Hope in Easter | A devotion series
Join us this Holy Week as daily MBU faculty and staff reflect and rejoice in the hope of Jesus Christ.
There’s something special about an Easter sunrise service. Perhaps it’s the newness of the morning, the hope of a new day and the promise of what’s to come that exemplifies the nature of Easter’s deep and powerful meaning for Christians around the world. Over the years, I’ve attended several Easter sunrise services, one of the most memorable was not long ago when my family and I had the opportunity to attend Easter service at Romar Baptist Church in Orange Beach, Alabama. It was a truly beautiful morning on the beach- white sand, emerald water, the sun rising above the horizon and a gathering of Christians celebrating Christ’s resurrection together on the most hopeful occasion of Easter Sunday.
As I reflect on that special time, I am reminded that no matter what challenges we face this year or where we find ourselves this Easter Sunday, our hope remains steadfast in our Risen Savior. It’s a joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation, such hope never disappoints for His love has been poured out through the Holy Spirit who has been sent to us. I Peter 1:3 reminds His followers that He has given us new birth through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Although we find ourselves worshipping and celebrating in a different way this Sunday, nevertheless, our Lord and His Word remain the same forevermore.
Easter’s great hope and promise is found in Matthew 28:6 “He is not here, for He has risen.” We know death could not hold Him. Let us rejoice in the confidence that the tomb is empty and the throne is occupied! Wishing you a blessed, happy and healthy Easter.
Dr. Keith Ross
Missouri Baptist University President
Dr. Keith Ross assumed the presidency of Missouri Baptist University in January 2018 and began his tenure at MBU in 1992.
In 1987, Dr. Ross earned a bachelor of arts in religion from MBU. He earned a master of arts in organizational leadership in 2008 from Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 2014, he earned his doctorate of education in higher education leadership from Maryville University in St. Louis. In addition, Ross has completed postgraduate work at Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management.
This past Saturday, my wife’s 93-year-old grandfather took his final breath from inside an assisted living facility in southeastern Indiana.
In the days leading up to his passing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility where “Grandad” lived had taken the necessary measure of prohibiting outside visitors. Loved ones resorted to checking in on the family patriarch in his final days by peeking through a window from outside of the complex. There were no formal goodbyes. Or final touches. A man who devoted his life to his family, church and community died alone — save for some brave and compassionate nurses and doctors.
It didn’t seem fair.
If you’re like me, not a lot seems fair these days — a season marked with darkness and suffering for so many. And while God certainly does not guarantee his children a life without suffering — actually Scriptures point to the contrary — he does, in fact, promise us great hope during our trials.
In 2 Corinthians Chapter 12, Paul pleads with the Lord “…I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me ‘My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
For many of us, we cannot fully experience the hope of our Savior until we endure pain and suffering — times of depression and anxiety and grief and unknown. Why? It’s during those times that we have nowhere else to turn but to our Father. At our lowest, we finally revel in the one thing that can never be taken from us: the gift of eternal life from a God that loves us personally and lavishly.
During this season, don’t run from God. Instead, cling to him. As we prepare our hearts for Easter this weekend, focus on the hope that resulted from Christ suffering on a cross for you and me. His sacrifice changed everything.
Carrie’s grandad was one of the finest and Godliest men I have ever known — so much so that we named our only son after him. A World War II veteran, he had devoted his life to Christ, his family and his country (in that order). He was kind, loving, patient and, most of all, content. Despite all of those attributes, he endured much suffering during his time on this Earth — surviving two sons and his sweet wife. Despite such trials, Maurice Bostic Wolford lived a life of hope and optimism that was rooted in Christ.
And while it is true that his family who he loved so much was unable to surround him as he passed, I am confident Grandad was far from alone during his final moments on Earth. Instead, as always, he clung to the hope of Christ during his suffering — until he came face to face with his Savior, who I am confident welcomed him home saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing and University Communications
Chapman leads the initiative to fully align enrollment, marketing and communication efforts, creating a cohesive and compelling brand experience for prospective students. In addition to marketing and University communications, Chapman now oversees undergraduate main campus, graduate and online enrollment.
Bryce holds an MA in Media Communication from Webster University and a BA in Technical Journalism from Colorado State University.
Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. Hoped for? Meditate on that for a moment. My hoped for things have changed dramatically as my relationship with Jesus has grown. Hope is the confident expectation of God’s goodness in every situation, and especially when we face trials seemingly too grand to manage. As we prepare for Easter during a global health crisis our hope may be wavering, but remember the cross and the eternal hope it brings. Specifically, remember the thief on the cross next to Jesus. As he was dying for crimes he knowingly committed, he looked over to the King of Kings I imagined he choked and gasped as he asked Jesus to remember him when he went into his Kingdom. Jesus uttered the most beautiful words that thief would ever hear, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Hope came alive in the convicted man because of Jesus. Jesus’ sacrifice demonstrated the greatest love known to man. We have hope in an eternal life with our creator because of the cross. Jesus calls us to carry our cross in faith and to carry his hope to the world. Are you sharing this hope with someone today? If not, pray and ask God who needs to be reminded that our hope comes from the Lord. Remember, no matter what challenges come, he is our hope!
Director of Student Success
Goodberlet has been a part of MBU’s success center for nine years, serving as director for the last six years. She has a Masters in Education from Fontbonne University and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri-Saint Louis, in Communication Theory and Rhetoric.
Hope in Forgiveness
While “I forgive you,” are three little words, they can have an enormous impact. That phrase was uttered by Brandt Jean in October 2019 to Amber Guyger in a Dallas courtroom. Brandt’s brother, Botham Jean was mistakenly killed in his own apartment by an off-duty Dallas police officer — Amber Guyger. Guyger was convicted of Botham Jean’s murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison. But it was in the courtroom of this very polarizing case where the unexpected happened, Brandt Jean (Botham’s younger brother) forgave his brother’s killer. Not only did he forgive her, he hugged her and openly embraced her in the courtroom. I must admit, I did not see that coming. Brandt’s response was driven by his faith in Christ. He later expressed that Guyger should give her life to Christ.
When I look at that expression of forgiveness, I see the power of the gospel. The good news of Jesus- the gospel — tells us that God will forgive us of our wrong doing because what Christ has done for us. Through faith, we are forgiven and fully embraced into the family of God. The true hope of forgiveness is found in Jesus, Lord of all and Savior of all who believe. His death has paid our debt, and his resurrection ensures the promise of new life. “In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (Eph. 1:7). Brandt experienced the forgiveness of Christ, and he extended forgiveness to another. Have you tasted this forgiveness? Have you extended forgiveness to another? Remember the power of the words, “I forgive you.”
Instructor of Multimedia Production and Communication & Director of the Broadcast Media Program
Medcalf’s area of expertise is in video production with ten years of comprehensive knowledge of television news.
Working for 3 local news stations in the Midwest (KSN, WHAS, KMOV), he has experience with electronic news gathering, video field production as well as linear and non-linear editing. He won a regional Emmy in 2018 and was also nominated in 2015 and 2016 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (Mid-America chapter).
Hope in His Promises
My kids love Legos. Let’s be honest — I love Legos. I can remember as a kid going to visit my grandparents. They didn’t have toys for kids at their house, so Mom and Dad would stop at Walmart to pick up some Legos. I remember the excitement as a kid hearing the Legos move around in the box and opening the box to examine the instructions.
When you build Legos, like with any other type of construction, you must follow the instructions. Starting with the correct block and building upon it determines the outcome of the project. Our lives are like this in many ways. We build our hope on things like success, athleticism, relationship status, intellect, and more. But ultimately, these things change and fade away. We need to build our hope on something, rather someone, who is unchanging.
The Scriptures tell us that Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Our faith begins and matures with him. Further, the Bible tells us Jesus is the chief cornerstone. The cornerstone was the first stone laid in a building project in ancient times. Everything was built around the cornerstone. Jesus is meant to the cornerstone of our lives. Who he is and what he has done is meant to shape every aspect of our lives. When we give up sin and follow him, we become part of the family of God through faith. Here’s our new reality:
For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. (Ephesians 2:18–21)
Apart from Christ, we have no access to God nor can we enter the kingdom of God. With Jesus Christ, we have a new identity, a new family, and a new purpose. We are forgiven; we are loved; we are sent. True hope is found in one person, and his name is Jesus. Jesus is ready to build your life. Are you ready?
Campus Minister & Director of Faith and Service
Lumpkin graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with his B.A. in Pastoral Leadership and Biblical Exposition. He attained his Master of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.