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FROM THE COLLEGES: ETBU scholarships to aid first responders; 24 profess faith at Jacksonville College; students trek to Boyce for Renown Conf.

East Texas Baptist Univ. scholarships to aid first responders

MARSHALL, Texas (BP) — East Texas Baptist University has announced a new scholarship opportunity for first responders in partnership with the city of Marshall, Texas, where the college was founded in 1912.

The Public Servant Scholarship will provide reduced-cost tuition at the university to all fulltime police and fire department employees in the city of 25,000 people.

ETBU President Blair Blackburn said the Public Servant Scholarship will cover one-half of undergraduate tuition and one-third of graduate tuition for the local first responders.

“ETBU as a Christ-centered university is called to provide programs that help serve and transform people and communities,” Blackburn said. “Having this opportunity to provide undergraduate and graduate education for the public servant leaders in our local community is an honor and blessing for our institution.”

The scholarship could save a student about $5,000 per semester, said Vince Blankenship, ETBU director of adult education.

In addition to the new scholarship program, Blankenship noted that undergraduate students could further reduce the cost of tuition through the university’s prior learning assessment.

The assessment is program to assess a prospective student’s portfolio for up to 32 credit hours for college-level learning through their work experience.

Marshall Police Chief Jesus “Eddie” Campa said he had approached Blackburn and told him of several officers who had expressed interest in furthering their education. Blackburn’s response was the Public Servant Scholarship. Campa said the city of Marshall also offers reimbursement to employees looking to further their education.

“This is a great opportunity that I am sure many of our officers will take advantage of,” Campa said. “We all know one of the reasons that working adults do not seek to further their education is due to the high cost of continuing their educational goals. With the scholarship from ETBU and the city’s education reimbursement program, it allows the officers to complete their degree at an affordable cost.”

Marshall Fire Chief Reggie Cooper also said several employees have voiced an interest in continuing education programs.

“This opportunity allows for a quality education to be more financially attainable,” Cooper said. “The Marshall Fire Department continuously strives for excellence in service to those called upon during emergencies. With that in mind, this education and training is critical to all of our firefighters and EMS [emergency medical services] personnel.”

East Texas Baptist University, which announced the Public Servant Scholarship on March 2, has an enrollment of 1,300 students. Affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, it is located 150 miles east of Dallas.


Jacksonville College sees 24 professions of faith

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (BP) — Two days after Jacksonville College professors and staff prayed for God to “move in a mighty way” among the East Texas junior college’s student body, God answered as two dozen students made professions of faith during a chapel service on March 22.

Donny Sadler, dean of students at the college and pastor of Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Jacksonville, preached a message from James 2:14 and posed the question, “If a person claims to have faith, but shows no evidence in his life that he has been saved, can this kind of faith save him?”

He then invited students to place their faith in Christ.

“When the invitation was given for students to get out of their seats and come to the front of the chapel, it was clear that a spiritual battle was taking place,” Jacksonville College President Mike Smith said.

“At first, no one responded. As we remained in prayer, one student made her way to the front. Then another came forward, and another, until 24 students were at the altar,” Smith recounted. “Staff members met with and counseled each student one-on-one, and every student who came forward made a profession of faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior.”

The college has started a weekly discipleship program with the students so they can continue to grow in maturity and lead others to Christ.

“The greatest miracle of all is when a person passes from death to life, and I praise God for allowing me to see this miracle in 24 students,” Smith said. “And I praise Him because He answers prayer.”

Jacksonville College, in Jacksonville, Texas, is an affiliated ministry with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.


700-plus students attend Boyce’s Renown Conf.

By Charissa Crotts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Young Christians are called to be “salt and light” and share the Gospel where God has placed them, featured speakers said during Boyce College’s Renown Conference.

“You don’t have to have a Bible college or seminary degree to get this understanding that Jesus has put me in the place He has me. He said, ‘Go home to be salt and light,'” said Eric Geiger, author and vice president of LifeWay Christian Resources.

R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where Boyce College is located, and Dan Dumas, the seminary’s senior vice president for institutional administration, also spoke to the 700-plus middle and high school students during the March 17-18 conference themed “Salt and Light” at the Louisville, Ky., campus.

Geiger spoke on Mark 5:1-20, the story of a demon-possessed man healed by Jesus. Focusing on the last part of the text when Jesus tells the man to go home and tell his friends about Jesus.

Christians should “report the news” of what God has done in their lives, Geiger said. “The news that we have is big, that our King stepped into our broken and fallen world to seek and to save that which was lost,” he said.

Students should recognize what big news the Gospel is, Geiger said, even if their testimonies are not as “radical” as the story of the demon-possessed man.

“Our story before Christ has rescued us is very similar to this man. We weren’t filled with a legion of demons, but evil has plagued our hearts, and Jesus has rescued us,” Geiger said. “Every one of us who is His has been radically saved because we were dead, and He has made us alive.”

Mohler preached on Acts 19:11-20, encouraging students to make their names known in hell because of their Gospel impact.

In the passage, seven Jewish exorcists tried to cast out a demon by commanding it “in the name of the Jesus that Paul proclaims.” The demon responded, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” The demon-possessed man then attacked the exorcists and they fled.

Mohler took encouragement from the fact that the demons knew Paul, challenging the students: “Do they know your name?”

Paul was known to the demons because he was a threat to them, Mohler said, noting, “When you had Paul, you had Jesus.”

As Christians strive to make Jesus known, they also will be known to the demons, Mohler said. “One of the greatest honors for a Christian,” he said, “is being hated by the right people.”

Dumas preached from 1 Chronicles 11:22, a passage he called the “guts of Benaiah,” one of David’s mighty men, which should inspire the youth to “take risks and do hard Gospel things.” With the text recounting Benaiah’s going into a pit on a snowy day and killing a lion, Dumas exhorted the students to imitate the example of living boldly, however that looked in their lives.

“The fear of missing out has to be greater than the fear of messing up,” Dumas said, encouraging students not to miss out on chances to glorify God.

Benaiah “didn’t become a lion-killer overnight,” Dumas added, encouraging the students to be faithful in the hard things God has put in their lives now, like sharing the Gospel at school, reading their Bibles every day and keeping their rooms clean.

Challenging circumstances, he noted, “become not obstacles but opportunities.”

Students attended breakout sessions from a number of speakers from Boyce College and Southern Seminary. Topics addressed various aspects of being salt and light, from discovering spiritual gifts to overseas missions. A special lunch was offered for prospective Boyce students.

Lexington Road, one of Boyce College’s traveling bands, led worship for the conference, and Christian hip hop artist Sho Baraka performed a late-night concert.

Audio and video of the sessions will be available online at equip.sbts.edu.

    About the Author

  • Baptist College/Seminary & BP Staff

    Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston from reporting by East Texas Baptist University, the Southern Baptist TEXAN and Charissa Crotts of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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