Alumni Spotlight: Acres of Diamonds

By Allan Thompson
Missouri Chapter Founding Father

I was on a bus riding through the rough, Zambian countryside when it happened. The clouds cleared and I felt a calling from God like I had never felt before, or even since. You see, it was 2007 and I was a sophomore at the University of Missouri. My dream at that point was to be on ESPN someday as a famous sports broadcaster. But working with orphaned children in Zambia changed everything. I knew I wanted to tell stories and now it was clear that God was calling me to leave the ESPN dream behind to tell stories of his people doing Kingdom work around the world.

In this same season, eight friends and I had a crazy dream of bringing BYX to Mizzou. We had worked tirelessly the year before to found the Sigma Chapter and it was beginning to grow slowly but surely.

For me, BYX and this new calling to tell Kingdom stories have always been intimately connected. God used my opportunity to lead in BYX to form lasting friendships with men who deeply care for and believe in me, and to build the entrepreneurial spirit I would need when finally, in 2011, my wife and I founded One:Eight Productions.

Our goal is simple: to tell the stories of God’s people around the world making important strides for the Kingdom. We want to connect inspiring people with people in need of inspiration. This journey has taken us around the country and around the world, and we’ve been humbled by the things we’ve seen at each step.

This past January, we began work on a film with Dr. Faiz Rahman of Good News India. The purpose of the film is to shed light on the issue of bonded slavery, a toxic system that impacts millions of the poorest children in India. What happens is tragic: an already underprivileged family finds themselves in debt, or a child loses a parent and he or she cannot afford the meager expenses necessary just to live. These children are then conscripted into hard labor jobs to pay their debts. They miss out on the opportunity to get an education and are unable to provide a better life for themselves and their children.

Good News India works to intercept the most susceptible kids before they wind up in slavery. Under GNI’s care, kids are provided with stable housing, healthcare, education, and an understanding of their intrinsic worth and capabilities as God’s beloved children. Acres of Diamonds is a film we want to finish so the voiceless children of India are heard.

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This is not a story of desperation but one of hope. The first time I heard Dr. Rahman use the term ‘acres of diamonds’ about these children I asked him what he meant. His answer was simple but profound enough to work its way into my heart.

“Diamonds are made under pressure; so are the kids of GNI. Diamonds are hidden away deep and need someone willing to dig deep to set them free. Diamonds needs work before they are presented. Diamonds sparkle in the sunlight; so do the GNI kids. Diamonds are multi-faceted. So are the GNI kids. And diamonds are treasures. So are these kids. At GNI we have the opportunity to collect acres of diamonds and set them free.”

We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to complete this film and we need the help of the BYX community. Your generosity will allow us to share the story of millions of children trapped in a life of slavery and give them the opportunity to be set free. All gifts to this project are 100% tax deductible. Thank you for your support.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/529516826/acres-of-diamonds

 

On Commitment and Being Present

Author: Dean Tzobanakis

As you’ve probably heard from someone associated with BYX in the past few weeks, commitment is cool. We expect our brothers to be committed to our fraternity. That’s why there’s a semester-long barrier to entry called pledgeship that tests commitment. Many BYX brothers are also involved in campus ministries, student government, and other areas on campus. That’s awesome because the more outlets you have to exercise what you’re learning and growing in the better.

But that’s where we need to pause and offer the caveat that over-commitment is a thing. And we should also pause to add another caveat: that a lack of time management is also a thing. And these are two very different things.

I’ll give a few examples: often I hear that brothers don’t show up to things because they’re busy with something else. One of the most common is, “I can’t come to chapter meeting because I’m studying.”

In the first case, there might be a time conflict for events hosted by multiple organizations a person may be committed to. And, being human, said person cannot be in two places at once. If conflicts like this cause an individual to be ineffective everywhere because they’re not truly committed anywhere (in essence, their focus and effort are too divided), that’s what you might call over-ambitious or over-commitment.

However, as in the latter example, if a brother isn’t coming to chapter because he has spent the rest of his week doing things other than study so that he is now only left with one night to take care of his scholarly duties instead of fulfilling a commitment he made to be present at chapter meeting, time management is the issue. Don’t hear me wrong, academics is more important than chapter meeting, but an hour-and-a-half meeting one night per week is not the only time someone has to focus on school.

As I said earlier, inept time management and over-commitment are two different things, but I often see them mixed up. Over-commitment is one thing, but I see some use the fact that they’re “committed to too many things” as an excuse for poor time management, producing a distant individual who has one foot one place and the other foot somewhere else. I’m not saying that BYX has to be paramount in a brother’s life, but can I propose that wherever we are, and in whatever capacity we are committed somewhere, that we have both feet in?

My point is this: we need to learn our limits, yes, but once we do we need to prioritize. We make time for what’s important to us, so it might be that the wrong things are occupying the “important” space in our brains while we neglect our commitments. (Seeking the Lord, taking care of business in the classroom, caring for your family, being present in BYX, and countless others.)

The habits we form now impact who we will become down the road, so why not work on these things now?

I’ll use marriage as an example. Selflessness, sacrifice and service are the language of the covenant of marriage. If you go into it with any other intention, you’re gonna have a bad time. Furthermore, an attitude of selflessness, sacrifice and service doesn’t seem to be magically deposited on any of us. A perfect willingness to put another before yourself doesn’t come naturally, but requires discipline, exercise and, of course, falling short a time or ten. You have an opportunity to love and serve others and focus less on yourself in your relationships (with everyone, not just significant others) right now; don’t sit on your hands and wait for your wedding day to start.

Likewise, obtaining a fancy piece of paper from your school of choice won’t likely produce a sense of commitment, promptness, organization, responsibility and time management when you haven’t worked that out. You have an opportunity to grow right now where you are; don’t sit on your hands until you graduate.


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Dean Tzobanakis is the national advisor for the Baylor, Oklahoma State, LSU, Tennessee, and Central Oklahoma BYX chapters. He and his wife Kelsey live in Benbrook, TX.

 


 

Real Men Cry

 

Author: Zach van Meter

Last Friday I found myself at the rehearsal dinner of my beloved sister who was getting hitched the next day. The rehearsal had to be practiced inside because of rain, yet food and merry celebration followed with the wedding party and additional family. The cuisine and conversing went quite fluidly as one would assume, but now it was the time that everyone was either dreadfully or eagerly waiting for: toasting time.

Normally toasts can be in ranges from awkward to academic and/or stolid to a blubbering mess, which makes the expectations for the toasts a little more erratic. So, as I sat in my chair preparing for the potential onslaught of individual presentations, I was curious where in the range these toasts would fall.

Indeed, the first toast sets the tone, while others would be the catalyst to my own speech construction and help me outmatch any previous orators. The father of the groom stands up and is the spearhead of speeches. He begins slowly with the normal acknowledgement and appreciation to all attendees and then sets his eyes on his son and the bride and instantly starts crying. While struggling to dictate his words, I sit quietly in my chair internally battling the fact that I’m glad he loves his son and my sister, but now every speaker is probably going to release the floodgates; moreover, I haven’t a rain jacket (that was a bad attempt at a joke).

Like clockwork, all of the toasts afterwards included some waterworks, which obviously I enjoyed the impactful and loving words that were shared, but I had decided that I would diverge and take a different approach, hopefully one more comedic (those normally go over well in toasting settings).

Finally it was my turn to speak, and I began my stand-up performance with a story of my sister when she was a little girl. It was both nostalgic and hilarious in nature, so I got a lot of smiles and laughs – I was off to a good start. As I confidently continued to speak with dry eyes, I began shifting my speech to affirmation and appreciation of my sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law.

Then, as I began to say how much I loved each of them, a wave of emotion hit me out of nowhere and I began to cry instantly. It was almost unfair how quickly those waves of emotions had hit me, but it probably was because I had tried to bury them before I stood up; emotions can be quite vindictive. In the moment I reacted awkwardly and said, “men don’t cry” to try and make light of my embarrassing emotions. After I finished my speech and hugged the bride and groom-to-be, I sat down and analyzed my reaction to my emotions. Why did I say, “men don’t cry”? After all, my now father-in-law had cried and even my dad had as well – so why would I react that way? Honestly, it’s because I’m still trying to figure out how to be a man.

The world we live in is really confusing. There are so many indications and persuasions of how to be a man. Do this, look like this, think like this, act and respond like this – then you will be seen as manly. I feel like I have to be bigger, stronger, more confident, better looking, smarter, and more daring than others to prove my manliness. Hopefully someone can agree with me that showing any kind of personal struggle (sins) or “feminine” emotions (pain and suffering) will extinguish my right to have a “man card.”

It even ties into success and leadership – if you aren’t at the top of the food chain, there’s something wrong. All of these perceptions and personas of how manliness should be executed are completely ridiculous and reverse to how the Bible defines manliness.

When Jesus came on the scene, He completely blew everyone’s mind on how they should live their lives. Instead of responding in anger and “bowing up” when someone does you wrong, you turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39). But he didn’t stop there, he said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44).

Jesus perfectly demonstrated and communicated humility instead of pride many times as well. When the disciples were trying to figure out who was the greatest in the group (a manly thing to do right?), Jesus responded, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. BUT not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.” (Luke 22:25-26, emphasis added).

Jesus also said, “But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45).

These words should definitely humble us and define our pursuit of manliness. Humility is not the only thing we have to strive for though. One of the other areas we lack as men is being vulnerable and dealing with our emotions (no matter how “girly” they feel). The modern-day church has turned into a masquerade, and it’s sad. Many believers put up a façade of perfection around other Christians. The truth is we all are imperfect sinners and should resolve to see our own sin and weaknesses and others’ not as something that needs to be hidden but as a reminder of our complete depravity and need for a savior, our Savior, Jesus. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14).

Living in this freedom, we are called to release our sins and struggles to the Lord, allowing light to be shed on the darkness in our hearts – but what is the best way to do this besides pursuing the Lord’s presence? It’s using the body of believers that are around us! Men (and women too) really struggle to use the opportunity of community to be vulnerable. This should be a safe place to reveal areas of sin so that there may be restoration and true sharpening. James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

And as we strive to be vulnerable as followers of Christ, we should strive to love as Christ loves. If Jesus wept, you better believe it’s reasonable for men to weep. Jesus wept because he felt compassion for others; in the same way, I cried because I truly love my sister and brother-in-law (I just wasn’t prepared for how much in that moment). We as men should pray every day to have a heart that is in tune with the heart of God so that we may be patient, gentle, compassionate, and loving just as Christ is. Let’s sacrifice our pride and the image we project and humbly present our struggles and emotions to the Lord and fellow believers. Let’s rest in the fact that real men cry.


Zach van Meter is the national advisor to the Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida, and Yale BYX chapters. Zach graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014. He and his wife Mary live in Dallas, TX.

Excellence in Awards: Influence through Social & Campus Presence

15 Byline Kyle

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” The body of Christ is called to excellence in everything we do because it brings glory to the Father who gifts us with the abilities to serve Him. As a member of BYX, you have surely heard that a number of times. How often it is repeated cannot diminish its validity and as a staff, we have made an effort over the last two years to publicly recognize excellence within our chapters.

There are five awards that are presented each year: the National Unity award, for the chapter that best understands, appreciates and respects the national body of BYX brothers; the Party of the Year award for the chapter that puts on the best planned, organized and executed event; the Momentum Award, given to the chapter that has shown the greatest progress; the 133 Award, given to the chapter that overall best accomplishes the purpose of BYX in establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Christ; and the Social & Campus Presence Award, presented to the chapter that is maximizing their campus influence and is making the greatest positive social impact.

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Today we are highlighting the Social & Campus Presence Award. There are many reasons why I love BYX. I love the ability for college men to gain experience in leading, organizing, planning and executing some of the best events that a given college campus will see that year. I love the relationships our BYX guys create in their circles outside of the fraternity and how those influence the campus through Student Senate or other elected positions. These are only two examples of campus presence, but they are weighty.

This award recognizes the chapter that excels in mobilizing their chapter towards leadership outside of BYX, involvement with other Greek organizations and pursuing opportunities to change their school for the better, all while understanding that without far-reaching arms within BYX, the impact a chapter is capable of making is severely limited.

This award is also greater than just the events themselves in that while a chapter may be doing the right things, if the heart behind them and intentions are wrong, it undermines the purpose of what you are doing. “Not for men”, Colossians 3 says. If our goal becomes furthering our reputation for ourselves and merely to make ourselves look better, we’ve missed the mark.

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At National Officer Training 2015, the National Staff recognized the Omicron Chapter at Mississippi State University for their excellence in Social & Campus Presence. Their tireless efforts towards furthering their social position within the Greek community as well as their presence in campus leadership, SGA and other ministries set the chapter apart in a way that deserved recognition. From winning Mr. MSU in back-to-back years, formally joining the local Greek community, hosting open social events that are not only numerous but planned with excellence, Mississippi State BYX displayed excellence in attention to detail and organization. Beyond that, the Omicron Chapter demonstrated an understanding of the purpose of and need for a strong social and campus presence and how that strength pervades other areas of BYX and lifts recruiting and furthers internal brotherhood. Good work, men!

The Morning-After Gospel

Author: Blake Hankins     Topic: Devotionals

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What do you do at 9 a.m. with what happened at 2 a.m.? How do you handle your failures? Better yet, how does God handle your failures? As believers, it is crucial we understand how God views us and what that means. Understanding the Gospel and how to live under it can be a catalyst for living God’s will most fully. What I’m going to try to do over the next few paragraphs is show you and myself how God views us based on a variety of texts from Scripture.

Disclaimer: If your response to what you are about to read produces a sense that you now have a license to sin, please understand that is not what I am advocating or what God wants for us.

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:1-4 ESV

Tim Keller once said, “The Gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” I think it is necessary that we understand this concept. We have nothing to offer God. We are sinful. We do things which are not right. Even when we do things that are seemingly good, we don’t always have pure motivation in doing them.

“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’ ‘Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.’ ‘The venom of asps is under their lips.’ ‘Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.’ ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’” Romans 3:9-18 ESV.

So now that I have laid that out for us, what does that mean? Well, yes, we are sinful. Yes, we have broken God’s command. Yes, we are not righteous. But no, that is not the end.

Remember the second half of this statement, “…we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” So what is love? If your view of love is in any way predicated on what you can do for someone or likewise, what they can do for you, then you need to reevaluate. If love is at all performance driven, then your view of love is shallow and weak. Real, true love is looking at someone and seeing the mess and chaos and saying “I’m not going anywhere.”

Our natural default when we sin is to believe that God is only tolerating us and regretting saving us. God is not watching you mess up and wishing He didn’t save you. There is no sin that has more power than the cross of Jesus Christ. None. Christ did not die for some future version of you, rather He died and was resurrected for the worst version of you and me. What kind of love is that? That God would see all that we are and still love us. He loves us even to the point of an undeserved death. “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 ESV.

God is not just putting up with us, but patiently shows us grace and mercy (1 Timothy 1:15-16). As mentioned earlier in Romans, we are sinful but as much as we are sinful Christ’s righteousness is even more abundant. The response to the earlier part of Romans 3 is just a few verses down.

“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26 ESV

I believe many of us live under the lie that when we sin we must go and put ourselves in a penalty box and work our way back into favor with God. We somehow believe that God cannot tolerate us until we fix that part of us or look cleaner. Maybe if we take a couple of days to show we are more serious about not sinning we can then go to Him for forgiveness. Wrong! Your weakness should not drive you away from God, but straight to Him. We tend to condemn ourselves or be condemned by others and it brings us to a place where we think God cannot forgive (to a certain point or at a certain time).

Your sonship had nothing to do with you but everything to do with Him. God isn’t conquering past sins and then expecting us to figure out the rest. Isn’t it hypocritical to sin and go immediately to the Lord? No way. We either believe God and His promises or we don’t. We must choose to believe God is who He says He is and does what He says He does.

In Hebrews 4:14-16 it says, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Notice the part, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace…” God calls us to draw near with confidence, not by our own doing but because of our great high priest (Jesus). Because of Jesus, we can go to God directly and immediately. For we do not have a high priest who cannot understand where we are. He was tempted in every way yet did not sin. So when you go to God, He sits at the right hand of the Father and says, “He’s mine”. Who can even bring a charge against you? You’re his. When Jesus comes before the Father with pierced hands and feet, He opens the door for God to look at you and pronounces you as accepted, justified, forgiven, blameless and free. Jesus is continually interceding for us. (Romans 8:31-39)  For the Christian, when God looks at you He sees Christ. Jesus imposed on us His perfect life which we do not deserve and took on the death which we deserve. Because of this the Lord no longer sees you but His perfect Son.

Run to the Lord with your brokenness. Go to Him when you sin. Why would we go anywhere else? He’s the only one that can do anything about it. He has already handled it. God doesn’t want your morality but simply you.

I want to close with a very special passage to me, Micah 7:8-9. My hope is that you would be able to say this to the Accuser when you fall. Also, that you would understand God’s deep love for you in your weakness. God is angry about your sin. His anger towards your sin is now with a fatherly love since we are heirs with Christ (Galatians 4:4-7, Romans 8:12-17). But there is no more wrath. He executes judgment for you! So go to God with disgust about what you’ve done and may the Lord shower you with grace, mercy and love because of Christ.

“Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against him, until he pleads my cause and executes judgment for me. He will bring me out to the light; I shall look upon his vindication.” Micah 7:8-9 ESV


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Blake Hankins is the National Advisor for the Houston Baptist, North Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Auburn, Alabama, and Louisiana Tech BYX chapters. He graduated from The University of Tennessee in 2014 and now lives in Fort Worth, Texas

Excellence in Awards: The Importance of National Unity

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As Christians, we are called to pursue excellence in everything we do, and for no other reason than the glory of God. If you’re in BYX, you’ve probably heard your president or national advisor throw out a line similar to that in his chapter address once or twice. But it’s true, and we on the National Staff don’t want the effort and diligence of our men to go unnoticed. That’s why at National Officer Training in November 2014, Nationals put aside some time for an award ceremony to recognize excellence at the local chapters.

There are five awards presented to chapters each year: the Momentum Award, given to the chapter that shows the greatest progress; the Social & Campus Presence Award, given to the chapter who makes the greatest positive impact on their campus’ social scene; the National Unity Award, given to the chapter who best understands, appreciates and respects the national body of BYX brothers; the Party of the Year Award, given to the chapter that puts on the best planned, organized and executed event; and the 133 Award, given to the chapter that overall best accomplishes the purpose of BYX in establishing brotherhood and unity among college men based on the common bond of Christ.

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Today we’re talking about the National Unity Award. Now there are a number of reasons why national unity is near the top of my “BYX is Freakin’ Awesome” list.

We can start with the fact that when I pledged BYX in the fall of 2009 at the University of Florida, BYX was just wrapping up a two-and-a-half-year lawsuit with the university over recognition on campus. Without the support of our brothers nationwide and the National Staff with their legal team, our chapter would not have been able to battle all the way to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and eventually earn recognition.

Three years later, the Nu Chapter at Vanderbilt University was caught up in a similar firestorm. The university eventually elected to boot a number of Christian organizations, including BYX. A massive outpouring of prayer and support came from our brothers nationwide, which happened to result in what we now call Called to Pray Week.

National unity means understanding that you’re part of a body much bigger than yourself and being ready to love and support other members of that body, especially when the proverbial poopoo hits the fan. It also means understanding the seamless brotherhood available to you, no matter what region you’re from.

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The winners of the 2015 National Unity Award understood this well, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give a deserved shout out to the Alpha Xi Chapter at Louisiana Tech! Not only do these guys have a heart for their BYX brothers nationally, but they’re a well-traveled bunch. It seems like some of these fellas were never actually in Ruston, Louisiana, but rather at another chapter at all times. Their officer retreat last semester was a combination of business and travel in an attempt to learn from other chapters, as well as help out wherever they could. Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss hosted these guys on their way. The officers even made their way to Fort Worth this semester to visit with the National Staff. LA Tech was also heavily involved with their brother chapter LSU, hosting joint events together. It has been evident since their founding that the Alpha Xi Chapter seeks to operate in unity with the national body of BYX and values what they are part of. Great work, brothers!

Marriage, Revival and True Brotherhood – The Roof Off and the Walls Down

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 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.   – John 12:46

Marriage:

Scripture tells us that he who finds a wife finds a treasure (Prov 18:22 NLT). Marriage is an incredible gift, but it is a gift that must be stewarded. And with anything else that requires stewardship, it takes ongoing and often hard work. I was fortunate to marry an unbelievable woman nearly 14 years ago. And if you know my wife, you know she is not only beautiful, but a very deep woman of faith who walks closely with Jesus and loves people in profound ways.

Early on in our marriage, I was a bit intimidated by her need for deep, emotional intimacy. I hadn’t seen that modeled by my parents growing up. And just like all of you, I was influenced by an American culture that says dudes don’t know how to do all that “sharing their feelings stuff” that girls do. There was a fear that what I had to share, or knew how to share, wouldn’t measure up to what her heart was really longing for. So what did I do? I chose to hold back. I decided, out of fear that I would come up short, that it wasn’t worth the risk of rejection to open up my heart. As I talk with married men and as my wife and I counsel many young couples, I see this as somewhat of a normal pattern.

Fortunately, my wife and I were able to experience breakthrough in the area of emotional and spiritual intimacy and it radically changed our marriage. I could go on and on about the lessons we have learned as it relates to intimacy in marriage, but let’s be honest, the vast majority of you are not married, so I will cut to the chase.

Revival:

During my college years, I was introduced to the concept of revival. I hesitate to even use the word because, like few other words, the idea of revival can be described 100 different ways by 100 different people. When I typically use the word, I am referring to seasons throughout history where God has poured out His Spirit in a special way that has transformed cities, regions, and even nations (The First and Second Great Awakening and the Welsh Revival to name a few).

There is a lot that could also be said about this kind of revival, but one of my favorite descriptions of what has been called personal or continuous revival was penned by a man named Norman Grubb about 70 years ago. He said, “We can liken a man to a house. It has a roof and walls. So also man in his fallen state has a roof on top of his sins, coming between him and God; and he also has walls up, between him and his neighbor. But at salvation, when broken at the cross, not only does the roof come off through faith in Christ but the walls fall down flat, and the man’s true condition as a sinner-saved-by-grace is confessed before all men.”

Grubb goes on to explain that we ought to continually live with the roof off and the walls down. He also believed that openness before man is the genuine proof of sincerity before God.

Brotherhood:

This idea of living with nothing separating us from God (roof off) and nothing separating us from one another (walls down) is possible. For a marriage to really thrive this must be a reality. The same is true for our relationship with our brothers. If we want to enter into the kind of brotherhood that God desires for us, we must live openly before God and one another.  Just as John wrote in the Scripture above, Jesus came as light, so that we would no longer live in darkness. That means we ought to shed light on every dark and hidden area in our lives. When the dark or hidden areas of our lives are exposed to the light, they can be addressed and, by God’s grace, healed.

I have experienced this in my own life and have seen it played out in the lives of countless other men. When we allow shame to keep us from sharing what is really going on, we allow the sin to grow. Sooner or later, it will surface in our lives and for so many, the damage is already done. The saddest part is, had they let others in earlier, they could have been saved from the consequences of sin and shame hidden too long.

Application:

This is one of the many reasons why BYX matters. Through cell groups and friend groups in BYX, we have a platform whereby men can learn to live openly. Is it easy? Of course not! If it were, all men would do it. But is it worth overcoming our fears to learn how to let other men into our lives on a soul-level? Without a doubt it is worth it. So my challenge is for you to open up and share the real you with your brothers. Share your fears, the things you are ashamed of, the things that are hidden as well as your hopes, your dreams and your passions. Get beyond the surface of the symptoms and address the heart. For after all, it is from the heart that flows the issues of life (Prov 4:23).

For if you learn how to live openly before God and others while in college, you will be better set up for every other area in your life. During your time in BYX, you have the opportunity to lay a foundation for all of your future relationships. And since I started with marriage I will end with it. Suffice it to say, if you learn how to live with the roof off and the walls down now, I guarantee your marriage will be better for it. Your wife will be grateful to be one with the kind of man that is becoming increasingly rare these days. She will love sharing life with a man who is able to share his heart as well as access hers. And I probably don’t have to tell you there are all kinds of benefits to this kind of life and marriage. More than you guys know.

RightNow Media: Using the Resources Available to Us

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RightNow Media is a great resource that we offer our BYX members and leaders. If you’re unfamiliar with RightNow Media, it’s a collection of video Bible studies from some of the best teachers and preachers in the world. Matt Chandler said, “[It’s] like the Netflix of Christian Bible study.”

From 10-minute short clips, to 30-minute session Bible studies, to hour-long conference messages, RightNow Media has a wide variety of options for almost anyone of any age. (There’s even some Veggie Tales Bible stories for children…or 20-somethings.)

In an effort to serve our members, here are a few of the highlights of what’s available:

Philippians: To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain and Mingling of Souls: God’s Design For Love, Marriage, Sex, & Redemption — both by Matt Chandler.

Let’s face it, most of us at least know who Matt Chandler is and most of us probably enjoy listening to him. There are plenty of resources and sermon series from Chandler and The Village Church on RightNow Media. Philippians is a study through the book of Philippians from the perspective that the church in Philippi. It gives us a glimpse into what a mature believer looks like. Mingling of Souls is a study of Song of Solomon. It’s a great perspective on love, relationships, and dating, as well as redemption and the Gospel.

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James — Francis Chan

As the title suggests, this series is a study through the book of James. This would be a great resource for cell groups as each session is only about 10 minutes long. This could be something that cell groups watch and use as a jumping off point into discussions about Scripture and life.

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Future Grace — John Piper

Honestly, everything I’ve ever read or heard by Piper has been incredible. He’s amazingly insightful, very practical, and very direct. A lot of us have probably read — or at least heard of — Desiring God. Future Grace stuck out to me because it has a lot to do with an issue that we all deal with: battling sin. As with anything John Piper does, it’s deep and richly theological but also easily accessible.

RightNow Media has plenty of other resources, sermon series and conference messages from speakers most of us know and love like Louie Giglio, Eric Mason, Ben Stuart, Judah Smith, Carl Lentz and others. If you haven’t taken the time to look through the library, I would encourage you to do so.

If you don’t have access to RightNow Media but would like to, we offer it for free to all of our BYX officers, cell group leaders and active members — just contact the national advisor for your local chapter.

Why BYX Matters

 

Author: Jason Hoyt

I have young children who are at the age where one of the primary questions they ask is “Why?” My oldest son asks me almost weekly if he can come to work with me. There are many times where the answer is, “Not today, son.” There are a few times, though, where the answer is, “Yes.” It’s good for a young man to see where his father works and what he gets to do each day. On the days where the answer is, “Not today, son,” the next question is always, “Why?” ‘Why’ is a good question to ask. Why do you choose to get out of bed on that cold morning and go to class? Why do you choose to eat lunch? Why do you choose not to go to the gym? Why do you choose to be a part of BYX?  Why do you choose to seek after Christ today?

The short answer to that question is that most of us want to be a part of something special, something that makes a difference in their life and the lives of others. You think about why you choose to go to college. You probably chose to go to college because you think that obtaining that degree will make a difference in your life and hopefully will translate into you making a difference in others’ lives. You chose to be involved in BYX because it matters.

It is by design that BYX is a social fraternity experience, available for only this short time in your life, where you can make a difference for Christ and with others. BYX at its core meets the need of young college men looking for a great fraternity experience who share a common belief in Jesus Christ. Because of that belief in Christ, there is much unity from one brother to the next and from one chapter to the next.

From a personal perspective, leadership matters and it grows out of my belief that what BYX does matters. It matters to the the mothers and fathers who send their young Christian son off to college. It matters to the young man who is looking for a place to fit in as a Christian in college. It matters to the developing and growing relationship between men in college that can last a lifetime. It matters that Christ has used BYX to grow and mold young men for 30 years on different campuses. It matters to our community as young men graduate college and from BYX and seek to live God-honoring lives serving in various fields. It matters to those career fields such as engineering, medicine, law, accounting, pastoral, social work, etc. which need men of integrity. It matters because BYX develops young Christian men to make a difference in the Kingdom.

As a leader in BYX for over a decade now, the story of BYX matters. We will continue to capture and tell our story better and better over the coming years. We will continue to seek to grow our existing chapters and grow to new campuses because the vision that God has given us for BYX, it matters.

I was reminded of that recently when I learned some news about a brother who I was in BYX with in the late 1990’s. Shawn served as an officer in 1998 and faithfully and diligently pursued Christ and his education. Our paths separated upon graduation and it’s been many years now since I have seen him. When Shawn graduated, he joined the Marines and served multiple times in difficult situations in the Middle East. On January 14, 2016, Major Shawn Weber Campbell lost his life in a helicopter training accident off the coast of Hawaii. BYX Brothers from the mid to late 1990’s era started remembering on Facebook the impact that Shawn had on many of us and how he faithfully led men and pursued Christ. One of the members of Shawn’s cell group dropped everything and flew to Hawaii to be with the family at the military memorial. BYX builds life-long relationships that matter. On the days when life seems to be falling apart, those brothers are there to stand in the gap.

“Behold, how good and how pleasing it is when brothers dwell together in unity.”

— Psalm 133:1


Jason Hoyt is the National President and COO of BYX. He graduated from Texas A&M in 2000 and because the National President in 2004. He and his wife Ashley live in Keller, TX with their four children.


 

Get to know the National Staff: Jared Lyda

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  1. Why did you want to join the BYX National Staff?

The entire time I was in BYX at Texas A&M, other than my pledge semester, I held at least one leadership position. I love this fraternity. I love what it has to offer men. And I want to continue to work to make it better than what it already is.

  1. What did you study at A&M and how will that help you in this job?

I studied Leadership & Development which is almost entirely what I’ll be doing working for BYX.

  1. What is your favorite memory from college?

My favorite memories from college are of taking road trips with friends. I went to Austin one weekend to eat a bunch of good food. I went to Arkansas a couple of times to hang out with my friends. I also went to Austin one weekend to see the Zac Brown Band and then went to Dallas the next day to see them again.

  1. What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to be around people. It doesn’t particularly matter what we’re doing, I just enjoy hanging out with friends. I also enjoy music — listening to music, playing music or attending concerts.

  1. What are some of your goals for your first semester on staff?

In my first semester on staff I hope to grow in my understanding of what BYX is and what it means to men across the country. I’m excited to interact with a variety of different men from all different campuses and walks of life and learn what BYX has meant to them.

  1. What do you hope to do after your time on BYX Staff?

I hope to work in pastoral ministry after my time on BYX Staff. My heart is really drawn towards high school and college-aged kids.

  1. You don’t have to name any names, but give us your most deplorable roommate story.

I had a roommate once who got hungry at around three in the morning and put a canned French roll in the oven to cook for himself and then fell asleep. I woke up the next morning to a French roll that had been cooking in the oven for about five or six hours. It looked and felt like a piece of charred firewood.

  1. Are you a 2-percenter?

No, I drink almond milk.

  1. Some on staff have noticed that you’re a self-proclaimed “Blender Girl.” Care to elaborate on that? Bonus: if you had to choose one of your blender concoctions to go swimming in, what would it be?

Nope, but I would swim in the ocean. I love SCUBA.

  1. Describe to us the most grueling course you’ve ever played or made on Super Mario Maker.

First off let me say, SMM is one of the best games I’ve personally ever played. But to describe with mere text some of the most grueling courses I’ve played simply wouldn’t do them justice.