God is at work at Northeastern Baptist College! You read that often in my blogs, articles, and letters. It’s also a consistent theme of my preaching. I’ve been pondering the statement anew since early this morning. Allow me to share what I intend to communicate.
For me, “God is at work” is more than positive thinking. I never want it to become a pious cliché I use to fill space in sentences. “God is at work,” is a statement of truth, a confession of faith, a declaration of reality.
The statement isn’t original with me. Henry Blackaby popularized it among Southern Baptists, and other evangelical Christians. In Experiencing God, he states, “God is at work all around you. When you see Him at work, it is your invitation to join Him.”
Of course, Blackaby didn’t originate it either. Jesus did.
GOD WORKS … ON THE SABBATH
The Jewish leaders were enraged when Jesus healed a paraplegic man at the Bethesda Pool in Jerusalem—ON THE SABBATH.
For 38 years the man suffered.
For 38 years he endured indignity.
For 38 years he longed for healing. In an instant, Jesus set him free. Jesus said, “Rise, take up your bed and walk” (John 5:8).
And he did!
The Jewish leaders saw the healed man carrying his bedroll. I’m sure they noticed his beaming smile and the spring in his step. Maybe he was doing a little skipping as well. At any rate, they rushed in to break up the party.
Their condemnation was sharp. “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed” (v. 10). His defense: “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk’” (v. 11).
GOD THE SON WORKS
When they discovered Jesus was the culprit, they persecuted him and sought to kill him. “But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working’” (John 5:17). In response, their murderous rage intensified. According to their man-made interpretation, Jesus had added blasphemy to His Sabbath breaking. He claimed equality with God; if His Father was God, He was God (v. 18).
Understanding the context, think about Jesus’ first phrase, “My Father has been working until now.” God is always at work. He is working to fulfill His plan on earth, in His Church, and in your life.
God is at work. Always.
Two important truths stand out in my mind. I think they will clarify what I mean when I say, “God is at work in and through NEBC!”
First, God is at work in the lives of our students. I often pause to observe them. I see growth in their lives. I see God maturing them in their walk with Jesus. I see the Lord increasing their Bible knowledge. I see Jesus guiding their daily decisions. It’s wonderful to observe.
Second, God is at work through our students’ lives. It is a thrill to watch them minister to others. I get to see them share the Gospel with the lost, encourage believers, teach God’s Word, lead in Worship, and many other ministry activities. As our students submit to God, He touches lives through them. Others are testifying of their impact. Our students are truly making a difference in the Northeast. I’m privileged to have a front row seat.
GOD WORKS THROUGH STUDENTS
Today was a great day in Chapel. I wish you had been there. I was scheduled to preach, continuing a series from the life of Abraham. However, in my time with the Lord early this morning, He led me to lay it aside for a student testimony time. I explained John 5:17 in its context and invited them to share how God is working in and through their lives. After a student shared a song she had written, we opened the floor.
It was moving. One student shared how the Lord used his summer employer to re-ignite his passion to know and serve the Lord and grow in his faith. His transformation is evident this fall. (I reminded our business students that God can use them in the same way in the future. That’s one goal of our business department.) Another celebrated his recent missionary call.
A student told about sharing Jesus with a new fellow-employee. Another shared God’s healing work through her brokenness over infertility. Her struggle opened to door to share Jesus with a friend enduring the same heartbreak. At that moment, a text came from the friend. We stopped and prayed as she returned the text, informing the grieving friend that the college student body was praying for her at that moment. The new friend is not yet a believer, but now is being pointed to the Gospel.
GOD WORKS THROUGH YOU
This is just a small glimpse of how God is at work in and through NEBC! Will you join Him? You can join Him by praying for us. You can join Him in this work, by giving. You can join Him by coming to help us on a short-term mission trip. You can join Him by telling others what God is doing, inviting them to get involved.
God is at work! The best is yet to come! Join us, as we join Him today!
With Great Anticipation,
Mark H. Ballard