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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Trey Gowdy - Liberty University Convocation

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>> DR. MICHAEL HAMLET: … to be at Liberty. Because God is doing such great things here

and it's a privilege for me to be here today really for a number of reasons. First of all,

just to be in this environment; this is a place that is electric and God is using it

in a great way. Recently--and I'm certainly no physicist--I read a little, I guess a preacher's

description of what happens with a laser and they said that a laser is really waves of

light that are piled on top of each other and then focused those photons that are there.

And as you do that, you have that together. Well here at Liberty, you have an excitement.

You have a commitment to the Word of God. You have a fellowship that is there and leadership

that comes together to make Liberty University a place that is focused. You're a laser. You're

a laser in this country, and so, we're grateful for what God is doing in your life and I want

to tell you the impact that you have as a student body, as you just heard, goes far

beyond this campus. It goes across the nation and around the world. So it is really a privilege

for me to be here, and also to say to you that as you come together in this place God

has given to you such an opportunity, just a wonderful opportunity to make a difference,

to do something in the world that the need is so desperate, the need is so desperate

to touch the hearts and lives of people. Here, you have week after week, the chance to hear

probably the finest set of leaders that any institution--in fact, you're going to hear,

here at Liberty, more great leaders in this country than probably any other institution

in America. And in a few moments you're going to hear one of those today. That is an incredible

opportunity. So I want to say to you as we begin today, that there are two things: first

of all, you have a great privilege. You know stuff, you hear stuff the rest of us don't

hear and we don't get the opportunity. What a great privilege that is for you, but also

with it comes a responsibility. You're able to look, you're able to hear, you're able

to see, and your influence makes a difference. You know, the Bible says that we are to honor

our leaders, and the Bible also says that we are to pray for our leaders, and I would

encourage you in that today and over these weeks and months and years that you're here

that as you hear all of these leaders that you will not just hear what they have to say

but you will lift them up and their families and that you will pray for them that God would

watch over and protect them. And the truth of the matter is, you know what? Some of our

leaders are easier to pray for than others. That's always the case, that's the way it

is with pastors and friends and everybody we know. But you know what? The Lord still

gives to us that opportunity and that responsibility. So as you sit here today, Liberty University,

you have a privilege and you have a responsibility. Don't turn around and think, "Well, somebody

ought to be doing something about this," or "Somebody ought to be making a difference,'

because God gives you that opportunity right here, today. It's my privilege to introduce

to you Trey Gowdy. I have known Representative Gowdy for a long time, and have known him

in a lot of different venues. I've been in Spartanburg a long time and known Trey and

known his family, and Representative Gowdy is a leader, a man that is recognized across

this country. I doubt today if there is any political leader in the state of South Carolina

that is more popular than Trey Gowdy. I would tell you there is no leader that is more well

respected than he is and it's for a number of reasons, it's not just because of his ability.

It's because, I want to tell you, this is a man who is not putting on a mask, ever.

He just lives out his faith. I've seen him as a prosecutor. I've seen him be tough because

he is protecting the public, but I've also seen him being compassionate. I could tell

you stories of people that have come back - that he's convicted - that would come back

to him and say to him, "You were fair with me." I have seen him be compassionate with

people, and care about victims. I have seen him take care of people; I've seen him go

out of his way. I've seen him as a man who walks in his community, and you always get

the same thing from Trey, and he is well-respected and well-loved. He has a wonderful family--Terry,

his son Watson, his daughter Abigail--and they are known throughout Spartanburg and

the upstate and the state of South Carolina as a family who loves the Lord. Even in his

own church, he is there, he serves, he is respected, there is nothing about him that

is in any way duplicitous. God has used him in a great way, and several years ago when

he became our Congressman there in the fourth district, we were honored and privileged to

have him serve us, and now as a man who is entrusted with tremendous responsibility,

I want to tell you, I know of no one that does a better job of balancing responsibilities

they have with their walk with the Lord, and seeking to serve Him. We are proud of him,

grateful for him, you're going to hear a man today who is extremely intelligent, who has

great ability, and is focused on doing what is right. I've had the opportunity to see

Trey in a lot of different situations and have a lot of different conversations with

him, but I have also known him as somebody who always has time for someone else. I would

tell you this, I don't think we've ever had a conversation--we have never had a conversation,

many times I've gone to him and said, "Listen, I know you have a lot of stuff. I don't want

to bother you; I know this is going on. Trey, I want you to know that I'm praying for you."

And I do pray for him. I carry a little card to pray for him regularly. But he always ends

up being an encouragement to me, and every person that he knows would tell you that's

exactly what happens. Not only is he a leader in our nation, but he cares about people.

We believe, those who love him, seen him work, who we have been the beneficiary of having

a Congressman like Trey Gowdy, we really do believe he is a guy that God has brought for

such a time as this. And so I'm so delighted you get to see him, hear him, know a little

bit about him; I want to ask you to pray for him in the days to come as he serves in our

United States Congress, and just to lift him up, because we can be excited about what God

has done, is doing, is going to do with him. I want you to welcome Congressman Trey Gowdy.

>> TREY GOWDY: Thank you very much. I need to take you with me everywhere I go, that

is the nicest introduction I think I have ever had. Every time I'm introduced, I'm reminded

of what a difficult time I have had keeping a job throughout my career. I also want to--so

thank you, Pastor Hamlet. Thank you more than anything else for being a source of accountability

and encouragement to me, even since I was a young fellow. And I want to thank Liberty

for your very warm, gracious, hospitable welcome to me. I am a member of the world's least

popular body, so I am grateful that anyone would be willing to be seen in public with

me. We are at seven percent in the public approval polls, and if you're wondering who

that seven percent is, it's for the most part family and staff. I used to say that, and

then somebody told me back home that my mom now tells her friends that I am unemployed

rather than risk telling them where I work, and my father no longer introduces me as a

member of Congress, he tells people I'm a trial lawyer. So if that gives you any idea

where we are. But there is a wonderful member of Congress, who actually happens to represent

this very district, and his name is Bob Goodlatte, and I want you to know, Chairman Goodlatte

is in Florida today, but he has been wonderful to me. He's the Chairman of the Judiciary

Committee. Well before he was the Chairman, he was somebody that I respected because of

his legal abilities, I had been to other parts of this district with him, so next time you

run into him, tell him how grateful I am for his kindness and his leadership in the House.

For those of you who are interested in watching NCAA basketball today--are any of you going

to watch the game? All right, I promise to have you out of here by half time of tonight's

game. Most of our fellow citizens think that our country is headed in the wrong direction,

and I am not here to make a political speech. You may or may not agree with that, but the

polling indicates that most of our fellow citizens think that the country is headed

in the wrong direction. You may think that our country is headed in the right direction

but you think we ought to go at a quicker pace. So, what I want to share with you this

morning is equally applicable no matter what. If you're a part of that seventy percent that

has an angst and an uncertainty about the direction and the future of our country, than

I have a word for you. If you're in that thirty percent that think we're headed in the right

direction but think maybe we ought to head there a little quicker, than I have a word

for you. "If my people, who are called by my Name, shall humble themselves and pray

and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, than I will hear from heaven and forgive

their sin and heal their land." The first time I saw that passage it was sent to me

by a friend of Pastor Hamlet's and mine, Doctor Ed Young in Houston, Texas sent that to me

and my eyes immediately went to the very first part of that verse: "If my people." Note that

it does not say, "If John Boehner," "If Mitch McConnell," "If President Obama," "If the

United States Supreme Court," "If the governor of Virginia." It says, "If my people." That

verse is directed to the very same people who founded and defended and furthered and

nurtured this country. It is directed to you. So if you think that that call to action,

that that call to arms, is for someone else; if it's for the politicians, if it's for your

professors, if it's for people on city or country council, than you're wrong. It's directed

to you, and I want you to do something for me. I want you to think right now in your

own lifetime, has the influence of the government gone up or down and has the influence of the

church gone up or down? Because from my vantage point the influence of the government is going

up and the church is going down. Just ask yourself, are there sick people in your community,

either here or at home? Who do they look to for help? Yes, we have charitable hospitals.

Yes, we have free clinics, but who do most of your fellow citizens look to when they're

sick? Who do they look to in retirement? Do they look to the church? Do they look to family

members? Do they look to the government? How about if your kids aren't being educated the

way you think they ought to, who do they blame? The teacher, the principal, the school board,

or themselves? So what concerns me more than any other issue right now, and you can pick,

there are lots of important issues going on right now. But I want you to think more globally

about the influence on our culture of the church versus government or other influences,

and I want you, depending on how you answer that question, whether or not you think the

influence of the church is going up or down or whether you think the influence of government

is going up or down, I want you to do something. And I know you're sitting there thinking,

"Come on, old man, we have enough reading. Don't assign me extra reading." I want you

to read something. I want you to read something called "The Melian Dialogue." And if you're

looking for it, it's in a book by Thucydides, called "The Peloponnesian War," and it's conversation,

it's a dialogue between the people--the Melians, the people from Melos, and the Athenians.

They were about to wage war against each other. Athens was huge and powerful; the Melians

were small. And there's a dialogue; it's a debate between the Athenians and the Melians,

and the Melians were having to decide whether or not to surrender and capitulate or whether

or not to fight even though they knew they were going to lose. There was no way the Melians

could beat the Athenians. Every common-sensical notion told them to surrender or partner with

the Athenians, so there's a dialogue back and forth. The Meilians were purer; the Melians

were idealistic, and then the Melians were destroyed. What do you believe in enough to

lose? What do you believe in enough that you would march forward even if you knew that

you were marching forward to a certain defeat? I want you to readThe Melian Dialogue.”

It's short. I made every employee of the District Attorney's office read it. Some of them have

not forgiven me for making them read it, but I made every one of them read it, and then

I asked them two questions: which do you value more, truth or freedom? And every single person

in my office said freedom. And I said, "Okay, which do you value more: unity or diversity?"

And every one but one said diversity. Look, truth and freedom are both really important,

but at some point you and your generation have to ask yourselves what is the benefit

of the freedom to be wrong? Do you really value freedom more than truth? Do you really

think there is a truth? Do you really value diversity more than unity? I am so happy we

all don't look alike and we don't dress alike and we don't eat at the same restaurants and

we don't pull for the same sports teams, I'm thrilled about that. But we are, after all,

the United States of America. So what is it that unites us? Do you really value diversity

that much more than unity? Is there anything we have in common? Is there anything we can

celebrate that we share? So I go back to the verse, and I think, "Well, is there an answer

in that verse?" "If my people who are called by my Name shall humble themselves and pray

and seek My Face and turn from their …" what? "Wicked way." Well maybe there's a start.

Can we at least agree that there is something called "wicked"? Can we at least agree that

there is something that is bad? Can we at least agree that there is something that is

wrong? That's a place to start. If you are in search of a unifying force in our culture,

can we at least agree that there is good and bad? Or is everything relative? For sixteen

years I never once stood in front of a jury and tried to convince them that murder was

wrong. Never once. Oh, we had plenty of trials over whether or not a person did it, whether

it was self-defense, whether it was manslaughter, but I never once had to convince a jury that

murder was wrong. Why? Because we accept that. I never tried to convince a jury that robbery

was wrong, that discrimination was wrong, that mistreating children was wrong. So there

is a source of unity. There is a code by which we all have agreed to live. What is the source

of that code? Is it science? Is it morality? Is it God? You want to move this country in

a different, better direction, what is the source of our unity? And if you are in that

group that wants a better than the present you are experiencing; if you don't like this

disunity, if you don't like this sense of angst, if you don't like what seems to be

forcing you to be detached and cynical about your country and your government, than you

got to do something about it. I'm going to tell you what I would do if I were sitting

where you're sitting. You got to figure out what you believe and more importantly, you

got to figure out why you believe it. It is never enough in politics or any other sphere

of persuasion to simply tell people what you believe. You have to tell them why you believe

it. Do you believe in personal responsibility? Why? It's easy because if you're going to

free there has to be a corresponding responsibility, right? If you're going to have the freedom

of the press, there has to be a responsibility to print the truth. If you're going to have

the freedom to keep and bear arms, there has to be a corresponding responsibility to use

those arms in a responsible way. What do you believe? Do you believe in respect for the

rule of law? Why? Because I'm an old prosecutor and I just like getting people in trouble?

Cause I want to see a bunch of new prisons built? Let me tell you something about the

Law: it is the most unifying and equalizing force that we have in this country. It is

the only thing that makes the richest person in this county drive the same speed limit

as the poorest person. It is what makes the richest person in Virginia pay his or her

taxes on precisely the same day as the poorest. Do you believe in respect for the rule of

law? Can you tell anybody why? Do you think that we ought to have a safety net in this

country below which the indigent and needy and the poor do not fall? Why do you believe

that? And if you believe that, do you also think a country as good and great as ours

can do a little bit better than eight-hundred billion dollar's worth of waste, fraud, and

abuse? Can you have both of those? So if you don't like the direction of our country or

you want a better future, what do you believe and why do you believe it? Secondarily, you

can be the smartest person in the world, and if you can't communicate what you believe,

you're not going to be very successful. So you need a message, and that message better

be "Why," why you believe what you believe. But you also need a very effective manner

or method of communication. In other words, you need to learn how to persuade. How do

you persuade in life? Facts, authenticity, sincerity, credibility, you want to persuade,

change people's minds to come around to your way of thinking on whatever issue it is, and

I don't care about your politics theyre none of my business. You have whatever politics

you want. But I will tell you what doesn't work: insulting people. Any of you been married

for more than a week? Any of you aspire to be married at any point in life? Let me give

you a piece of free advice after twenty-five years of marriage: insulting people does not

work if your objective is to persuade. I am terrified of my wife so I have never tried

to insult her into changing her mind, but I have seen plenty of my friends try it, and

it does not work. Look, I did not vote for President Obama. I didn't--no, no, no, I didn't

vote for him. But you know what? A majority of my fellow citizens did. So when I see a

bumper sticker that says, "Don't blame me, I didn't vote for the idiot," do you think

that's persuasive? So you think anybody that voted for President Obama is going to be persuaded?

"Yeah, maybe I possibly made a mistake because this person called me an idiot." Life doesn't

work that way. You know what happens when you're insulted? You become even more dogmatic

in holding your incorrect belief than you were before you were insulted. So if your

goal is to persuade, you shouldn't be insulting people. Let me tell you what else doesn't

work: hypocrisy. Telling other people how to live their lives while you live your life

a different way. Telling people that they ought to be doing X while you're doing Y,

and trust me, I work in a line of work where I see a lot of it. And yes, we're all hypocrites

to a certain extent. Every one of us. But there are different gradations of hypocrisy,

and if you are going to say that the Lord called you to go into politics, you better

act like it, and if you're not going to act like it than leave His Name out of it. Furthermore,

I want you to ask yourself this, these candidates that are called by God to run for office:

are their campaigns any different than the people who weren't called by God? Do they

engage in negative campaigning? Do they launch unfair attack ads? Can you tell anything different

about them than you can the candidates who just say, "I'm runningcause I felt like

running”? They claim to serve a God that used a stutterer as a spokesperson, they claim

to serve a God that let His own Son lose a race to a guy named Barabbas, but they dont

act like it. You want to persuade people? Hypocrisy doesn't work. Insults don't work.

What does work? A relationship. The person has to know that you care about them. They

have to know that you care about them. There are two people in politics that I think do

a wonderful job of that, and I don't care whether you support either one of them. One

is Marco Rubio. Marco Rubio was raised by a woman that cleaned other people's hotel rooms, but she had hope that her son

would have a better life, and now he's in the United States Senate. And the other person

who does a wonderful job of communicating hope is a guy named Tim Scott, who is my best

friend in politics. And Tim Scott's grandfather, who's now ninety-four, would hold a newspaper

up every morning at breakfast, wanted Timmy to see him read the newspaper because of the

value of education, the power of education; wanted Timmy to be informed, wanted him to

be up on current events. So he held the newspaper up every single morning except he couldn't

read. Can't read to this day. But he wanted to communicate hope to his grandson about

the power of education. You want to persuade people? Do you speak in hopeful terms? Do

you communicate hope? Are they convinced that you have their best interest at mind? Last

fall, my wife made me go to a wedding with her--let me rephrase that: my wife and I went

to a wedding last fall, and I was watching a football game on my iPhone but I--that's

the only way I agreed to go. Look, you want me at your wedding? Don't plan it in the fall

in the South. So I'm watching the football game and I hear that same verse I hear at

every other wedding: "These three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these

is love," we already knew that. I knew that. Comes right before the "unity" candle. But

I started thinking to myself, "Okay, love wins. I get that. I know that. But hope must

be really powerful to even be in the final three." Do you talk in hopeful terms to the

people that you interact with and you're trying to persuade? Do you communicate hope? Do they

think you care about them? So you got a message, you got a manner of communicating, now all

you need is a messenger, right? You're just waiting on whoever that is, whether it's President

Obama, whether it's Ronald Reagan, whether it's Abraham Lincoln, we're just waiting around

on that great messenger, right? If you are waiting around for another Ronald Reagan,

or another Martin Luther King Junior, or another Abraham Lincoln, you are going to have a long,

miserable wait. It's not going to happen. If you're waiting on a knight or knightess

to ride in on a white horse and change whatever you think ails our country or your school

or your community or your family, it's not going to happen. You know who the messenger

is? It's you. It's not me. I don't know you; I don't know where you come from, I don't

know your friends, I don't hang out with you, I'm not going home with you for Spring Break,

I'm not going to work with you this summer, I'm not in class with you, and neither are

any of the other people that you may be thinking about that are going to do it. It's you. You're

the messenger. You're the leader. I work in a town that is named for Washington, I fly

into an airport named for Reagan, I pass monuments to Jefferson and Lincoln and King and every

street is named after somebody famous and there are statues and portraits in every one

of the office buildings. I dont even--they're so famous I don't even know them. Lots of

famous people, and when you fly in on an airplane into Reagan, the pilot usually says you may

want to look off to this side to see this monument or, "You want to look here and see

the Washington Monument," or the White House. I don't lean forward for any of that, not

anymore. Seen it. You know what I think about when I fly into Reagan? I think about a guy

you've never heard of. You've never heard of him. I was about your age--I was exactly

your age--watching television with my father. February in the throes of a terribly frigid

winter in Washington, and a plane crashes into the Fourteenth Street Bridge, and all

the passengers except a half-dozen were killed on impact, and those half-dozen were in the

icy waters of the Potomac River. And I'm watching this on television with my dad. This is before

twenty-four hour news, but it was captivating the country. So you got these people in the

icy waters of the Potomac, and you got the whirl of the helicopter coming, and that helicopter

lowers a rope ladder into the waters of the Potomac and it falls into the hands of a man

you've never heard of before. If I called his name right now, you don't know him. So

he has life in his hands, and he passes it to a stranger, and that person is hoisted

to safety and the helicopter takes her away and it comes back and the same scene repeats

itself four more times, and every time, he's got his hands on a rope ladder. He is this

close to saving his life, and every single time he passes it to a stranger - not his

wife, not his daughter, not his best friend. A stranger. And when the helicopter came back

for him, he had succumbed to fatigue and drowned. His name was Orland Williams. I'm not asking

you to be Reagan. I'm not asking you to be Lincoln. I'm just asking you to live a quiet

life of conviction and virtue and actually live out what you profess to believe, and

if you can do that, you'll be a leader, you'll be persuasive, and your generation will get

this country headed back in the direction that you want it to be in. Lord, I pray that

you would give these young women and men wisdom and courage; there are difficult challenges

in life. Help them know what they believe, why they believe it, help them to communicate

in a manner that is reflective of Your attributes, and I am reminded that You only describe Yourself

one way: You said that You were low in spirit, humble. And I pray that you would give them

the courage to believe that they can be that messenger. In Christ's name, Amen.

The Description of Trey Gowdy - Liberty University Convocation