- Hi my name is Jon Wallace,
and I'm the president at Azusa Pacific University.
That's in Azusa, California it's
really a suburb of the greater Los Angeles area.
And you know we're just in the
shadow of Lincoln's birthday right around the corner.
I thought I wanted to tell you a little
bit about my experience in the first grade.
I was given the assignment by my teacher
to pick a favorite president and write a paragraph.
You remember the first grade assignment deal.
Well my birthday is on the 1th.
This guy Abraham Lincoln was on the 12th I knew that.
So I just picked him because it was convenient,
and thus begin, from the first grade forward,
kind of my infatuation with Lincoln.
The more I learned about this great leader.
The more I fell in love with him.
And then, you know, just kind of ironic
Lincoln is the 16th president of
the United States and in the 108 year
history of this university I happen
to be the 16th president as well.
Well he has been an inspiration to me.
I mean in my whole life I don't
know that any of us can point to someone
who was such a great, really loser, as Lincoln.
And he loses most of the elections
and wins just a few.
As a matter of fact, first election he wins
for president in, I think his inauguration
was March fourth, 1860.
He's actually elected by a little over 39 percent
of the popular vote, the lowest amount
of popular votes for any president
ever elected in the United States.
Then people point to the next election results.
You know his inauguration in March of 65.
And he's actually elected by like 50 percent
of the popular vote, but you gotta
remember the southern states are out of it.
It's actually 700,000 votes less then 1960.
Civil war starts a month before
he becomes president.
It ends five days before he dies.
There are 600,000 lives lost.
People would point to Lincoln as
serving during the most difficult
time of our nations history.
If you visit his memorial in DC, which I do,
his two great speeches are there on the walls.
On one side is the Gettysburg address,
and on the other his second inaugural.
I happen to believe his second inaugural
captures what I believe is probably
the finest speech ever given at an
inauguration maybe in all time.
Next to Kennedy's speech at his inauguration,
of any president of the United States.
But here's the words out of that
second inauguration, these 24 words that inspire me,
and I think should inspire you.
So look Lincoln's birthday is right around the corner.
I don't know who you are or where you are,
but let's just say you're a college student.
Finish what's in front of you.
If you're a high school student looking
at colleges, finish what's in front of you.
If you're Christ follower and there's
been something put on your plate
that you need to pay attention to,
finish what's there.
There is some amazing stuff ahead.
Even in the difficulties of life.
Push through and finish.
I think those words from Lincoln should
inspire us all.
Shalom, have a great day.