EVANGELIST TREY BRADLEY CHALLENGES BLUEFIELD COLLEGE STUDENTS TO EXAMINE THEIR SPIRITUAL LIVES DURING CHRISTIAN EMPHASIS WEEK.
DRS. GENE AND JANE DUREMDES (CENTER), SPONSORS OF CHRISTIAN EMPHASIS WEEK, WITH KEYNOTE SPEAKER TREY BRADLEY (LEFT) AND CAMPUS PASTOR HENRY CLARY.
CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN ROCK BAND RUSH OF FOOLS LEADS PRAISE AND WORSHIP FOR CHRISTIAN EMPHASIS WEEK.
“It was obvious that God was stirring many hearts as I was able to have conversations with the students,” said Bradley about how he saw God working during Christian Emphasis Week. “I was very impressed with their passion to be a part of what God is doing in our culture.”
Since 1992, Bluefield College has set aside a week in the school year for students and the community to focus on faith through the facilitation of spiritual speakers, leaders and musicians. Sponsored by longtime BC supporters Drs. Gene and Jane Duremdes of Princeton, West Virginia, the week is designed to give students and the community the opportunity to “examine their spiritual lives” and “seek answers to life-impacting questions.”
“It’s their (the Duremdes) desire that every student at Bluefield College know the love of God,” said BC’s David Taylor, dean of students, “and that through Christian Emphasis Week students have a genuine encounter with Christ.”
Bradley, a native of Gaffney, South Carolina, who began sensing a call from God into the ministry as a teenager, led the students on that encounter during three separate sermon sessions. During one of his lessons, using a passage from the Gospel of John, he asked students if they were thirsty and where did they go to quench their thirst.
“We’re all thirsty within,” said Bradley, using the Gospel story about Jesus and the woman at the water well. “We all crave something more. We crave God, but we keep searching and digging for things to satisfy that thirst when we should be searching for God.”
Bradley suggested that we often use relationships, food, hobbies and other activities to satisfy our thirst. And, while “these things aren’t bad,” he said, “the problem is when we allow them to take the place of God, or when we turn to drugs, alcohol, pornography or some other destructive behavior that is not good for us.”
But, Bradley told the students, just like the woman at the well, Jesus accepts us where we are, forgives us for all of our sins, and invites us to drink the living water.
“Many of you are at this place, and God is telling you to leave behind the things you’ve tried to use to satisfy that thirst,” said Bradley, who has spoken at numerous colleges, churches, youth camps, Disciple Now events, student rallies, and other youth and young adult gatherings. “Leave behind that water jar. You don’t need it anymore. God hasn’t given up on you. He specializes in doing great things for broken people. So turn to Him. Let Jesus satisfy your thirst.”
Bradley, who holds a master’s degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, said he enjoyed being with Bluefield College students and pouring into their lives as they discussed Jesus, sports and life. He said he was honored by the opportunity to speak for Christian Emphasis Week, where he felt “welcome and at home from the very moment (he) arrived on campus.”
“College is such an exciting, fun, stressful and scary season all at the same time, and I loved being able to share my experiences as well as what God is still teaching me today,” said Bradley. “My desire is for students to realize that they don’t have to constantly stress over a future career or future spouse. Just be obedient with what God has called them to do today, and all that stuff will fall into place.”
Duremdes Christian Emphasis Week also included praise and worship sessions led by BC’s Praise Band and a concert featuring contemporary Christian rock band Rush of Fools, known early on for its hit single “Undo,” which became the most played song of 2007 on Adult Contemporary Christian Music radio stations. Now on its fourth album, “Carry Us Now,” the band sang hopeful and encouraging songs about overcoming difficult times and trusting God.