Spring Break 2017: St. Louis, MO Pt. 2

Our second day in St. Louis started with us attending the college group for FBC Arnold followed by the worship service, wherein the Senior Pastor, Kenny Qualls, preached a fantastic message out of Joshua 2. Afterwards, we ate lunch at the church before heading off on our sightseeing day. Part of the group went to visit the Gateway Arch and the rest visited the zoo, which is free in St. Louis. When dinner time rolled around, we reconvened at Fritz’s where the root beer floats contain about a quart of ice cream apiece. Crazy! It was strange thinking about the hardships suffered by Paul on his missionary journeys while we gorged on BBQ after a day of enjoying the city. The day ended with a commissioning service and prayer back at FBC Arnold.

Tomorrow and the rest of the week will be spent reaching out to students at Washington University.

As it was, in fact, Grant Strickland’s Birthday, we stopped at the zoo to sing to him. Being the intensely private individual that he is, he took it well.

Travis Hamm leads the group in prayer at the end of our commissioning service.

“Through Jesus, for His glory, God will take us where we have never been before.”   –Kenny Qualls

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Spring Break 2017: St. Louis, MO Pt.1

MBC Collegiate Ministry Strategist Travis Hamm walks students through a team building exercise on day 1.

This year when considering Spring Break options, the only one that was even considered was the invitation from the Missouri Baptist Convention to spend our week helping launch a new ministry in St. Louis. As details for the trip unfolded we eventually discovered that we would be working on the campus of Washington University with a team of BSU students from Northwest Missouri State University. In preparation for the trip we spent time praying for the endeavor and investigating WU online. FBC Arnold graciously volunteered to serve as our hosts during our time in St. Louis.

Travis Hamm, a Collegiate Ministry Strategist for the MBC, spent the first day of our trip walking the combined MSSU/NMSU team through a series of exercises to help prepare us for the mission. Students were led through a strategy session for sharing on the campus, a lecture on the context of Washington University (which is quite different than both our campuses), a brainstorming session to identify how we can best accomplish our task here, a team building exercise and more.

And in the evening, worship broke out…

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Peace through the pain

Brokenness is everywhere. It touches us all. Directly or indirectly, we have all felt its impact. People are betrayed by friends, abused by loved ones and belittled acquaintances in the classroom, dorm room and workplace all the time. Not only does it make us feel hurt, angry, vulnerable, lonely, confused and a host of other negative emotions, but it messes with our mental state as well. The question is, what do we do about all that? How do we find peace through the pain?

Read Psalm 4; it gives us an answer. There we find a man (it was King David) who has been betrayed and beleaguered, who yearns for divine intervention, but who is still intent not on vengeance, but on restoration. Most scholars think he’s referring to the time when his son Absalom stole the throne from him. In spite of this ultimate betrayal and the vile behavior that followed, David is heartbroken when he learns of Absalom’s death and mourns so thoroughly that he is accused of “loving his enemies.” His appeal in the Psalm is for his enemies to get right with God (Psalm 4:5-6) Scandalous, right?!

Maybe not. There are plenty of examples in the Bible of Jesus forgiving those who persecuted him, and He Himself even calls for his followers to do the exact same thing that David is accused–love your enemies (Luke 6:27-36). That may be easier said than done, but it isn’t a request, so how do we get there? How do we get to that place where we can move past the damage done to us enough to follow that one simple command?

Trust God.

British pastor Charles H. Spurgeon once wrote, “The sovereignty of God is a pillow upon which the child of God rests his head at night, giving perfect peace.” He was right. When we turn our hearts to God, we find peace. Regardless of how we feel about our situation (or that of a friend), and regardless of how things seem from our limited perspective, God is still there, still working things out, still with us in the dark and still on His throne. That doesn’t mean everything will magically return to normal or that tomorrow you’ll wake up in a world without hurt or frustration, but it does mean that healing will happen.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

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Great Commission Conference

Last weekend the BSU took students to the Great Commission Conference held this year at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield, MO. At the conference they were blessed by messages from Greg Stier of Dare 2 Share, John Avant, Senator James Lankford (R.-OK), and illusionist Jared Hall among others. The format this year was a combination of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Evangelism and Engage Conferences. On Sunday morning, rather than listen to another speaker, however, students from MSSU and Crowder College elected to volunteer at the launch event of Relevant Life Church, a brand new church plant on the south side of Springfield. They served in a variety of roles from directing parking to helping in the children’s ministry.

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Common Notes 2.14.17

Imagine what it would be like to get married, then the way to the reception hear your new spouse say something like, “I’m so glad we got married, I’ll see you every Sunday now!” How would you react to that? Or what if they said, “Being married is great, but you know I’m still going to live with my parents, right?” Or even, “SO glad we did this, but please don’t tell anyone, okay?” Um… okay… what the what?!

More than once in the Bible our relationship with Jesus is described as that between a bride and groom, but we often live as if we were still single; unwilling to change, ashamed to say anything about our relationship, only willing to show up once a week. That’s not who Jesus called us to be, and make no mistake, when we decide to follow Jesus, it is a call to a new personal identity, not just a different lifestyle.

Romans 10:8 says, “The message is in you, in your mouth and in your heart…” That’s what being married is like. It’s having a relationship with someone that is so special, so impactful, that you just can’t keep it in. It’s something you like to talk about and something you cherish deep inside. Is that true in your life? Is your walk with Christ like that? Why or why not?

Married people, especially newlyweds, talk about being married. It is an unmistakable part of who they are; it changes their daily routines and habits, the way they spend money and how they spend time. So, when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, shouldn’t we consider it the same way?



Special thanks to Dr. Adrian Rogers, whose preaching inspired the message this week.

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Common Notes 2.7.17

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT)

If “Bible study” is what fuels our spiritual minds, one might argue that “fellowship” is what fuels our spiritual hearts. Unfortunately, fellowship has too often been reduced to hanging out on Friday night or even just scrolling through the social media app du jour. That’s not really fellowship. At least, not in any Biblical sense of the word. Christian fellowship does, indeed, include friendship, but  in a deeper sense it includes much more.

Tim Elmore homes in on that in his Habitude “Emotional Fuel.” There he identifies 6 different roles people can fill in our lives that will help us draw closer to God as we seek out companionship:

  • Heroes–people we admire, who inspire us.
  • Models–people we want to emulate.
  • Mentors–people who invest in us.
  • Partners–people who are with us on the journey and hold us accountable.
  • Followers–people in whom we are investing.
  • Inner Circle–those closest to us with whom we share all of life.

Among the many benefits of good fellowship are things like wisdom, strength, encouragement and accountability. So, do you have these people in you life?

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The green-eyed monster

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” Shakespeare, ‘Othello’

Shakespeare was right, jealousy is a monster, and it will not only consume you, it will create all kinds of conflict in your relationships with other people and with God Himself. As the Bible points out in James 4:1-10, the church is not immune to this problem. James says that this habit we suffer of looking with desire at what others have is a source of “quarrels and fights” in the body of Christ. And this happens because when we allow ourselves to be consumed with our own envies and jealousies we have precious little room in our minds and hearts to talk to God; we forget to pray. Beyond that, we choose not to pray because we know in our hearts that what we’re chasing is not what God wants for us, but what we selfishly want for ourselves. And beyond that, when we do get up the nerve to pray, we pray knowing that what we’re asking for is not according to God’s will, but according to ours. Jealousy creates a distance between us and God, and it is not God who is moving.

Students competed to produce their own monsters during a break as we talked about the 'Green-eyed Monster' of jealousy from the Bible.

Students competed to produce their own monsters while we discussed the ‘Green-eyed Monster’ of jealousy.

James compares this with adultery; its like we’re cheating on Jesus, having an affair with that thing we want so much. And what is that thing? Material wealth? Physical health? Career success? Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4) Harsh words, but as James points out earlier in his letter, this is a source of evil and disorder in the church, a blemish on the bride of Christ that ought not to be.

James’ advice? If this is something you’re dealing with, he makes it simple: repent. That is to say, submit to God. Confess your mistake. Make a heartfelt appeal to surrender control of that area of your life to God, and expect that God will honor your humility.

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