You most likely know the words and tune to the eighth-century Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision. Recently, during some tough days, these words from the fourth verse sang true:
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heavenly sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
The hardest part of the verse for me to sing was, “whatever befall.” It’s easy to sing praises when the bills are paid, payroll is met, and everyone is making the grade. The “whatever befall” part, however, is the true test of whether or not God is still “my vision.”
I have come to realize that when I have been in what I thought was a “tough time,” God was at work to teach me that such an experience, “…produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5; NIV)
Three experiences this past month reminded me that God is still our vision at Carroll. The first was Dr. Corley’s and my visit to Midland. There we saw students, faculty, supporters, and a church that embodied the mission and vision of the Institute. First Baptist Midland is a flagship Teaching Church, and our students and faculty are among the best in the state.
The second encouragement was the gathering of our faculty, supervisors, and doctoral students at the Frank and Pauline Patterson Colloquy at the Carroll Center. I was impressed with the quality of the workshops, student presentations, and servant leadership of the faculty and staff, but their worship and prayers as followers of Christ Jesus inspired me more. We do not simply produce graduates. We equip servants of the Lord for His mission here and around the world.
The third hope-filled event this past month was our 11th Convocation and Graduation hosted by First Baptist Church, Saginaw, TX. Our 11 Masters and Doctoral graduates bring our total number of alumni to 142, who live and serve in seven states and nine countries. Dr. Danny Howe, Pastor and Resident Fellow, represents our value of the Pastor/Scholar, and First Baptist models a Carroll Teaching Church. Dr. Richard Jackson, the Chairman of the Board of Governors, reminded us that Carroll exists to serve the local church that is on the Great Commission with Christ.
God has his hand on Carroll Institute, and even though I can only see part of what he is doing, he is graciously at work in the lives of those he has called to be part of Carroll’s mission and vision whatever befall. Join me on this adventure of faith. Thank you for your prayers and financial support.
Serving with you,