OBU observed its annual Founder’s Day celebration during the chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 6. The event was held in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee. Founder’s Day is held annually to commemorate the university’s incorporation in 1910.
Acting President Dr. Will Smallwood welcomed guests and introduced the speaker, Dr. Todd Fisher. Next, Dr. Susan DeWoody, vice president for academic affairs, read the opening passage in Lamentations 3:19-26. The University Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Brent Ballweg, Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music, then performed “Old Time Religion.”
Fisher, senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Shawnee, delivered the 2019 Founder’s Day address. His theme was “Christianity in History.”
“When you think about history from the biblical Christian perspective, it gives us a tremendous amount of hope and it adds a tremendous amount of purpose and understanding to the unfolding of history in the world,” he said.
During his message, Fisher challenged students, faculty, staff and administration to see the importance of history and how each day we are a part of history.
“The way to understand the truth of history is that you have to go to the one who is outside of it,” he said. “If you want to understand the meaning of time and history, you have to go to the one who actually gives it meaning.”
Fisher continued by examining various elements of the Christian view of history, beginning with the doctrine of creation. He stated that we are all created by God, which was no accident. He encouraged the audience members to find their identity in God as all people are fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
He then discussed the doctrine of God’s providence, that God has a hand in everything.
“We have to trust in the goodness of God as He oversees history,” he said. “God’s purpose in history is not to build empires and not to build buildings. God’s purpose in history is to build character and to build conduct in His children that glorifies Him.”
The third point examined was the doctrine of revelation, meaning that God has already revealed Himself to us through His word.
“As humans, we are sinful, we cannot be trusted to be the determiners or the arbiters of what is true,” he said. “And so, God tells us in His word who He is, who we are, how we are right with Him. He tells us in His word how we got here, what awaits us when we die. The Bible is God’s absolute and propositional truth for us.
“The Bible is to infuse its meaning into us if we are to rightly understand all that is around us. In that framework, we have a two-part responsibility. Our part in history is this: to live for Christ with sincerity and passion, and to be His witnesses throughout the world.”
He then continued with the doctrine of redemption, referencing 2 Corinthians 5:19. He also examined the doctrine of the final judgment, using John 5:25-29.
“You are a part of history, and you find your place in it,” he said. “The meaning of history in one sense is found in the choices you are making today. It’s found in who you are placing your faith in, your trust in; what you choose to believe is true and valuable; and how you want to live and invest your life.”
“Understand the role that you are playing in history right now and how He wants to use you for His glory and purposes.”
Fisher has 27 years of pastoral ministry and has been the senior pastor at Immanuel since 2003. Born and raised in Fort Worth, he made his way to Oklahoma to attend OBU, where he met his wife Jamy whom he married in 1994. They have three children and love serving together as a part of the amazing things God is doing at IBC Shawnee.
A 1992 graduate of OBU, Fisher completed his Master of Divinity in Biblical Languages at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1996. He completed a Doctor of Ministry in 2001 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. and Th.M. in 2018 at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
Fisher is committed to encouraging and equipping people to grow as disciples through his ministry at IBC, blogging and speaking opportunities. Passionate about preaching and teaching the Bible, he serves as an adjunct faculty member at OBU and SWBTS. He loves spending time with his family and attending his children’s activities.