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  • From the President
Dr. McCullough's Challenge to Graduating Seniors
Blair McCullough

Welcome to the 2020 Liberty Christian School Graduation Ceremony! Graduates, I want to start by congratulating you on reaching this significant milestone in your lives. Graduating from Liberty Christian in a normal year is a challenging proposition for any student. Add in a pandemic, and it is truly impressive the way that you have persevered and what you have accomplished!

Welcome to the 2020 Liberty Christian School Graduation Ceremony! Graduates, I want to start by congratulating you on reaching this significant milestone in your lives. Graduating from Liberty Christian in a normal year is a challenging proposition for any student. Add in a pandemic, and it is truly impressive the way that you have persevered and what you have accomplished!

I also want to congratulate you, parents and families ... your commitment to providing a Christ-centered education for your children is commendable. Thank you for all of the sacrifices that you have made along the way to make this day possible for your child. I am certain that it was worth it! This year, we also have 24 graduates who attended Liberty Christian from Preschool, Pre-K, or Kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. That is pretty amazing!
 
I believe that graduating from Liberty Christian is significant for many reasons. In terms of academic preparation, whether you attended Liberty for 15 years or one year, you were exposed to a rigorous academic experience that has equipped you for success wherever your next step takes you. The academic program here at Liberty Christian requires a higher level of commitment and responsibility from our students. I assure you that it will make a difference.
 
In addition, during your time at Liberty, you were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of State Championship-caliber co-curricular programs that challenged you to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.
 
The results of your hard work in these areas earned your class $3.3 million in scholarships. Congratulations!
 
I also think it is important to recognize another aspect of Liberty Christian that is a distinguishing characteristic of our school culture and I believe played a significant role in your growth as a student.
 
I am referring to the individuals who delivered your academics, coached you on the fields and courts of competition, demanded your best on stage, and most of all, loved you enough to challenge you spiritually every day during your time at Liberty.
 
I am talking about our campus pastors, teachers, coaches, directors, and administrators … the entire Liberty family who poured into your lives daily without fail. If you are not yet able to understand how extraordinary this is, I believe that one day you will. I am certain that along the way you also developed meaningful relationships that will translate into lifelong friendships, mentorships, and discipleship.
 
While all of these experiences are considered hallmarks of the Liberty experience, the most important aspect of what we do is our mission to provide a Christ-centered education.
 
I believe that the need for Christian schools that are unapologetically willing to provide foundational training in a rigorous academic environment is critical for our country and our world.
 
When we look at the events of the last several months, it should be clear to all of us that our world is desperate for leaders who have personally experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ, who are equipped with the truth of God’s Word, and who are willing to challenge the predominant worldviews of our society with courage, commitment, and love.
 
Make no mistake, graduates, what we have experienced thus far in 2020 will impact our world for a long time to come.
 
From COVID-19 to the call for changes related to civil rights, justice, and human dignity, our country and our world are facing significant challenges.
 
My challenge to you, Class of 2020, is to charge boldly into the battle, armed with the hope of the Gospel, and a commitment to stand firm in your faith!
 
God calls you to be “in the world, but not of the world.” That is, you are called to use your faith to influence our world, not the other way around!
 
The foundation of Biblical truth that has been imparted to you during your time at Liberty Christian should not only guide the way you see the world but also how you purpose to lead others to see the world.

C.S. Lewis said it like this: “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen – not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
 
I understand how difficult it can be to be “in this world, but not of this world.” You are constantly bombarded from every direction with societal norms that are in direct opposition to the hope of the Gospel. Many of these opposing philosophies are born on the college campuses that you will be attending.

But have faith, you are not walking into this new world alone, for just as the Lord spoke to Joshua saying, “Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go,” He is saying the same thing to you today.
 
I know that 2020 has been difficult for you, and there have been many reasons to be discouraged over the last several months. But I also believe that there have been many blessings for all of us during this season. I think of the following:
The opportunity to slow down and recharge
To spend more time with family
To be reminded of the importance of community and face-to-face fellowship
The opportunity to be stretched and to grow in our faith, as many of our worldly comforts and routines have been stripped away
The challenge to grow in our ability to truly listen, learn, and love others as Jesus does, regardless of the color of their race.
As I was preparing for today and thinking about 2020, my thoughts kept going to 20/20 vision. I think that is a normal association for many of us.
 
20/20 vision is a term used to define normal visual acuity. It indicates the clarity and sharpness of vision at a distance.
 
Obviously, not everyone has 20/20 vision, and we are all familiar with some of the most common visual limitations.
 
If you are nearsighted, you struggle to see things clearly unless they are close to your face. If you are farsighted, you see more clearly when objects are at a distance, away from your face.
 
Obviously, these physical limitations are correctable with tools like glasses, contacts, and surgeries, and these tools can help you have normal vision, or at least close to normal vision.
 
Today, I want to talk to you about a different kind of vision … I want to talk to you about developing a vision for your life, more specifically, a God-sized vision for your life.
 
I believe that developing a God-sized vision for your life starts with your understanding of who God is and who He says you are, and making a decision to dedicate your life to pursuing a relationship with Him.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 say, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”
 
God already has a vision for your life … who you can become and what you can accomplish.
 
Figuratively speaking, I believe that learning to balance having both a nearsighted and farsighted mindset is an effective way to discover God’s plan for you and to develop a God-sized vision for your life.
 
When you approach your life with a “nearsighted” mindset, you focus on what is right in front of you: the importance of the day and the things that are fundamental like your faith, your health, your relationships, and your responsibilities. You take control of each day and make them count!
 
Be relentless in pursuing daily God's plan for your future – allow Him to ignite the passion and vision within you.  
 
Today is the only today you will ever have again! Make it count!
 
It is so important that you invest time daily in nurturing your faith. You are on your own faith journey now! I implore you to water the seeds that have been planted by your family, your church, and Liberty Christian so that, as Peter says, you will continue to grow in virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love.
 
Those sound like the characteristics of a great leader to me!
 
Be intentional about setting routines for spiritual discipline. In fact, if you are lacking in spiritual discipline, don't wait until you arrive on campus; start now! Use the lessons that you learned in your Bible classes to guide your study of God's Word. Embrace the idea that God's Word provides the spiritual sustenance that you need each day. For most of you, Bible tests will no longer be in the form of a pen and paper test, but rather in how you respond to life's successes, failures, trials, and tribulations.
 
Find a church as quickly as you can. I can't stress enough how important it is that you surround yourself with a community of believers. It is so important that you find a place where you can be sharpened spiritually as "iron sharpens iron."
 
Develop healthy habits, and make them your daily routine. You have been developing habits your entire life … keep the good ones, dump the bad ones, and avoid new habits that will keep you from being the best version of you.
 
One pastor had this to say about spiritual discipline, “You can’t love and serve others if you don’t lead and feed yourself.”
 
But I want to caution you that there is a danger in being overly nearsighted in your approach to life.
 
Again in II Peter, Peter goes on to say, “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing (virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love), they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
 
The danger is that your world – your friendships, your focus, your future, and your faith – can be limited by your inability to see beyond the day and sometimes the moment. It can also lead to forgetting what the Lord has done for you and who He created you to be – and ultimately blind you to a God’s vision for your future.
 
If taking a nearsighted approach to life means focusing daily on what is directly in front of you, then a farsighted approach would be taking the time to prayerfully consider your future and to develop a roadmap for how you will get there.
 
More often than not, as my pastor puts it, “The Lord speaks to us in sentences not paragraphs.” The whole story would be too overwhelming for us!
 
But there are some practical things that you can do to adopt a farsighted approach in your life.
 
Again, it starts with your relationship with Jesus, and grows as you exercise faith in His plan for you.
 
Paul says this in II Corinthians 4:18, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.” Creating a vision for your future will require faith.
 
I want to challenge you … before you embark on this college journey, decide who you want to be and who you want to become.
 
What type of character do you want to possess?
 
In this new season of your life, who do you want to be as a son or daughter, friend, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, leader … who do you want to be?
 
Peter’s list is a great starting point!
 
Have a plan for dealing with difficult situations that stand in opposition to your faith and your character.
 
Who you become will go a long way in determining what you become.
 
I encourage you to involve others in seeking God’s vision for your future.
 
These individuals should be trustworthy and willing to speak truth into your life no matter the circumstances, which includes your family, friends, pastors, professors, and anyone who you believe will bring Godly wisdom to your journey.
 
I want close with a few questions for you to consider. If you were to sit down tomorrow with future you (5 years, 10 years …), what kind of person would you hope that you have become? What things would you hope that you have accomplished? What kind of impact would you hope to have for the Kingdom of God?
 
For some of you, life is easier when you are able to focus on that which is directly in front of you. For others, you are constantly thinking about the future and what could be.
 
I want to encourage you to find a balance between being nearsighted and farsighted in your approach to life. I am confident that this will help you connect with God’s vision for your life.
 
Enjoy the journey and know that you have a school family here at Liberty Christian that loves you, prays for you, and will be here for you. We are all so proud of you, and you will always have a home at Liberty. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior!