College Tuition Increases Up as Much as 22.8%

I received the following news item about tuition increases from the Association of Presbyterian Colleges (APCU) which includes 65 schools. Belhaven works hard to stay affordable and is consistently listed as one of America’s Best Buys for Colleges and Universities. Our costs for the coming year were up a little less than 5% and we are less expensive to begin with … nearly half the cost of the schools in California and the Northeast

Student costs at member schools for the 2008-2009 academic year increased between 3.2 percent and 22.8 percent, a far wider span than in recent years. The median increase in the cost of tuition, room, board and mandatory fees for full-time, undergraduate students was six percent. One college reduced costs by 12.5 percent from the year before. Five schools had increases in double digits. For institutions where the costs could be determined, the
breakdown is as follows:

• Less than 4% – 3 colleges
• 4-5% – 12 colleges
• 5-6% – 12 colleges
• 6-7% – 11 colleges
• 7-8% – 7 colleges
• 8-9% – 4 colleges
• 9-10% – 2 colleges
• 10-11% – 2 colleges
• More than 11% – 3 colleges

College Football Hype Week

This must be the week when all the coaches around the country have their “media day” to get the press buzzing about the upcoming season because the papers are filled with football news. I love college football, and so can’t wait for fall. I’m anxious for our Blazers and other college teams to get on the pads and kick off the season. I’m “ready for some football.”

This sneak preview of an ad we are developing for the fall, puts college football in the right perspective. I don’t think we’ll see many other teams include this type message in their football “hype,” although I wish they could.

Church Sign Evangelism

The world around us is hurting, crying out, lost, and disillusioned….and often, the best we have to offer is a church sign. I’m sure all the most clever signs put together never brought one new person into a church. We must go out where the people are, not attempt to attract them with a silly church sign, believing that fulfills our calling of evangelism. They are funny to read, but really sad at the same time.

“Free Trip to heaven. Details Inside!”

“Try our Sundays. They are better than Baskin-Robbins.”

“Searching for a new look? Have your faith lifted here!”

“Have trouble sleeping? We have sermons — come hear one!”

“People are like tea bags — you have to put them in hot water
before you know how strong they are.”

“God so loved the world that He did not send a committee.”

“Come in and pray today. Beat the Christmas rush!”

“Sign broken. Message inside this Sunday.”

“Fight truth decay — study the Bible daily.”

“How will you spend eternity — Smoking or Nonsmoking?”

“Dusty Bibles lead to Dirty Lives”:

“Come work for the Lord. The work is hard, the hours are long and
the pay is low. But the retirement benefits are out of this world.”

“It is unlikely there’ll be a reduction in the wages of sin.”

“If you don’t like the way you were born, try being born again.”

“Forbidden fruit creates many jams.”

“If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep. Talk to the Shepherd.”

Your Life is Worth $1 million Less than 5 Years Ago

The Associated Press reports:

The “value of a statistical life” is $6.9 million in today’s dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago. Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences. … Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.

Read more . . .

In contrast the Bible reports:

Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to him than a whole flock of sparrows. Matthew 10: 29-31

But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus – the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love. Acts 20:24

The Olympics, China, and Religion

China will be the focus of the world over the new two months with the Olympic Games being hosted by the largest country in the world. Today, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life published an interesting background piece from their research in China.

On Aug. 8, 2008 – the eighth day of the eighth month of the year ’08 – at exactly 08:08:08 p.m., the Summer Olympics are scheduled to begin in Beijing. The day and hour for the start of the opening ceremony of the Olympics was chosen for its good fortune – a widely held belief in Confucianism and Chinese folk religions. And, in fact, the Summer Olympics could be the first international forum where the growing presence and ambitions of religious groups in China are exposed to a watching world. Read more . . .

Willie Neil Johnson & The New Gospel Keynotes

I discovered this group 25 years ago and have loved their music ever since. I had all their stuff on cassettes until I wore them out, and now you can’t find all their albums on CD. (If anyone has any and willing to share, please let me know!). Willie Neil died in 2002, so we’ll have to wait to get to heaven to hear his newest songs.

My daughter gave me Willie Neal’s CD, “Help Me Be Strong,” for my birthday….and it finally arrived from Amazon today. Their music is produced by Malaco Records here in Jackson, but I was a big fan of theirs long before I ever knew Jackson, Mississippi would be in my life. All their songs are great, but on this CD “All in My Room” is one not to miss. But their all time favorite of mine is “Just a Rehearsal.” Get some big speakers and turn that up….doesn’t get any better.

If you’ve never heard them, you don’t know what good music is supposed to be. Their song, “You Brought Me From a Mightly Long Way,” is the perfect blending of Gospel and Blues.

Sir John Templeton

At the age of 95, John Templeton died yesterday. He was a pioneer in mutual fund investing, creating what became the Templeton Funds. He was a Presbyterian, very interested in evangelical causes, and focused his support toward science and religion research as he got older. His Templeton Prize was established to be equivalent to the Nobel prize for religion, and went to a wide array of people from Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and Bill Bright to Hindu and Muslim leaders as well.

One of Belhaven’s special friends, Stuart C. Irby was good friends with Sir John, and I remember one day talking to Mr. Irby about how I wished the Templeton Foundation would help us. In typical Mr. Irby fashion, he said, “well, let’s call him” and tried to get him on the phone right then. We didn’t connect that day, and when Mr. Irby did ask him on our behalf, John Templeton’s focus for his Foundation was in the process of shifting to science and religion studies through their own projects.

I always wondered if a gigantic gift from someone like that would help us best fulfill God’s calling for Belhaven . . . or would it make us less dependent on trusting the Lord every day?

Summer Movies – Check the MovieGuide

Dr. Ted Baehr’s Movie Guide ( is a marvelous resource for those who want to know what they are getting before they spend too much to take the family to the movies.  Ted’s daughter, Evy, is a junior at Belhaven majoring in art, and we’re pleased Ted is a long-term friend of Belhaven.

This month’s issue says that Wall-E is one of the best movies of all time.

If you’ve been waiting for entertainment that would lift you up, carry you to the outer reaches of your imagination, inspire you, fill you with love, joy and happiness, and leave you with a great fantastic resolution, you might want to see Wall-E.

Gas Prices Again – Save $3 per Gallon

The WAPT web site reports how to save $3 a gallon on gas.  Stuart Kellogg, the General Manager of the ABC affiliate is a member of Belhaven’s Board of Trustees, so it must be true.  Stuart completed a Master of Divinity at Wesley Biblical Seminary last year, and he and his wife Beth are especially proud of their daughter Allison, who was Miss Mississippi in 2003 – she and her husband are now both actors in NYC.

By following a few simple tips, you can save $3 a gallon on gas, without having to make any changes to your car.  Mark Grubbs, an auto mechanic at Terry Road Tire and Alignment, is an expert. He said saving gas starts under your hood. First make sure to change out your air filter regularly.  The U.S. Department of Energy said that can save you 41 cents a gallon. Also keep your engine properly tuned and you can save another 16 cents a gallon. So far we saved you 57 cents a gallon.  Next, by keeping your tires properly inflated you can save another 12 cents a gallon. That brings the total to 69 cents a gallon saved so far.  By observing the posted speed limit, you can save 94 cents a gallon. That brings the total savings to $1.63. And for every five miles per hour you drive over 60, you’re paying 30 cents more per gallon. Next, when you bring your car to a stop at a stop sign or stop light, don’t hit the gas when you take off. Accelerate slowly. That will save you more money than any of the previous tips. If you avoid rapid acceleration and aggressive braking you can save up to $1.35 per gallon of gas. The total savings now is $2.98 a gallon. Now, take the excess weight out of your vehicle. That will save another 8 cents. The grand total is $3.06 a gallon in savings.