Monday Morning Grace: Eikon

“So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” -Genesis 1:27

I just finished leading a Disciple Now weekend with the teenagers of my home church, First Baptist McKinney. The Lord was good to bless us with enough volunteers, leaders, and an incredible youth staff to be able to serve 492 students this year! Our theme verse for this year’s retreat was Genesis 1:27.

Not only did God create us, but He made us in His image! And not only did He make us in His image, but He made us with a specific intent and purpose! And not only did He make us with a purpose, but He blessed us with talents and spiritual gifts! And not only did He grant us unique spiritual gifts at the moment we chose to follow the Lord, but He gave us passions in which to use those gifts! And not only did He give us passion, but He gave us a story that we can share in love with those the Lord places in our lives each day!

As we near Thanksgiving, I feel it is extra-fitting to count our many blessings before the Lord, and those were just a few! Imagine what just writing down all of the ways God has blessed you in thanksgiving would do – not things you think you deserve or have earned, because we deserve nothing, but in Christ we find EVERYTHING.

“Eikon” is a Greek word that means likeness or image. So this weekend teenagers learned all about how we were made in the image of God and are to be made into the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ, with each day.

“For God knew His people in advance, and He chose them to become like His Son, so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” -Romans 8:29

My challenge to my sophomore girls and guys this weekend is the same challenge I bring to you this morning:

Each of my teens hit a crossroads this weekend where they needed to decide whether they are going to chase after the things of the world – continuing to act as slaves to sin, or if they will pursue the Lord and HIS righteousness – desiring that Christ would daily be formed in them.

Here’s the thing: you can’t do both. For some that means salvation, but for others that means coming to a greater realization about what our salvation means.

When the Lord saved me at seven years old, my life was no longer my own as I gave it entirely over to Him. When my Heavenly Father saved me 14 years ago, I said YES. I said yes to whatever He asks of me, wherever He leads me, whenever He calls me, however much it costs – I said YES.

So it doesn’t matter if I get fearful about leaving my family for six months to go to South Africa, because I said YES. It’s not about me, and it’s all about HIM.

I desire to be daily transformed into the likeness of Christ not for my sake, but for His Namesake.

So many times we fall into the trap of believing that the freedom that is found in God’s grace is just an excuse for us to continue to live as if we were in chains – but we have been set FREE in Christ! We have been set free to follow the Lord in obedience, which leads to righteousness.

Think of it this way, look back to the days of slavery in the states, and the abolition of slavery due to the Emancipation Proclamation. Imagine that a slave, who had been set free, was still out picking cotton for his former master. That’s wild! I would run and say to him, “You have been set free! Let go of everything and live in the freedom that you have been given!”

I say the same thing to you this morning: You have been set free from the power of sin! Let go of everything, all of the burdens that you carry, and live in the freedom that you have been given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ!

Jesus took our sins upon Himself when He faced excruciating pain as He was nailed to the cross, so that we don’t have to suffer the pain and shame of our sins today. The only one holding you down in a place of defeat this morning is yourself – because the Lord set you free 2.000 years ago and desires that you lay everything at the foot of His cross so that you will be free to be molded into His EIKON more and more each day!

“Father, I pray that You will continue to daily remind me that this life is not about me. Convict me once more that the salvation You give is free, but it’s not cheap. May You continue to stir in the hearts of the over 800 people involved in this Disciple Now weekend, and in those reading this devotion, and in me. May we desire to truly live as we embrace the Eikon of Christ You created us to be! Thank You for not only listening to my prayers, but answering them. I love You Father, thank You for loving me.”

Monday Morning Grace: Child of God

I had the blessing of spending this past weekend at home with family, including my cousin’s six month old twins, Reid and Ava Lyn. It was incredible to see the love that was displayed for those babies throughout the weekend from every member of the family as they got passed from relative to relative to be cradled and cuddled.

Just before lunchtime on Sunday my cousin’s husband was washing his babies’ bottles before they hit the road to travel home, while I was holding Reid nearby in the kitchen. With this tiny child on my lap, I couldn’t help but notice how he was eyeing his father washing the dishes. Reid never took those big blue eyes off of him. Even more, when his dad would look in his direction, Reid would burst in delight as he smiled and softly cried out in desire to be carried by his daddy.

Driving back to Waco Sunday night, I couldn’t get the image out of my mind. What a beautiful picture of our relationship with God I saw in Reid’s relationship with his father.

In one of the earlier devotions the Lord led me to talk about the importance of fixing our eyes upon Him in every moment, so I won’t dedicate this week’s devotion to the same topic. But this I know: I want to be like Reid when it comes to my heavenly Father – I never want to take my eyes off of Him. I’m not there yet, but I pray that the Lord will enable me to remember to seek after His help each day as I desire to eye my Father as He washes away my sin and looks in my direction to see His Son, interceding for me.

The truly captivating aspect of Reid’s demeanor was the fact that despite his attempts to sit up on his own, or be held by several loving relatives – he desired, more than anything, to be carried by his dad. Too many times I find myself trying to hold up my head on my own as I carry myself, or finding someone loving in my life to help me carry the weight, or hiding away in something that can distract me from the burdens I tote around. Each instance I find myself humbled before the Lord, sometimes in tears, as He convicts me once again to let Him carry me through – but even more, to desire that He carry me.

“Praise the Lord; praise God our Savior! For each day He carries us in His arms.” –Psalm 68:19

God promises that He will pick us up and carry us through whatever storms or sunshine this life brings. He says in His Word that we are adopted as children of God.

This weekend my aunt pointed out how many kids there are in the world that do not get to experience the love that Reid and Ava Lyn are permeated with each day. We talked about the orphans in America and across the globe that are in need of love from someone willing and able to adopt them.

Before we came to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we did not know love – for Christ is love. We were orphans, born into sin. But God, in His mercy, was willing and able to adopt us as His very own children, through His one and only Son, Jesus – so that we might be called “children of God.”

I am a child of God. You are a child of God, if you have given your life to Him. We are children of God. So why do we not delight in that

identity? Why do we not find joy in our salvation?

God is our Father, but more than that, He is to be our Everything. Cry out to your heavenly Father this morning – desire to be held tight in the arms of our Lord as He carries you through now and forevermore.

This week, read and pray through these lyrics that Kutless wrote unto our Most High Father in their song, Everything I Need:

When every step is so hard to take and all of my hope is fading away, when life is a mountain that I cannot climb – You carry me. Jesus, carry me.

You are strength in my weakness and You are the refuge I seek. You are everything in my time of need. You are everything, You are everything I need.

When every moment is more than I can take and all of my strength is slipping away, when every breath gets harder to breathe – You carry me. Jesus, carry me.

You are strength in my weakness and You are the refuge I seek. You are everything in my time of need. You are everything.

You are everything – I need You! You are everything I need! I love everything about You.

You are strength in my weakness. You are the refuge I seek. You are everything in my time of need. You are everything, You are everything!

You are strength in my weakness and You are the refuge I seek! You are everything in my time of need! You are everything, You are everything I need. You are everything, You are everything I need!

“Father, help me to listen. Your Word commands that I pray continually, I ask that you help me to do that. But even more, I ask that I would delight in being called Your daughter, and that I would daily see my need for You – and that You truly would be my everything in every moment of every day. Thank You for not just listening to my prayers, but answering them. I love You Father, thank You for loving me.”

– Meghan

Classic Reels: Sunset Boulevard

Sirens pierce the early morning hours and a dead body floats motionless in a swimming pool. Homicide detectives and newspapermen race to the scene. So begins “Sunset Boulevard”, a twisted tale of murder set against the bright lights of Hollywood.

It’s 1950’s Hollywood and struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis, is having trouble making his car payments. When the insurance men come to collect, he tries to weave a web of lies to hold them off until he can scrounge up some cash. He can’t hide forever, and when he crosses paths with them on Sunset Boulevard, he makes a break for it. A high speed chase ensues. He outruns them, but in the process blows a tire, forcing him to park his sputtering car in the garage of what he thinks is an abandoned mansion. Its owner is Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), an aging silent film actress.

In her heyday, Desmond was a star, but now she lives a secluded life, far from the spotlights of Hollywood. She’s planning a comeback though, writing an epic screenplay that will bring her back into the thoughts of her once adoring fans. When she finds out that Gillis is a screenwriter she hires him to edit the screenplay. He moves in to edit full time, but soon finds out that something isn’t quite right.

With the passing of the silent film era, Norma Desmond and her mansion seem to go with it. She continues to live in the glory of her younger years while her house crumbles around her. Her living room is covered with old photographs of herself and an old organ lets out an eerie note with each passing breeze. As Gill and Desmond watch her old silent films, smoke hangs over the flickering light of the projector. Everything is dark and secluded inside Desmond’s mansion, creating an eerie background throughout the film.

Although the film delivers outstanding performances from its entire cast, Gloria Swanson’s portrayal of Norma Desmond was a little over-the-top at times. It isn’t that her acting is bad, in fact, most of the film she genuinely conveys the sadness and tragedy of her character. But every so often, when a scene could have used a more subtle portrayal, she tends to over act.

There is an air of mystery throughout “Sunset Boulevard”. Things aren’t always as they seem, and plot twists are layered throughout, resulting in what feels like a very long film. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. The story is completely engrossing, but at times it feels as if the film takes the long way to tell something simple.

Throughout the film, Gillis provides no-nonsense narration of the events around him. His quick one-liners and insights into a colorful cast of characters are what make “Sunset Boulevard” so enjoyable. He tells the story as he sees it unfold, and it is through his eyes we see the plot thicken. He’s not the greatest person, he’s flawed and has his own motivations, but he serves as a good filter to tell the tragic tale of Norma Desmond.

Hollywood is known for its glitz and glamour, but what of the stars it leaves behind? No matter how bright they become, most will not shine forever. It is here, on a quiet street lined with the mansions of stars of old, that audiences discover that not everything is as black and white as it seems on Sunset Boulevard.

Grade: B

– Brian

Classic Reels is a weekly blog by Lariat contributor Brian Sanders. Sanders reviews old movies for those looking to brush up on their historic cinema or those that are looking to reminisce on old flicks.

Monday Morning Grace: Promise

This weekend I was able to witness my dear friend Vanessa enter into a covenant of marriage with her beloved, Travis, at a lovely ceremony in downtown Austin. As my mom and I filled out a guestbook card for their custom guestbook, one of the questions asked, “What do you hope we remember most about today?”

I said, “The promise. When hard times come your way, always remember the promise you made to each other before the Lord today.”

Seeing Travis and Vanessa exchange their vows under the trees with the sun peaking through to bring us warmth, all I could think about was the promise of salvation that was made to me and the vow I made to follow my Lord and Savior 14 years ago.

The words I had written to the newlyweds just moments before rang loud in my soul. Why do I so often lose sight of the promises that Jesus made?

When trials come, I must remember the promise that He made, and the promise I made to Him.

The Lord makes several promises to His children in Scripture:
He promises that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no one can come to the Father except through Him.
He promises that He will throw out our transgressions as far as the east is from the west.
He promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
He promises that all things work together for the good of those who love Him.
He promises that each day He carries us through.
He promises that His Word is truth.
He promises that when we call out to Him, He will answer.
He promises that surely, He is with us always, even to the end of the age.
He promises that in Him we may have life and have it to the full.
He promises that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
He promises that we will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon us.

The Lord’s promises are endless. Just as His love makes me incapable of finishing this sentence because it is so far deeper than my mind can reach.

With all the promises that God makes to us, there is only one we can make to Him: “I promise to love, honor and cherish You for all of the days.”

Friends, I ask that you remember the promise of our Redeemer. And I challenge you to share that promise with just one person this week.

Friday I had the chance to take my friend, Yu Ting from China, to the mall to get her very first suit for the Baylor business school. On our way I was able to talk to her about my leaving to serve on mission in South Africa for six months this spring.

Throughout our time together, the Lord continued to provide opportunities to share the Gospel with my friend who is so blind beneath the veil – but I didn’t. I didn’t tell her about the only promise that can never be broken.

I know that she appreciated my kindness and hospitality, but when this dark world turns to grey, my kindness and hospitality will get her nowhere.

I was so adamant that she find a great deal on a suit she loved, yet I found myself behaving as though I was completely unconcerned that she find the promise of everlasting life from the One who is Love.

I believe so many of us get lost in the fog of good deeds that we forget about the Good News.

Pray with me as the Lord uses me to reach out to Yu Ting this week and the rest of the semester. I am praying for you as you think about who you need to talk to for the sake of the Holy Name of Jesus.

Remember the promise.

As I watched Travis and Vanessa journey forth in love as they were joined together in holy matrimony, all I could think of was the love that their marriage represented that morning – Christ’s love for the church.

It’s the greatest love story ever told… So let’s get out there and truly love one another by sharing it!

“Father, may I not retreat in fear when You open the door for me to share Your story with those who are desperate to call You Abba. Help me to remember the promise, and grant me a heart that is ready and willing to surrender in obedience to Your leading. Thank You for not only listening to my prayers, but answering them. I love You Father, thank You for loving me.”

 

-Meghan

Student Publications take home awards, knowledge from conference

Caty, Meghan, Nick B., Lincoln and I just got back from the National College Media Convention in Louisville, Ky., and it was incredible. We went to so many different sessions and learned useful information to take back to the newsroom.

A few bits of information from sessions:

  • Don’t go to graduate school right after undergraduate school. Various recruiters and speakers said that unless you know exactly what you want to do with your master’s, don’t rush into it. They also advised against doing a master’s degree in the same major as your bachelor’s degree (for example, a master’s in journalism when you majored in journalism as an undergraduate.) Instead, they said one should get a master’s degree that is more specialized, such as investigative reporting or foreign correspondence.
  • Recruiters from Associated Press and other news agencies said five to seven clips of your work is enough to apply for an internship.
  • Lynn Hoppes of ESPN.com said in order to be a successful blogger, one should find a niche that one is good at, that no one else blogs about. He said a blog should be specific, like covering the building of new stadiums and arenas.

College Media Advisers/Associated Collegiate Press awards:

The Baylor Lariat

First Place | Special Section |Four year college

The Lariat’s special section about Generation Y won FIRST PLACE at the ACP awards on Sunday at last week’s College Media Advisers/Associated Collegiate Press convention in Louisville, Ky.

CMA’s Best of Collegiate Design winners:

The Baylor Lariat

Fifth Place | Photo Page/Spread  | Nick Dean, “Baylor Nation”

Round Up yearbook

Third Place, Sports Spread — Rachel Moorman, “Strength in 3’s”

Fifth Place, Yearbook Cover — Ryan Brinson, “It Began Here”

Sixth Place (Honorable Mention), Student Life Spread — Ryan Brinson, “End of a Decade”

Sixth Place (Honorable Mention), Individuals Spread — Ryan Brinson, “Larger than Life”

Way to go Baylor student publications!

To see all of the Best of Collegiate Design awards for 2010 visit the CMA website.

We also got to explore Louisville a bit. We went to the Louisville Slugger Museum, walked around Fourth Street Live and took a walk near the Ohio River. Louisville is such a beautiful city.

– Olga Ball

After 20 years, Edwards loses seat to Flores

Photo By Daniel Cernero | Photo Editor

 

Chet Edwards conceded his seat to Republican Bill Flores, one of the numerous party flips that have occurred across the nation tonight.

Some interesting facts concerning the type of voting that McLennan County used:

• More than 55,000 votes were cast in McLennan County with 29,706 early votes or nearly 54 percent of the votes. Election day votes accounted for 25,886 votes.

• In 2006, early votes compromised only 39 percent of the votes in McLennan County, meaning that the county has seen a nearly 15 percent increase in early voting.

Tomorrow’s issue of The Baylor Lariat will include the staff coverage of the U.S. Representative, State representative and district attorney races. Other coverage includes students learning from a class on election night and how the House power is likely changing party hands.

Thanks for following our blog, Twitter feed and website today and we hope you’ll continue to read and contribute to The Lariat.

– Nick

Associated Press claiming an Edwards defeat; 20 precent of precincts reporting

By Angela Brown
Associated Press

WACO, Texas (AP) — Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards was ousted Tuesday night after 20 years in Congress.
Republican Bill Flores, an oil and gas executive who had never run for public office, defeated the longtime congressman by capitalizing on anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation. Many voters had grown impatient with what they say is a slow-moving economic recovery.
But Edwards had distanced himself from President Barack Obama’s policies and said he had an independent voting record.
Edwards was no stranger to tough races, as the central Texas district was one of the most conservative in the nation represented by a Democrat.
His closest race was in 2004, when he was the only Texas Democrat in a competitive race to keep his seat after the GOP-led redrawing of the state’s congressional districts.