Yes, another reblog. This one is by my good friend, and mentor, John Hunt.
I am scared to let my son go to Vacation Bible School. I am afraid that he will ask Jesus into his heart. I attended VBS many times as a child, though technically I asked Jesus into my heart at church camp in the third grade. I went on mission trips in which we hosted VBS’s for small churches; I was a puppeteer, even a speaker a time or two. We always gave the children an opportunity to ask Jesus into their hearts. I don’t know that we used that formulaic language, I feel like I rejected that sort of thing pretty early on, and yet, honestly, it’s a pretty good image of how I most often live my life as a believer. It’s also pretty close to what we were offering those children we would never see again and what I fear most for my son, that he would…
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This year I have watched a lot of awards shows with my friends. It is always interesting to me how invested people are in watching other people receive awards for accomplishments; especially celebrities who already get enough validation. However, having the friends that I have, it is hard not to become invested in the Oscars or the Grammy’s. Watching these awards shows has made me think about things like:
What would my acceptance speech look like? What in my life has influenced and motivated me to accomplish the things that I have accomplished?
I have been thinking a lot about the people and things that have been an integral part of my college career. Since I graduated from college today, I’ve decided that it is important to thank the influences in my life over the past four years. So, here is my graduation acceptance speech (these are not in any particular order):
Pioneer Drive Baptist Church:
Thank you for being a constant provider of well timed road trips, free meals, and challenging conversations. Thank you for trips to Camp Eagle where the rocks are deceivingly big. Bigger than I expected.
Thank you for continuing to invest many dollars and hours into college students in Abilene. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to develop close friendships with other college students. Thank you for teaching me that life is supposed to be lived together but, at the same time, outside of the church walls.
Thank you for paying for a few of my trips with the college ministry, for funding my internship in California, and for providing me with employment opportunities.
Thank you for teaching me that things that may seem certain in life are probably not going to turn out the way I anticipated.
The Two Johns (Hunt and Whitten):
Thank you for buying me an incalculable number of lunches when I couldn’t afford to buy myself one. Thank you for all the awkward moments and times of laughter.
Thank you both for having conversations with me about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Thank you for challenging my beliefs and reassuring me that it is okay not to have all the answers. Thank you for modelling what it looks like to be leaders in ministry. I hope to lead people in my life similar to the way you two lead.
Thank you for being consistently available to me when I needed it. Thank you for believing in me and my ideas. You two have supported me in more ways than you probably know.
N. 1st Sonic:
Thank you for not taking my coupon for a free Route 44. I got so many free drinks in March and April because of your refusal to check if I even had a coupon in the first place.
Ms. Fisher and Dr. Rhodes:
Thank you for the conversations about the most recent episode of Parenthood. Thank you for being patient with me and listening to me when I talked about things that were unrelated to class. Thank you for opening your house and yourselves to me and my NSO family.
Thank you for challenging me to think about things differently, for introducing new ways of viewing the world, and for offering me your knowledge about the world. Thank you for working extra hours to make sure I graduated on time. Thank you for your commitment to giving students everything they need to succeed.
Without having you two as my professors, my college career would not have been as exciting or fulfilling as it turned out to be.
Abilene Grass Stickers:
Thank you for literally sticking with me through my entire time in Abilene. I’m sure I will find some of you on my clothes in the future.
Taylor, KP, Stacey, Jordan, and Kaitlyn:
Thank you for the many Sonic runs over the past 3 years. Thank you for all of the new music, for supporting me when I wanted dreadlocks, and for giving me dreadlocks. Thank you for the haircuts, movie nights, and Lost marathons.
Thank you for listening to me when I got excited about a new movie or TV show coming out. Thank you for sending me HeyTells and texts when I was across the country or in a different hemisphere.
Thank you for encouraging me to become passionate about things that I am interested in, even if it was something as useless as DJing. By believing in me, you have helped me become confident in my abilities and have helped me gain new ones.
I can’t wait for the future trips we take across the country together. I am excited to see how you all impact the world.
I love each of you.
Blake, Micah, Karl, Clayton, and Michael:
Thank you for listening to me when I WAS TRYING TO MAKE A SUGGESTION!
Thank you for the midnight runs to McDonald’s and Whataburger. Thank you for car rides with the windows down, singing Mr. Brightside at the top of our lungs. Thank you for the sleep-overs, Star Wars and LOTR marathons, video game tournaments, and Settlers of Catan EM-BAR-GOes. Thank you for the baseball cards and techniques on how to not get pantsed. Thank you for the Arrested Development quotes and infinite number of nicknames.
Thank you for letting me play on your intramural teams. Thank you for making me laugh harder than I have ever laughed in my life, for laughing with me, and for laughing at me.
Thank you for accepting me as another member of your group and making me feel like I belong. Thank you for listening to me when I needed to talk, and for getting my mind off of things that I didn’t want to think about.
I consider all of you to be my brothers. I look up to each of you and I try to model my life after you. I will never forget the moments we had together and I hope we continue to make memories in the future.
I love you guys.
For those of you who do not know, I am moving to California. Even though this is the end of my time in Abilene, I do not want it to be the end of the life I have made over the past four years. I hope that I stay in touch with the people I have grown close to since I have lived in Abilene. Send me texts, Facebook/Tweet me, or even (God forbid) give me a call. I will try to do the same.