Students’ minds and hearts were enlightened by wise counsel to choose a path centered on following Christ’s example at the first university forum for Winter Semester.
Mark DeMoss, author and founder of The DeMoss Group Inc., encouraged students to recognize the religious ideals underlying life experiences and the importance of exhibiting those values. DeMoss told his audience that life boils down to two big questions — “Then What?” and “Now What?” — which can ultimately be answered by serving Christ and striving to make a difference.
DeMoss recognizes the differences in theology between Mormons and Evangelicals. Even though those key distinctions exist, it never justifies denouncing people’s opinions and beliefs. From his own observations, DeMoss said he felt Christians, as a whole, need to exercise civility toward each other’s beliefs.
“It is never an option to claim Jesus Christ as Savior and behave in an uncivil manner with anyone, under any circumstance. Never,” he said.
With this conviction, DeMoss wrote to Lanny Davis, a White House counsel under President Bill Clinton and staunch liberal. DeMoss said he respected and admired Davis for his civility toward political opponents. In response, Davis agreed to meet with him and discuss the idea for a civility project that championed respecting others, promoting civil behavior in the public square and denouncing incivility.
“Lanny Davis and I were, by any assessment, a political odd couple,” Demoss said. “But thanks to a simple letter, with a civil and respectful tone, we were now fast friends.”
Next to this project, DeMoss acknowledged the significance of seeking wisdom in everyday life. DeMoss told students wisdom can be sought from wise people, the scriptures and asking God as the apostle James directs when we lack wisdom.
“Most people associate wisdom with age, or people in positions of prominence and power,” he said. “Well, I’m glad wisdom isn’t reserved for certain people, but is available to any of us, to all of us. Wisdom does not favor intelligence or education, affluence or sophistication. Its call is to everyone, everywhere.”
DeMoss addressed the important role God has played in his life, blessing him with abilities, talents and people; all serving as a source of strength in his life. He said we are each like a “turtle on a fencepost,” placed there by a divine hand. He said he could not have dealt with the trials in his life without the blessings of help and guidance.
“I cannot begin to imagine life on earth without Jesus Christ at the center of it,” he said. “He’s not only all I need, He’s all I want!”
DeMoss concluded the forum with stories of two individuals who chose to follow the example of Jesus Christ. A simple Sunday school teacher converted the prominent preacher, Billy Graham, and the other, Neil Caudle, kept his faith despite trials as a quarterback at Auburn University. DeMoss encouraged students to adhere to their examples.
“Two young men, a Sunday school teacher and a football player. One changed the world; the other still might,” DeMoss said. “Two questions: Then What? Now What? Just three simple words, yet both our eternity and our life on earth depend fully on our answers.”