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Dr. Herb Grover Devotional 1

November 11, 2013

Good Morning!

Welcome to Creation Care Week – 2013!

Just in case anyone remembers, last year’s Creation Care Week theme was “All God’s Critters Got A Place in the Choir.”  I borrowed that from one of my favorite upbeat tunes that is a favorite with children of all ages.  I picked that theme because our speaker last year, Dr. Fred Van Dyke, is a conservation biologist with a deep appreciation for biodiversity – “All God’s Critters.”

I’m sure you recognize this year’s theme – “I’m gonna let it shine” - as coming from another upbeat song used in vacation Bible and Sunday schools, and around campfires all over the world – “This Little Light of Mine.”  That makes two connections between last year’s Creation Care emphasis and this year’s – First, a song provides a message linking Creation Care to scripture, and the second is that Ben Lowe, our chapel speaker and special guest this week, was a student of Dr. Van Dyke’s.  (If you’d like to be inspired by Odetta’s performance of this song goto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2kDsqGeoLU )

I was drawn to this theme by reading Ben’s book – Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation.  If you haven’t seen Ben’s book on campus yet, let Michael Summers or me know and we’ll try to get a copy your way.  A 2007 graduate of Wheaton College, Ben quickly demonstrated his passion for creation care by writing his book, serving as the Director of Young Adult Ministries with the Evangelical Environmental Network, and traveling extensively across North America and around the world to educate decision makers and others about the linkage between creation care and caring for “the least of these.”  I was struck by the passion he exhibits for his work – by letting his “light shine” he brightens the path so that we can all step forward with each of our “little lights!”

For me, the connection between this year’s theme and scripture can be found in the Parable of the Talents (Mat 25:14-30).  If you recall, Jesus tells us about three servants who were entrusted with measures of wealth presumably reflecting their stewardship abilities – one receives 5 talents; the second 2; and the third 1 talent.  The first and second servants invested the resources they were charged to care for wisely and, by the time the master returned, had doubled the master’s wealth.  They were praised by their master!  The third servant, however, feared the master so much that he hid the single talent he had been entrusted with and could return to the master only what he had been given, resulting in a strong rebuke from the master.  And so, do you remember the verse in This Little Light of Mine – “Hide it under a bushel no! – I’m gonna let it shine…….” 

I was blessed this past weekend by participating in a workday with members of our campus family who are models of multiplying the “talents” they are entrusted with – the Wayland Community Garden project.  You might not have noticed, but under the dedicated leadership of Mark Hilliard, Dr. Peter Bowen and his wife Lynette, along with many other volunteers, the community garden project in three years has “grown” (get itJ) from a small patch of raw earth to a developing network of raised beds producing hundreds of pounds of fresh, tasty, and healthful produce that has been donated to local food banks and social service agencies.  Their efforts have this year been recognized with community development grant money that is being used to build the raised beds, improve the fertility of the soils in the garden, provide a drip irrigation system, and build ample storage for tools, etc.  Soon there will be a professionally produced sign (care of the community development granting agency) to identify the garden, but still, take note of the site just north of the Laney center along 8th street – and volunteer to help!  The Community Garden team is always looking for good ideas and willing hands!

Ah, and there’s another Wayland connection we can make to this year’s theme.  The sign at our entrance boldly declares that we are to be a “Light to the World.”  In simple terms, I see as our mission helping those we serve discover their passion; to develop their skills and aptitudes so that God’s purpose in their lives is revealed to them and realized through them; and to help our students, coworkers, colleagues and friends understand how each and every one of us has a “light” to shine and a role to serve in caring for God’s creation.  In other words, sometimes lights need brightening, or perhaps help in focusing their energy, and that’s at least part of what we are about.

In closing, as you begin your workday and workweek, please pray that Ben enjoys safe travel to our campus and that his time with us is rewarding for everyone he encounters.  Pray that the energy he brings to his ministry is infective; that students and faculty alike (re)discover their passion for creation care through Ben’s words and the model of faithful service he provides.

Have a blessed week and please watch for more devotionals, news items, and announcements as Creation Care Week 2013 progresses.

If you have any ideas or questions, feel free to let me know.

Dr. Herb Grover

Dean, School of Mathematics and Sciences

Wayland Baptist University

Hide it Under a Bushel – NO!

Creation Care Week 2013 – Day 2

 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  (Mat 5:16)

 

No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come along in may see the light.  (Luke 11:33)

 

Good Morning!

Thank you for your kind remarks regarding yesterday’s kick-off devotional.  Odetta’s heartfelt performance of “This Little Light of Mine” certainly won the day!

Ben Lowe arrived safely and is acclimating to the Southern High Plains – but coming from Chicago pre-adapted him to our cold snap.

Ben will be participating in a couple of classes today (Tuesday, Nov 12th) and this evening we will be hosting an ICE CREAM SOCIAL in Moody Room 106 from 7:00 pm until about 9:00 pm or so.  If you or your students would like to come – PLEASE DO SO!!!  If you can, please let us know how many might show up so we can be prepared.  Potential headcounts can be sent to me by about 2:00 pm.

At the social Ben will be sharing “bushel removal” opportunities with us by talking about Young Evangelicals for Climate Action (the organization he directs); Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies (he is board chairman – see www.ausable.org ); and perhaps he will give us an overview of A Rocha, another faith-based environmental organization he is involved with (see http://arocha-usa.org/ ).  I have been affiliated with Au Sable for more than 15 years and served on their academic advisory board - it is one of my favorite organizations.  As I said, they are in the business of removing “bushels” and enabling students to let their light shine on the glory of our Creator.  – Let me explain…….. 

Through Au Sable, students from Christian colleges and universities across North America are able to take field-oriented science courses at their campus in Michigan (picture to right and below), or at an affiliate campus on Puget Sound in Washington State.  Au Sable courses are taught by some of the finest faculty anywhere in the world and the course credits transfer back to the student’s home institution as part of their respective degree plans. 

 

DSCN1849The courses are Christ-centered and the program schedule is purposefully designed to instill in students a sense of awe for our Creator.  I had several students attend Au Sable when I was at Hardin-Simmons – they all considered it to be a life-changing experience, and this was evident in the career choices several of them made after attending Au Sable.  Dr. Kasner and I are eager to send Wayland students there as well. (Dr. Kasner now serves on their academic advisory board.)  Come and find out more this evening and enjoy socializing with Ben.

So please come visit with Ben, lift your bushel, and let some ice cream fuel your light for a while!

Dr. Herb Grover

Jesus Gave Me the Light, I’m gonna let it shine…….

Creation Care Week 2013 – Day 3

 

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”  ROM 12:6-8

Good Moring!  Prepare to be Blessed!

Ben Lowe hit the deck a runnin’ yesterday, speaking in two classes and to over 40 students who attended our ice cream social in the evening.  At the end of the day, he was both exhausted and invigorated.  Ben’s message of caring for creation is compelling – as is the scriptural mandate to care for that which God has made and has declared to be good!  He brought our attention to many passages, with one connection in particular that I found especially telling.  We are all familiar with Genesis 1:26-28 in which God creates man in his own image, and said to them “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.  Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  But I had overlooked a connection to Genesis 1:20-22 in which God created the “great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing….”  In verse 22 “God blessed them and said, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas and let the birds increase on the earth.”  Through this account, God commands his creation – ALL of his creation – to flourish.  Mankind does indeed stand out for we are instructed to “rule” over that creation and we should be attentive to our actions that interfere with God’s intention for all of His creation to glorify Him.  Ben makes a very clear point that creation care is not about “us” – it is about God and His creation.

You all know I am not a Hebrew scholar, but I understand that the verb used in Genesis 1:28 “to rule” means to rule as a good and Godly king would rule over those under his care.  Ben makes this connection elsewhere in scripture by drawing our attention to Colossians 1:15-17, which reads – “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”  And so, as Christians, we are to love our God above all else, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  Can we say we love God and then by our actions destroy the creation that He clearly loves, and in doing so destroy that which our neighbors depend upon for sustenance?  And remember, “neighbors” in this sense is all inclusive – especially referring to the “least of these.”

Well, you see where this is going, so let me get to my next point.  The verses quoted above from Romans 12 refer to the gifts we each receive from God – the lights that we possess.  Ben’s passion for serving through teaching through his writings and talks; encouraging words and actions; contributions to his communities; and leadership through the Evangelical Environmental Network is inspiring.  As you listen to Ben today – through his Chapel talk at 11; his Q&A from 12:15 to 1:00 in UC 211; or his talk on Creation Care and Christian Ministries at 3:30 in Nunn Auditorium – you will be blessed!  He truly lets his light shine!!

Dr. Herb Grover

This Little Light of Mine…

Creation Care Week 2013 – Day 4

Our theme for the week has been “This Little Light of Mine.”  Today, let’s like to look at the “Little” part, little things that can be really important.  Most of us are fond of little things… got any of these gadgets?  Amazing inventions – and many of them put out some pretty cool light!  What happens, though, when the light goes out and you get a new one?  Where does the old gadget go?

http://filearchive.cnews.ru/img/zoom/2012/09/13/apple_iphone5.jpg                                      http://us.123rf.com/400wm/400/400/ilposeidone/ilposeidone1110/ilposeidone111000050/10977665-man-hand-holds-six-remote-control-isolated-on-white-background.jpg                         http://www.howardcountymd.gov/uploadedImages/Home/Environment/Environmental_Services/CFL%20bulb.jpg

 

All too often, these little things end up in these little hands

 

http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u112496/e-waste_child.jpg                                 http://asset3.cbsistatic.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20080415/monitorframe_380x253.jpg

Which is a problem, because these little gadgets have little bits of very toxic substances such as these…

Lead
Found as solder on printed circuit boards and in television and computer monitor glass

Lead can cause damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, blood systems, and kidneys in humans. Lead has also been shown to have severely negative effects on fetal development and on nursing infants.

Mercury
Found in all fluorescent lamps, printed circuit boards, laptops and LCD screen backlights

Mercury in lakes and rivers converts to methylated mercury in sediments. The toxin can then accumulate in living organisms and travel up the food chain. Mercury can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system. Adults can suffer organ damage, mental impairment, and a variety of other symptoms.

Cadmium
Found in chip resistors and semiconductors

Cadmium and several cadmium-containing compounds are carcinogens that can induce various types of cancer. Cadmium can also accumulate in, and harm, the kidneys.

Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs)
Found in printed circuit boards and some plastics

Less is known about BFRs than some other contaminants, but research has shown that these toxins may increase the risk of cancer (digestive and lymph systems) or cause endocrine disruption.

Source of table: http://www.totalreclaim.com/e-waste_problem.html

These little things actually add up to a not-so-little problem.  According to a report by the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University, “In the United States, 3 million tons of e-waste (computers, printers, phones, cameras, televisions, refrigerators, etc.) is produced every year.  Globally, e-waste generation is growing by 40 million tons per year.  This is equivalent to filling around 15,000 football fields six feet deep with waste!”   Much of this waste is dumped in landfills that are not designed to contain the toxins, allowing our land and water to be contaminated.   Other pieces are shipped overseas, illegally, to countries with lax safety regulations.  “Workers at e-waste sites are usually migrants from extremely poor areas and are often children.  They have little to no access to gloves or face masks and are often too desperate for work or uniformed to care about the health risks.  Workers at e-waste sites are prone to skin rashes, cancer, weakening of the immune system, and respiratory, nerve, kidney, and brain damage.  In China’s Guiyu region, workers have extremely high levels of toxic fire retardants in their bodies and over 80% of the children already have lead poisoning.” http://sites.nicholas.duke.edu/loribennear/2012/11/15/electronic-waste-disposal/

The biggest impact falls on the ‘least of these’

Matthew 25 37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (NIV)

Don’t despair, though!    A little action can make a big difference.    Make an easy commitment to collect your electronics and find a reputable recycling program.    Let’s make it really easy – Wayland’s ENACTUS student group is sponsoring an electronics recycling day – this Saturday morning from 9 - 12!   

- Peter Bowen

Creation Care Week 2013 – Day 5

For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies,

For the love which from our birth over and around us lies;

Christ our God, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

For the wonder of each hour of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon and stars of light;

Christ our God, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

 

These are the first two stanzas from the Pierpont hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” based on the chorale by Kocher.

 

As Wayland focuses on Creation Care and environmental stewardship it is appropriate to remember the beauty of creation. The works of creation declare God’s authority and presence. We have been given an incredible trust as stewards of this world. Our care of creation reflects our relationship to God as this was one of mankind’s first responsibilities (Genesis 1-2) Creation Care can become a vibrant part of our declaration of the good news of Christ.

 

Paul writes in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” The Psalmist pens in Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Job states, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know,” in response to the wonders of God’s creative acts. (Job 42:3)

 

Take time as we enter the holiday season to consider the wonders of creation. If possible, be alone with God in the midst of nature and reflects on His care and provision. Give thanks and live thankfully as we care for creation together.

 

Blessings,

 

Micheal Summers