Governor exhorts Southeastern students to servanthood, worship & holy minds

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary students Aug. 20 to maintain the effectiveness of their ministries by serving in a spirit of worship and filling their minds with Scripture.

Perdue, a longtime member of Second Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga., was elected governor last year. He has ties to Southeastern through his son, Jim, who graduated from Southeastern in May with a master of divinity degree and two years ago served as student body president. Perdue delivered his chapel address following the previous day's convocation to open the academic year.

Southeastern's interim president, Bart Neal, expressed his honor to have Perdue speak at Southeastern.

"Gov. Perdue is an excellent example of how a man who loves God and has integrity can be elected to office," Neal said.

Perdue, speaking about his role as governor, said the work of a public servant and the work of a minister are similar in many respects.

"Unless we ... serve in a spirit of worship, we are serving in vain [because] we are serving in our own power and our own flesh," he said.

Perdue highlighted Jesus' teaching in Matthew 20:26, which tells Christians that the path to true greatness lies in servanthood.

"This world in which I live, the world of politics ... is all about power," Perdue said. "Jesus gives us the formula for how to be powerful in His sight."

However, Perdue added that a Christian can easily become so busy with a full schedule of service that he neglects time for personal worship, an essential element to the Christian life.

"I can get so caught in my life of being governor that I can miss my time of worship," Perdue acknowledged candidly. "If I don't schedule time for God, it doesn't happen. Don't ever get to the point that you think you can do the ministry on your own without ... worship."

Perdue then challenged the students to guard their minds from Satan's schemes by filling them with Scripture.

"Only as we use this sword to fend off the wiles of the devil will we be protected," Perdue said. "A good offense is the best defense."

Cautioning against an attitude of complacency in a believer's spiritual battle, he added, "If any of you think that you're a match for Satan, he's already deceived you ... won the victory. Don't succumb to [an unholy] thought life that Satan would trip us up on and be an indictment to the Gospel ministry."

After Perdue finished speaking, Neal voiced gratitude to Perdue for the message he brought, noting, "My heart is deeply moved to hear this message from a man who holds such a high office in our land."

(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at Photo title: GOVERNOR'S COUNSEL.

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