‘Be very careful to love the Lord your God’ was Rev. Brian Edwards’ text, from Joshua 23:11, preached on at WEST’s dedication service on Saturday 24 September.
His first application was to the students. What could be more important to remember in an institution dedicated to the instruction of future Christian leaders?
It was a warning to guard against coldness and emptiness and to keep close to everything that promotes love for God. The first and great commandment requires passionate obedience to God. Who else can command love?
We must watch out for distractions. Is my heart fixed on him? Love for God will guarantee a right use of knowledge.
Our obedience demonstrates how much we love, as does our prayer life and attitude to worship. It influences how we work — our heavenly Father is watching.
How do we treat our brothers and sisters in Christ? What about our relationship with the world? Are we distinct in our thinking, speaking and deeds? Is Christ our role model in compassion? Is our focus on here or hereafter, things or him?
What about our attitude to circumstances? Do we grumble like the Israelites on the way to the Promised Land or submit to God’s will? If we love the Lord, evangelism is overflow from a full heart. Jesus took our guilt, paid our punishment and made atonement for us. Be careful to love him in return.
Earlier in the day, the principal, Jonathan Stephen, listed a number of recent encouragements, including many students called to ministry; excellent exam results; new staff appointments; Tom Holland’s critically acclaimed book on Romans; work under way on a new building on campus; funding future staff appointments; and scholarships at SaRang Church.
He presented challenges, such as visa difficulties facing overseas students, university validation issues and providing for Welsh-speaking churches. There was also the need to raise £250,000 to meet running costs.
He introduced some of the new undergraduates. Twelve were interviewed from England, Wales and Scotland; and one from Canada. This was Brock Pavier, who had sold his house in Calgary and moved with his wife and three young children to South Wales.