‘Revival Starts With Your Heart,’ Says Former LSU Prof Todd Shupe

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I once heard a pastor on the radio say that a great Christian revival will begin when everyone that attends church follows God’s word and tithes 10 percent to their church. I thought to myself, “Yes that would be a tremendous thing and the church universal could do great things with that money.” I imagined the missions to foreign countries, feeding the homeless, programs aimed at youth, men, women, young couples, and elderly.

But then I thought, ‘a tithe should only be given out of love not obligation,’” Todd Shupe said recently. The simple fact is that God does not need your money and His will shall be done regardless of your tithe. “Your tithe is symbolic of the spiritual condition of your heart, which concerns God much more than your tithe, bank account, and material possessions,” Todd Shupe, LSU‘s former wood sciences professor, added.

 

The Word of God in Malachi 3:10 reads, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough to store it.” So, by denying our tithe to God we are denying nothing to Him. However, we are denying ourselves a blessing. St. Paul sums this up beautifully in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” We are told in Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

I believe that revival starts when all people turn their focus on God rather than on themselves, according to Todd Shupe. Sin is the inevitable result of our natural tendency to focus on ourselves, our desires, our flesh and our will. True revival will come, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). According to former LSU professor Todd Shupe, a key component of revival is for each husband in each house to submit to God and lead the way for his family to a Christ-centered life. In summary, consider the Word of God in Joshua 24:15: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Serve the Lord by giving Him your heart your whole heart and then YOU will may be the spark that starts the fire of revival. “Revival won’t come due to giving back to God what already belongs to God (i.e., money), but it will come by giving him our heart – our whole heart,” says Todd Shupe.

Five Challenges Facing the Church Universal Explained by Todd Shupe

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todd shupe baton rougeEvery church is the Holy House of God. However, the real church is the people and not the building. Therefore, each church has challenges that it must overcome to be successful. The church universal is a blessing from God. The holy covenant of marriage is applied to Christ and the body of believers is known as the church. The church is comprised of those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have received eternal life. Christ, the Bridegroom, has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride (Ephesians 5:25–27).  This union is the same union as expressed in Mark 10:8: “… and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”

“Christ lives in all of us. This is what is mean by ‘living in The Sprit’ rather than ‘living in the flesh,’” said Todd Shupe, a dedicated Christian ministries volunteer. “Consequently, we approach church with a desire to give as a joyful response to all that we have received from His hand.”

Below are five challenges of each church. All can be summarized to one root cause: Failure to live in The Spirit.

  1. Discipleship: It is great to attend church on Sunday. We attend to worship, pray, sing, and fellowship. However, it is important that we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and savior and follow him, says Todd Shupe, a Baton Rouge resident. Romans 10:9 tells us, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” A disciple has the love of God in his heart and a desire to fish for men. He generously shares his prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to build up the church.
  2. Leadership: All leaders of all organizations, Christian or secular, need to develop plans to replace themselves, transfer knowledge to the new person and then support the new leader. Jesus modeled this by teaching His disciples and preparing them for leadership, recounts Todd Shupe. He supported their works though the Holy Spirit. Also, St. Paul took Timothy and Titus under his wing and prepared them for leadership.
  3. Gossip: We are called to build one another up and not tear each other down with gossip and slander. James 4:11 tells us, “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.” Ephesians 4:29 instructs us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
  4. Forgiveness: If we are going to work together for the glory of God, we must be able to forgive each other. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:15).
  5. Fear: A church must not be afraid of trying new ministries after prayerful consideration, says Baton Rouge resident Todd Shupe. Joshua 1 is a great chapter for those seeking courage. Multiple times, God instructs Joshua to be bold and courageous. In Joshua 1:9 we read, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Don’t be afraid of new things.  God instructs us in Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Discipleship is 24/7 and Hands-On, Christian Ministries Volunteer Todd Shupe Says

Dealing With Your Own Judas

by Todd Shupe

It’s no news flash that the number of people who identify as Christian is in decline and has been for some time now. Some would attribute this to selfish desires rather than a generous heart. Others might refer to the Bible and the number of times that God’s people turned their back on Him. “So, perhaps we are just in ‘another cycle,’” says Christian ministries volunteer Todd Shupe. “There may be some truth in both of these explanations, but I believe there is something much deeper and profound.”

The church universal has failed to create disciples. Many church-going Christians consider themselves to be disciples. “It is great to attend church on Sunday; we attend to worship, pray, sing, tithe, and fellowship,” says former LSU lab leader Todd Shupe. “However, a disciple is not a passive sport and it certainly is not contained to one hour a week on Sunday.” The natural question at this point is what is your definition of a disciple? Jesus answered this when he first encountered his disciples and said, “Follow me.” My definition of a disciple is one that follows Jesus. Colossians 2:6 reads, “Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.”

The heart of discipleship is The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” God is calling us to spread the Good News. We are called to be His witness and to “make disciples of all nations,” says Todd Shupe.  I think it is important here to recognize that a person cannot disciple another until he or she is a disciple. You simply cannot give to others what you do not have yourself. A disciple has the love of God in his heart and a desire to fish for men. He generously shares his prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness to build up the church. “I urge you to prayerfully assess your spiritual life. Talk to your pastor, spouse, and close friends,” says Todd Shupe, LSU wood sciences expert. “Continue to feed yourself with the Word. Discipleship is a life-long process.”

We should always be seeking to grow closer to Christ. Feed yourself with the body and blood of Christ. Drink the living water from Jacob’s well. Then, you can pass along what you have and can feed His sheep. Prayerfully consider how God is calling you to be His disciple and how you can help build His kingdom.

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.

‘Living Your Faith’ With These 5 Tips From Todd Shupe

todd shupe lsuI think I can speak for most of us when I say that we typically have an easy time “living our faith” on Sunday mornings. As the week goes on however, it’s clear that we tend to look less and less like Jesus. So, how can we live our faith? How can we seek His face and His will each day of the week? Todd Shupe, a former LSU wood sciences professor and lab director with untold man-hours of volunteer work with Christian ministries, is here to offer some suggestions for the faithful.
“Below are five tips that are useful in my life and I pray that you find them useful also,” says former LSU professor Todd Shupe.
1. Be Caring:
Caring is all about being physically present to a brother or sister in Christ who needs help. We acknowledge that we are not someone who takes the pain away, but rather someone who is willing to share it.

Matthew 11:29: “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

2. Be Confident:
Confidence is not arrogance, but rather it is a confidence that the best is yet to come. It is the realization that I am a child of God and I have a covenant relationship with Him. He will work good out of all situations

Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

 

3. Be Courageous:
Courage is the ability to fight giants with the knowledge that you are wearing the armor of God. “Your giant may be drugs or alcohol or depression. Regardless if God is with you, who can be against you?” asks Todd Shupe, who worked for LSU and volunteered with Christian ministries that boast national membership. “Read Joshua 1 for a good lesson on courage.”

Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

4. Be of Action:
There is an old song called “They Will Know We Are Christians By Our Love.” Your love for others will speak volumes. A natural manifestation of this love is to be of service to others. Jesus wants us to feed his sheep and this takes action.

James 2:17: In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

 

5. Be Blessed:
God loves to bless those who are obedient and faithful. We see a perfect example of this in Luke 8. Jesus is in a crowd that nearly crushed him. A woman who has been bleeding for 12 years touches his cloak and is immediately healed. The woman believed in Jesus Christ by faith, and He rewarded her for it. Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)

Todd Shupe’s Take On Race Relations And The Bible Interpretations

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We have had problems in this country with race relations for many years. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark civil rights and federal labor law in the United States, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. In recent years, untold news reports have documented the civil unrest in New York City, Los Angeles, Ferguson, Missouri; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia and numerous other cities across our country. This unrest is often associated with police brutality against young black men, explains Todd Shupe.

What’s more, such instances have occurred repeatedly with seemingly no plan to curb them. If we turn to the Bible, however, it’s clear that such divisions were never intended by our creator. In this article, Todd Shupe explains the way we should treat each other as evidenced by scripture.

“Any time one human dehumanizes another through racism, sexism, ageism, religion or more, it breaks my heart,” Christian organization volunteer Todd Shupe said recently. “There is truly one race of people — the human race. Throughout history, the enemy has used his weapons of fear, jealously and greed to develop hatred and mistrust of the races.”

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body.” Acts 17:26 tells us, “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth.” In other translations, the wording is “from one blood.”

We are all children of God and we all seek to enter His kingdom through the narrow gate, Todd Shupe says. We are all commanded to love and respect one another. A Christian seeks to be a disciple and a disciple is known by their actions.  “By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Be blessed!

Loneliness: Todd Shupe Says There’s A Time To Give And Time To Receive

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Loneliness can be a problem for nearly everyone at some point. It is particularly problematic with widows, orphans and incarcerated individuals. Citing a recent University of Chicago research study, Todd Shupe says that good friendships can reverse feelings of loneliness.

We all yearn for a “wind beneath our wings,” to quote from a Bette Midler song. We must realize that that wind already exists. Ezekiel 37:1-14 and “The Valley of Dry Bones” is a great story. Ezekiel was in a valley of dry bones and God commanded him to prophesy to the bones.

The bones eventually came together and skin formed, but they lacked life. “Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet — a vast army.”

You may also recall the story of Jesus and the disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee. Todd Shupe, a former LSU professor and long-time Christian ministry volunteer, says Jesus was asleep and the winds became severe and scared the disciples. They awoke Jesus and He rebuked the wind and calmed the sea. So, it is clear that God controls the wind.

The wind is already beneath our wings. We can find that wind by reading scripture, yoking up to fellow Christians in small groups, and hearing His word proclaimed at church. “I love the scripture recounting the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17),” says Todd Shupe. Following the baptism, God spoke down from heaven, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” You too are a child of God and He takes great delight in your well-being. He will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). Romans 8 tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Loneliness is a darkness and we cannot live in darkness. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5). God is shining His light on your darkness now. I encourage you to open your hearts and receive His light and love.

For those that are not lonely, I encourage you to pray and ask God to identify who can you help? We are in community with each other. Those that are not struggling should help those that are. In time, you will be in need and others will come to your aid. There is a season for all things (Ecclesiastes 3); a time to give and a time to receive. Please prayerfully consider your role at this time. Blessed be the giver and the receiver.

Opportunities Abound For Those Seeking Volunteer Roles With Christian Organizations

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Volunteer work should be seen as a hallmark of every good Christian’s character. Those who want to live a life in God’s good graces should feel compelled to help out their brothers and sisters around them. The next question then is how to get involved with a volunteer effort, as it’s often one of the only ways to accomplish the goodwill work that needs to be addressed in this world. Fortunately, there is no shortage of organizations with plenty of volunteers in their ranks. Todd Shupe, a former LSU professor who has spent many man-hours helping out the less fortunate, says it’s easy to find such groups if you know who to look for. That’s because Todd Shupe has worked with Grace Camp, Baton Rouge Christian Life Magazine, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and more. While with these groups, he helped teach the children of incarcerated parents how to swim, ministered to the homeless in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area and assisted with internal church functions. With such experience, Todd Shupe would like to offer advice for finding the group that’s the right fit for you.

 

The service: There’s no shortage of need in this country. From general social services roles where volunteers will make home or site visits to work with clients or more specialized tasks for those with a teaching background, there’s plenty of chances to get involved. Medical professionals can start their volunteer work by working events such as Adopt-a-Senior on holidays or the opportunity to help out in an orphanage, the highly-specialized skills here are always in demand.

 

The sector: From your local church group to international missions, the type and duration of your visit is up to you. When searching for volunteer opportunities, it’s important to state to the organization running the effort what you’re comfortable with and capable of. Some commitments will require no relocation and come in the form of a comforting phone call to those in distress while others are going to have you in for the long haul.
The state: No matter where you are located in the U.S., there’s an organization carrying out selfless volunteer work. By visiting www.christianvolunteering.org, Todd Shupe says you’ll be able to find the right fit for you. The search for a local Christian volunteer organization can be broken down by country, state, metro area denomination and more. For those in the Louisiana area like Todd Shupe, a number of hospice, youth care, and pregnancy resources are available to serve as a conduit between your volunteering and helping to make the word a better place.