By a long-standing custom, this first Wednesday provides an opportunity for the president to mark the beginning of the academic year for the residential community on the main campus with a convocation. We sang a powerful and beautiful hymn focused on what the Bible calls “the mind of Christ,” a concept repeated often in the New Testament.
My message this year began with the Apostle Paul telling the Jesus-followers in the very pagan city of Corinth that they would be able to understand the Lord’s thoughts, something that could easily seem impossible, because they had the mind of Christ. And Paul’s letter to the believers in the city of Philippi told them to avoid selfishness and pride by having the mind of Christ Jesus, a heart-attitude of humbly serving others.
In the spirit of these letters, at Fresno Pacific we commit together to learn more and more how to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. In every course, every competition, every friendship; whether we are waking or sleeping, working or resting, this is our purpose. All of life is an opportunity to worship. May the mind of Christ—his heart-attitude, his way of thinking and being in the world—become one with your mind more and more.
Everything seems poised for a great year: We are enjoying large enrollments (official numbers available in a couple of weeks) and strong music, theater, sports, honors scholarship, community service, intramurals, chapel and other worship and spiritual development activities. We also have excellent new faculty and staff, and new homes for student government and for commuter students.
We look forward to how our consultant, Juan Martínez, Ph.D., will continue our efforts to experience FPU’s great diversity in a way that makes us one in Christ. We also continue to follow the approved process to search for the next leader of the university. This year the Presidential Search Committee, co-chaired by Don Griffith and Xavier Piña, Ed.D., working in complete confidentiality to protect the privacy of potential candidates, will identify the top prospect for consideration by the Board of Trustees.
This brings us to our verse for the year: Matthew 19:26. It concludes a well-known event. A rich man who had carefully tried to do everything correctly to be sure of eternal life asks Jesus what else he needs to do. Jesus commends his intentions and efforts and then invites him to sell everything, give it to the poor and follow him. Unwilling to let go of the wealth that he believes indicates God’s blessing and approval, the rich man goes away sadly. The disciples ask Jesus who in the world could have eternal life if this outstanding person cannot. Jesus’ response is our verse for this year:
“For mortals it is impossible, but WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.”
There is no way ANY one can do enough or be good enough to deserve eternal life. There is no greater miracle than the salvation of one person, whether humanly rich or poor, or humanly respectable or despicable. For mortals this vision is impossible, but
WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
A great year at Fresno Pacific is not a year when everything goes perfectly and pleasantly. A great year is when we each make great progress in becoming more like Jesus Christ and loving our neighbors as ourselves. All the music, academics, theater, scholarship, student activities, chapel and other worship events, sports competitions—everything will combine successes and failures, wins and losses, delights and disasters, joys and pains. That is how God works his will among us.
What we try to do at FPU depends on miracles, and that depends on countless people praying and supporting us. What we intend to do is humanly impossible, but our new branding boldly asserts that what may seem impossible really is possible. So we will remember:
For mortals it is impossible, but WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.