The Lord has done it again! We’ve just completed our first week of classes in the new school year, and the Lord has blessed us beyond expectations. All summer long, I’ve been reading about the concerns, the hopes, and the plans of many other institutions of higher learning. Nearly everyone was predicting a massive meltdown in enrollments and revenues and desiring to return to in-person instruction, but with the expectation that switching back to the online environment was a very real possibility.
That is, in fact, what has happened at many schools this fall. However, the Lord clearly has other plans for Bethlehem College & Seminary. We have been determined to conduct our education in person because of the vital importance of the discipleship aspect of our educational model. While discipleship can happen via technology, this method pales in comparison to what can be accomplished when we’re physically together in community. We’ve established safety protocols for dealing with the COVID-19 threat and are abiding by those protocols, but we’re all together for the sake of our students’ best educational experience and for the sake of advancing the Kingdom of our great God and Savior.
As further evidence of God’s grace being poured out on us, we’ve also experienced one of the largest incoming classes of students in our history. I am so grateful for all of the hard work and faith exercised by our admissions team, Daniel Kleven and Darcy Enthoven, and for the mercies of God in granting us this result. The Lord has brought them to us from all over the world—even from as far away as Singapore. Pray with us that we would serve these students well as we prepare them for ministry and life in an upside-down world.
Additionally, the Lord granted us, through the contributions of our faithful partners like you, a strong end to our fiscal year as more funds came in that we were anticipating as we exceeded our annual goals. By God’s mercy and grace, we are in a good position financially compared to many of our fellow, smaller Christian schools around the country. We don’t take that for granted and are humbled by such mercies of the Lord.
A final thought: it is so easy to become discouraged when we focus on all of the turmoil and unrest around our country and around the world. We wonder, “Where is it all heading?” Well, we who believe in and hope in the return of Jesus Christ know where it will all end up. Jesus wins! History is His, and He will bring it to its rightful close in the fullness of time.
In the meantime, take courage and comfort from the Scriptures. Many of us love Psalm 121 and are encouraged by its magnificent truths.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
Our help comes from the Lord. He never sleeps nor slumbers. He is our keeper, and He will keep us from evil. He will keep our comings and goings from now and forevermore. If you and I truly believe that, we will never be shaken!
Be strong and courageous, my friends. God is ever with us.
- Please continue to pray for peace in the city of Minneapolis and all the cities around the country that have experienced violence and unrest. Pray that there would be a revival of faith in Jesus as people see the hopelessness of anger, outrage, and violence. The only answer to all of the hopelessness and anger people are experiencing is for them to trust in Jesus for their salvation and to gain the hope of eternal life.
- Please continue to pray for Bethlehem College & Seminary during these extraordinary times. Pray especially as we seek to create an environment that fosters community and discipleship and deep, rigorous learning which leads to wisdom. And pray that we can do that while taking all the appropriate safety measures in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Please pray for the Board of Trustees meeting coming up in a couple of weeks. We have many significant issues before us. We need wisdom and blessing as we seek to lead the school according to the Lord’s will.
- And, as always, please keep praying for our school’s finances. Join us in thanking the Lord for His magnificent provision at the end of June to close out our fiscal year well. Pray that He would continue to be gracious and merciful to us so we can have an ever greater, far-reaching impact on the world for the sake of the gospel.