LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

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1 LeTourneau University Houston Commencement Address, May 10, 2008 Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Principal, Alpha Petroleum Services Member, Board of Trustees LETU Alumnus, 1966 I. Introduction: a. Thank you Dr. Lunsford for the introduction and for asking me to speak at this very important event where in a few minutes these men and women will be receiving their diplomas. b. And it will be only a few minutes. My brother was a Baptist minister for several years. He told me that a good speech, like a good sermon, needed a good opening and a good closing... and they needed to be as close together as possible. II. I do consider it a great honor and privilege to be speaking to you on this important occasion. My father, if he was still living today, would be extremely proud to see one of his sons speaking at a college graduation exercise. When my Dad was growing up on a dry land farm a few miles from San Angelo Texas, a college education was not a common thing nor even a common aspiration... it was beyond the reach of most people in those days. Today only two generations later a college education is within the reach of most people if they are willing to work for it. My dad s father passed away when my dad was only 12 years old, so he left school to help earn a living for his 8 brothers and 1 sister. LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

2 Thus, my Dad learned the value of education the hard way, and he continually encouraged me and my brother to go to college even though he could not afford to send us. Probably two of the happiest days of his life were when my brother and I received our diplomas. My Dad believed that through education we could have a better life than he had... and that above all it gave us the opportunity of a lot more choices in our life, particularly choices as to how we could earn a living. Choices is one of the three words that I want to discuss with you today. Choices... Calling... and Character. III. Your life in many respects is a summation of the choices you make and the consequences of those choices. Dr. Lunsford has encouraged me to remind you of the excellent choice you have made in LeTourneau for your studies. Whatever success I have had is due in large part to the excellent education I received at LeTourneau. LeTourneau changed my life. It has enabled me to enjoy a varied and, for me, exciting career working internationally in the petroleum exploration and production business. We have lived or worked in most of the petroleum producing areas of the world including Europe; Middle East; China; Australia; New Zealand and, of course, one of our favorite foreign assignments... South Louisiana. We lived outside the USA for 21 years, 16 of those in the UK... that explains my upper class British accent. You make choices every day. Let me encourage you to make three positive choices: LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

3 i. First, make a deliberate step of faith. Place your eternal soul in the hands of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that it is by grace that we are saved... through faith... and that faith is not from within ourselves but is instead the gift of God... our salvation is a gift from God, it is not by works so no one can boast. ii. Secondly, choose a persistent commitment to excellence. Do your very best at whatever you take on. God expects nothing but our very best. Your employer deserves nothing less than your very best. iii. Thirdly, choose to rely on God for this temporal life. This will help you develop a deep inner peace that is invaluable when the difficulties of life seem to overwhelm us. Let me give you a personal example for illustration. I always refer to it as a blinding flash of the obvious. Much earlier in my career shortly after I had been recruited into a small independent petroleum company while working in the UK, and after having enjoyed initial very good success in getting our operations turned around, we were having serious drilling problems on a specific well. Serious problems in North Sea drilling means you are bleeding a lot of dollars. Trust me; this gets headquarters attention, and I was getting a lot of heat. On my way home from work one evening I was beating myself up, as I was prone to do in those days, and going over in my mind how we could have done better. In mulling it over I concluded that we had done as good a job in engineering, LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

4 planning and execution as we could have done given the information, data and equipment we had to work with. That is when I had the blinding flash... God seemed to say to me Bud, you have done your best; that is all you can do; leave the rest to me. I immediately had a great inner peace about the situation. The summation is do your best and leave the rest to God. Rely on him. I wish I could say it was a permanent lesson but I periodically have to re-learn it. The 7 th law of thermodynamics, which says Stuff Happens is always at work... and we have to deal with it. O.K. we have choices, we make decisions and we have to live with and accept responsibility for the consequences. That is not a popular thought with the mainstream media and with many who have a full court press on trying to gain control of our government and our lives. The liberal politics of today stress that government, corporations, circumstances... anything but the individuals who make the choices are responsible for whatever difficulties we may face. The underlying principle is that we are not capable of making our own decisions or choices so they will do it for us. There are many other items on their agenda but that one alone is enough to get me on my soap box... since I am now on my soap box, let me remind you of this: We are in the midst of one of the longest and bitterest campaigns for the country s leadership that I have ever witnessed. In this campaign we have seen excessive bashing of America by political candidates and the mainstream media. We are subjected to a LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

5 continual bombardment of how terrible, awful, mean and miserable America is and Americans are. Do not buy into it!! America is still the greatest country on earth! We should thank God every day and praise him that we are privileged to live in and be citizens of this great country! In direct opposition to those people, I say GOD BLESS AMERICA! The subject of choices and how we should face life is very eloquently summed up by Charles Swindoll who says: The more I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way... we cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one thing we have and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. In view of Swindoll s comments, I implore you... choose the appropriate attitude. LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

6 IV. Calling. A few brief words about calling. Most of us recognize that God calls people to be pastors, missionaries and to other full time ministerial positions in the church. R.G. LeTourneau recognized that God also called people into the business world. Living our faith and ministering in the business world has been a subject of keen interest to me for several years. I believe that I have been called to do what I do just as surely as any pastor or missionary has been called to their work. That principle means that I am working for God and doing the work he has assigned me. This fact should significantly impact the way I do my work. Even with graduation you are not finished with required reading..your job will demand it. I want to add two suggestions to your reading list. The first is a short book titled A Case for Calling by Drs. Thomas Addington and Stephen Graves. The book is part of a series based on the following scripture passages: Acts 13:36 When David had served God s purpose in his generation, he fell asleep. Psalms 78: He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them. In this little book we have a definition of calling. Calling is God s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda using the talents I ve been given in ways that are eternally significant. LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

7 The second book is titled The Christian Employee by Robert Mattox. Read it and you will never look at your job the same again. From it we learn that we are employed by God and we learn from where promotion comes... hint it s not from your company. V. Finally, a few words about Character. Drs. Graves and Addington in their book A Case for Character state: Character matters. Personality helps. Drive and focus make a difference. Passion plays a part. Training and education certainly make a contribution. But don t go to work without character. As a matter of fact, don t hire someone who doesn t have a proven character. Don t partner with another business... that doesn t have people of character... Why? Because character matters. It is often said that character is demonstrated by what you would do if you knew absolutely that no one would ever know. Perhaps character is more than that but that is the way my Dad explained it to me so I have stuck with it. Character is not something you put on and take off like a suit... it is developed over time through good teaching, excellent role models and probably some painful experience. Developing good character is essential if you want to make good choices and perform well at your calling. But good character will not always prevent falling into serious error. Do not suppose that all the people who were brought down in the various large company failures of this last decade were of bad character. They may have at one time LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

8 had good character but lost their way and succumbed to temptation and made horrendous choices. Even David, a man after God s own heart erred greatly. So let me leave you with these two warnings. One, do not lose your moral compass and two; do not under estimate the power of greed. It is far too easy to rationalize wrong into right when personal gain is at stake. In 1 st Timothy chapter 6, Paul said: People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil... command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain. VI. Now, here is the summation of how we are to live our life. Micah 6:8 says: He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. LeTourneau University Mr. L. V. Bud McGuire Houston Commencement Address of May 10,

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