Baton Rouge’s Todd Shupe Asks The Great Question: Where Is God?

todd shupe baton rougeWe were created as curious creatures, designed to seek, learn and discover. As Christians, we have a desire to seek God’s face. We read in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk so that by it, you may grow up in your salvation.”
Craving spiritual milk is a holy desire to become more Christ-like, says Todd Shupe, LSU’s former wood science professor and lab director. “However, in your journey to understand God, we often ask ‘Where is God?’”

In the book “Economy” by Henry David Thoreau, he writes “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Todd Shupe, of Baton Rouge, thinks that all of us as curious creatures of God are seeking something. The “desperation” occurs when we don’t find what we are seeking. Matthew 6:33 tells us precisely what to seek: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

It is easy to become discouraged when we don’t have a “mountain top” experience with God as did Moses or if we don’t walk on the water as did St. Peter. We then “swim away” disappointed and search for answers in places that are unable to provide them – alcohol, gambling, pornography, etc. “We fail to realize that God is present now,” says former LSU professor Todd Shupe. “In the boring rainy days, stuck in traffic and the day-to-day work grind.”

You must have eyes to see the beauty of Christ that is present all around you. St. Thomas did not believe that Christ had risen even though he was told so by the other Disciples. Jesus appeared to him and said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed,” (John 20:29).

With human eyes we only see as humans; with God’s eyes, we can see His presence all around us. Imagine yourself this day walking on the road to Damascus with Saul. Scales cover your eyes and you are blinded but you follow God’s instructions and the scales are removed.

For the first time in your life, you can see. You are seeing the world through God’s eyes and you see His presence all around you. You are filled with the love of the Holy Spirit and a burning desire to fulfill the Great Commission. You are a child of God and He loves you more than you can ever imagine. He is always with you and will never leave you. “Go out into the world with the peace and knowledge that God leads you, just as he did Moses, by day and by night,” said Todd Shupe, of Baton Rouge. “Be blessed.”

Todd Shupe Encouraged By U.S. Numbers Of Faithful Compared To European Decline

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It doesn’t take a prolonged look around to realize that church attendance is down and pews are a bit barren from time to time. A quick canvass of friends and co-workers will similarly tell you that overall church attendance has reached discouraging numbers. According to an Oct. 17, 2017 article from National Review magazine, a new book and recently-released study explores this trend as it has been unfolding in Europe. According to Todd Shupe, who has worked tirelessly to further Christian organizations and outreach efforts, it would behoove us to recommitting ourselves to The Great Commission.

First, the study: The National Center for Social Research found that 62 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 24 in England identify as having no religion. In Scotland, the study found that church attendance has dropped by 50 percent in the past three years and just three percent of English people between the ages of 18 and 24 identify as Anglican. Moving on to the book, “The Strange Death of Europe,” author Douglas Murray explores societal and cultural changes on the continent in his 2017 publication. According to Murray, this is attributed to, in part, immigration and the new norms that newcomers bring with them. Given the above statistics, it’s difficult to stay with a straight face that the modern church of any denomination is doing well.

To Todd Shupe, a man of unshakable faith and former professor with LSU, America is no stranger to spotty attendance on Sunday mornings.  While he doesn’t like what the study and book have to say, recent stats out of America paint a more encouraging picture. According to an in-depth Pew Research Center study from 2014, 63 percent of 35,071 respondents contacted by Pew said they had an “absolutely certain” belief in God. Compare that to a mere nine percent who felt the opposite and it’s clear that we’re doing something right on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Some readers may wonder why trusting a higher power so important? To Todd Shupe, the moral foundations that are built through religion also brings with it a sense that something greater than us is in control. If we can learn to communicate with God and see His work on a daily basis, then those who’ve stopped making the weekly pilgrimage to church might remember why we go in the first place: To meet with fellow Christians and demonstrate your obedience to God above all others.

Grace Upon Grace: An Exploration Of God’s Love And How To Receive It

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We are created with a deep need to be loved. This is Todd Shupe’s firm belief. What’s more, he says that there are two radically different kinds of love: conditional and unconditional. Conditional love involves bargaining and there are conditions that we must meet in order to receive love from others. Such conditional living is exhausting, involving a treadmill of constant doing in order to earn and maintain love.

Unconditional love is radically different, involving a conversion of our motives. The Christian dynamic is “not that we loved God, but that he loved us,” (1 John 4:10). Unconditional love is a gift in which the initiative is God’s — and not ours. Human love always expects something in return, yet God’s love does not. Grace is the name for God’s incredible love. God loves us because of who God is; not because of who we are or what we have done.

There is nothing we can do to earn or lose God’s grace, says Christian organization volunteer and former LSU professor Todd Shupe. It is freely given. In fact, God has given us an abundance of grace. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace,” (John 1:16). This grace is so large that “nothing can separate us from the love of God,” (Romans 8:35-39).  According to Todd Shupe, this is astonishing and I encourage you to pause and think about what you have just read.

Now that we have received God’s grace, what is our response?  First, never let your hearts be troubled.  Be confident and courageous and know that God’s favor is upon you. Second, extend grace to others. A few examples are teaching Sunday school, be involved in Christian service, give a full tithe to your church, pray for your pastor and the church, witness your faith and be engaged in the Bible daily and show compassion to the hungry.

According to Todd Shupe, who previously at LSU instructed wood science operations, whenever you help the poor, incarcerated, homeless, and marginalized, you are helping our Lord. “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,’” (Matthew 25:40). Go with the knowledge and confidence that God’s grace is forever upon you. Be blessed.