Todd Shupe Reflects On Dream That Carried A Message From God

todd shupeI have lived 47 years and never felt that I had received a message from God.  I envied the people in the Bible that spoke to God either in person, through dreams or angels. I had decided that I was only going to hear God’s word through Godly friends, church, small groups and reading the Bible.

“I longed to hear God talk directly to me.  Several friends would tell me of dreams or hearing direction from God — but not me,” said Todd Shupe. “Two nights ago I heard from God for the first time.  He sent me a dream with people and symbolism that He knew I would understand and would alleviate any anxiety.”

In the dream, I was on a bus sitting next to the late Dr. Elvin Choong, who has been deceased for over 10 years.  Elvin was my PhD adviser at Louisiana State University (LSU) and a dear friend and research collaborator for many years.  He was my father figure for many years.  There were many people on the bus, but I did not recognize them and the only person who spoke was me.  As we traveled down the road, we would periodically encounter some sort of road block (fallen trees or a car wreck) and the road would seem to be impassable.

“The first time this happened, I told Elvin to stop and that there is no way to get through,” said Todd Shupe. “He continued at the same speed and we made it through fine. I have no idea how he did it — but he did.”

We kept encountering roadblocks and he kept driving through.  The only thing that changed was my fear was lessened each time until finally I anticipated the road blocks with excitement – I wonder how we are going to get through this road block this time!

Now for my amateur dream interpretation: Elvin was my father figure for many years and he symbolized my heavenly Father.  He was in control; I wanted to do things my way at first but gradually came to trust in Him. I was sitting in the front in a leadership position, but I yielded all authority and leadership to Him. The people in the back represented people that count on me — not necessarily financially or emotionally, but in some aspect of life they count on me to smile when we meet, to be available when they need home repairs, to cut their grass when they go on vacation and to serve the church universal.

“I am a leader of many but a follower of Jesus.  This dream gave me peace.  It showed me that God is in control,” said Todd Shupe. “Life will always bring adversity but with God by your side, you can do all things.  I pray if you are struggling with fear, doubt, worry you will realize that God is with you and will never leave you or forsake you.”

These are tools of the enemy to rob you of the joy that God has promised for you. Rebuke them in the name of Jesus.  Be blessed, be happy, be the child of God that He has called you to be.

What Todd Shupe Means When He Says ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’

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I am a volunteer with a national men’s ministry known as “Iron Sharpens Iron.” The name of our group is based on Proverb 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  Iron Sharpens Iron is a Conference Network made up of individual ministries that are working interdependently to most effectively offer local church resources for men.

According to Todd Shupe, his group is accomplishing this by mobilizing ministries to resource local churches with a first-class one-day equipping conference that is designed for men age 13 and older.  These one-day conferences bring in world-class speakers to address critical topics that men of all ages deal with.

“I strongly believe in men’s ministry and the goal of Iron Sharpens Iron – to prepare the man to be a Christian leader in his home, church and community.  Gulf South Men is the host group for Iron Sharpens Iron in my area and I am proud to be a volunteer with these men,” Todd Shupe said recently.

We all need to be in community with each other.  Iron Sharpens Iron has equipped me to be the leader that I believe I am called to be, notes Todd Shupe, who volunteers with a number of other Christian ministries. I need the accountability and fellowship of fellow Christian men in my life. They breathe life into me and I pray that God uses me to have the same effect on them and all that I meet.

“There are numerous Christian-based retreats that are available. I encourage you to talk to your pastor and prayerfully consider what opportunity is best for you and/or your family. You will become a better Christian-based leader in your home, church, and community,” said Todd Shupe.

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.

Todd Shupe’s Take On Prayer: Approach With Confidence And Thanksgiving

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Prayer is an essential component to our relationship with God. We offer prayers for those who are sick or in need of help and prayers of thanksgiving for our blessings. Prayer is also a time for us to be quiet and listen for the gentle voice of God. The Psalmist tells us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” Todd Shupe has decided to focus on this scripture while waiting for God’s gentle whisper.

“Even if I don’t hear a response to my prayer, I still come away with peace and comfort knowing that God is God and He loves me more than I can begin to understand,” says former LSU professor and faith-based volunteer Todd Shupe. “This gives me a peace that transcends all understanding and prepares me to hopefully be a better witness and brother today than I was yesterday.”

According to Todd Shupe, it is important for us to approach prayer in the right manner.  The Bible tells us what to pray — “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) — and also how to pray: “In your room,” (Matthew 6:6).  However, it does not necessarily tell us how to prepare for prayer.

Todd Shupe, a former professor at LSU, feels that too many Christians approach prayer in one of two ways. First, many come to God in fear and doubt. We know that God can do what we are asking — but are fearful that He will not do it as we want or when we want.

“The second group of Christians I refer to as the ‘Santa Claus Christians.’ They think that if they are good all year then when they make a prayer request to God that He is “obligated” to do as asked. In both cases, resentment can develop if God does not provide what is asked and when it is asked,” says Todd Shupe, a former LSU professor.

According to Todd Shupe, it is important at this point to note that we follow God. God does not follow us and this fact provides the opportunity to tell the story of God leading His people in Exodus 13:21-22. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”

“I encourage you to approach prayer with confidence and thanksgiving that God already knows what you need and is already at work in delivering it to you,” says Todd Shupe. “Also, what He provides will likely not be what you requested. Instead, it will be better and it will be a holy blessing upon you. God loves you more than you can ever understand.”

He will most certainly listen and respond to your prayers. We must be open to His response and accept it with gladness and thanksgiving because any gift from God is precious and holy — as was His son.

Don The ‘Full Armor Of God’ To Maintain Hope, Todd Shupe Advises

According to Todd Shupe, we all experience times in our lives in which we feel hopeless. For some, these periods linger into years and years. Given these circumstances, Todd Shupe would like to equip readers with some thoughts on how to maintain hope when all hope appears to be gone. In this article, you’ll find some thoughts on the importance of hope in your life. For your consideration, Job was a strong disciple of God, but had all of his possessions taken. He expressed hopelessness in Job 17:15, saying “Where then is my hope — who can see any hope for me?”

“I have heard it said before that the most dangerous man is one without hope.  He feels he has nothing to lose and no future,” Todd Shupe, a former LSU professor, said. “I have seen the look in someone’s face when there is no hope. I have seen this in hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, hospice facilities and even in church.”

One of the greatest goals of the enemy is to convince you that you have no hope and that God has forgotten you and you have no future. Todd Shupe recently heard on a Christian radio station, “If you do not believe in the promises of God, then by default you are believing in the lies of the enemy.” Carefully read the following premise: You must know that you are a beloved child of God that is very precious in his sight. He desires you to seek Him and for you to be happy. He will walk with you always and never leave you. All of your sins have been paid by the blood of Jesus.

“The enemy will attack you every day of your life and try to rob you of hope,” says Todd Shupe.

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand,” Ephesians 6:11-13.

Ephesians 6 goes on to explain how to fight the enemy.

The Belt (of Truth): “Stand firm in the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” Ephesians 6:14. The belt of truth involves our hearts and our minds. Truth keeps us close to Christ and is essential in the Christian walk. The belt of truth holds our amour in place. Commit yourself daily to be in the Word. “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!” Psalm 86:11.

The Breastplate (of Righteousness): With the breastplate of righteousness in place,” Ephesians 6:14, a soldier with a breastplate goes into battle boldly with confidence. The enemy is constantly attacking with lies to steal our hope. Without the breastplate of righteousness, these will penetrate your heart. Become aware of who you are in Christ Jesus. Come boldly into His presence, (Hebrews 4:16).

The Shield (of Faith): “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one,” Ephesians 6:16. The shield not only defends our whole body, but also our armor. The shield of faith has a very specific function: To stop all the fiery darts of the wicked.

The Helmet (of Salvation): “Take the helmet of salvation,” Ephesians 6:17. Satan’s target: Your mind. Satan’s weapon: Lies. The enemy wants to make us doubt God and our salvation. The helmet protects our minds from doubting the truth of God’s saving work for us. Our mind is the battle ground. “Since we belong to the day, we must be serious and put the armor of faith and love on our chests, and put on a Helmet of the Hope of Salvation,” 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

The Sword (of The Spirit): Put on “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Ephesians 6:17. The sword of the Spirit is the only weapon of offense in the armor, but the Word is also a tool for defense. Lies and deception are all weapons the enemy uses against us. With the Sword of the Spirit, God’s word, the people are equipped to deal with them all. We need to trust in the truth of the Word.

According to Todd Shupe, formerly of LSU, it is so important that you begin each day with hope. Romans 5:3-4 tells us, “we know that suffering produces perseverance; and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” So if you feel that there is no hope in your situation, be patient and realize that you will develop perseverance, then character, and finally hope. It is a promise from God. Be blessed!

Todd Shupe Shares His Thoughts on Fear

Fear is a common emotion that we all periodically encounter. Todd Shupe believes that fear can be a good thing because it can keep us from participating in dangerous activities. However, fear can also become overwhelming and unhealthy to the point that some people are so consumed with fear that they cannot leave their house or struggle with simple tasks such as going to the grocery store.

When going through major life-changing events it is natural to experience fear and anxiety. We trust in God, yet we want to know exactly what is going to happen so we want to “peek behind the curtain.” The Bible uses various phrases on 365 occasions to tell us not to fear — one for every day of the year! According to Todd Shupe, Satan is using fear every day to attempt to rob you of a joyful life. A key component of being a follower of Christ is to leave your fear, burdens and anxiety at the foot of the cross and embrace the many blessings that God has promised you.  Todd Shupe, an LSU professor, has had to daily give his fears to God because his flesh wants to take them back.

Below are five of Todd Shupe’s favorite scriptures dealing with fear.

Isaiah 35:4 – “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’”

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.”

Matthew 6:34 – “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Psalm 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 27:1 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?”

So, go and live your life to the fullest! Go with the peace that surpasses all understanding with the knowledge that our God walks with you and will protect you. Strap on the armor of God and do not be fearful. Be bold and courageous. Be blessed!

Todd Shupe Shares His Thoughts on Evangelism

Evangelism is typically defined as the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or personal witness.  According to Todd Shupe, many Christians are uncomfortable with active engagement in evangelism because they do not consider themselves a preacher and are too timid to engage in personal witness. The gift of evangelism is directly from Christ:  “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.”  (Ephesians 4:11).

Todd Shupe thinks it is important to acknowledge that not all are called to evangelism.  According to Romans 12:6-8, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;  if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”

Below are five steps to help discern if evangelism is right for you. 

Start with prayer:

According to Todd Shupe, prayer is essential to discern God’s will for us.  It is essential that we follow His will and not try to have Him follow our will. God demonstrated in Exodus 13:21 that He wants us to follow him. “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.”

  1. Talk with your pastor and friends

In addition to prayer, God will speak to us through our friends and our pastor. Todd Shupe encourages you to talk and pray with them and ask for their assistance in determining what your spiritual gifts are.

  1. The best evangelism doesn’t involve words.

St. Francis of Assisi is known for this: “Speak the gospel wherever you go and use words when necessary.”  The best method to extend the reach of the church is by sharing Christ’s love through missions and Christian action; be the hands and feet of Christ to the unchurched.

  1. The Great Commission

One of the greatest blessings we have as Christians is The Great Commission. Todd Shupe believes that we have all been called to the priesthood of all believers and to make disciples of all nations.

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.   When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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.”  (Matthew 28:16-20).

  1. Be the light of Christ

There is plenty of darkness in the world.  According to Todd Shupe, as Christians we should all strive to be the light of Christ and bring His light into the darkness. John 1:5 tells us “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Be the light. Be blessed.

Todd Shupe Examines What is a “real” man?

Todd Shupe

I recently heard a term that caught my attention.  A friend commented on a movie actor that he liked because the actor is a “real man.” He plays tough-guy characters that don’t put up with any nonsense.    A segment of pop music encourages boys and men to be “real men” by selling drugs, killing rivals, and prostituting women.    Some TV sitcoms portray “real men” as clowns, grouchy, or unable to communicate with their family.   Todd Shupe rejects all of these notions of a man and submits to you five characteristics of a real man:

  1. A real man honors and respects his wife above all else. He affirms her with his actions and words and supports her at all times.   There is nothing or no one more important to him than his wife, including his own children according to Todd Shupe.
  2. A real man bows down before he ever attempts to stand up and lead his family. He recognizes that all authority on heaven and earth come from God.
  3. He knows that upon his death Christ will say to him “Well done my good and faith servant.” Matthew 25:21.  A real man straps on the armor of God and encourages his family and others in spiritual war fare.
  4. A real man accepts responsibility and is able to freely accept AND give grace and forgiveness. He does not carry grudges and realizes that before he throws any stones or criticizes his neighbor for the splinter in their eye, he must carefully examine himself and recognizes that he himself is not without fault.
  5. A real man is committed to The Great Commissioning and understands that before he can be the hands and feet of God he must first disciple himself and then his family.

In summary, a real man loves his wife as Christ loves the church.  He earnestly prays every day for her physical, mental, and spiritual well being.  He realizes that he and his spouse are one body and that anything that affects his wife also affects him.  A real man is not perfect nor without sin, but he is constantly striving to grow closer to Christ and bring His light into the world.