Jamie Dew, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College president, welcomed new and returning students during Convocation and urged them to remember that worship is an encounter with God.
“Never forget, when we deal with the things of God, we deal with the Almighty, the One who created with the simple word … when we come into His presence, acknowledge Him for who He is,” Dew said in the Aug. 16 service at Leavell Chapel.
Worship can become “familiar,” Dew cautioned. He reminded listeners that being in God’s presence is an “extraordinary moment” but that believers often miss out due to life’s distractions, pride, laziness, feelings of defeat, or even disbelief.
Drawing from Psalm 90, Dew gave three instructions for maintaining the “right posture” in God’s presence and three pointers on how believers should pray in order not “to miss the moment.”
Believers must remember that God is “before all and over all,” Dew said, pointing to verses 1-2. Drawing from verses 4-6, Dew said human life is brief, but God is everlasting. Thirdly, Dew said verses 7-9 show that “a fear of God” is the “appropriate disposition” for sinful humans in the presence of a holy God.
“God is the God who judges all men. God is the God who executes righteousness and holiness and brings justice … God is everlasting. We are not,” Dew said.
Dew charged listeners with three instructions: pray for wisdom to live “with the end in mind” (verse 12); look to God as the source of satisfaction in life (verses 13-15); and ask God to favor the work each is called to do (verses 16-17).
“What is your delight? What is your satisfaction? The psalmist realizes that the only true, lasting, deeply-penetrating, soul-satisfying thing that we have is God,” Dew said. “Your delight can’t be in a passage, your delight can’t be in a doctrine, your delight can’t be in an argument. Your delight has to be in none other than God himself.”
Concluding with verses 16-17, Dew acknowledged that he sees God’s favor resting on NOBTS but said he does not pray for enrollment gains or outward improvements. Rather, what he “most wants” is to do what God wants, Dew said.
“Take it all, Lord. Let us see what you’re wanting to do and now establish the work of our hands in that,” Dew said. He added, “Unless He does it, it will come to nothing.”
In opening the service, Dew explained that convocation is the formal ceremonial beginning “where we acknowledge the seriousness and the greatness of the work that we take up together.”
Norris Grubbs, provost, noted the seminary’s founding in 1917 by vote of the Southern Baptist Convention prior to the penning of the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message. Grubbs explained that the seminary’s first faculty formed the Articles of Religious Belief as their standard of belief and committed publicly to uphold those beliefs and doctrines. Beginning with the first seminary president, Byron H. Dement, each faculty member has signed the document along with the Baptist Faith and Message.
New faculty members signing the NOBTS Articles of Religious Belief and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 were: Chris Shaffer, assistant professor of theology; Gregory Mathias, associate professor of global missions; Thomas Doughty Jr., assistant professor of theology and Christian worldview; Jessica McMillan, assistant professor of music and worship; and Gregory Wilton, assistant professor of missions and evangelism.
Faculty members recognized for service anniversaries were: