Monday, June 04, 2007

We came, we saw, we GRADUATED!

Wow, what a weekend! It might take me a few days to just catch my breath.

Friday evening I started the weekend off by shopping with my parents for all the food, beverages and plate ware we would need for the whole weekend. We got some really good grub!

Communion Service
Friday evening was our Communion Service in Benson Great Hall. We sang quite a bit, and then got a really solid message from my favorite seminary professor, Dr. Peter Vogt. I had Dr. Vogt for both Hermeneutics as well as Genesis to Ruth (he is primarily an OT department guy). Dr. Vogt managed to tie in hermeneutics, his OT background, his service in the Navy, and his own personality into an engaging message. Unfortunately he was working with only about 25% of his voice as a virus of some sort has been ravaging his body the past week or so. He said that while it might sound bad, it doesn't hurt him to talk, so not to worry about it.

We also received a servant's towel reminding us who we are to be going forward from this day. The professors and seminary staff then paired up and prayed for those of us who were graduating while everyone else completed taking communion. Theology professor Dr. Kyle Roberts and my former classmate and Greek professor Holly Beers both prayed for me.

Dr Leland Eliason, Executive Director and Provost of the Seminary then concluded with a very passionate and emotional message from his heart. I love listening to Dr. Eliason, he is a very gifted communicator.

Following the Communion service, my wife and myself, along with my parents and in-laws all went for dinner at Famous Dave's. Famous Dave's has a bit of history with my family, but this time no major announcements were made. The six of use shared the All-American BBQ Feast -
a full slab of spareribs, a whole chicken, ½ pound of either Texas beef brisket or Georgia chopped pork, coleslaw, Famous Fries, Wilbur Beans, four corn bread muffins and four corn-on-the-cob. We added some extra corn and corn bread muffins and all left completely full.

Saturday morning I had to be back at school bright and early for the practice run for graduation. That went very smoothly, and we were in and out in far less time than I expected. We did get to hear a message from a graduate of the 1957 class of Bethel Seminary (there were 5 men in total honored this weekend for their 50 years of ministry from that class). The list of their accomplishments was remarkable, and their diligence, perseverance, and dedication is and example to us all.

Commencement and Investiture
The 2007 graduating class is the biggest in the history of Bethel Seminary. We had 144 graduates from our main campus, and another 30 or so from Seminary of the East and San Diego. Our Keynote Speaker was Gordon MacDonald, and his message was timely and meaningful. He prefaced his message with the warning that he couldn't remember any of the messages someone else gave at any of his graduations, so he wasn't expecting us to remember much either! What he did talk about was the critical transactions in our lives, and especially in our ministry in helping people step into faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. His message was spot on, and far better than any other at this type of function than I have previously heard.

Following a brief reception on campus, all my friends and family in attendance made their way over to our house for the real part. We BBQ'ed huge burgers and cheddar brats. Had some great fruit salad, potato salad, corn, tons of various beverages, cheese and crackers, and carrot cake. I'm sure there was more food than that (my fridge is still full!) but you get the idea. We ate and conversed for the next 4 hours. It was wonderful to have everybody over and to be able to relax and enjoy their company. Special recognition goes out to my brother Chad who drove up from Sioux Falls, SD. Chad got caught up in the mess created by having 35W shut down South of downtown Minneapolis all weekend. Chad managed to drive up Cedar Ave. from the Airport and found his way to Bethel without a map and only sketchy directions over the phone from me. He even made it on time! After grilling all the meat and hanging out for a few hours, he turned around and drove back to Sioux Falls! That's a great brother.

After everyone left my parents and my wife and I relaxed on our driveway around a campfire eating S'mores and enjoying the only time all weekend it didn't seem to be raining.

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