During the keynote session on Azusa Pacific’s annual Common Day of Learning, one knew what to expect. There wasn’t much of a description as to what keynote speakers APU President Jon Wallace and Biola President Barry Corey would be talking about.
With Wallace, you never know what you’re going to get. But what students saw and heard on Wednesday morning was a heartfelt message from two friends about conviction, kindness and how small things can make a big impact.
The inspiration for the message was taken from a Martin Luther King Jr. speech given to Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia on Oct. 26, 1967. The speech is titled “What’s Your Blueprint?”
“Your blueprint … flows out of your imprint … and leads toward your footprint,” Corey said. “When I talk about imprint, I mean your convictions; who you are and what you believe. When I talk about your footprint, what I mean is ‘What are you going to do with that?’”
The speech was broken into three parts. Corey spoke for the first 12 minutes focusing on the imprint; Wallace spoke for the next 12 minutes about King’s speech and Corey closed with a message about the footprint.
Corey’s message heavily emphasized finding conviction in Christ and putting that conviction into practice. He described this way of living as having a firm center with soft edges, relating it to the speech given by King.
“Dr. King had a centered faith,” Corey said. “He knew his life’s blueprint because he knew God made him and created him in his image … He had an imprint of conviction and a footprint of courage.”
During Wallace’s time on stage, he focused on points from King’s speech. King made a point to the junior high class to be excellent in all that they set out to do.
“I meet often with APU alum … and they say the distinguishing feature they look for is someone who can accomplish their job with excellence. I like to refer to that as a disciple of Christ who practices excellence,” Wallace said.
Wallace also took a moment to recognize students who are the first of their families to graduate from college.
Corey’s closing remarks perfectly summed up the message. He reminded the audience of the key points and tied it together with a message about kindness.
“I know it’s easy to be kind when the barista at the coffee shop gets our coffee right,” Corey said. “Kindness is hard to live out with people we disagree with.”
Corey also distinguished niceness from kindness. These remarks resonated with students.
“Being kind isn’t easy, and we need to try harder,” said senior business marketing major Kaelea Alonzo.
Corey also talked about contempt and how followers of Christ should respond to it.
“We need to be willing to say, ‘This is what I believe,’ but also being humble enough to say, ‘But need to learn,’” Corey said. “That means we need to listen to each other … listen while waiting to learn.”
Corey closed with a final remark about kindness.
“We cannot love well with a bullhorn,” Corey said. “Kindness has so much power … My friends, do not sell kindness short.”