504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Saturday, May 15, 2010

On Graduates and Graduation

Today, I will put on my graduation gown and walk in the processional as another great class of graduates walks across the stage at the New Orleans Seminary. It is something like my 30th graduation ceremony and it never gets old.

The robes and the colored hoods and the gathered families all represent a bunch of accomplishment. Such stories.

My fraternity brother and friend, Danny Havard will graduate today with his Doctor of Ministry degree. Danny has a degree in Real Estate and Insurance, but he chose to follow God in a different road. He is one of dozens of pastors in a large church in Houston, but he felt like God was challenging him to another level of education, and despite an insanely manic schedule, he has completed this journey.

The first Master of Divinity, Problem-based learning cohort will graduate today. Jeremy, Casey, Tim, Richard, Wes, Chris and Courtney have taken on a new way of doing an MDiv in a Pilot program that was part of the sabbatical project that Dr. Tim Searcy and I did this past year. They allowed their last year of seminary to be an experiment, one that may help future classes of seminary students.

Kelli Hill is my new friend on staff at University Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. She will graduate with a degree in Marriage and Family Counseling. She has been commuting back and forth, nurturing a new marriage, leading a children's ministry at the church, and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

Randy will receive his degree while motoring in his wheel chair. He is, by reports from the counseling department, one of the most effective counselors we will graduate, especially among men who are working on second and third chances.

Missionaries will graduate, having been away in a countries I cannot print. They have completed their degrees online and through visits back to the states, many of them raising young children as they make the name of Jesus famous throughout the world.

My friend Malinda, a former student here, having moved away for a variety of reasons (including a hurricane), received her PhD at Southwestern Seminary last week, under the direction of Dr. Ian Jones and my friend Dr. Wes Black. He father, Dr. Al Fasol is a legendary prof as well and he was present at his daughter's graduation.

What great stories of people who have accomplished much, persevered much, sacrificed much, and been supported by many.

But more important than all of that--and what defines us all–-is that they are followers of Christ, sinners saved by grace. I am a sinful man in a fallen world, and whatever accomplishments I can list on a resume are secondary to that of being a child of God, a husband to Judi and a father to Aaron and Sarah.

I hope we are known as Christians who happen to be students and ministers and missionaries and parents and friends rather than people who are all of these things and, oh by the way, Christians as well.

I am excited about all the stories that will collide today in and around Leavell Chapel. I am equally excited about the stories that will emerge as these graduates are unleashed in a world that needs their stories and their energy.

Way to go, class of 2010.

1 comment:

  1. As part of our family's celebration this weekend, I asked Danny (Havard) about the distinct turn in his walk with the Lord in the 70's. He told the story at our family's special dinner to celebrate his accomplishment. After a special summer that the Lord had worked in his life, he testifies of praying a prayer that God would help him continue the growth in a college setting that we all remember made a Christ like walk very difficult. He walked back into the Kappa Sig house and Allen Jackson was in the room on his hall just where God had placed him. Thanks for being that faithful friend. Iron truly sharpens iron and our whole family has benefited. Isn't God's faithfulness amazing!!! As I sat in Leavell Chapel Saturday morning fighting back tears simply from being in God's presence, I truly was in awe of His providential guidance in our lives as I saw Dr. Jackson and Dr. Havard. Who could have imagined! PTL Danny's big sister....Vickie