Daniel Martin never thought he would ever attend a Christian college. He certainly never thought he’d end up majoring in biblical studies, he said.
However, the Palm Beach Atlantic University senior soon discovered that through putting his faith in the Lord, “all of my ‘nos’ came to be ‘yeses,’” said Martin, speaking before the student body in the Rubin Arena during the first day of senior week in chapel.
|Daniel Martin and Nathan Chau|
|Sunshine Peterson and Matthew Langford|
|Bobbi Thornton and Haley Locke|
|Connor Dealy and Phillip Major|
The Virginia Beach, Va., native said he came to PBA with aspirations of playing baseball, but a heart condition quickly put those dreams aside. He said his ailment was believed to be a result of chemotherapy Martin had undergone as a child to treat leukemia.
Reflecting back on that time, Martin said he now understands that God orchestrated it all.
“My dreams are His dreams. He wrote them. He is the author of my life,” said Martin, who plans to be involved in church planting after graduation.
Martin was one of eight seniors chosen to speak in chapel over the course of four days. The speakers were chosen from a pool of students nominated by deans, faculty and staff members.
Also chosen to speak were Nathan Chau, Sunshine Peterson, Matthew Langford, Bobbie Thornton, Haley Locke, Phillip Major and Connor Dealy.
Major, who serves as associate vice president for Campus Information Services at PBA, was one of two graduate students selected to speak. Major is working toward a master’s degree in leadership and will graduate this spring along with his niece, Loren Wilkins.
Before coming to work at PBA in 2007, the West Palm Beach native spent nearly 25 years working for IBM in various capacities, including as a systems engineer and as a consultant. He also worked in marketing for the IBM Global Services Organization, and he is a recipient of the IBM Golden Circle award, the company’s highest honor.
Major reminded students that even in the corporate world, they can continue their faith walk in the workplace. “Not only is it possible, it’s mandatory,” he said, noting that many great businesspeople subscribe to the tenants of servant leadership.
He also encouraged students to embrace learning as a lifelong journey, to find their passion and to take time to stop, be quiet and “listen to God speak.”
Peterson, who will graduate from PBA’s Gregory School of Pharmacy, spoke to students about trusting God completely. Many times, “it comes down to a struggle for control,” she said.
“Trusting in the Lord is a lifelong challenge,” said Peterson, of Cambridge, Minn. “Each new crisis or challenge calls for recommitment” to Him, she said.
Thornton, a business management major from Tiverton, R.I., also encouraged students to seek the Lord during times of anxiety and stress.
“Regardless of your struggle, God is personal, God is faithful and God is enough to get you through it,” she said.
Other thoughts from Senior Week speakers:
Nathan Chau, communication major from Inverness, Fla.: “Community is so important,” he said. “I want you to get engaged. I want to you to find that (sense of) community.”
Matthew Langford, trumpet performance major from Orlando: “We need to be careful not to let our passions become more important than the one who gave them to us.”
Haley Locke, ministry leadership studies major from Royal Palm Beach: Using Paul’s letter to the Galatians as her text, Locke encouraged her peers to embrace “openness to the way God wants to transform you.” Also, she reminded them to establish good habits and then act on those habits.
Connor Dealy, philosophy major from Colorado Springs, Colo.: “What I want to be most important to me are the Lord and people.”
Spring commencement will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.