“Look back at all you have done … as an offering to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” said Andy Davis, commencement speaker and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
The College at Southeastern honored 38 students graduating with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and 18 students with a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies. Over 200 students graduated from the seminary. The 259 total graduates represented 34 states and five countries.
Two students from Iowa were among the graduates, William Cecil Roach of Salem and Michael Allen Rudolph of Muscatine both graduated with Doctor of Philosophy degrees.
The ceremony was held on May 16 in Binkley Chapel on Southeastern’s campus.
Mark Liederbach, vice president for student services and dean of students at Southeastern, honored the parents and spouses behind each one of the degrees.
Davis has served at First Baptist Church since 1998 and earned his B.A. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT. While working as an engineer, he earned his M.Div. from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. In 1998, Davis graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Ph.D. in Church History. He is also a visiting professor of historical theology at Southeastern.
Davis had a special college graduate in the audience, his oldest daughter, Jenny.
He called the audience, as a part of the seminary’s rich Great Commission culture, to have grateful hearts and give God all of the glory for this day as they look ahead to a life of service to Him.
Graduates were warned that the world will oppose the changes they try to make. “America is changing before our very eyes, it is less comfortable with the Christian faith than ever before in its history,” Davis said.
“See that with eyes of faith … the world desperately needs radical transformation,” Davis explained. “The Lord has commanded us to proclaim the only message there is for the transformation of human souls.”
The charge to graduates came from 1 Corinthians 3. “Every human being faces two great threats,” Davis noted. He said the greatest loss for a human is his or her soul and the second is that a Christian will waste some or most of his or her life.
He spoke about the importance of building one’s life on the foundation that Jesus Christ has laid. “A foundation is something that is established and can’t be moved,” he said. “Every other foundation for life will be swept away by judgment.”
Davis asked those in the audience if they were saved. “Have you fled to the cross?” Davis emphasized. “Repent and believe in Jesus.”
“As you go forth in the world, preach the Gospel boldly,” Davis said. “Jesus is the gold, silver and costly stones that we have to offer the world.”
Davis called graduates to do everything in faith and love for the glory of God. “Everyday begins as straw and you can spin it into gold,” he said. “Put the eternal God onto display.”
“Graduating class of 2014, don’t waste your life on wood, hay and straw,” Davis said.