Chuck Kelley Tells New Orleans Seminary Graduates to Let the Word ‘Yes’ Guide Them

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Chancellor Chuck Kelley congratulates Gracie Robinson during the NOBTS commencement service Dec. 15. Robinson earned the master of arts in Christian education degree. Photo by Shaale Arencibia

NEW ORLEANS — The “one word” that brought students to seminary must now guide them as graduates, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Chancellor Chuck Kelley told them, Dec. 15, at NOBTS’ Leavell Chapel.

“‘Yes’ is the word that brought you to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. ‘Yes’ is the word I want you to take with you as you depart,” Kelley said. “But, I warn you. Not every ‘yes’ is easy.”

Kelley reminded graduates they answered “yes” when God called them to seminary knowing the road would be long and difficult. Kelley recalled trying personal times he and wife Rhonda Kelley faced when he came to seminary 43 years ago — first as a student, then faculty member, and then president.

Life turned upside down during Kelley’s student days to the point he considered leaving the ministry and joining his father in business, Kelley explained. His father’s reminder that God had not rescinded Kelley’s call to ministry helped him stay the course, Kelley said.

“It was a hard ‘yes,'” Kelley said. “But it wasn’t our toughest ‘yes.'”

Kelley went on to describe an unexpected change of direction when he was asked to join the NOBTS faculty following his doctoral graduation. The decision was difficult because his dream of an evangelistic ministry had already been set in motion, Kelley said.

“It was a hard ‘yes,'” Kelley repeated. “But it wasn’t our toughest ‘yes.'”

Though the Kelleys had wanted children, it became apparent God had a different plan for them, he noted. Kelley described the moment they knelt as a couple by the side of the bed and surrendered to God’s plan for their lives.

It was the toughest “yes,” Kelley said, adding that every time someone asks if they have children is a reminder of that difficult commitment.

Kelley explained that God instead called them to invest in other people’s children and in God’s kingdom. It was a plan that quickly unfolded with speaking engagements and writing assignments for Rhonda.

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Source: Baptist Press