Waco/Canyon: This week had the opportunity to participate in the convocation of the fall semester of Truett Seminary, August 25, 2009. In addition, I was humbled by the privilege of being named an honorary alumni of Truett Seminary along with Dr. Mark Brister, former president of Oklahoma Baptist University, Bernie Moraga, who serves with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Kathy Hillman who serves as associate professor at Baylor University and is a former president of the Texas Woman’s Missionary Union, and Carol_ann Cooper, pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church of Waco. I must admit I enjoyed becoming an alumni of a fine institution of learning without having to read one book, or turning in one paper late! Seriously, Truett is doing a good job preparing the next generation of young leaders.
Truett Seminary along with all our institutions of higher learning have a high calling from the LORD to prepare the next generation of leaders to embrace their calling. On the evening before the convocation my wife and I had the opportunity to share a meal with all the recipients and Dr. David Garland, his wife, Dr. Dennis Tucker, and Dr. David Hardage and his wife. Dinner fellowship is a wonderful time to get to know people, and their hearts and attitudes. I can assure you that Baylor and Truett are in good capable hands. From my seat, Dr. Garland is doing a remarkable job leading Baylor during these trying days of transition and testing. A record number of freshmen enrolled this year, and spirit of the university appeared to be high. There are even hopes for a successful football campaign under the able leadership of Coach Art Briles, and his sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin. In fact, it was suggested that Griffin’s name be added to all the prayer lists of the Baylor Line! Coach Briles motto of “From Hype to Happening” is a challenge for all who want to make a difference with their lives.
During the convocation, Dr. Dennis Tucker gave the address. He opened his address referring to his favorite definition—“a people called together for a summons.” He commented that this is a very fitting description of a gathering of seminary faculty and students. The LORD himself has summoned this gathering to be His people on mission. We would all be wise answer His summons.
Dr. Tucker chose for his text Ezekiel 1. In this “dangerous text” deemed so for its mystery and imagery, Ezekiel revealed the heart of a priest turned prophet. Tucker noted that when Ezekiel spoke of his revelation in his thirtieth year this was far more than an idle comment. At thirty a priest was called into active service in the Temple. For a lifetime the young priest awaits this opportunity to serve, but Ezekiel at this critical rite of passage found himself in exile rather than serving in the Temple courts. However, this exile turned into an amazing encounter with the living God who rules and reigns over all creation. Tucker challenged the students to realize that God often shows up in the unexpected places of life. God is “ever present and always coming.”
One challenge from his message that resonated with me was Tucker’s challenge to not just go “half way” in my devotion. He pointed out that if one was willing to go the “second half” one must be willing to “disown” his or her life. This dying to self is critical for those who are answering the summons of the LORD to go and be His people.
As the fall semesters begin across the state put high on your prayer lists the presidents, faculty, staff, and students of our institutions of Christian higher education. As the darkness looms on every side, pray the light will shine from our schools, so the world will know that we worship and serve the God who is “ever present and coming.”