The Storms of Life

The recent storms that ravaged our southern states have left damaged buildings and shattered lives.  Our sister school in Mississippi, William Cary, was heavily damaged in the storms that swept through Mississippi this past weekend.  David writes in Psalm 29 about the powerful storms that, even in biblical times, brought devastation. Storms and devastation in our lives is not new and I draw comfort from the last verse in Psalm 29.  It reads, “GOD makes his people strong. God gives his people peace”.

I think of many of our students who manage to juggle so much just to further their education.  Juggling school, family, church, and work is no easy task.  One sick child or unexpected repair bill can bring devastation and shatter that delicate balance our students try to maintain.   How do they do it?  I can only see one way and that is through total dependence of our Lord and Savior.

Take heart! God is still on the throne and cares about every detail of your life.  Don’t give up your educational goals when that storm of life brings devastation.  Through our weakness, we are made strong in Christ.

I love to read from “The Message”.  Here is the full transcript of Psalm 29:

Psalm 29The Message (MSG)

A David Psalm

29 1-2 Bravo, God, bravo!
Gods and all angels shout, “Encore!”
In awe before the glory,
in awe before God’s visible power.
Stand at attention!
Dress your best to honor him!

God thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—
God, across the flood waters.

God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s thunder symphonic.

God’s thunder smashes cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.

The mountain ranges skip like spring colts,
The high ridges jump like wild kid goats.

7-8 God’s thunder spits fire.
God thunders, the wilderness quakes;
He makes the desert of Kadesh shake.

God’s thunder sets the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling; the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees—we call out, “Glory!”

10 Above the floodwaters is God’s throne
from which his power flows,
from which he rules the world.

11 God makes his people strong.
God gives his people peace.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterso

 

 

What If……

JoAnn recently shared the following story with me, and it got me to thinking about all the issues adult students face when they go back to school. She was taken out of her home at the age of 12 because of an abusive mother. She lived in a group home for a while but didn’t really fit in. As a result, she lived on the streets with no hope of a bright future.
One day, she asked the question, “What if I went back to school so I could get a job?”
She found a program and finished her GED. Belhaven University supported the program she went through and encouraged her to consider college.Again, she asked the question, “What if I went to college so I could better my life?” She began at Belhaven but soon found out she was pregnant. As a single mom, it was all she could do to work at her low-paying, part-time job and take care of her child. As a result, she dropped out. That was a sad day for her, but she told me she would never forget the kindness that the staff at Belhaven had shown her.
Fast forward 6 years, and once again JoAnn asked the question: “What if I finished my degree so I could work for more than minimum wage?” She has now enrolled in school again with a bright hope for the future.
How many like JoAnn or (fill in the blank ) are out there asking the same question, “What if…….?”
Many of our students have similar stories, and many of their journeys started with “What if….?” Think about the possibilities when you fill in the end of that question. I am sure many of you who are currently attending classes are tempted to let life’s issues creep in and snatch your dreams of an education. You might be surprised where your journey will end when you start it with “What if…..?”

The Last Chapter

I have a terrible confession to make. When I read a mystery or suspense novel, I will read the first few chapters of the book, and then I read the last chapter to find out how the story ends. After that, I go back and read the rest of the book, comforted in knowing that even though the plot may take twists and turns, I know how it ends.

In a recent Bible study at our church, I taught from the book of Revelation, Chapter 4. In this chapter it describes the throne room of heaven. What a glorious hope we have for our future as Christians. We too know how the story ends by reading the book of Revelation. What a comfort that is as we travel the journey of life here on earth.

So, what does this have to do with completing an education at Belhaven? Our hope for every student is that one day we can congratulate you as you walk across the stage, having completed all requirements for your degree. You know how your educational journey is supposed to end, so as life takes many twists and turns, don’t lose sight of the last chapter…..graduation.

Why Are You Enrolled In School?

There are many reasons for going back to school. A recent article from Eduventures* states that 40% of adult students are enrolled in school to advance their careers. There is another 30% who want to finish what they started some time ago. Those searching for a different career field make up 20% of the adult learners, and another 10% are lifelong learners interested in taking course work of interest to them.

Behind those reasons for going back to school is an individual story that each adult learner can tell. At Belhaven, we value those individual stories, and we are pleased to work with each student to accomplish his/her personal goals. Often the road to completing what was started is strewn with obstacles that at times seem impossible to overcome.

I remember the student who lived in her car but faithfully came to class. She graduated two years ago and is going strong in a new career. What a joy is was to work with her during her time at Belhaven. There was the military student who was called up to active duty. He did not let that stop his progress toward his goal of an MBA and he switched his studies to our online program. There are also very happy stories. We had two students who met and married while attending classes at Belhaven.

Belhaven is a special haven for adult students seeking to achieve an educational goal. Our faculty and staff are devoted to the success of each individual student. We recently conducted some focus groups with our students and found that they do feel valued as individuals and the one thing we heard loud and clear is that the Christian foundation of our curriculum is our crown jewel. Many told us how their spiritual lives have changed because of the Christian values expressed in every class.
Wherever you are in your journey and whatever has motivated you to pursue your education, we applaud you and stand with you all the way through graduation.

*Meet Today’s Adult Learners: A Guide to Segmentation and Storytelling www.eduventures.com

Confession of a Teacher

S. Truett Cathy (founder of Chic-fil-A®) did not say a word that day but his actions spoke volumes during our two block walk between the conference center and the restaurant. As our group walked and talked, he stooped to pick up discarded cans and stray trash. At the restaurant he quietly disposed of his “treasures” in the nearest trash receptacle. Mr. Cathy had been the keynote speaker in a leadership seminar that morning. The points he made during his presentation have faded from memory but I will always remember what I learned as we commuted to lunch. As I reflected on Mr. Cathy’s “teaching” after the seminar, I began to see a parallel between my role as a teacher and Mr. Cathy’s role as the keynote speaker, at that conference. How many of my students remember more of who I am than what I taught? Faith integration is more than delivering a curriculum infused with biblical principles. Jesus held class in synagogues, on the mountain tops, and at the seashore but his disciples learned trust when they found him sleeping in a boat during the storm and they learned how to forgive when they witnessed His forgiving nature for a woman caught in adultery.

Mr. Cathy is a wonderful teacher and without a word he has taught me how the mere act of walking down the street demonstrates what we believe. Although, the day I encountered Mr. Cathy, he was addressing a group of business and academic leaders on leadership principles, he made it clear what he believed while we were walking to the restaurant. It does not matter if we are a teacher or a student, the same lesson applies to both. At Belhaven, we are very intentional in the way we integrate faith and learning. It is our hope that our students have the same desire to live out the biblical principles studied in the classroom. Students can be teachers to their children, friends, and coworkers, in the way they live out their lives.