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Forest speaks at MACU convocation: Lt. gov. praises MACU students

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North Carolina Lt. Gov. Dan Forest addresses students and faculty at Mid-Atlantic Christian University's 70th annual convocation at MACU, Tuesday. Forest lauded MACU students for their choice of university, saying it shows they want their life "to reflect Jesus Christ."

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In a back-to-school address Tuesday that touched only briefly on political themes, Lt. Gov. Dan Forest Tuesday praised Mid-Atlantic Christian University students for their decision to attend a Christian university.

Forest told students they don’t look any different than students at N.C. State University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — state-operated universities he said his own children have attended — yet they are different because they chose to enroll at a school where they will build their education on the foundation of the Bible.

“There is something different about you because you chose to come here — to say ‘I want my life to reflect Jesus Christ,’” Forest told students during MACU’s 70th opening convocation.

Forest, the state’s lieutenant governor since 2012, urged students to take advantage of their opportunity at MACU to learn God’s truth.

“Don’t squander this opportunity,” he said.

Forest also told students that probably the most exciting time in the history of the world is in front of them.

The lieutenant governor pointed out that the group of students in front of him included people of all races and backgrounds, and from different nations.

“What a phenomenal opportunity to talk to one another about what these confrontations about race are about,” Forest said.

In his only real foray into political commentary during his address at MACU, Forest alluded to the violence at the recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that included the death of a woman protesting white supremacy. Forest said that both the white supremacists who were protesting the removal of a Confederate monument in Charlottesville and the Antifa counter-protesters who showed up to oppose them are filled with hate.

Following the violence, President Trump was criticized for commenting that there was violence “on both sides” at the rally and for claiming that there were “very good people” among both the protesters and counter-protesters.

In an interview after his address, Forest said President Trump should have handled his response to the Charlottesville violence better.

“First and foremost, you should just condemn all kinds of terrorist activity and these hate groups that are out there,” Forest said.

During his address, Forest urged MACU students to take the time to listen to each others’ stories, to talk about the meaning of loving one’s neighbor and the meaning of making disciples of all nations.

Forest told students a basic challenge will be to resist peer pressure as they move out into the world.

“What are you going to do when your faith gets challenged?” Forest asked.

The first task in education is to understand God’s truth, Forest said. That truth includes God’s power in creation, which shows that there is nothing that God can’t do, he said.

“Understanding Biblical truth is very important as you go forward,” Forest said.

You should be ready to defend your faith, and to do that you must understand what truth is, he said.

“Truth is truth,” Forest said. “Either something is true or it is not.”

Forest talked about cultural trends such as selfie sticks and fast-food drive-thrus, and said people today suffer from “hurry sickness” because of the fast pace of life.

“We don’t have time for life,” Forest said. “Life just passes us by.”

Forest told students they needed to ask why they are here and what God is preparing them to do.

“And then be about that work,” he said.

“We are not our own,” Forest said, telling the students they need to live for Christ.

Forest said it’s important to take the time for others, not being so busy that you don’t have time to be interrupted by other people’s needs.

“Jesus lived an interrupted life,” Forest said.

He said the question to ask is, “Do I have time for my neighbor?”

If you take the time to listen to people’s stories and understand what they are going through you will respond with greater compassion, he said. Forest said he didn’t become a believer in Jesus Christ until he was 30.

“I lived in the darkness of the world for 30 years,” Forest said.

Forest closed his address with some thoughts he said had been shared with him by his Christian mentors. He said everyone should have a mentor and everyone should be a mentor.

The thoughts included:

* Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (biblical reference to Matthew 6:33)

* Do something that you like doing

* Always tell the truth and do the right thing, no matter the cost

* Always be willing to laugh at yourself

* Give away at least 10 percent of everything you make

* Don’t take credit for what you do. Give the credit to people who have helped you and always give credit to God.

* Listen more and talk less

* Live within your means, no matter how much money you make

* Read a lot, but focus on God’s Word.

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