Thursday, November 17, 2016

Father of the Bride

I knew the day would come. In fact, I've known for 27 years that the day would come. Yet, when it was time for me to stand at my daughter Rachel's wedding and give the traditional toast to the bride and groom, I struggled to find the words.

Rachel married Cord DeMoss at a picturesque venue in Quinlan, Texas, on October 29. It was a beautiful Texas autumn evening for an outdoor wedding. We were surrounded by family and friends. The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, the mother of the bride elegant and the couple's minister from Watermark Church in Dallas did an outstanding job pointing all in attendance to the God who created these two and brought them together to live as one forevermore.

When it was time for the toast by the father of the bride, I described my daughter as a "no-backup-plan" kind of person.

I told two stories of how Rachel has demonstrated that she is a determined individual who sets ambitious goals for herself and works through all adversity to achieve those goals. When her ever-so-practical father asked many years ago what was her backup plan should she not make the team as a Kilgore College Rangerette, she confidently stated that she had no backup plan because she would make the team. And she did, and she did again with other goals!

My prayer is that both Cord and Rachel will bring the same attitude to their marriage. Now, that they've chosen each other and made a vow before God, there is no backup plan -- they will make their marriage work in the good days and also in the trials to come. Only with God's grace and mercy is this possible.

My advice to all the young fathers of daughters I know: start working on your wedding toast, it will be upon you more quickly than you can imagine.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


We are recruiting future students to LeTourneau with new marketing materials that tell the world we are the Christian polytechnic university. We are a community of builders and have been for 70 years. Our alumni tell our story of engaging students with Christian virtue and professional competence.

In 1998, Juan M. "Nacho" Lopez arrived at LETU as a 16-year-old missionary kid from Mexico who had not lived in the U.S. since he was 9. He said he knew immediately he made the right choice through the brotherhood, kinship and mentorship he found.

He tells of the faculty and staff at LETU who built into his life some important life lessons. He cited Gerrie Forbis for modeling that "true love for students can be worn on the sleeve and shine like a beacon for all to see." He credited faculty for lessons taught in and outside the classroom. Each had built a legacy in this student's life.

"I appreciate those faculty who pushed me into taking the professional engineer's exam and who taught me to enjoy subjects that were not appealing, and to power through even distasteful work and turn out the best work I could produce," he wrote.

The #LeTourneauBuilt life that Lopez leads today includes being a tenured professor and the youngest person to hold the office of academic director and program chair for graduate biomedical engineering at UPAEP (Universidad Popular Autónoma del Estado de Puebla) in Puebla, Mexico.

He is an accredited scientist in Mexico with a federal fellowship distinction, one of about 165 in the state of Puebla. He is a charter member of two research and academic foundations, one of which is a new national research network for Mexico spanning more than 40 universities in Mexico and around the world. He serves as a charter member and advisor to the UPAEP Office of Technology Transfer, serves on the UPAEP Advisory Council for Research, and serves as the external science representative for the State of Puebla's only federally-accredited research IRB for the Health Secretariat for Puebla, Mexico.

"I am someone willing to put my best effort forward, and hope that every day is a testimony to the lives of those who have poured their own lives into preparing mine," Lopez said. "Each person's own story at LETU intersected with mine and gave me a treasure to cherish. Their time, love, faith, and investment in me is something that I hope to pay forward with each and every one of my days."

Let's celebrate the lives that are #LeTourneauBuilt.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The 2016 Faith@Work Summit

LeTourneau University's Center for Faith and Work just hosted the very successful Faith@Work Summit in Dallas at the Westin Galleria that attracted more than 400 academic, business and church leaders from all over the globe from Thursday through Saturday.

The Summit brought together some of the best minds to consider how to extend Christ's transforming power and presence into workplaces around the world and to provide a time and place for those attending to develop new ideas, initiatives and collaborations to move the faith and work movement broader and deeper.

Our Center for Faith and Work Executive Director Dr. Bill Peel, with the assistance of Amanda Battaglia and Peter Battaglia, deserve great credit for the two years of painstaking planning and successful execution of this memorable event. From inviting the speakers, handling booking details, building the website, handling social media, working with the professional production company that live-streamed the event, and so many other details, the Summit was a heroic effort that was a great success.

The purpose was to gather these leaders from every kind of industry to move deeper and broader-learning together from each other and seeking thoughtful answers to three questions:
  1. How can we help Christians deepen their understanding of what it means to follow Christ in their particular line of work?
  2. How can we broaden the reach of the Faith at Work movement to new audiences that remain largely unaddressed?
  3. How can Christians in business, workplace ministries, Christian schools, universities and seminaries work with the church to develop whole-life disciples?
We know that our work matters to God. He has uniquely equipped each of us to further His kingdom through our work-wherever we are. We recognize that the workplace is the most strategic workplace in the world and that we, as Christians, have an opportunity to make a difference in the places where we work, but also at LETU, in preparing the next generation to make a difference in their future workplaces.

For those interested in reading more about the faith and work movement, I would recommend three books:
  • The first would be "Workplace Grace: Becoming a Spiritual Influence at Work," the leading text on workplace evangelism around the world, written by Dr. Peel, who helped emcee the Summit.
  • Tom Nelson's book "Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work" is another book that balances the theological and practical to outline how we can join God in his work in the world.
  • "Integrated Generosity" by Mark Trewitt is another great book that you may find motivational and educational as it provides best practices for personal and business finances in light of stewardship.
I'm very proud of what Bill and his team put together. LeTourneau University is a leader in this important movement, and while we may be a little school with a big vision, this vision of graduating students who will claim the workplace as their place of Christian ministry is a big vision--one with eternal results.