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Iorg to grads: Be like Simeon, introduce Jesus to people

Photo by Rachel Allen

ONTARIO, Calif. (BP) – During the winter commencement ceremony, held Dec. 10 on campus in Ontario, Calif., Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg charged graduates with a simple responsibility: help people follow Jesus.

“You can take all that we’ve taught you and distill it into that particular mission” Iorg said.

“Walk out of here today and say, ‘I’m just going to help people follow Jesus.’”

The seminary conferred 60 degrees during the ceremony. Master of theological studies graduate and previous master of arts in intercultural studies alumna Ashley Culpepper shared how missions training at Gateway prepared her for intercultural work at her church.

“In August, I was a part of launching an English as a Second Language ministry at my church, where our current students represent 15 different countries,” she said.

“Each ESL class is an opportunity to apply what I’ve learned from my degree, and more importantly to use this as an outreach platform for sharing the ospel.”

Iorg’s charge to the graduates was based on Luke 2 and focused on Simeon. “Today I’m calling you to follow the example of this interesting man,” he said, “to be the kind of person who makes a difference in our world and who God uses to do something consequential and significant.”

Iorg described the characteristics of Simeon which made him useful to God.

“In verse 25, Simeon is described as being a man from Jerusalem; he was a commoner, an ordinary man,” Iorg said.

“One of the striking aspects of the Christmas story is how God uses ordinary, common people to do such remarkable things.”

Verse 25 also describes Simeon as a man of high character, who is righteous and devout, Iorg said.

“Ministry leadership is unique in this capacity: character and commitment always precede competency.”

The third quality Iorg described is Simeon’s anticipation for the future promised him.

“People who do something consequential and impactful as leaders, who make a genuine difference, are people thinking about the future – the next decade, not the next 10 days.”

Iorg said while these qualities were important in Simeon, more importantly Simeon was empowered by the Holy Spirit.

“Three different times in three consecutive verses Simeon is described as being a man full of, revealed to, and guided by the Holy Spirit,” he said.

“You cannot do ministry leadership in your own power.”

“Apart from God doing something supernatural in you, nothing really eternal ever happens,” Iorg said.

The third way Iorg asked students to follow Simeon’s example in presenting Jesus to people.

“Just like Simeon had the privilege of introducing Jesus into the world, you and I have the opportunity to introduce Jesus into a world that needs Him,” he said.

“Our world still needs a Savior that gives the gift of salvation.”

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  • Tyler Sanders