MBC’s Caldwell encourages HLG grads to always attempt great things for God
By Brandy Campbell
May 25, 2004
HANNIBAL — “For a long time you’ve had the privilege of walking in the faith of your father, your mother, your mentors, and your teachers. On this day God is cutting you loose,” Bob Caldwell, evangelism director for the Missouri Baptist Convention, told the 197 graduates during Hannibal-LaGrange College’s 146th Commencement ceremony May 8.
“You’re no longer going to be able to be around those people you’ve drawn a lot of your faith from,” continued Caldwell. “You’re going to have to establish that this is your faith, not the faith that you’re sharing. You’re going to have to say ‘This is mine.’”
Caldwell, founder of Global Encounter Ministries, spoke from Psalms 63:1, a psalm that David wrote when in the Judean wilderness. The psalm reads “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Caldwell challenged students to ask themselves three important questions found in this passage: Do you know without a doubt that you are going to heaven when you die? Are you passionately seeking God? Are you willing to give it all to reach your world for Jesus Christ?
“Here we find David in the middle of a famine,” explained Caldwell. “In the United States of America, we’re also in a famine. It is not a famine of food and water. It is a famine of the power of God reigning on this nation. I know that physical famines bring hunger and thirst and sorrow, but we would be better off in the United States if we were in the midst of a physical famine, burying our loved ones than in the spiritual famine we’re in today.
“I want to challenge you not to follow the American dream,” continued Caldwell. “Follow God’s dream. God is looking for people who will be radical, who are willing to give it all. After we’ve spent our first 50 million years in heaven, we’ll all realize how insignificant all this stuff was that kept getting in the way of a radical sellout for the cause of Christ.”
Caldwell concluded with a quote by William Carey, a Baptist missionary in India who served until 1799.
“I went to a conference in India, and the theme was a quote by William Carey, which says ‘Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.’ The majority of Christendom today will live and die expecting, but very few will take the second step and not just expect great things from God but attempt great things for God. May you be a generation that will walk out on a limb, saw it off behind you, and free fall into the grace of God.”
Caldwell also received an honorary doctorate of theology at commencement.
In addition to the conferring of degrees, and the commencement address, several honors were announced. Valedictorian of the associate’s class was Allison Johnston, of Palmyra, and the Salutatorian was Shawn O’Brien, of Palmyra. In the bachelor’s class, Susan Wideman of New London was Valedictorian and Cassandra Lord Fuerst of Fulton was Salutatorian.