Dream beyond your horizons

What can you do to live lives of reconciliation?

President Barry Corey, Writer

Last Friday night, Paula and I were at a dinner in Atlanta with a number of others from Biola University and hundreds more leaders from Christian colleges and universities across the nation. The forum was a quadrennial conference on Christian higher education. The theme was “Critical Breakthroughs.” The evening was charged — largely because of the crescendo that had been building over the previous 48 hours.

Earlier, we had been challenged by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, to take on the brokenness of the world in Jesus’ name, reflecting on the crumbled nation of Haiti. It was as if he was speaking directly to me as he inventoried the widespread global suffering and asked how we were engaging our students intellectually, spiritually and experientially to respond.

As a college senior, Wendy Koop began imagining what would happen if the most troubled public schools in America were impacted by the brightest university graduates. Hearing from her raised my sights on your capacity as Biola students to dream beyond your horizons. Wendy mobilized her dreams into a plan, founding the Teach for America program, one of the most competitive and sought after two-year assignments for college graduates. At a swim meet recently, I talked to Biola senior John Sirjord, who has been accepted into the Teach for America program.

Speaking that night was John Perkins, founder of the Christian Community Development Association. 80 years old and rugged from a life of working with the poor in Mississippi, Rev. Perkins has lived a life of faithful calling to reconciliation. Having every reason to be angry — the victim of segregation for the early part of his life — he pointed us to the reconciliation of the cross of Christ and provoked us to do likewise. As he spoke, I leaned forward thinking about you. What can you do to live lives of reconciliation as the apostle Paul admonished us in 2 Corinthians 5:11-21? Here are a few ideas I took away from Rev. Perkins’ address:

  1. We need to start with the truth found in the Word of God, the Word that speaks to every issue of our day.
  2. We need to move beyond a mere intellectual or passive understanding of the Word of God and allow it to compel us to obedience.
  3. We need to de-hijack prayer from self-centeredness and prosperity, being willing to pray selflessly, “Lord, what is your will for my life?”
  4. We need to look at God’s Word from a global perspective, not letting it be colored by our own cultural and personal baggage.
  5. We need to be people of reconciliation or we have no gospel at all, and we cannot miss the urgency of the challenge.

Rev. Perkins exhorted us to nurture the students in our trust to live and breathe and proclaim the gospel as the power of reconciliation, the same power through which we were reconciled with Christ.

I see this courage in so many of you, evident a few days ago in Biola’s 14th annual SCORR (Student Congress on Racial Reconciliation). Keep being this way, Biola. The coming generation is calling for leaders who will creatively and winsomely, thoughtfully and strategically, courageously and incarnationally, take on the challenges of our day.

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