Rhema USA Graduates 42nd Class
CHEERS AND APPLAUSE from family and friends greeted Rhema Bible Training College's 42nd class as the 297 graduates filed into the Cox Business Center auditorium in Tulsa. Their caps and gowns showed clearly that they had successfully completed their training and were equipped and eager to enter the harvest fields of the earth.
Rev. Dean Hawk, pastor of Rock Family Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and a 1981 Rhema Bible Training College graduate, delivered the commencement address. Rev. Hawk encouraged and challenged the graduates to do the work God has called them to do.
I want to share five tips that I've learned from being in ministry that can help you successfully run the race set before you.
BREAK THE POWER OF SIN NOW BEFORE IT BREAKS YOU. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV) tells us, "Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Take off those things that entangle and inhibit. When a runner runs, he doesn't put on boots and Levi's and a flannel shirt. No, he strips down to the very essentials and minimum so that there won't be anything that can hinder his race. What do you need to tweak to become the man or woman of God that He wants you to be?
RUN A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT. You see, it's not how you start the race—it's how you finish. When I think about the number of people that I sat shoulder to shoulder with 35 years ago at my graduation, and how many are still serving Jesus and still active in ministry . . . there are casualties along that row. I want to run the full race. When I cross the finish line, I want to hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!" Are you going to finish your race in the will of God?
PUT INTO PRACTICE WHAT YOU'VE HEARD AND SEEN. In James chapter 1 we're told not to be merely listeners to the Word but to be doers of the Word. When you begin to act on the Word, you'll see God do some good things in your life. The Lord has entrusted you to fulfill His mission of sharing the Gospel. He has entrusted you to be His hands and His feet. Don't wait on Him. Do what you've seen and heard.
SUCCESS IS ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S WILL FOR YOUR LIFE. It's not comparing yourself to what somebody else is doing. It's not looking at how large your church or ministry is, or what you're doing for God compared to other people. It's what are you doing with what God told you to do? If you are obeying God, you are the most successful servant in His Kingdom, because you're walking smack down the middle of His perfect will for you.
RUN YOUR RACE, STAY IN YOUR LANE, AND STICK WITH YOUR GIFT. You'll be tempted to take shortcuts in ministry—to go into gray zones when you should stay in the black or the white zone. Live and walk in integrity. And let your gift make room for you. Stop looking for a position, and search, and follow your passion.
As the ceremony ended, the graduates walked out of the auditorium, each holding a lit candle in one hand and a relay runner's baton in the other. Each baton bore these words: "I commit today to carry the baton of revival to this generation. I will carry the banner of faith and God's power to a lost and dying world. This is my time to do all God has called me to do!"
LOOK OUT, WORLD—RHEMA'S CLASS OF 2016 IS COMING TO YOU!