Phelps, “Simone and Simone”, “The Final Five,” Gaby Douglas … Usain Bolt
– these are names which continue to inspire our hearts even though weeks have
passed since the 2016 Rio Olympic games… for these are the names of Champions.
These are athletes who chose not just to qualify for competition but to
be medal winners, record setters - even the “benchmark” for competitors
and residents around our world. Yet, I suggest to you that as
significant as these accomplishments are, as we complete these first three
weeks of our 2016-2017 academic year, names like Jessica, Randy, Maria, Hussain
and Stephanie inspire our hearts, for these are the names of our
Washington Adventist University (WAU) students. They are individuals who have
also chosen to “BE” all that they are called to be, as were Esther, Joseph,
Lydia and David of old.
Defined by Webster as a verb which means to “exist” and to “truly live,”
our students have chosen this word “BE” as their theme for this academic year.
They have fully embraced their calling to “BE TOGETHER,” to “BE FREE,” to
“BE IMMOVABLE,” such that they are not to conform to the things of this world,
but so that they will BE TRANSFORMED by the renewing of their minds (Rom 12:2),
in a manner that prepares them for ten times distinctive service
(Daniel 1:20) … as salt and light for our world – ever Anointed and
Empowered with the Fragrance of Christ’s Love (Matthew 5). While many of you
will not encounter these amazing adults as teachers in their classrooms, I
invite you to strengthen them as they “run to win, the race set before them”
through your intercessions on their behalf.
One of the pictures of Christ that I hope will inspire your heart to
embrace this calling is that which is recorded for our admonition in
Hebrews 7:25. Here Paul more fully unwraps the significance of
intercessory prayer. Here he describes the powerful reality that Christ,
as our High Priest, ever lives to strengthen us through prayer, ”for He lives
to intercede for us”. Therefore, since we are also called to this priesthood,
won’t you join me this year in carrying our students and university on your
hearts through ongoing intercession as we embrace our calling to “BE” moving
ever upward, never downward, to “BE” the head and not the tail, to “BE” a
lender to many nations and never a borrower and to “BE” that brightly burning
light among the Gentiles, more and still more (Philippians 1:9). Thank you on
behalf of our students, faculty and staff for walking beside us, more than ever, through
your intercession – “My Hopes for This Place are High” (1904)!!!