Liberty University graduates, friends and family had the chance to hear from world-renowned evangelist and author Luis Palau Friday night at Liberty’s 39th Baccalaureate Service in the Vines Center.
Palau, who received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree, is the head of the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association and has spoken all over the United States and in more than 73 countries throughout the world, including Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Peru.
Palau, originally from Argentina, encouraged the graduates using John 14, telling them to “dream great dreams” and to take those dreams into whatever vocation God has called them.
“As you graduate and go wherever the Lord is taking you … go with a fire of believing in the Lord, growing in your faith, and going in the power of the Holy Spirit,” Palau said.
He relayed this point through the stories of three men who have greatly impacted the world.
First, he told of Liberty founder Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr. who once showed Palau a large field where the university would eventually be located.
“When you look at this campus and what's yet to come, that Dr. Falwell, Sr., so dreamt about many years ago, and to see it happen, is because he dreamt great dreams, because he had a continually growing faith in Jesus Christ,” Palau said.
Next, he told the story of longtime Liberty supporter Arthur S. DeMoss, for whom Liberty’s DeMoss Learning Center was named. He told of DeMoss’ desire to start an insurance company and the great success he had in business, but as Palau encouraged the graduates to “pray great prayers,” he also told of how DeMoss’ wife, Nancy, found a notebook that contained the names of more than 32,000 people with whom her husband personally shared the Gospel as well as prayed for.
“Build a little team around you to pray with you as you dream great dreams for the glory of God,” Palau said.
Last, he relayed the story of Jamaican entrepreneur Robert Levy as he reminded graduates to “obey great commands.” Levy’s father started a chicken business on the island and Levy worked for him. A hard-working man who memorized Scripture and grew in the faith was rewarded by being taken under the wing of his father’s business partner and eventually took over the company. Now, Jamaica Broilers is one of the largest producers of chicken, beef and fish in the entire Caribbean.
“A life of holiness is a life that God can really honor,” Palau said as he encouraged the graduates to obey the great commands to “love your neighbor as yourself,” “be holy as I am holy” and “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” He encouraged them to never forget the Great Commission no matter what field they happen to go into.
Earlier in the day, Palau spoke at a luncheon for Liberty University en Español (LUE), the arm of Liberty University Online that is reaching out to the nation’s growing Hispanic population. Hispanic students and university staff attended the luncheon in the Executive Dining Room of Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. The event was conducted almost entirely in Spanish, as Palau stressed the importance of the Hispanic community being well educated and being able to greatly impact their community in the business world as well as ministry.
“We hope that we can continue to grow our program and reach out to our Hispanic community with not only our programs here at Liberty, but also by just having folks like Luis Palau be here with us,” said Orlando Lobaina, executive director of LUE.
LUE was founded in 2011. The program offers online degree programs in religion, business and education. There are over 350 students participating in the program. At the luncheon, LUE announced the launching of the first certificate program to be offered entirely in Spanish in Biblical Studies in August. The program will include six classes all taught in Spanish, with textbooks in Spanish as well. The program is being test marketed in select Latin American countries, including Mexico and Chile.