Posted by Philip Poole on 2008-08-18

About 500 Samford University employees were encouraged to "look to God for strength" as the 2008-09 academic year gets underway.

Speaking Aug. 18 at an employee worship service during back-to-school activities, Robert C. Smith, professor of preaching, used King Jehoshaphat as recorded in the Old Testament as an example of one who supported scripturally-based spiritually renewal for individuals and his people.

Smith noted that people usually are in one of three stages: singing, sighing or silence. Smith likened the stages to a storm. "Either you're just coming out of a storm, in a storm or headed for a storm.

"We have to come to a place where we adjust to the possibilities of reversals of rhythm in our lives and ministry," Smith said. "It's the sighing that we usually struggle with because we aren't depending on God."

When the people under King Jehoshaphat began "to sing what they knew to be God's word, God empowered them. Our hope is in God."

Smith encouraged the audience to depend on God in all that they do. "If you truly want to live ´kingdomly,' you have to submit to God's divine leadership."

God is not some kind of "jack-in-the-box who comes only when we command," Smith said. "America does a great job with specialized national days of prayer in times of crisis, but whatever happened to the good old-fashioned ´sweet hour of prayer'?"

After the crisis, people return to business as usual, Smith explained, and then turn to God at the next crisis.

As the new year begins "let us declare anew our declaration of dependence on him who is dependable."

Earlier in the service, Samford's university minister Matt Kerlin led worshippers in praying by name for all incoming new students and employees.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.