Author: Kyle Yarborough
I struggle with anxiety. At times, it can be severe. It can be debilitating and I can feel trapped or chained to a chair, unable to move. It can bring on nausea and headaches and it can cloud my judgement and thinking. It is also relatively common. About 40 million people are directly affected by anxiety each year in the US. That’s roughly 18% of the population. Less than a third seek out or receive treatment. Anxiety is yet another effect of sin in our world. For me, this struggle is a constant exercise in obedience and faith that my Father has my best interests at heart and that He is using my difficulties and trials to sanctify me.
Matthew 6:26-27 says “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” This is a daily reminder that worrying about moving halfway across the country, pursuing a new job, pouring into a new relationship, and all the other upcoming life changes cannot alter the path that He has determined for me. It is not mine to control. Believing that is difficult, but it brings a peace that only He can provide. It’s all too easy to get wrapped up in the patterns of this world and to start believing that success is determined by a number in your bank account, by the clothes you wear, or the car you drive.
David wrote in Psalm 27:1 that “the Lord is my light and my salvation — whom then shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?” More like, what then shall I fear; of what shall I be afraid? If I am not in control, then it does me no good to spend time fretting. This does not mean, “Don’t act.” It’s actually the opposite. Act in faith knowing that the Lord will guide you in his purposes, not allowing your heart and mind to be consumed by the temptations constantly before you. He is faithful to provide for those who live according to his word.
In 1932, just before the height of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said in his first inaugural address that the “only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He sought to embolden his people for what lay ahead and give them the confidence to face difficulty. It would be a trying time but eventually industrial production rose to levels higher than before. The jobs returned but the people’s fears turned from employment to the conflict at hand, World War II.
A lot of our daily worries tend to be about things with very little long-term significance. That’s not to say there aren’t significant things to worry about in life, but each of these is an opportunity to lay our concerns at Jesus’ feet. In Mark 4:35-41 we see the disciples afraid for their lives as their ship struggles to navigate a heavy storm. Jesus, however, was asleep in the stern. Frantically, they woke him and asked, “Teacher, do you not care if we drown?” He rose from where he slept and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” and the storm dispersed. He then asked his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”, and they were terrified, asking each other “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!” Our prayer should then be “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Too often, we carry irrational fears of things out of our control. We will always be able to find something to be fearful about. The Lord freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt but we struggle to trust him to provide for some of our most basic needs. There is little doubt that the onset of World War II struck fear and uncertainty in the hearts of the American People. So is fear truly something to fear? It is, but only when we fear the wrong things. Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” My takeaway? Fear the right things. Fear of my circumstances gets me nowhere. To fear God is to desire to live in harmony with His righteous standards and to honor him through my actions. There is peace and sanctification in that.
Like the disciples, when we see Christ display His power over our circumstances, we fear them less, and we learn to fear Him more.
Author: Jared Lyda
The past month, for whatever reason, has brought death into the forefront of my Facebook and Twitter feeds and therefore my mind. The airport bombings in Brussels were about a month ago. There was an earthquake in Ecuador that killed over 500 people. 8 people died recently in the floods in Houston, TX. Aggie Muster, a ceremony that happens every year at Texas A&M to honor the lives of fallen Aggies, was Thursday night, April 21. One of the Aggies honored this year was Major Shawn Campbell, Texas A&M BYX Alumnus 2001. A junior on the drumline of my high school alma mater died a few days ago. An Oklahoma State BYX founder was killed in a Tulsa apartment fire within the last few weeks. Merle Haggard died about two weeks ago. Prince died last Thursday. And the list goes on.
We tend to behave in one of two ways when it comes to death — obsession or denial. Neither is helpful. Death is coming for everyone. So how does the Christian think about death? Why does the Christian think about death?
Death is not something people in their twenties like to think about. No one that young thinks they’re going to die soon. Death is something that we push out of our minds. Every now and then a celebrity dies and we start to think about death only to quickly push it out of our minds again. But let’s take a moment and not run to Netflix or Xbox or social media or friends and consider death.
Why should we think about death? Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” The Bible says your life is a mist. You are here for a little time and then you vanish (James 4:14). Carrie Underwood sings about how this is our temporary home. This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going. Death is coming. It is universal. And it’s coming for everyone. No one is exempt.
Let’s not try to pretend that death isn’t sad or scary — it certainly is. It is right to be sad, it is right to mourn and to weep. But just like everything else in life the Christian has unshakable hope in life’s scariest and strangest times. For the Christian, to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). When we die we get to be in the presence of our God for eternity. My mind doesn’t really have categories to understand the idea of eternity. Don’t read that sentence quickly and move on. We get to be in the presence of our God for eternity. Our hope is in Christ and being with him forever.
“We look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
—2 Corinthians 4:18-5:1
We know how the story ends. In the end we win. We look forward to the day when He will wipe away every tear, when death will be no more, when mourning, crying, and pain cease, when the former things have passed away, and when God makes all things new (Revelation 21:4-5). The Christian understands what caused Paul to write, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
You’ve probably been asked, “How would you live your life today if you knew you were going to die tomorrow?” It sparks some interesting thoughts and a lot of fleeting motivation to change your behavior that typically fades within a few hours, but that’s not very helpful. And most likely you won’t die tomorrow.
I’m not interested in asking myself questions that will get me super motivated for an hour or two and then let me go back to what I was doing before. I’m interested in life-changing questions. I’m interested in life-changing sentences and paragraphs. I’m interested in thinking deeply about things that will change my perspective forever, things that will shape my worldview, and things that will alter how I live. I’m not interested in obsessing over death. But I am interested in allowing the fact that it’s coming to shape the way that I interact with those around me.
I want to remember how small I am compared to a big God.
I want to remember how fragile I am compared to a God who is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46).
I want to remember how limited my scope is compared to a God whose judgments are unsearchable and whose ways are inscrutable (Romans 11:33).
I want to remember how weak I am compared to an omnipotent God who does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3).
I want to remember how short my life and legacy is compared to a God whose name will be remembered throughout all generations (Psalm 102:12).
I want to remember these things and have them stir up worship in my soul. It is right to think on death because its reminder to us that we are small and fragile fuels our worship of a God who is eternal and all-powerful.
For now death does sting, death is sad, losing loved ones is painful. We cry. We mourn. We hurt. But we are not hopeless. We have a hope that is unfading and a joy that never ends. We serve an almighty God. Through him death is defeated.
Jared Lyda is the National Advisor for the Texas State, Kansas, Ole Miss, and Tulsa BYX chapters. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 2015 with a degree in Leadership and Development. He currently lives in Fort Worth, TX.
I squatted over the telephone pole attempting to get my right foot on the top of the pole next to my left foot. I was 40 feet above the ground and the pole was shaking more than I would have preferred. I made the decision to just go for it and in all in one step I placed my right foot at the top of the pole and jumped out towards the trapeze swing. My left hand hit the trapeze but my right hand never made it over with my slightly awkward jump from the pole.
The Colorado portion of the COR Leadership Retreat isn’t about having success in every activity that we participate in; it’s about stretching yourself to try activities that you normally wouldn’t try. We certainly had that opportunity last week as we stretched ourselves on the giant swing, the zip line, rock climbing, peaking a summit at 12,500 feet in elevation and conquering the rapids of the Taylor River. Each experience is designed to grow the brothers in the purpose of the fraternity.
Men are not naturally willing to share their hearts with one another quickly. We need a shared experience, a common bond through activities in which we grow closer to one another. Colorado gives them the shared experience where brothers learn to trust one another on a much deeper level.
Mixed throughout the week were guided reflections times where brothers had the opportunity to reflect on their sessions from the prior week and seek the Lord in the vastness of the mountains. The Lord used those times to pursue the hearts of our men, and that became clearly evident as brothers grew closer to one another throughout the week. Debrief groups became deeper in conversation as brothers opened up about challenges and issues happening in their lives.
The brothers had the privilege of hearing from TCU BYX Founder Chuck James on the first night in Colorado. He shared with the brothers about the cost of leadership. He spoke on the importance of unity from John 17 and that unity requires a sacrifice. Chuck demonstrated his sacrifice in sharing with us some of his life challenges that often times prevent him from physically feeling well. The time inspired the brothers and challenged them in their leadership.
The brothers had the privilege of hearing from Texas A&M alumnus and board member David Pearson on the leader and the heart. David shared his personal testimony with the men and challenged them to learn from his experiences in life. He challenged the men to think deeply about the things we are tightly holding onto in our lives right now. We threw those challenges off the 12,500 feet Summit Peak together and continued on to share them with one another in our debrief groups.
The final night left a lasting impression on the brothers as we gathered for two hours in our debrief groups to encourage one another. Each brother had the chance to share a word of encouragement to each brother. I personally left deeply encouraged by the words my brothers shared as we got to know one another over the 11 days. We finished the evening in prayer and worship under the make shift lanterns of a cell phones and Nalgene bottles.
In the words of UTC Founder Scottie Hill, who attended the retreat, “There was not a brother who walked way from the experience unchanged, and certainly not a brother who regretted attending. It was one of the most formative experiences of my life to date, and I am pumped to see the lasting effects on my walk with Christ, my leadership in the fraternity and my impending excursion into the real world.”
When the opportunity presents itself in life, there are times where you just have to jump off the pole to experience all that God has for you.
I am someone who has fought most of my life (and still do) with giving undue authority to people’s perception of me, placing my self-worth and identity in bodies as broken and corrupt as my own. I can be overly critical of myself and allow my pride to project that onto other people. Apply it to work and needing to be known as productive and contributing. Apply it to a relationship and seeking to gain the approval of a girl. Apply it to friendships and wanting to be seen as cool, funny or intelligent. You know how it best applies to you. In the end, we always come up feeling like we’ve fallen short.
These doubts of not being good enough can run rampant but rest assured it’s nothing new. We have a greater assurance. You have been created in the image of the perfect God of the Universe, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-16). Ephesians 1:4 says God chose his children before the foundations of the earth were ever formed and just a few verses later (13-14) we are told we are God’s own possession, chosen for the praise of His glory and that we have an inheritance in Heaven with Him as His children.
What I want you to make careful note of is that each of those things has nothing to do with anything we’ve ever done or will do. We have been “made”; we have been “chosen”; we are God’s own possession; we have an inheritance.
Ephesians 1:3 says that as His children, we are the recipients of “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.” See, when we claim self-worth, we reduce the significance of the blessings poured out on us. Therefore, our worth is not “self” at all, it is worth given to us by God. He spared no expense in purchasing us “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). We place no worth in dead things yet the Father paid the highest price for us while we were dead to our sin.
Something is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it. While we were dead and worthless, we were bought at the greatest price by a perfect Master. He poured out his righteousness upon us not because we were worthy of it, but because we were unworthy, unlovable and unable to make ourselves worthy in any way. He loved us in spite of our fallen condition and because of it, we have infinite worth.
John 1:12-13 tells us that “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” To those who confess their sins, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” As we recognize the magnitude of His love for us, we will come to understand how much we are worth as children of God.
While I am constantly reminded of my brokenness, I am also reminded of how wonderfully He loves me. “In Christ Alone” is one of my favorite worship songs. It has been arranged a hundred different ways but the truth contained doesn’t change. Our hope is found in Christ alone.
It is His strength that carries us through the fiercest drought and storm. His perfect love stills our fears and brings us a comfort and peace that surpass understanding. He took on my sin as His own, died the death I deserved and broke the hold that Sin had over me. We have been bought with the precious blood of the Son of the Almighty God and have been secured in his grip for eternity. It doesn’t get better than that.
Cheryl Cox became arguably the most important crush in the history of Beta Upsilon Chi when she caught the eye of TCU Founder Chuck James. Chuck and Cheryl ran in some of the same circles at TCU and led a Bible Study together.
One night, Cheryl was telling Chuck about her brother David, who was a student at The University of Texas. Because of his interest in Cheryl, he “feigned listening” until she divulged a piece of information that caught his attention. David was a member of a Christian fraternity at Texas.
Chuck had recently dropped out of rush in the middle of it. He saw the process as degrading. Jumping through hoops to impress his peers and striving to live up to an undefined standard to earn a bid only frustrated him. It was not how he wanted to start his college career.
Chuck touched base with Cheryl’s brother and became convinced that he had to bring BYX to TCU. He had previously considered founding a Christian fraternity at TCU, and that conviction grew after talking to David.
“He told me all about BYX, and I became absolutely immediately convinced this is why I was sent to TCU when I could not possibly afford it,” Chuck said.
But when the founders of the Alpha Chapter at The University of Texas established BYX, there was no grand vision for it spreading to 34 campuses in 16 states. Their perspective didn’t stretch past the city limits of Austin.
“We had no idea what we were doing,” Texas Founder Wendel Weaver said. “We never thought even for a minute that it would go to other campuses. We were just trying to figure out which way was up.”
Not only did they lack a vision for expansion, but they also lacked a desire. The Texas Founders feared that allowing BYX to expand would water down the experience and that it would slowly become only nominally Christian. The Texas Founders did not want BYX to become the next fraternity in a long line that started off with a Christian purpose only to eventually depart from their mission.
Cox made this clear to James. When James met with Texas Founder Jeff Garrett to discuss bringing BYX to TCU, he reiterated the same point. Weaver further drove the point home even more strongly. The Texas Founders did not want BYX leaving Austin.
All the while, James pressed on, bringing five more men into the fold: Jon Sherman, Jeff Sherman, Kyle Kight, Mike Howell and Steve Kendall. The group of six set out to see if there was indeed a desire to have this Christian fraternity on campus.
The six men compiled a list of every Christian man they knew that may be interested in joining BYX. Over a six-week span, they divided up the list and met with the men to tell them about the idea of bringing BYX to campus and see if they had any interest in being a part of it.
“We just heard about BYX and we had this vision for BYX and the whole thing from the beginning was about getting all the guys together in one group and getting us connected under Christ,” Jon Sherman said.
Enough men showed interest over that time they held three informational meetings. At the second meeting, Ronnie Dunn asked Chuck about the BYX handshake. He told Ronnie they didn’t have one. So, as a group of 40 men fired off questions about BYX, Ronnie and Chuck came up with the BYX handshake.
About six founders from Texas made plans to meet in Dallas. Chuck asked for an opportunity for the eventual TCU Founders to plead their case to the Texas Founders. The Texas Founders allowed them to drop in, but, once again, they shot down their request.
But a week later, the Texas Founders bent and said they were willing to give it a shot. Cox soon visited the TCU campus with some documents and taught the fraternity song to the TCU Founders. Chuck also traveled to Austin to attend a chapter meeting at the Alpha Chapter.
On campus, not everyone was receptive of the idea. Many Christians didn’t see the need for a Christian fraternity focused on unity. They saw such emphases such as evangelism and discipleship as more noble endeavors than unity. Existing Christian groups didn’t agree with or understand the purpose of BYX and feared their purpose would detract from their own ministries.
Following their third informational meeting, the men considering being a part of the founding were informed that they would have the opportunity to officially join on March 15. Anyone who came that night could sign on to be a charter member.
When March 15 rolled around, the six men waited upstairs in Clark Hall, petitioning the Lord for 20 men to show up and officially join them to found the Beta Chapter. At 9, they went down to the lobby, and what they saw brought Chuck to tears. Forty-seven men had shown up to sign on to be charter members of the Beta Chapter.
“People ask what it’s like to see where BYX is today, and I admit that where it is today is what I have always wanted and envisioned,” Chuck said. “I never wanted it to be for UT and TCU alone. While I am beyond excited and amazed that God has moved it to where he has, I want more. More and more young men need this alternative to give them a place to fit in that encourages versus discourages their faith in Jesus.”
Before Roger Poupart served as the pledge trainer for the Alpha Chapter of BYX, he served pledges of other fraternities as a residential assistant in Jester Hall at The University of Texas. Poupart’s room became a place of refuge for men on the hall who were hazed mercilessly as part of their pledging process. It wasn’t uncommon for him to receive phone calls from residents, asking Poupart to come to their room in order to remove active members from the dorm.
Poupart was aware of a hazing death that occurred the previous year. In 1984, a Texas A&M student died of a heat stroke when he was forced to perform strenuous exercises at 2:30 a.m. In 1986, a similar tragedy occurred at Texas when an 18-year-old fraternity pledge died with a blood-alcohol level of 0.43.
During a study break in a library basement near Jester, Poupart and friends Craig Albert, Steve Hoehner and Jeff Garrett discussed the hazing issues on his hall, as well as the Texas A&M situation from the previous year. It became increasingly evident to those men that something was missing on the Texas campus. There was a hole to be filled.
“We all agreed that college men were seeking the all male fellowship that fraternities offered, but did not need the junk that was coming with it like hazing and drunken parties,” Texas Founder Roger Poupart said. “As we talked, God began to birth the vision.”
On the other end of the spectrum were the Christian organizations. They provided opportunities for students to grow in their faith and a platform to share their faith. The campus ministries offered something invaluable to the students, but there was still something missing. They lacked the social opportunities and exclusively male community that came with fraternities.
“You either go and share your faith on Saturday on the corner or you go and you get wasted on Saturday night,” Texas Founder Wendel Weaver said. “There wasn’t anything that was in the middle.”
A group of men set out to fill that hole by founding a fraternity focused on establishing brotherhood and unity under the common bond of Jesus Christ. This alternative to the fraternal lifestyle of its day would put college men in a position to grow in their relationship with Christ while providing the opportunities for brotherhood and social life offered by other fraternities.
“BYX came from a couple of guys going to a beach project and just sitting around thinking about something that was missing, a hole at the university as far as a ministry for men,” Weaver said.
As the group of men began to shape the vision, more like-minded men gravitated toward the purpose of establishing brotherhood and unity under the common bond of Jesus Christ.
The men discussed possible names for the new group, nearly settling on the name “Brothers In Christ” or “BICs” for short. Some men thought the association with the Bic lighter would be symbolic of how they hoped to shine the light of Christ to the campus. However, they landed on “Brothers Under Christ” in the end.
“A Bible study leader of mine told me, ‘Wendel, you have no idea what you’re doing,’” Weaver said. “At the time I didn’t admit it, but he was absolutely right. But God obviously had bigger plans.”
“We had such humble beginnings, but it highlights what we see throughout the Bible: God often accomplishes great things in unexpected ways,” Texas Founder Don Reid said.
With a God-inspired vision in mind, the men moved forward to announce the founding of this new fraternity known as Brothers Under Christ, or Beta Upsilon Chi. The men hosted an island-themed swim party at an apartment complex near campus on a budget of $75. The party was well received, and the attendants looked forward to more events from Beta Upsilon Chi. Each year, Island Party is celebrated by all BYX chapters to commemorate the founding of the fraternity.
“It’s humbling to see what was originally designed for a few men become a national fellowship for unity and leadership development,” Texas Founder David Daniels said. “How many families, friendships and businesses, churches and communities have been impacted from the rippling influence of BYX?”
The Texas Founders saw a need on their campus. They effectively met that need by establishing a fraternity fully devoted to developing men as Christ followers while promoting involvement within the campus’s social and Greek life. The hole was filled, and a foundation was laid for men across the country to experience brotherhood and unity under the common bond of Jesus Christ.
You see, sometimes being a BYX National Advisor has its perks. Especially advisors like myself who are in charge of younger chapters, I get to desperately pray that Brian gets that chapter at Pepperdine so I can work in Malibu (unfortunately that chapter fell through…) But, one of those classic cities that I get to visit every semester now is Charleston, South Carolina.
Just a casual side note, it was ranked the #2 city in the world next to Florence, Italy. It beats Rome for goodness sake. Needless to say I was excited to see the town and the campus of the College of Charleston.
I flew in Saturday afternoon and quickly met up with Joey, their president, and a few other officers. We walked around downtown and took in the sights. Thank goodness my mind is on a newly married graduate school budget, or your boy would have dropped some serious cash at the Vineyard Vines store.
We went off the Battery, the place supposedly that Blackbeard was hanged. As a history major, it does not get much better than Charleston. At the Battery we had some casual (then increasingly more competitive) spikeball games while numerous people came by to see just what in the world were we doing with a mini trampoline.
Then the boys took me on a tour of their campus, which was founded in 1770. That is crazy old. They also made me take the typical touristy photo where I sat on Clyde, the resident cougar on campus. The campus is small, but right in the downtown area in the heart of all that is Charleston.
Sunday was spent going to church with the officers and meeting with four of the officers before officer meeting and chapter meeting that night. This chapter just recently became recognized on campus three weeks ago. So they do not have many current issues besides hosting a few parties and initiation this semester while getting prepared for the fall. My primary goal this trip was to be relational with the men and begin to get a feel for where issues could arise in the chapter in the future.
This chapter is small at the moment, just like any other chapter in the beginning, but the social presence that these men have on campus is a great indicator that they will be recruiting well in the fall. Many of the members are also involved with Young Life in the local middle and high schools, which is another indication that these men are growing into leaders in their local community along with the campus. Staying inwardly focused on just the fraternity will eventually become detrimental to the chapter; get out and lead on campus.
Chapter meeting was a fun one, especially with the intimate feel that these young chapters have. On my first visit, I briefly share my testimony, and I also try not to ramble too terribly much on how to deepen your relationship with Christ while being a college student. I feel I need to preach that at every visit and will probably continue to do so every time I’m at my chapters. As college students, we get bogged down with classes, organizations, that high school girlfriend, FIFA and however many TV shows we can watch on Netflix. Continue to read His Word, and be continually conformed into the image of His Son while in college.
These men at the College of Charleston chapter are doing a great job so far, and the fall semester will be first big test this chapter will have faced. Continue to be in prayer for these men as they begin to influence a campus that, like all campuses, desperately needs Jesus and the salvation that He provides.
It is with tears in my eyes as I write that throughout my short life on this Earth, my father has encouraged me more than anyone else. Whether it was during times of trials (there have been many) or during times of triumph, he has always been there to lift me off the ground or raise me higher. For all of this that he has done for me, it has been rare that I have had the opportunity to encourage him in the same way, building him up with Scripture.
Two weeks ago, I called my dad to wish him a happy birthday and catch up for a bit. During that call, he shared some of his recent struggles but maintained an attitude that reminded me of Job. I was able to encourage him in that way, reminding him that our response to testing and trials should always be worship.
“The Lord has given and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” -Job 1:21
In Job 1:1, Job is called “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” and remains a model leader in service, family and faith. He didn’t have a Bible, a local church, a small group or men’s ministry, yet he was known as “blameless and upright” and well respected by his community.
Why then does this quintessential man of God have everything ripped away from him in one nightmarish day? Job serves as a reminder that the amount of adversity we encounter throughout our lives is not proportional to the good and evil things we do.
In the face of great suffering, Job gives us a response that is contradictory to nature. When his servant brought him the news, Job rose from his seat, tore his robe, shaved his head and fell on the ground, worshipping God saying, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (v.21.)
I can only wish that this would be my first response to struggles. I would lose my cool and get ticked off. I would ask God, “Why me?” I would be downright angry. But that is not Job; that is not the model of response to trial. Job knew where he came from. He knew that he had entered life with nothing and would leave with nothing.
Job was spiritually rugged. He had built up his character throughout his life of servitude. While he was incredibly wealthy according to the standards of the day, he did not view his status as something to be lorded over people. Instead he chose to use his possessions to serve those in need. He placed his wealth in things above instead of the earthly possessions he knew he could never take with him. He did not complain when he lost everything because his complete trust was in God. Remember, he knew from where he had come.
Paul told the Romans that “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4.) James affirmed this saying, “Count it all joy my brothers, when you encounter trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3.)
So when Job’s faith was tested, he displayed his spiritual ruggedness, and chose to worship God. It is adversity that truly reveals our character. The book “A Guide to Biblical Manhood” (p.22) asks, “Will you be rugged enough to have unceasing, unconditional worship to God even if all the perks in life go away?”
Would it not be great to answer that with a “Yes!” There are few guarantees in the life of a Christian. We will face trial, rejection and loss, but we are also guaranteed eternal life with our Savior. As Christians we should be working daily to store up our treasures in Heaven. Love God and serve others.
Is this always easy? No. Will we fail? Absolutely. That is not supposed to discourage us though! Christ securely holds our future, picks us up when we fall and rejoices with us in triumph. It is this, brothers, that gives us the confidence and resolve to stand firm through our trials as we await the day we are called home.
As I sit down to write this travel update, the one word that keeps coming to mind is discipline. Discipline should be present in every aspect of life, even more so as Christians. Over the last few months, I have made significant effort to change the kinds of foods that I eat. What has been amazing about this though, is that it has affected every area of my life; physically, mentally, emotionally and most importantly, spiritually. The greatest catalyst to sustained change has been the development of a culture of discipline in my life.
1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching I myself should be disqualified.” As Christians, we are called to lead lives of discipline. How Paul addresses the Corinthians as well as the Ephesians (Eph 6:4) and Titus (Titus 1:8) lays this out evidently. I say all this to make note of the change in culture and discipline that I have seen at Clemson University.
Throughout the last three months, I have seen the chapter leadership take initiative in trying to create a culture of discipline, service and accountability. From last semester’s visit to this, the feeling I got when I walked in the chapter room was strikingly different. What made this evident to me was that the membership was in full support of their officers. Whether through recruitment, putting forth effort in organizing social and outreach events or building each other up as brothers, it is clear that Clemson has a firm grasp on the national vision of BYX and is working in united manner to grow their ability to impact their campus.
Each discussion over the three days in Clemson served as an encouragement as well as an indicator of both growth and direction. I genuinely love my time spent with these men. Their love for this fraternity shows in how they serve each other on a daily basis, rally around each other in difficult times and how they are reaching their campus. I cannot wait to see them again in the fall and observe the fruits of their continued growth and discipline.
My kids love to collect rocks. This past weekend I found a bag full of newly-collected rocks that my daughter had picked up while visiting with her grandparents. We have so many bags of rocks around the house and in the yard now that I didn’t really think about it anymore.
I think we can easily go through life in that manner also. We don’t really think too much about it. We set out each day to accomplish our task lists of to-do items, and we can easily forget the bigger picture. Where did this rock come from? What has the rock been through? What part will it play in the future? These questions and more matter!
This is our fourth year of Called to Pray. We initially started Called to Pray in the heat of some intense challenges with the Nu Chapter of BYX in Nashville. Our chapter found itself in the midst of a religious freedom issue on campus in which we were courageously standing for our convictions.
Every visit to a chapter across the country brought questions of “How can we support the Nu Chapter?” The issue resonated with our brothers, and I wanted the deep convictions of the Nu Chapter to be celebrated in national unity. We wanted brothers across the country to have the opportunity to humbly pray for the Nu Chapter.
We set up a Google Doc so that brothers could sign up to participate in our 24-hour, five-day prayer initiative. The response from our brothers and alumni across the country was overwhelming. We filled up every 30-minute time slot so we added a second person to each 30 minutes time slot. We filled that up as well. We were confident that the Lord was moving through BYX and growing and challenging our men in pursuit of Christ.
The initial Called to Pray was so successful that we decided to continue to challenge our men to a 24-hour prayer each spring leading up to the Collegiate Day of Prayer, which is always the last Thursday in February. The CDOP is a united effort among evangelical Christians to collectively pray for college campuses and college students across America.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
This year there are 1,205 campuses united in their efforts to pray for the Lord to awaken the hearts of college students on campus. We decided to couple our efforts for specific prayer requests for BYX with the larger efforts of CDOP to end our week of prayer together with thousands of others across the country.
Here are the specific prayer requests for BYX that we are asking those who sign up to pray for:
- For our brothers serving across the world.
- For our brothers who are pastors and ministers in the U.S.
- For our brothers leading out in their work place and communities.
- For the Board of Directors and National Staff members of BYX in continuing to guide and protect the vision of BYX.
- For the 190 men who serve as officers of their BYX chapters.
- For the current 2,300 BYX brothers at 34 universities in 16 states.
- For the Lord to use our BYX chapters and our men to impact their campus both spiritually and socially.
- For the future growth of BYX in developing new chapters.
- For the pursuit of Christ within the fraternity that God might continue to use BYX to develop young Christian men.
There is still time to join with us in prayer for all the the Lord is doing in and through BYX and on our campuses. I encourage you to take step back and look at the bigger picture.
As it turns out, a few of the rocks that my daughter brought home were a part of a bigger picture. A few of the rocks were brought home from her grandparents’ trip to the Grand Canyon a few years ago. Those are more than just a couple of rocks and that brings quite a different perspective to a couple of rocks.