In 1979, I arrived on the Oral Roberts University (ORU) campus with little idea of what I wanted to do with my life or the impact Oral Roberts would have. My first job on campus was sweeping the floors of the TV studio – my 6 am shift happened to occur on Thanksgiving and as I began the normally monotonous job of sweeping the floors, I heard a booming voice coming from the bleachers.
“Son, don’t you know its Thanksgiving?” came a deep husky voice that startled me.
Normally at 6 am, the TV studio is pretty quiet and this voice made me stand straight up. Oral Roberts stood before me.
“Yes sir,” I responded nervously, “but it was my day to work.”
I didn’t even notice his director, Matt Conolley, was standing next to Oral. “Matt?” Oral exclaimed, “See this? Let’s get students like him to catch the vision and go to the four corners of the earth.”
Yesterday I stood at the very spot where that brief early morning life changing encounter occured. Oral opened a vision in me to go to the corners of the earth. I learned first hand about excellence, education and ministry. Oral taught me valuable lessons about balance in our personal and professional lives. The beginnings of my real education, through the chance meeting, taught me about commitment and provided me great opportunities to learn. Though my mistakes were many when I began directing and producing, Oral was patient, graceful, and firm. He would never accept anything less than my absolute best in production, ministry, and life. As a testimony to Oral (who died on December 15, 2009), here are a few of the life-changing lessons he taught me:
- Whatever you do, do it will all you heart, mind and soul. Don’t be half-hearted in anything, but do everything well.
- No matter what you do or where you go, you are sowing seeds. Do everything you can to sow good seeds. If you do, you will reap sweet fruit; a great harvest.
- Regardless of what others say about you or the work you do, always focus on the vision. Keep your eyes fixed ahead.
- Always think of the people and their needs first: Heal the sick, mend the broken hearted, set the captives free.
Oral inspired me to seek God for my own vision, to sow seeds with our time, talent, and treasure, and to do everything with my body, mind, and soul. I am proud to have his stain on my soul and to wear the badge of an ORU grad. After going to the four corners of the earth, now its time for me to give back.
In the rebirth of ORU, I’ll be working to lead the Advancement efforts: Development, Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Music Ministry and TV Outreaches.
In this historic period of time we have one big dream; to fulfill the mandate:
Raise up my students to hear my voice, go where my light is dim, where my voice is heard small and my healing power is not known, even to the utter most bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased.
As I reflect back on those early days at ORU, I praise God that Oral saw a vision in a confused young man and helped form me to become the man I am today. Today, I stand where the four corners meet, ready to join this top ranked administration team and am grateful for the opportunity to give back. I look forward to training others to be the light in darkness, music in the silence and the power of the Almighty where healing is needed.