I guess maybe it's because I'm graduating this spring and I've been pretty sentimental about my years at Liberty University. Or maybe it's because my path to my Bachelors Degree was pretty difficult and lead me through many minefields. Maybe it's the wisdom that comes with being 48 and taking 28 of those years to get this beloved degree. I don't know.
One thing it has given me is a very unique perspective on my alma mater and the man who founded it. My college career spans four decades. I started in 1984, resumed in 1994 and now it's 2012. I remember when Liberty was Liberty Baptist College. I remember when we had about 1200 students and the mountain was mostly vacant.
Everything that is now Liberty University existed solely in the heart of Dr. Jerry Falwell as recently as 40 years ago. In the life of a University, Liberty is a baby. To go from a "Bible school" meeting in church classrooms with 141 students to a world class university with a Law School, now a Medical school, an amazing campus and the eighth largest student body of ANY US college in that time...that can ONLY be attributed to this being God's plan.
That's my point this morning. How really right Doc was. And how that was confirmation that L.U. was something very special indeed.
I remember in 1984 sitting in Chapel and hearing Doc tell us about his dream of a "Liberty Channel" where we could see Liberty / TRBC programming 24/7. How would this happen? Because there was this new thing coming called "Satellite TV" and it would revolutionize everything. Not those monster 6 foot dishes you see in rural areas...no Doc told us the new technology was an 18 inch disc you could mount on the corner of your house. Riiiight Doc! Like THAT'S ever going to happen!
By 1994 Dish Network and Direct TV were commonplace and by 2012 they are an afterthought. Nobody even thinks about satellite TV it's just there...like Coke or Pepsi.
He told us about online education in 1984 too. He called it "Distance Learning" and started a program called LUSSL "Liberty University School of Lifelong Learning". He trumpeted it loudly and clearly and we all thought he was joking...or at least had oversold the concept. And now...Your's truly is getting his degree 28 years after hearing Doc talk about this. In fact if not for LU Online there is NO WAY I'd be graduating from Liberty this year or any year. And to be honest...if I had to go to any other school to finish what I began in 1984 it would have been such a hollow victory. LU Online is the 3rd largest online school in the US now. And may I say...it has been one of the most seamless and smooth experiences I have ever had in my entire college education.
Yesterday I was thinking...as I was reading Tweets from Shannon Bream of Fox News, whom I follow on Twitter...that I remember Doc saying that they were going to use The Liberty Channel to expand the School of Communications so that one day there would be a Liberty grad on a major network reporting the news as an alternative to the liberal twist normally reserved for reportage. I watch Shannon on Fox and I realize how Doc was spot-on...again.
Doc saw an amazing an beautiful campus where we saw bramble and rock. Doc saw a church and a seminary and a law school where we saw the old Ericsson building. Doc saw D-1 athletics and Young Champions on and off the field.
Doc saw things that had not happened yet because Doc's vision was truly from God. Thats how you know if you're following a real leader who is really moving with God's blessing. He can truly "Call those things which are not as if they are" as the Bible says.
I am beginning to use this as a measuring stick for my own visions. There had to have been a moment in each vision when Doc got some sort of confirmation and he moved from "What if" to "When this...". Doc was never wrong about things! It's amazing. I want to try to say that about my own life and ministry. God knows I haven't done it very well until now.
The only big dream of Doc's I can remember that hasn't happened yet is that so far, we haven't beaten Notre Dame in South Bend. Doc always said that and we always laughed. Nowadays...it wouldn't surprise me.
I'm wracking my brain to see if I recall Doc ever saying LU would one day produce a NYT best selling author. That'd be nice...especially if it was my book that he was talking about.
Doc was more than a visionary, he was right about it!
That's how I know God was the source of his vision. That's the benchmark for us all. Where are we going...where am I going? If God is behind it...we'll be right about it.