Corey’s Corner

Biola’s president talks about finding simplicity in the busyness of university life.

Welcome back Biola University – let the year begin! As we return for a new semester, a new academic year, a new beginning – I wanted to do something new, too. Thankfully, The Chimes editors obliged and have welcomed me as a monthly columnist. If you have picked this newspaper up for the first time, or for the hundredth time, I hope you stay tuned.

As my summer ended and my family and I returned to California, the simplicity of summer and rest seemed to remain in Canada, where we vacation each year for a few weeks.

When I was five or six, our family started vacationing at a lake that borders Vermont and Quebec. A number of years later my parents bought a cottage and fixed it up; now this place has been a constant in our lives ever since.

What makes this place special is its simplicity. We can drive up the road to buy eggs from the “egg lady” for a Canadian dollar a dozen. Our raspberry jam is made by my 82-year old mother from berries picked in local fields. We gather at night with families we’ve known for decades and build a fire or grill some burgers. Cell phones don’t work. I dial up to check my email once a day. The Montreal Gazette is tucked each morning in the mailbox. The woods nearby have familiar trails I’ve hiked since childhood, by ponds and falls and among an occasional swatted horsefly. Across the country road from our place we see a mountainside of maple trees, tapped each spring for their maple sap that is slowly heated into syrup at one of three lakeside sugar houses.

Our children, Anders, Ella, and Sam, awake to the aroma of their grandmother’s cinnamon buns baking in the oven, which would later be glazed with sugary frosting. The shed has a bunch of old bikes that we’ll take to cottages up the road or even across the border to Vermont or New Hampshire to buy a few groceries or a Boston Globe.

In recent days our lives have once again picked up momentum and it’s beginning to seem far from simple. Yet I don’t want to abandon the virtues of simplicity just because the busyness of the university year has begun. One thing that has been particularly on my heart this summer is the simplicity and the power of prayer. Prayer is something we all do – our common denominator.

Though your assignments may pile up, your social calendar fills, and your dreams grow bigger, let them grow while you grow – spiritually. Take time to rest and refresh your soul and respond to Jesus’ call. Abide in the Vine (John 15:7). When we’ve remained in Christ and his Word, rooted in the Vine, our dreams, desires and decisions may spring from a heart ever more like the heart of Christ.

So here we go. Hang on. We’re on to an incredible few months before us and I expect great things to happen.

And also, add me on Facebook!

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