What is possible—and with whom—was the theme of the President’s Convocation August 31 at Fresno Pacific University.

President Richard Kriegbaum, Ph.D., used the annual event to unveil and unpack the verse for the 2016-2017:

“For mortals it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Before an audience of faculty, all in full academic regalia, and students, many still sorting out their schedules in the midst of their first week of class, Kriegbaum noted that the university seems ready for a great year. Enrollment is strong; music, theater, sports and spiritual development programs are poised for success; and excellent new faculty and staff have joined the community.

Kriegbaum asked everyone gathered in the Special Events Center to remember Paul’s admonition to believers in Corinth and Philippi to have the mind of Jesus—to humbly serve others and follow Christ’s call. “His simple, but comprehensive, all-inclusive call,” Kriegbaum said.

The story leading to this year’s verse illustrates that not everyone who hears the call follows. A rich young man who had carefully tried to do everything to ensure eternal life asks Jesus what else he needs to do. Commending his honest intentions, Jesus invites him to sell everything, give it to the poor and follow him. Unwilling to let go of the wealth he and his society believes indicates God’s blessing, the rich man goes away sadly. The disciples ask Jesus who could have eternal life if this outstanding person cannot. The response: “For mortals it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

No one can do enough or be good enough to deserve eternal life, Kriegbaum said. And this year, like all years, will combine success and failure. “There will be losses as well as delights,” he said.

But a great year at FPU is not a year when everything goes perfectly. “A great year is when we each make great progress in becoming more like Jesus Christ and loving our neighbors as ourselves,” Kriegbaum said.

“This is a place committed to miracles,” he said. “What we intend to do is humanly impossible, but with God all things are possible.”