Todd Shupe Explores The Traits Of True Leadership

todd shupeIf you are like me, you have seen several books on leadership. The books are typically authored by successful CEOs of large companies or military leaders. These books are often best-sellers and contain very useful information on the principles of secular leadership. The themes are typically along the lines of this: A leader is a visionary. A leader knows how to delegate. A leader surrounds himself/herself with good people. A leader leads by example. A leader is trustworthy. A leader is tough under pressure and, finally, a leader doesn’t tolerate nonsense, says Baton Rouge’s Todd Shupe, who is also a dedicated Christian ministry volunteer.
The best leader that ever walked the earth was not a CEO or a decorated military leader. Jesus modeled true leadership to us by his service to others. Jesus was a servant leader who never once used his authority to serve himself but rather to serve and help others. This point is amplified in Matthew: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Psalmist wrote in 119:125, I am Your servant; give me understanding, That I may know Your testimonies. He is acknowledging himself as a servant to God.. In turn, God wants us to serve him by serving others. Matthew 25 tells the story of the sheep and the goats and contains this great message in verse 40. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
According to Todd Shupe, a Christian leader is humble. Jesus demonstrated humility by washing the feet of his disciples in John 13. You may be wondering what is the benefit of humility. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The ultimate gift of Christ was the forgiveness of sins for those that believe in Him and life everlasting. “I encourage you to lead by serving others,” says Todd Shupe. “Be blessed.”

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.

‘Water Will One Day Flow Under The Bridge,’ Todd Shupe Says Regarding Road To Forgiveness

todd shupe“Water under the bridge.” If you can say this one day during trying times and mean it, know that you’ve achieved something that so many of us strive for. According to Christian ministry volunteer Todd Shupe, forgiveness is a skill that takes time to learn and patience to practice when offering it upon others. That’s because the world isn’t always fair and gut-wrenching situations can’t immediately be solved with forgiveness. However, time heals all wounds and those who practice this trait will feel a lot better than walking around all day with a grudge hung around your neck like an albatross. In this article, Todd Shupe will further explore the Biblical interpretations of forgiveness and explain how it’s comforting to him to know that some folks are working toward perfecting this personal trait.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 tells us, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” Former LSU professor Todd Shupe understands that this passage may be of little consolation to those of us who are hurting due to trespasses against us. In time however, we’ll understand that we’re not perfect and we could one day be in the position where we’re the one desperately seeking forgiveness.  In Luke 6:37, we see that this exact  predicament is addressed and resolved: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” To the point of damage done to us, Matthew 6:15 has this to say: “But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

According to Todd Shupe, who has helped out with numerous Christian outreach efforts and mentoring programs for children of incarcerated parents, it’s the endgame that is of great significance. When working with groups such as the United Methodist Men, Promise Keepers, Gulf Men South, Walk to Emmaus, Iron Sharpens Iron and other ministries, Todd Shupe has met many wounded by wrongdoing. It’s been a topic of conversation many times, too. However, turning to the Bible for the best form of advice has not only comforted those who’ve been wronged, but put them on the right path toward recovery and self-improvement. The road to forgiveness is long and can be painful for the victims. “Trust me: Water will one day flow under the bridge,” says Todd Shupe.

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!

Areas of Wood Science Research

todd shupe lsuOf the many hats worn in the illustrious career of Todd Shupe, LSU professor, lab director and quality manager of ISO 17025 Testing lab (1994-2014), wood scientist is among the most intriguing.

While teaching Wood Science at LSU, Todd Shupe performed proprietary third-party mechanical, physical, and chemical tests for new and existing wood-based products, biocides, coatings, etc. so that they could gain approval/re-registration from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

While wood science is extremely important for utilizing one of the world’s most widely used natural resources, not many are aware of the types of research that goes into this field.

To help shine some light on the subject, Todd Shupe reviews some of the main areas of wood science research.

Biodeterioration, Materials Protection, & Product Durability

This is the research of wood decay, and the information gathered through this research has a wide-range of industrial applications. Improvement in the science of wood product durability is a result of this type of research. For those who want to learn more about how to sustainably design and manage wood products, this is the field of research for them.

Composite Materials

Wood composite materials research ranges from composite manufacturing to formaldehyde-free adhesives to the study of composite fracturing. All of this is important when trying to understand the ever-changing applications of wood composites and the diverse range of materials that can be used to make them.

Forest Products Business and Marketing

Forest product innovation relies on the research of business management and marketing strategies for these products.  Those who study this area learn marketing in renewable materials, corporate responsibility, and how to use the competitiveness of the industry as an advantage.

Green Building and Environmental Performance

The use of wood in green building and sustainable design has increased and so has the research of this area. The development of reliable wood-based green materials is in high demand as the market for green products continues to grow.

Timber Engineering, Mechanics, & Structural Design

Timber engineering and structural wood design involves advanced mathematical and engineering, including the studying of materials and components, the performance of structural systems and fasteners, and the design of wood structures. This research helps determine the integrity of wood structures.

Wood Aesthetics & Natural Coloration

The natural coloration of wood by fungi—or spalting—is another area of wood science research that some find fascinating. This field of study explores this process and sometimes unexpected aesthetic or commercial opportunities come along as a result.

Wood BioEnergy

Perhaps the fasting growing area of wood research is bioenergy and includes many agricultural residues that are not even wood such as sugar cane bagasse, corn stover, etc.  This research identifies cost effective methods of converting wood and other raw materials into pellets and thermos-chemical methods to develop energy such as pyrolysis, gasification, super critical conversion, and liquefaction.

Be sure to check back to learn more from Todd Shupe about his many areas of expertise!

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.

Self-Control Can Vanquish Weakness In Trying Times

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By Todd Shupe

The Bible teaches us that self-control is essential to living a Christian life. We must exercise our self-control or we become controlled by our weakness. Whether it is food, alcohol, drugs or pornography, the enemy knows our weakness better than we do and will encourage us to go to it rather than to God in times of need. Todd Shupe says that our lives can soon be dominated by our weakness and we are living completely in the flesh rather than in the Spirit. Self-control is the very essence of “dying to self” and living in righteousness with God. Our righteousness cannot and will not ever come from ourselves, but only as a means of grace from God as a result of totally surrendering ourselves to His will and becoming His disciple.

If you are struggling with self-control, former LSU professor Todd Shupe encourages you to first begin with prayer and ask God for His help. Then, go into the Bible and study and memorize some particular verses that speak to you and your situation. My “go to” verse when my patience is growing thin is Proverbs 29:11. “A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” We must remember that all wisdom comes from God. So how does one obtain wisdom? James 1:5 tells us that “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

The exercise of self-control will not only keep us away from our temptations, but will allow us to be a powerful witness for God. You may ask, “How can I be a good witness for God by exercising self-control?” The best witness is one who demonstrates his faith with his actions. St. Francis of Assisi encouraged people to speak the gospel wherever they go and use words when necessary.

Self-control will allow you to remain silent when verbally attacked. It will allow you to respond with love when confronted with hate. Self-control will also keep you pure when you are alone.  Self-control will also keep you sane in times of great adversity such as a flooded home, divorce or loss of a family member. We freely and willingly yield control of ourselves to God. Instead of worrying about what will happen, former LSU professor Todd Shupe suggests that we stand steadfast in His promise of Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Self-control does not mean that we are to go it alone. Todd Shupe knows that life is tough and we need fellow Christians for the journey. We need accountability groups that are small, honest and safe so we can be vulnerable and encouraging to each other. Christ encouraged us to come to Him with our burdens and He will give us rest. Read Matthew 11 and then fasten your yoke to a friend.

Benefits of Giving Back To The Church Are Many, Todd Shupe Implores The Faithful

At any church, “giving” is one of the more sensitive topics for many that is also very important to discuss. That’s because “giving” is fundamentally essential for the existence and the growth of the local church and the church universal. We often associate giving with money. Although money is important, giving involves more than money. According to Todd Shupe, a disciple will give of their financial resources, time and talents. Recent studies show that tithers make up only 10 to 25 percent of a normal congregation. Only 5 percent of the U.S. tithes, with 80 percent of Americans only giving 2 percent of their income. Christians are only giving at 2.5 percent per capita, while they gave at a 3.3 percent rate during the Great Depression.

Finances:
According to Todd Shupe, formerly of LSU, most Christians are familiar with the 10 percent tithe. “Make an offering of 10 percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year,” Deuteronomy 14:22-26. First, it is important to stop here and acknowledge that God does not need our money. However, God desires our hearts and our commitment to Him. A full tithe is a sign of trust and commitment and helps to support and advance the local church and its missions.

“Our financial resources are a blessing from God and our tithe is returning a small portion to God what we have received from God,” Todd Shupe said recently. “Stewardship is much more than financial giving to the church. It is also giving our time, talents, and witness.”

Time:
Time is a gift of God. How we choose to use it is a matter of discernment and stewardship. Some people lead lives of quiet desperation, always over-extending themselves to the point of exhaustion while others sit around in apathetic boredom. Some spend all their hours serving the needs of others at the expense of their own, while others live only for themselves. As Christian stewards, we try to manage time wisely and in a balanced way. As such, we give our time gladly to family and friends, to strangers, to the community, the church and to ourselves.

Talents:
Do you remember Jesus’ parable of the three servants who received different amounts of money to manage while the master was away? We’ve each received from God distinctive gifts and talents. Todd Shupe, formerly of LSU, believes how we develop and use these talents is a matter of stewardship. Like two of the servants in Jesus’ story, we can invest them wisely — or like the third, out of fear we can hide them (Matthew 25:14-30).

Witness:
God desires that we serve as His witness wherever we go. For some, this may be mission trips or full time missionaries. For others, it may be as St. Francis of Assisi said, to “speak the gospel wherever you go and use words when necessary.” Todd Shupe believes that the best witness is through your actions – service to others.

Selected Scripture on Giving

1. The Lord Jesus expects and requires us to give: Jesus said to His disciples, “When you give,” not “if you give” (Matthew 6:2). Hence, Christian giving is not optional, but rather essential. We often hear folks say, “In the Old Testament they had to give, but not in the New — now we only give if we want to.” This is clearly incorrect. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
2. The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons: Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,” He said (Matthew 6:1). When we give, we must be careful to examine our motives. We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people.
3. The Lord Jesus wants us to practice benevolent or charitable giving: Jesus said, “When you give to the poor…” (Matthew 6:2-3). Jesus is specifically teaching about “alms” in this passage: aid, charity or benevolent offerings for the needy.
4. The Lord Jesus reminds us that our giving is ultimately to the all-seeing heavenly Father: Jesus said, “When you give…; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you,” (Matthew 6:3-4). When we give, we are not simply adding to the Church budget, we are giving back to God what came from God.
5. The Bible teaches that Christian giving is an act of worship: In connection with the previous point, we see this truth stressed in another way in Paul’s word’s “On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save,” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Paul here teaches the Corinthians that their taking up of the collection is an act of worship which is to be a part of their regular Lord’s Day worship. When we put our money in the plate, we are worshiping Almighty God in accordance with His Word. Paul is speaking here of a “collection for the saints.” This is giving by the Church to the Church for the Church.
In summary, the Bible teaches that Christian giving ought to be cheerful giving. As Paul says “God loves a cheerful giver.” This is a truly amazing assertion. Paul assures us here that the Lord takes a special delight in those who are joyful, energetic, merry givers God says in Malachi 3:10: “’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 room enough to store it.’” This is the only occasion in which God asks us to test him. In fact, after Jesus was baptized, the Enemy tempted him and He answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
Clearly, we have not come close to reaching our potential for giving. Won’t you pray that we will give as we ought? That we will give for the right motives? That we will give joyously? And that we will give extravagantly.