Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!—Romans 11:33
My memory is such—and I acknowledge it as a gift from God that I do not presume will be available to me tomorrow—that there are certain flashbulb moments in my reading and hearing that render me capable of knowing afterward just where I’ve read or heard something, down to the page number or date and hour.
So it is now as I recall an observation made by Pastor Sam Storms at the end of the 2015 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors + Church Leaders.
He and Pastor John Piper were discussing the language of “desiring God”: that is, the riches of language given us to express the depth and breadth of our emotional delight in our Creator. Pastor Storms cited one two-letter word that is all over the Bible: “Oh!”
If I had but one word to use in reporting to you the current degree of affection that generous contributors have toward Bethlehem College & Seminary, it would be “Oh!” At the end of a year of local riots, pandemic virus, economic dislocation, and contentiousness without and within, the work of “Education in Serious Joy” persevered and support for The Serious Joy Scholarship flowed in abundance. To God be the glory!
We will remind you that our financial model is to make higher education unusually affordable such that our students can launch immediately after graduation into life, adulthood, and Christian ministry—without a burden of student loan debt. To accomplish this end we keep our administrative overhead at a level of comparative “bare bones,” and we provide every full-time student with a scholarship of $10,000 per year, or roughly two-thirds of the total cost of tuition.
We began the 2020–2021 school year needing to provide scholarships to 197 undergraduate and seminary students. The school year runs July–June, but personal philanthropy tends to flow January–December, indeed most of that November–December. So we’re always in position at this time of year to wait and watch on what God may be pleased to do.
All we can say is, “Oh!”
Of the 197 scholarships needed, only 31 now remain to be funded by June 30, 2021. That still represents $310,000 yet to be “raised,” as they say. We prefer to think of it as a margin left to cause us to continue to trust God to supply our needs in full. We proclaim this faithfully, never presumptively, and always gratefully.
The vast majority of those who contribute to The Serious Joy Scholarship do so in small denominations of $50, $100, $250, or $500 per year. How blessed we are to be splashed by the overflow of joy in Christ emanating from so many. May we be so brash to appeal even now for help in funding the remaining scholarships:
- Consider becoming a monthly contributor of a small amount. The secure online facility for programming such a pattern of monthly giving may be found here.
- Pray whether you might be called increase your existing monthly gift, even minimally. To increase your monthly gifts, email [email protected], and our database administrator will gladly assist.
- Ask God whether he might have you make an extraordinary gift of any amount during the first six months of 2021.
Having the responsibility of encouraging the generosity of the earthly benefactors of Bethlehem College & Seminary is to have the privilege of standing at a small intersection where the glory of a big God pours down riches on a needful people, then to watch those same people start channeling riches toward our students and their professors so that the God whom they worship together may get his rightful glory.
Every year, it’s a jaw-dropper. “Oh,” [indeed]… the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable [emphasis added] are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
Rick Segal is Vice President of Advancement and the Distinguished Lecturer of Commerce and Vocation
- Please pray for our students, faculty, and staff as they enjoy the last week of their winter break.
- Please pray for the health of our students as they return from their break and begin in-person classes.
- Please continue to pray for our school during these extraordinary times. Pray for wisdom and strength as we continue to deal with the challenges brought about by the pandemic.
- Pray for the peaceful transfer of the United States Presidency on January 20, 2021, and for those who sit in civil authority under God’s sovereignty everywhere.