One of the few hymns even younger Christian students still know is called ‘The Doxology.’ It is sung in congregations around the world every Sunday. The words are:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
These words were written by Anglican pastor, Thomas Ken, while he served as chaplain at Winchester College during the years 1669-1679. It was called the “Morning Hymn” and originally contained 14 stanzas. The words we know as the Doxology come from the last stanza. It is both a hymn of praise and an expression of thanksgiving to God “from whom all blessings flow.”
What blessings have flowed into your life this year? Thanksgiving week is a great time to pause and recall some of the blessings of this past year. Here are a few things that I am thankful for as I reflect on our past year at CCU.
1 In-person, in-seat education
Last year and this year CCU has offered in-seat training in our residential college and we are so glad we did. Students did not want to put their futures on hold. Many schools shut down but we stayed open.
2 Corporate singing and corporate worship
This year many of us transitioned from online church back to in-person corporate worship. We did not realize how much we missed and needed corporate singing, prayer, and communion, but did we ever!
3 In May we graduated the largest class in CCU’s history
Our students are our gift to the world. I’m thankful we get to shape them and then send them out—class after class, wave after wave. I’m thankful for the influence they will have.
4 12th year of consecutive record enrollment this Fall
This Fall we hit a new enrollment record in a year. Over the last two years four-year colleges were down 6.5% in enrollment, junior colleges were down 14%. We now have over 9,000 students.
5 My prayer team
I am grateful for a group of people that pray for me regularly. As Paul put it, they help us by their prayers (2 Corinthians 1:11). God’s work goes forward by prayer.
6 I’m grateful for the many special guests who spoke at CCU events or visited our campus
These include Ryan Anderson, Sammy Rodriguez, Bradley Green, Jeremy Pierre, Tony Reinke, Greg Smalley, Timothy George, Alistair Begg, Governor Scott Walker, Victor Davis Hanson, among many others.
7 The hope of heaven
We said good bye to my wife’s parents early this year who died of Covid and Covid complications within two weeks of each other. It was our loss, but we said good bye with gospel hope, believing in “the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”
8 Vaccines (but not government mandates)
I am grateful to live in a time when there are vaccines against serious diseases. I did get the Covid vaccine and it has freed me up to travel and be with older friends. While I oppose the government mandating them, I am grateful for their widespread availability.
9 Doctors and nurses
We’ve had plenty of family members hospitalized this year for sickness and surgeries. We are so thankful for the blessing of good doctors and nurses.
What a difference they make!
10 President’s Weekend
Earlier this year we finished raising funds for the Armstrong Center. We are so thankful for this philanthropy milestone. We are now awaiting city approvals of our site plan and hope to break ground in the first or second quarter of the new year.
11 Engaged and respectful students
I’m also thankful for wonderful and respectful students. Not every university president can say this. I can.
12 Pastors Advisory council
This year we formed a new CCU Pastors Advisory Council so we can stay close to and be a better servant of the church. I am grateful for these pastor-shepherds.
13 My parents at ages 95 and 97
I am so grateful for my parents. They have been such a blessing to me and our family, let alone many others. They still pray for and encourage me.
14 Cabinet and deans
I am grateful to be surrounded by a very gifted, dedicated leadership team who love Jesus, love CCU, and love students.
15 Groups that protect for religious liberty: Becket, ADF, First Liberty
Christian schools are being challenged as never before because of our commitment to Biblical Christianity. I am grateful for the above mentioned groups who are working with Christian schools that are being attacked by the far left.
16 Augustine of Hippo
I describe Augustine as the gift that keeps on giving. I have been so blessed by his writings (The Confessions, The City of God), and keep on discovering more. This year it was his thoughts on education (On Christian Learning).
17 The Danish Bakery
Okay, I had to put this in. We just discovered this new local European bakery near the school that is simply amazing. (Although my wife says it has been a dangerous discovery!)
There is a quip about university presidents and the all-consuming nature of the job. It says: in your first year, you lose your writing time. In your second year you lose your reading time. In your third year, you lose your mind!
Thankfully that has not happened……yet! I will be sharing this year’s favorite reads in an up-coming post.
19 Speaking opportunities
I am grateful for the privilege to teach classes, to speak in chapel, at retreats, at churches, conferences, etc..
20 Completing my 5th year at CCU
Finally, I am grateful to have completed my 5th year as president of CCU.
Time flies. What a privilege and joy.
So there you have it. These are my 20 reasons to give thanks as I reflect on Colorado Christian University in 2021. But my highest doxology is to the triune God for who he is and what he has done for us in Christ. His gifts are wonderful, but as James 1:17 reminds us: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
That’s my doxology. What’s yours?