Identity: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual (or university).
This year I will be preaching a sermon series titled “ID: In Christ” through Ephesians. In addition, our faculty and staff meeting this year focused on “Identity: Knowing Who We Are.” My third goal for the year is to “review our messaging.” The focus of this goal will be to synthesize, simply, and clarify our communication where possible. We can all generally state our vision and direction, but we can improve communicating our vision with pinpoint accuracy and crystal clear communication. As you can see, the Lord has been focusing my attention on identity from many different directions.
Often with chapel, we find it easy to focus on the students and what they need to learn from chapel, but this year, I hope we will all listen closely to the message of Ephesians and allow the Word of God to speak to each of us individually and to all of us collectively. Many different elements help explain who I am as a person, but my distinguishing characteristic that affects everything else flows from being “in Christ.” It affects the type of husband I am, the type of father I am, the type of employee I am, and the type of citizen I am. This principle holds true for each of us, and it affects the way we live, teach, and work. We live differently because we do everything as unto the Lord. Our lives and all contained in them should be worship for the purpose of glorifying God.
For an institution, the concept differs. Institutions cannot necessarily be “in Christ,” but our institution does stand for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. This motto makes us different in every way. As we continue to look at our institutional wording, we need to distinguish ourselves from other so-called “Christian universities.” How we do that is the question. All that we do at Cedarville in every square inch of the campus is intended to be under the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In every area, we corporately and institutionally worship God for the purpose of glorifying Him.
Cedarville University, like our lives, is a stewardship. I pray that in every facet of our lives and our campus we will faithfully steward what God entrusts to us. So, this year as we walk through Ephesians, let’s evaluate our individual identity to make sure we haven’t created idols or adopted a false identity as our distinguishing characteristic. Likewise, let us evaluate every individual area and our entire University to ensure that we haven’t idolized one component of what we do or adopted a false identity that conflicts with being an institution for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ. I pray that we all grow and learn together and that the Lord starts His work in my own heart as I seek to grow closer to Him.
In Christ Alone,
Cedarville University President