Ewert calls students to courage at convocation

 Turbulent times, be they starting college or leading a generation, call for courage. 

Fortunately, the Bible has a verse for that, and the words for the 2011-2012 academic year at Fresno Pacific University come from Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

President D. Merrill Ewert spoke on this verse and the theme “Empowering leaders for a changing world” at the opening convocation August 31 in the Special Events Center. The audience was faculty, staff and many of the estimated 430 new traditional undergraduate students who began classes that week. They are part of a record 3,700 total enrollment.

For more than 30 years, Ewert’s asked people from illiterate farmers in Africa to college professors in the United States about transformative moments in their lives. Answers have been consistent: such moments come from problems, happen during times of great change, occur in community, result from reflection and involve deep values.

The world has great problems. New college students are going through great change. There were problems and change when God called Joshua to lead the Israelites. But God also told him to be strong and courageous. “It wasn’t a suggestion. You can choose to follow the God who gives you the strength to lead,” Ewert said.

“Remember Joshua,” Ewert said. “There’s no need to be afraid about the future. God wants to walk alongside us.”

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