Baccalaureate Service 2019: Conversing with God
Excited soon-to-be graduates entered Maranatha Baptist University’s gym for a special evening celebration—the Baccalaureate service—which is a time to recognize the achievements of the graduates and spiritually encourage them in preparation for the commencement exercises.
Dr. Bryan Brock, Associate Professor in the Department of Bible and Church Ministries, opened the service with prayer, thanking the Lord for the privilege of working with the graduates and for God’s grace in helping the students persevere through their studies.
After the opening prayer, Dr. Marty Marriott, President of Maranatha Baptist University, welcomed the graduates’ family members, local ministers, alumni, MBU board members, and faculty to the baccalaureate service. He announced that this year’s graduating class is the biggest in Maranatha’s history.
A highlight of this ceremony was the announcing of awards, which came right after the Heritage Singers ensemble sang “O God, My Joy.” The chair members announced the individual awards for their schools and colleges.
- College of Bible and Church Ministries: Cameron Rankin
- Department of Applied Science: Ethan (Grant) Gillespie
- Department of Humanities: Sydney Luttrull
- Department of Music: Justine Ostrander
- School of Business: Scott Henderson
- School of Education: Hope Cupery
- School of Nursing: Kelly Dyck
- Online and Distance Nursing: Marilyn Huether
- Seminary – Biblical Languages: Stephanie Hommes
After the announcement of awards, graduating seniors Priscilla Bishop and Ashley Distad played “Living for Jesus” for the offertory.
After the offertory, Dr. David Saxon, Professor in the Department of Bible and Church Ministries, read from Hebrews 11:24-40, a passage of scripture detailing the great faith of those who followed God during Old Testament times.
Graduating senior Sydney Luttrull sang “I Am Weak, But You Are Strong,” reminding those in attendance to seek God in our times of need.
Baccalaureate Message: Abraham’s Conversation with God
David Anderson, the senior pastor of Heritage Baptist Church in Roscoe, IL, delivered the sermon for the baccalaureate service. His text was Genesis 15, and he focused on Abraham’s ongoing conversation with God.
Pastor Anderson detailed how the Lord appeared to Abraham and reminded him that He was Abraham’s “shield and great reward.” Abraham, who was childless, continued the conversation with the Lord, asking how he would know that God would fulfill His previous promise from Genesis 12.
Anderson said that when Abraham did not understand the next step in his life or how God would fulfill the promise to make a great nation of him, he began to converse with God about his concerns. Because Abraham continued to dialogue with God, the Lord responded to him and reminded Abraham that He would do what He had said and that He would always be with him.
Anderson noted that Abraham kept conversing with God throughout the chapter and into the next one. He said, “Abraham, with a heart that wants to know, talks to God.” As Abraham continued dialoguing with God, the Lord revealed more of His plan to him.
Anderson then asked the graduates if their relationship with God reflected the kind of relationship that Abraham had with God. He admonished them not to compartmentalize Christianity, noting that their future relationship with God would be dependent upon their having a continual conversation with Him through the reading of His Word, with surface-Christianity on just Sundays and Wednesdays being insufficient. Like Abraham, Anderson suggested the graduates may not know where the next step of life would take them. However, like Abraham, Anderson said they needed to continue conversing with God and to trust Him.
“You see, God’s patience and God’s plan are always perfect,” said Anderson. “Graduate—be patient with God. His timing is exactly right. Wait on Him. Trust His Word. Know of a surety, as God told Abraham. Have a conversation with God.”
In conclusion, Chad Prigge, pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Watertown, WI, offered the benediction, asking for God’s blessing for each of us to realize the next step in our lives to fulfill His will.