Possible Still Happens Here

Possible Still Happens Here

We all usually start the new year with resolutions that are optimistic about the future. We renew personal dreams and goals—goals for our families, organizations and churches. We think about things we want to accomplish over the coming year and review our successes and failures over the previous year. The New Year is that time we battle against depression, celebrate gains and overcome fears that hold us back. We are reminded of loved ones no longer with us, new burdens we carry, battles we fight against discouragement and obstacles we continually try to overcome.

We crave for messages of hope but are inundated with the spurious and mendacious behavior of humans all over the world, even in the simple dwellings of our hometowns. The global pandemic has only uncovered our inconceivable hearts and revealed even as Christ-followers how little we: “deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Jesus.” We avoid his words about the future in Matthew 24 because these times make them very uncomfortable. Listen to what Jesus says about the signs of his coming and the end of the age. These words are not popular in the mist of global or local suffering, but either they are truth or they are not:

“Watch out, let no one deceive you. For many will come in my name, claiming, I am the Messiah, and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:5-14). He later directs our thoughts about the future in saying: “…be ready for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (v. 44).

I have always been an optimist tempered by realism. I find truth for guidance in the Word of Christ. It is in that context that I look to and pray for the future role of FPU, not only in the Central Valley, but throughout this country. We think of possibilities in many ways, but in this new year can we live as Jesus exalted: “to be the faithful and wise servants” who are daily anticipating his coming. How will these words of Christ influence our view of our work at the university? Can a university really make a difference in preparing its students to be “faithful and wise stewards”? I believe FPU’s mission extends well beyond preparing students for degrees, encouraging personal transformation in the process of learning, whether in person or virtually.

Join me in continuing our expectation for the possible on all our campuses in this new year. These are my hopes and prayers for FPU in 2021 as we live in the anticipation of the return of Christ and continue as faithful and wise stewards in the education of our students:

  1. That our campuses/classrooms become sacred places where Christ Jesus is honored, and God the Father is revered.
  2. That they are places of business and interaction (whether virtual or in person) which bring the Word of God to life through how we love and serve one another.
  3. That each student experiences the love of God through the way we model our teaching, administration and mentoring. And that they witness our love for one another which becomes a testimony of our commitment to Christ.
  4. That our campuses/classrooms become a dwelling place of the presence of God, where prayer and praise are ecological in the growth of knowledge and experiential practice.
  5. That we become good stewards of the resources God provides through friends and donors; using those gifts to strengthen our impact throughout the region.
  6. That we Grow Strategically, Engage Collectively, Innovate Creatively, Serve Courageously and Transform Purposely amidst the difficulties of the present and the future.

These are my prayers and hopes for the future of FPU. Despite all the difficulties, pains and sorrows our communities have and will experience, I am optimistic we will see the Hand of God in so many ways if we continue to honor and revere him in all our work. We cannot ignore the signs Jesus spoke to us about regarding the growing divergence in the world. We can have peace in his promise to never leave or forsake those who put their trust in him. We shall continue to remind ourselves that in him “all things are possible for those who believe.”

Connections
Joseph Jones, Ph.D.

Joseph Jones, Ph.D.

President