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Centennial Convocation: The Best is Yet to Come

September 2, 2009

As the Oklahoma Baptist University community kicked off its Centennial celebration with its Fall Convocation, OBU President David Whitlock predicted that God has great things planned for the university's future.

OBU's celebration of a century of achievement officially began with the first of two centennial convocations Wednesday morning, Sept. 2, in the university's Raley Chapel. The convocation, which traditionally marks the beginning of the academic year, launched an 18-month celebration of OBU's centennial anniversary, utilizing the theme "Proudly Stand On Bison Hill: The First 100 Years."

Dr. Whitlock said "anticipation" describes the Christian life as believers seek to know Christ, His plans, and the blessings He has in store for his followers. Likewise, Whitlock said he anticipates God has great things in store for OBU. 

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Drawing from John 1:44-51, the OBU president described how Nathanael, one of Christ's disciples, first met Jesus. In that brief interaction, Jesus revealed He knew about Nathanael's past and present. Nathanael needed no more convincing: he confessed Jesus as the Son of God, as Lord.

Jesus responded that He not only knew Nathanael's past and his present, but also that He had something to say about Nathanael's future, telling him, "You will see greater things than this" (John 1:50).

"Here's the Whitlock paraphrase: 'You think that's something? Just wait until you see what's next,'" Whitlock said.

"The rest of Nathanael's life would be punctuated with miracles upon miracles upon miracles," Whitlock said. "He would witness the deaf hear, the lame walk, and even the dead rise up from the grave. He would witness the amazing miracles wrought by his Messiah, Jesus. He would witness Jesus' death, and three days later see evidence Christ was resurrected. He would meet his risen Savior in the upper room, eat breakfast with Him on the seashore and watch Him ascend into heaven."

"Nathanael's entire life would be a life of expectation that greater things are ahead, that grander things are around the corner and that nobler things are just up around the corner," Whitlock said.

"I'm not sure of the path you took in getting to OBU," he said. "I'm not sure you realize that you were joining the OBU family during this very special centennial year. But faculty, staff, students: I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has a plan for you, and He has ordained you to be here at this point, at this time, and that He has prepared a future for you. I know for certain God has you here at this point in your life and at this point in our history as a university for a divine purpose.

"I hope you're living in anticipation of what God is going to do."

Convocation included the introduction of employees who have joined OBU since Jan. 1, 2009, including seven new faculty members and 20 new administration and staff members.

The centennial celebration will continue throughout the 2009-10 academic year and culminate at the end of December 2010.