February 5, 2024
East Texas Baptist University recently concluded its annual Spiritual Renewal 2024 event, held on campus from January 29 to January 31. The event featured guest speaker Lance Shumake, Teaching Pastor and Elder for Crosspoint Community Church in Rockwall, Texas, along with Music Minister David Berryhill (’94) from First Baptist Church of Kilgore, who led worship alongside ETBU’s student worship band. The event’s theme, "All Things New," drew inspiration from Isaiah 43:16-19.
“In Isaiah 43:16-19, the prophet is speaking to the Israelites about the trustworthiness of God to deliver them from exile,” ETBU’s Dean of Spiritual Life Dr. Scott Stevens said. “He speaks about God’s redemptive grace toward His people as he points to the mighty acts of God in the exodus from Egypt. Next, he proclaims that God is doing something new! Where God once led the Israelites through water (the Red Sea), He will now ‘make a way in the wilderness,’ providing streams for them in the desert.”
This year’s Spiritual Renewal emphasis focused on reminding the ETBU family of Jesus’ redemptive promises and plans found in Scripture to reconcile those who place their faith in Him.
“God is still doing new things and wants to do things in our lives,” Dr. Stevens continued. “For Him to accomplish this, we may also need to ‘forget the former things,’ both past successes and failures. At the beginning of a new year and a new semester, this event always serves as a refreshing opportunity to prompt our students to consider what new thing God wants to accomplish in and through them.”
Students, faculty, and staff were invited to participate in the annual three-day event, which featured added opportunities to gather in worship on Monday and Tuesday nights. ETBU students were able to lead worship alongside David Berryhill, who expressed his appreciation to be back on campus for the special occasion.
“This week on the Hill exceeded all my expectations,” Berryhill shared. “To lead alongside ETBU students as an alumnus was an incredible privilege for me. For three days I was back on the stage in Baker Chapel singing toward heaven with the best students to be found on any campus in the state. Their desire to grow deeper in Christ, coupled with their pursuit of excellence in all things, was an inspiration to me.”
The final worship service was held Wednesday morning in Baker Chapel. Guest speaker Lance Shumake left those in attendance with a final encouragement.
“In this world, you're going to have trouble,” Shumake said. “Jesus tells us, ‘They are going to persecute you because they persecuted me.’ There’s going to be challenges and obstacles. You’re going to be ostracized, marginalized, and dismissed because of your beliefs. But the good news of the Gospel is that there’s a day coming when He is going to make everything new—He’s going to fix it all. Everyone who has placed their faith in Him will have all of eternity to look forward to, knowing He is going to wipe away every tear and delete all mourning, sadness, and sickness.”