March 2, 2023
East Texas Baptist University held its annual Spiritual Renewal activities on campus with worship services, prayer, and reflection February 20-22, 2023. This year’s theme, “Stand,” was inspired by Ephesians 6:11-12, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."
“Paul reveals the true nature of the ongoing struggle for every Christ-follower in Ephesians 6:10-20,” explained Dr. Scott Stevens, ETBU Dean of Spiritual Life. “He plainly tells us that we are engaged in a spiritual war against a crafty enemy who seeks our harm. He also explains how we can stand against the continual onslaught of our enemy - by putting on the full armor of God. Doing so will require faith and action. These scriptures were the foundation of our Spiritual Renewal 2023 theme – STAND.”
The emphasis during Spiritual Renewal focused on encouraging and equipping the ETBU family to rely on the armor of God, reject spiritual apathy, and resist temptation.
“Our desire is to awaken ETBU students to the nature of this spiritual battle so they will not be lulled into a false sense of security, but recognize the deceptive strategies of evil and go to battle against them with the power God provides,” said Stevens.
The guest speaker was Chad Poe, Lead Teaching Pastor at Grace Bible Church in Lake Jackson, Texas. Poe challenged students to cling to Jesus in withstanding temptation.
“My heart and your heart, they want to run,” Poe said. “They want to find value in lesser things. They want to hallow our own name above His name. Your heart and my heart, we want our Kingdom to come. Your heart and my heart don't want to express appreciation for the ways that God provides for us. My heart and your heart, we want to be forgiven, but we don't want to forgive people who wrong us. So, we have to ask God to tether us to Him.”
Poe closed out the event with a final reminder to ETBU’s campus community.
“To a discouraged, downtrodden, overwhelmed church community, remember you are chosen by God,” Poe said. “For every soul in this room that thinks that no one cares about you, that no one loves you, that no one wants you: the Bible tells you that Jesus chose you.”
Jared Wood Band, led by Dallas, Texas songwriter and worship leader Jared Wood, led the Spiritual Renewal worship. Wood’s passion is that the worship of believers everywhere would be expressed not only by the songs they sing but also by how they live their lives.
“Our Spiritual Renewal team of Jared Wood and Chad Poe did a wonderful job of leading our students and campus community to the throne of grace through meaningful times of musical worship and effective communication of biblical truth. As God blows the fresh wind of revival across college campuses and churches in our nation, we continue to pray for an outpouring of His Spirit on ETBU and in our communities,” Stevens said.
Spiritual renewal week commenced with Chapel on Monday morning, and the campus community had several opportunities to worship, pray and reflect throughout the week.
“Seeing students attend three days of worship was an unexplainable feeling,” said ETBU junior Faith Kirk. “Hearing the messages that Chad spoke were words of encouragement that I truly needed, and I enjoyed the conversations I had with Jared and his band. They encouraged me when I felt unsure about the week ahead when preparing to lead worship for my college ministry. The event really sparked my walk with God.”