Mr. Jack Shaw’s Comments
Naming Ceremony at Emmanuel College
October 5, 2013
Jack and Jane
Shaw Athletic Center
To exalt Jesus Christ
First, let me say I am honored by the comments of Dr. Melton and the gracious introduction by President Stewart. Nevertheless, this is not about Jack Shaw; it is to honor and exalt Jesus Christ.
When my parents enrolled me at Emmanuel, it was not a school of recognition. Nevertheless, true to her name, Emmanuel, God was with us. In God’s providence, Emmanuel was the place for me. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for the sacrifice of the faculty and staff who poured of themselves into my life. My DREAMS, my HOPES, my LIFE are embedded in that foundation for which I am debtor to many people.
The Emmanuel College of today has been built upon the foundation laid by those who have gone before us. Now, building on a history of 94 years and guided by the vision and passion of President Stewart and his administrative team, a proven Board of Trustees, and a faculty and staff of unquestioned loyalty and commitment, Emmanuel has become a recognized and desired institution of academic excellence of which we can all be justly proud. Look around you—this is not your father’s Emmanuel.
I could go on in this vein, but I won’t.
Why are we here today?
This is Homecoming Weekend, but why have we gathered here at this hour? Let me share with you.
Approximately three years ago, walking with Brian James to what was then a vacant undisturbed spot, Brian shared with me that an Athletic Center was about to be birthed on this spot. For years, an athletic center had been the dream and vision of many for this campus. My brother, Larry, the first of the Shaw family to attend Emmanuel, was one of those dreamers.
Larry and Joyce, my sister-in-law, shared with me their desire to make a significant gift to Emmanuel. I encouraged them to discuss their gift with Brian James before writing their check. I then asked Brian to share with them the opportunities for gifts toward the athletic center. And, as most of you know, Larry and Joyce made an early gift dedicated to what would be the Larry and Joyce Shaw Wellness Center. Subsequently, prior to the opening of this athletic center, Larry went to heaven.
Personally, I also had personal thoughts along with a desire to be a part of the athletic center as Brian shared the vision with me—thoughts that for me seemed impossible at the time. Nevertheless, deep in my heart and spirit, there was a stirring that would not leave me. That’s the way it is when the Holy Spirit is at work in a person.
When you know that you know that you know,
even though you don’t know HOW,
don’t give up your dream, your vision.
When God gives a vision, He will give the provision.
All God asks of us is OBEDIENCE.
God will fulfill each promise of His Word as we fulfill the conditions of the promise.
All of this was happening in the heat of the Great Recession.
Hear me, and hear me well: God has never had a RECESSION or a DEPRESSION. God’s supply for meeting man’s need is inexhaustible. Even in our desperation, the Bible says
“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Carl Sandburg wrote, “Nothing happens but first a dream.”
In Joel 2:28-29(NIV), God said
“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophecy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”
God gives dreams and visions are for a reason. Dreams and visions are precursors of a reality prophesied and promised. Dreams do come to pass. Your dreams and visions will come to pass. BELIEVE His Word.
It is impossible to be on these grounds without observing that GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING ON THIS CAMPUS. The question is will we allow Him to fulfill the dreams, the visions? Even after 94 years, what we are observing today is just a foretaste of what is to come.
Now, let’s talk about the athletic center. This athletic center is unashamedly Christian. Not every college or university center can say that.
- This athletic center is not a private, exclusive club. It is open to all the public, and it is affordable.
- The events that take place here are a ministry, an outreach with the primary purpose “TO EXHALT JESUS CHRIST.”
- The objective of this center is to introduce sports fans to a Christian, family-oriented environment and to generate an atmosphere that will cause people to come here often—win or lose—because of the energy and spirit of this place.
- Many people who will come here you won’t see in church. Their only Bible is the sports page. Their church is an arena, an athletic center. What an opportunity this presents for Emmanuel. Through the medium of sports and the events that take place here, may we be among those who take the Gospel into everyone’s world by planting “the good seed.”
To the trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, alumni, student body, God-gifted athletes, and loyal fans who will frequently gather here, you will always be on exhibit. Having said that, let us always keep in mind who we are: we are EMMANUEL!
May I conclude by borrowing the phrase, “I have a DREAM”?
I have a dream that on these red hills of Georgia, this place will be a beacon drawing a diversity of God’s creation to come together “TO EXHALT JESUS CHRIST” until He comes again.
I have a dream that the prayers of saints gone before and the prayers of many around the world for EMMANUEL today will emanate in a fresh fire of a heaven born, Holy Ghost revival … a fire that will be fanned into a flame that will spread from this campus to the ends of the earth.
This is my dream. This is the mission of Emmanuel.
Is that your dream? Your vision?
2 Chronicles 7:14:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
As a symbolic act, would each of you draw an imaginary circle around the place where you are seated or standing and invite God to begin His revival in you?
And, may it begin NOW!
And now, my prayer, as we leave this place today is that each of you will have personally experienced EMMANUEL.