborah have been members of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee. Their sons, Andrew and Timothy, are OBU graduates.
Julie McGowan is news & media relations director for Oklahoma Baptist University.
Campbellsville University hears message from Wheaton College’s Cohick
By Tanner Royalty, student newswriter
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky (Campbellsville University) — “Christian life is like a marriage. It isn’t all about a beautiful wedding day where you walk away unchanged. It’s about living life everyday together and knowing each other more deeply,” Dr. Lynn Cohick, associate professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., said at a Sept. 12 Campbellsville University chapel service.
Cohick taught overseas at the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology in Nairobi, Kenya, for three years, from 1998 to 2000. She said that she was challenged by the students’ dedication and enriched by their vibrant Christian faith.
“Who am I in Christ?” Cohick asked during her message. She referenced Philippians 3:7 and spoke a message of “apprenticing under Jesus.”
“We serve a God who is deep in wisdom, a wisdom that doesn’t rest on human knowledge,” Cohick said.
“Jesus was obedient to the Father, practiced a life of obedience, and accepted a life of suffering,” Cohick said.
We serve a relational God who wants and deserves engagement from his followers. She challenged those in attendance to live a purposeful life, and to live in a way that was pleasing to God, she said. “Believers are equipped for the tasks that God has set before them.
“What kind of apprentice are you? Purposeful? Joyful? United? Not only are we to be apprentices and serve Christ, but we are to be apprentices in teaching, learning, and service to one another,” Cohick said.
She challenged the students to live a life of service, and to live out an active relationship with Christ.
Cohick also spoke to theology classes throughout the day.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,500 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
The Baptist College of Florida prays for the nation
GRACEVILLE, Fla. (The Baptist College of Florida) — In an show of commitment, unity and urgency, students at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) in Graceville joined with Baptists across the state in praying for the nation and setting aside September 17 as BCF’s day to focus on prayer. In addition to it being the first day of the annual Prayer Conference and the focus on Constitution Day, over 200 BCF students and faculty members pledged to pray for the Nation and leaders on this special day set aside on campus.
The initial thought was to have students praying from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. in support of the 56 Days of Prayer initiative sponsored by the Florida Baptist Convention Spiritual Awakening Team. Once it was announced at BCF, more than 100 students signed up within the first 3 hours to join with other Christians to earnestly pray for the nation and leaders. The request to pray took on a life of its own as BCF senior Kessler Newsom tied blue strings around participant’s wrists as a reminder to pray and printed out cards to make sure every minute of the day was covered with someone praying. Journal prayer sheets were available in the little Prayer Chapel on campus so that as people went to pray, they could fill out a prayer card and place it at the foot of the cross.
After watching students going in and out of the prayer chapel all day, the prayer warriors then gathered in the R.G. Lee Chapel at 8:00 p.m. for a time of scripture reading and praise. Worship was led by BCF senior Jacob Patillo and a host of students from all across the campus joined in the event. The special candle light service was designed to praise the Lord and invoke His mighty hand on the nation. Everyone that attended left with a great sense of thankfulness and assurance that God was in control.
According to BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen, Baptists are a praying people, “We pray for our personal needs, our families, our churches, our denomination, our country and on through an unending list of concerns. Prayer makes a difference in the lives of those who are praying, and in the lives of those who are fortunate enough to be the objects of the prayers of God’s people.”
For more information on this special day of prayer at The Baptist College of Florida contact 800-328-2660 ext. 460 or access the website at baptistcollege.edu.
Stepping out of the boat
Q&A by Cash Lambert
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WORLD on Campus) — Ethan Parker takes on a unique project for his second album, translating his songs to Spanish to reach a wider audience
On a 25-foot boat, rolling in the swell off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Fla., singer/songwriter Ethan Parker starts singing a verse from “Walk on Water.”
“I’d like to say I could do the same thing, get out and walk with you for a change, but my life has been in the boat and stepping out and walking with you is the only way I’ll stay afloat.”
While Parker sings, his friend James Joseph “JJ” Yemma waxes his surfboard and prepares to jump into the warm Atlantic Ocean. As Parker sings and Yemma paddles his way toward a set wave rolling through the orange hue of the horizon, the cameras roll. Parker and Yemma are filming a music video for “Walk on Water,” or “Sobre las Aguas,” as it’s come to be known during the last few months.
After releasing his first EP “Be Still” last year, the 21-year-old senior at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA), in West Palm Beach, Fla., decided to translate his songs into Spanish to extend his outreach. The unusual project typifies Parker’s approach to his craft–nothing follows expected patterns.
Parker’s music takes listeners on a trip to a calm, serene beach and can quickly zip them to a folk-saturated mountain range. He’s written and performed with a laundry list of instruments – a ukulele, guitar, piano, harmonica, mandolin, and banjo, just to name a few. Although juggling 19 college credits and managing concert dates, Parker still finds time for surfing and tells me that it’s a priority of his – not only to surf but to get alone in his choice of nature, the salty ocean. It’s in this quiet that Parker writes songs. He retreats usually to an isolated beach and meticulously slides his fingers up and down a ukulele or guitar, trying to find the right riff to match his chorus.
With the instruments in the car back on land, the cameras continue rolling as Parker jumps out of the boat and into the surf. I jump in, following the trail of Parker and Yemma. They catch waves as the videographers place themselves in the way of breakers that threaten to crash over their heads, just to get the right shot and the right angle.
“The idea of the music video for ‘Walk on Water/Sobre las Aguas’ is to act like we’re walking on water by surfing,” Parker later told me. “But the song is much more than just surfing. It’s about stepping out of the boat, stepping out of your comfort zone, and trusting Jesus.”
That’s how the rest of the day went, surfing and filming in warm, sandy water underneath the bright sun. Still wearing boardshorts from the shoot, Parker sat down to discuss his musical goals and history. As he calmly stretched out, I still felt myself rocking from hours spent on the swaying boat.
Let’s start with a bit of your musical history. Where did it all start?
It started in my home as I grew up. My mom was a piano teacher, and she also played on a worship team. I’d go to her rehearsals, and eventually one of the drummers began putting me behind the drum kit, and that’s where my interest in music started. I began taking piano lessons at 5, drum lessons at 10, and guitar at 12. Then I stuck with the guitar – you couldn’t get me off of it. I’d play for hours everyday.
Was your first song shortly after that?
When I was 14, one of my friends in youth group had a great voice, and I could play guitar. We started writing songs together, and did our first concert when I was 15.
A concert at age 15? Nervous at all?
Somewhat. But it all goes away once you start playing.
Many who have heard your music relate it to Jack Johnson, and even Mumford and Sons, two opposite genres. How do you define your music?
My genre can be broken down into 2 locations where I lived. I grew up in Memphis, TN, until 14. I loved the blues guitar, which is so thick and rich there. There was also country, Elvis Presley, and all sorts of a folk musical influence. My family later packed up and moved to Florida, and I was introduced to the local beach music. I went from jamming on the electric guitar to taking an acoustic guitar to a beach. And from there, I wanted to learn the ukulele, because it had such a great tone to it, super happy and it reflected the environment I was in. In high school and into college, I traced my roots back to the folky tune in Tennessee and learned how to play the harmonica, banjo, and mandolin. I get so much inspiration from different instruments.
Talk about your first EP, Be Still. How did that come to be?
Before I came out with it, most of the songs I had written were all secular songs. There’s nothing wrong with that by any means, but I decided that I wanted to write songs with purpose and meaning and I didn’t know how to write Christian lyrics. I felt like everything about God had been said through music — what more could I say that hasn’t been said? But God showed me there’s an infinite amount of possibilities. I came to PBA to earn a degree and had all these songs. I met a bunch of great guys, and started putting a band together. I met a very talented drummer, who introduced me to a producer, who said that he would like to record my album and invest in me.
Be Still, has 5 songs on it: Walk on the Water, Rhythm in my Chest, More and Less, and Fallin’. What’s the back story behind these songs that have such provoking and powerful lyrics?
Be still started when a friend shared with me Psalm 46:10: Be still and know that I am God. At that time in my life, I was going through some craziness and uncertainty with music, my future career, friendships, relationships, and overall what God wanted for my life. I just kept saying be still, be still and started singing the chorus, “be still and know my soul and know that, you’re in control, I know that” which became really calming, and helped me to trust in God and know that He is in control. Everyone will go through some craziness in life, but if we’re able to be still and know that He’s God, it can be powerful and give us peace in our lives.
The rest of the songs are simple prayers to God at where I was in life. Rhythm in my chest began when I was surfing. This catchy verse came to my head “I wanna walk wanna talk wanna live wanna move on and breathe and do it all in the rhythm of you, my king my everything.” I got out of the water and recorded it on my phone, because I knew it was something special. Fallin’ came from writing a guitar lick one night, and the chorus was catchy – “I wanna keep, fallin’ fallin’, more in love with You.” Walk on the Water came from wanting to write a song directly from a verse in the Bible. I chose Matthew 14 and wrote “I wanna walk on the water and not fall through.”
What came next?
Well, we wrapped up the EP Be Still in October 2011. We started playing shows — we opened up for Shane and Shane in 2011, and released the EP to the public. After that, we played 25 concerts, they just lined up. It was totally affirmed everywhere we went that there was something different from our music, something refreshing. We prayed that our music could lead people to encounter God in a new style that hasn’t been out there before.
You must have been drained after that. Let’ talk about you translating your EP to Spanish. Where did you get that idea?
In 2011, I went with my parents to a pastors conference in Nicaragua. After leading worship, a few people came and asked me if I had my CD, but it was only in English. I’ve been to Nicaragua 9 times, so I’ve picked up the language on the fly. That set the stage for the summer of 2012 — translating the songs to Spanish. I got together with a group of friends who are also fluent, and we just knocked it out over the summer. We plan on releasing it this November.
What about future plans for another CD? Or are you just focusing on Sobre Las Aguas right now?
We’re calling our next album From the Mountains, to the Sea. It reflects the two sides of my musical style and really who I am. We recorded half of the CD, 6 songs, in the mountains of Franklin, N. C., and we’re planning on recording the other 6 somewhere near the sea. The location has yet to be determined.
Believers who are musicians make the distinction of playing under Christian or secular labels. Tenth Avenue North is Christian, Switchfoot is secular – but the band is still full of believers. What is your music?
For me, it’s not a choice on what style I want to write. Christ lives in me; He’s my inspiration for everything I do. I feel like Christian music is behind in style, and musically. The world of pop music is always exploring new avenues, new sounds, and it’s what are people going to listen to. It should be the opposite — as Christians, we have God as our inspiration, and we should be showering the world with our music.
Secular venues like bars – what’s your experience with them?
Oh I’ve played in many. Bars, open mics. Even if some aren’t Christians, I hope they still like the music. Sometimes my lyrics can keep me from playing in secular venues, but my sound can open doors. When I’ve played in bars, people have liked the sound and been receptive – you can definitely tell those few people who get the message behind the lyrics though. It’s so much fun to play in venues like that – and I hope to see my music making a difference in someone’s life.
WORLD on Campus (www.worldoncampus.com), a collegiate-oriented website of WORLD magazine (www.worldmag.com). Used by permission.