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Lessons Of Hope From Our Grandchildren

September 1, 2013

I retired as President of Simpson University in Redding, California in May of this year after completing 40 years in full-time leadership, the past 33 in Christian higher education administration.  It has been a privilege to serve more than three decades in Christ-centered higher education.  However, I had reached a point in my career when it was time to step back and serve the  Lord in a less demanding environment than academic administration.

Retirement has also allowed me to focus more fully on being a husband, a father, and a grandfather.  My wife, Debbie, and I have been spending a great deal of time with our two children, their spouses, and five grandchildren, ranging in age from three to seven.  Our children and grandchildren are a gift from God.

I have particularly enjoyed activities with our grandchildren this summer which have included attending a dance recital, going to the movies, playing in the bouncy house, walking to local parks, splashing in the pool, and eating at McDonalds.  As I watch our grandchildren interact with one another and enjoy the innocence of childhood, it continues to be my hope that they will grow up to be men and women of God.  It is even my hope that they will attend a Christian college or university and find their experience to be what King David described in Psalm 127.

"The Lord is my light and my salvation--whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid?  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.  One thing I ask of the Lord, that is what I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.  For in the day of trouble, he will keep me safe in his dwelling, he will hide me in the shelter of the tabernacle and set me high upon a rock."  Psalm 127:3-5

It is hard to see our grandchildren come into this world without shuttering at the thought of all the battles that could erupt in their lifetimes--economic, cultural, environmental, military, and spiritual.  Yet, i share David's confidence that "in the day of trouble, he will keep me safe. . . ."

It is my prayer that the current and future students in our Christian colleges and universities will also proclaim:  "to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."  It is my hope that students will find the house of the Lord not to be a fortress that protects them from the world, but a home that shows the beauty of the Lord in all the subjects they study and in all the relationships they cultivate.  It is my hope that students find themselves in the company of Christians who are humble enough to admit how little they understand and caring enough to ask difficult questions.  Finally, it is my hope that students will be God's agents of transformation in the world.

As I am now transitioning to a new professional chapter in my life, a higher education consultant specializing in institutional effectiveness, strategy, and change for Christian colleges and universities,  I could not be more excited about advancing Christ-centered higher eduction.  I has been good to be reminded about lessons of hope from our grandchildren, and our students, as I embark upon this new journey.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Education Consultant

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