tv Rep. Mark Meadows Commencement Address at Patrick Henry College CSPAN June 2, 2018 4:37am-5:05am EDT
announcer: congressman mark meadows of north carolina addressed the 2018 graduating class of hetrick henry college. and evangelical school in russellville, virginia. he talked about how his faith helped him during his challenges that he faced in congress. this is about 25 minutes. rep. meadows: good morning and congratulations, graduates. i know that you had to work very hard to achieve this unbelievable moment. because here at patrick henry, excellence is the expected norm. i can tell you, i have not only a graduate that is a son, but i have patrick henry graduates that actually work with me now. i can tell you, some of them are actually graduating today that have interned with me. i will put you guys up against any class, anywhere in the country. well done. [applause]
i'm going to give you the best piece of advice that you will ever receive. today, had your parents, your grandparents, your aunts, over and over and over again, and say thank you, when you think you cannot say thank you again. say it one more time. i know that your parents and your significant others will appreciate that. right, parents? i also want to let you know, i had the opportunity to be on tv a whole lot. i go on tv in front of millions of people. i have given speeches to tens of thousands of people, and yet today, today is a must nervous moment i have ever had, because i know we have some of the best orators in the world here.
so i know that you are not listening, you are critiquing. [laughter] the are getting all kinds of advice today -- let the lord lead you, dream big, your future is in god's hands. true enough, all these things are accurate. but many of you may be saying, how do i actually walk that out? today, tomorrow, the next day, how do i make sure that it is there?
what i hope to do is give you some practical advice. i want you to know that god is writing your story. sometimes you think that it is we that right the story, but yet, god is writing the story. there will be times you feel like you are alone. there are times when you say, well i am not sure what the future may hold. and there are even times when you say, do i take this way or that way? you are looking for that godly advice, and yet, the thing that would actually make it go further in the way that god has called you. i would encourage you with this: steps. steps are the next thing we
taken any journey. let us look at what god has to say about steps. i found it interesting that your verse talked about the path you would take. i did not know that if i had really prepared, i would have known that that was your verse for this graduating class. but god ordains our steps. indeed, in psalms 18:36, it says "thou has enlarged my steps under me, that my feet may not slip." when we look at that, it is a step that we are taking, the fact that we're asking god to keep us from stumbling. but also, in psalms, 37:31, it says the law of god is in his heart and mind none of his steps shall slide. we see it again in god's word. perhaps my personal favorite, proverbs chapter 69, a man's hurt devises his way, but the lord directs his steps. whether it is the path you are on today, or the steps you are about to embark on, it is the lord who directs those. it is that promise that we can claim. is an interesting, that we have -- you can make your plans, but god directs your actions. i say that, because if we experience about, we are supposed to look at that and
feel as if we are urged to go forward. we can trust in a sovereign creator of the universe, who is more than able to keep his word. you know that as graduates, but also, as we look at that, it is he that opens, and no man shouts. and it is he that shots, and no -- shuts, and no man opens. my good friend, jim jordan, is a congressman from ohio, probably my best friend in congress. he says, marks, whenever you come to a fork in the road and you are trying to figure out which way to go, he says, do their thing that is personally more difficult for you to do. because the heart will always try to do the easiest thing, when we devise her own way. but when we really look at it, when we have those two choices, it is to pick the harder thing.
i have experienced that firsthand. i can tell you, sometimes, we don't even know the feature that is out there. when i first ran for congress in 2012, i had no political experience. i had never held political office. i had no name recognition. that is not a recipe for success, i just want to tell you. but yet, as we look at that, some patrick henry students came -- josh, you were talking about being involved in politics, while they came to north carolina and knocked on doors. in fact, i had one guy that had walked up this unbelievably steep, steep climb, got to the door. and the guy says come i don't know where you are from, but if you made it to my door walking up here, i will vote for whomever you tell me to vote for! that is the kind of tenacity that has become the norm with patrick henry college graduates.
so i say that, there were 11 people running for the seat, i was called to run. . i did not like to be out in front of people, in fact, i got nervous. i knew that god was calling me. i called my wife and said, i am going to run for office. i got physically ill, had to pull over to the side of the road and throw up. but, when we are called to do something, even if we do not know the future, it is the right place to be, graduates. if we are there, we're truly saying, thy will be done, then he will take care of the rest. we can step, perhaps even in the wrong direction, yet he is the god that closes doors. the one that actually banks sure those paths are closed -- actually makes sure that those paths are closed.
he will direct our steps. that is a great comfort, because you will get all kinds of advice, most of it not godly. and when you look at that, that you have all kinds of doors ahead of you. many, many doors. i am not talking about the door to your parents basement. that is not the door i am talking about. as you look at all the doors out there, finishing one chapter today and starting another, one door is closing and another is opening. yet in the psalms, it tells us that we spend our years as a tale that is told. when i started out, i told to you about allowing god to write your story. it is not being in control -- is not being in control the same thing as being out of control? now, it is not the same thing. because actually, we are in his hands, the one that controls the present and the future, it is
all right there in his palm. when we know that, what happens is that we can rest assured, graduates, that things will go well. as is mentioned about the freedom caucus, the have been a lot of people who said, the freedom caucus has been around for a long time. while i can tell you, i was sitting in my badger him 2015 and i made a list of, 30 members who might be willing to have a backbone. in congress, most members of congress have a backbone of a banana. which means it has a great form, until you peel it back and it gets real mushy after that. and yet, here we were trying to find 30 members willing to stand up, and not be silent. stand up against a moderate leadership of our own party. so, jim jordan and i split the list of, and we started calling people from those humble beginnings.
the house freedom caucus was formed. a group was never really something i had envisioned. a feature i had not seen, and yet, we've had influence well beyond anything we could have ever imagined. all we wanted was a voice at the table. voice where we could make sure that some conservative voice was heard. and yet, we have been blessed with so much more. my mother puts it in a different way. it was a founding moment in our household. when i made it to jeopardy, i knew that i had made it somewhere. but it is well beyond that. political science, graduate students, are now writing about the freedom caucus and their influence on the way things happen in washington dc.
the president of the united states calls us "the freedom guys." and yet, here we are. not knowing what the future is. so is a frightening? the going and not knowing? sure, it is. but the excitement of trying to find what god can do for your future is so much greater than that. so as we look at that, we are all riding on this roller coaster of life. and you have a choice. you can close your eyes, hold on and scream -- some of you do -- or, you can open your eyes let your hands up, and trust that he will deliver the future. i don't know about you, i found that and i trust in christ, he indeed, writes the story better than anything i could have ever imagined. it will require you graduates, to get rid of that "i am the master of my own destiny"
cultural worldview that is out there. it will cause you to abandon "i will pick myself up by my own bootstraps." for four years, you have had a godly worldview that you have not only come to understand, but practice every single day. you are the best writers in the world. you have been forced -- how many of you have been forced to write it over and over and over again? well, there are a few of you who started, put their hand up and are now scratching their neck. but i know that you are the best writers. when i get a patrick henry graduate in my office, i know that i don't have to teach them how to write. they already know how to write. that is of rare, rare commodity. but the ride is not always smooth, is it? sometimes you feel alone. i will share another personal story.
i want you to know, the future may be uncertain, the pathway may be lonely, but ultimately, god is writing the story. a few years back, i was very frustrated with the punitive system with the way that we do business in the house. a republican leadership would basically try to force people to vote other than their conscience, and other than their constituency. and yet, we have a representative form of government, which should represent the district that we have. so i was going through a -- i found a little procedure in a jefferson manual of house rules. the procedure had not been used in over 100 years. to give you an idea, if i googled it, it only came up twice. if it only comes up twice in google, it doesn't exist, right? when we looked at that, there was this motion to vacate the chair procedure, and it could be filed by any member.
so indeed, after weeks of wrestling and trying to wrestle along with it, the lord was telling me to do it. there were some sleepless nights. i kept looking at all the consequences, if i had actually followed up on what the lord wanted to do. i did not want to do it. and yet, i knew the lord was leading me to do that. so i dropped the motion on the house floor. my friends said i was committing political suicide. i was instantly demonized and avoided, and i mean, physically avoided. i was on the house floor by myself. scoffed at, ridiculed. even then, i knew that god had called me to do it. but it was bleak. the freedom caucus that i had founded six months earlier, actually had a specially called meeting to kick me out of the group i started. it was a lonely time. one newspaper said, meadows -- army of one.
lonely time. so, perhaps in the journey that you have there, may be are saying -- rebecca, army of one. josh, army of one. dr. haynes, army of one. you put the name in there. you all shouldn't agree that he is an army of one, i saw that, but here is the thing it can be your name, but god is writing the story. and if you believe that you are alone, you have forgotten one thing -- but god. because, there are always for in the fiery furnace. you will, the father, the son and the holy spirit. so you are never alone.
i want to encourage you graduates, that when you are there, you may not see the future. you may feel alone, but god is writing the story. so, the rest of that story was 59 days later, the speaker of the house resigned midterm. the first sitting speaker to ever resign without a health concern or challenge midterm ever. and god again, wrote the story. now, these stories that god rights are certainly interesting. and a journey you plan yourself, you can do it one way. but indeed, the lord has something even greater. in fact, i would give you one more piece of advice. the closed doors, the doors that god closes, are the ones that you should applaud as well.
for it is the disappointments in life, and the trust that he is writing that story, that makes it so wonderful. because it is more important how you handle disappointment, then -- more important how you handle disappointment than appointment. more important how you handle disappointment than appointment. i am reminded of this verse, it helps cure me from wanting my own plans, because it says -- he gave them the request, but he sent leanness to their souls. it has taught me to pray, lord, don't give me what i want, but what you want. you open the doors and you close the doors. i have the advantage of having a little more gray hair then you as graduates today. to look backwards -- you can look backwards and see how god weaves it. i can tell you, when i was in europe face come i wanted to be
a medical salesman, make lots of money. instead, i have the honor and privilege of standing up for life. standing up for israel. for our constitution. for religious freedom in the most powerful city in the world. and i am humbled to get to speak to the president regularly, about what is important to conservatives. indeed, the most powerful individual in the world. but let me share a story that maybe illustrates it a bit more, that i cannot write the end of the story, because i have no ideas. as a member of congress, i go to the oval office early on in the administration, the first time i had ever been. when you go in, you're trying to check out where all the different paintings, seeing if it looks like something you have seen and a picture, i was like this little kid at his first party.
going in, and the president calls me in. in the oval office, there is an office to the side, a little side office. that is where he does a lot of his work. economy in, and i was there advocating for something dear and passionate to me. he says, come on in and sit down. we were having this one-on-one chat. i never thought i would ever have a chat with the president of the u.s., ever. but there i was he saw me, i kept looking down. on his desk was a little -- about a 12 inch rectangle piece of board with a red. button in the middle of it i kept looking down. the president saw me looking at this red button. he said, it makes you nervous, doesn't it? [laughter] so, without me really commenting, he hits the red button. my eyes got really big, and i
mean, wow. out of this closet, comes a marine dressed in full uniform with a diet coke in his hand, uniform with a diet coke in his hand, and he puts it for the president. [laughter] [applause] he said, you want to see it again? boom, and there was one for me! [laughter] so, i share about to say, you don't know what the story may be. i was there advocating for something that was very close and personal for me. advocating that we would move the embassy to jerusalem for israel. and i am here to tell you, in less than 48 hours, that will happen! [applause] cap i have -- that will happen. [applause] could i have ever picked out that i would be a very small part of the historical thing that is happening in our world?
of biblical proportions. and yet, if i wrote the story, i would still be a medical salesman. so here is my encouragement to all of you. here are the things i want you to do. step in the direction you believe you are being called to go. with the next thing to be trust god. take a chance. trust him. because the results are his job. expect that he will do his part and open and close the doors and be grateful you are not in control. and the final one, pray constantly and press on. prayer, not just at the beginning of an endeavor, but just like you have to take a breath each and every day, you need to pray constantly. never think you have got the plan -- i've got it all worked out, thank you, god for helping
me out. continue to pray. because when you get up tomorrow, i want you to remember who you are, but also whose you are. because you are children of the most high god. step, patrick henry college has uniquely prepared you to think and speak desperately needed in an area of our culture, from the public square in the mission schools, and beyond. someday, someday you will wonder, why me? why has god called you to do that? lord, i am not ready. i will close with this final story. it happened just the other day. one of those days that -- you know, some of you have bad hair
days, men have bad tied days. i was there, i was getting ready to go to the office. tying my tie, and my wife looked shirtnd said, honey, your is hanging out of your plans. so i put the shirttail back in, tied my tie. some of you gentlemen know, the tie came up to short. you can't have it too short, or too long. , as we it three times that morning trying to get it the right length. i think the truth is, i just threw away the time and got a different one. because sometimes when you're starting on the wrong time, you just have to -- i was saying, what a terrible day. i wanted to stay in bed. the car andgot into shortly after i got in the car. i get a call from the president of the united states who says, by the way, speaker ryan is
going to be resigning today. and i just wanted to let you know that as we start to look for a new speaker. i would love to get your thoughts, as well as some of the others thoughts on how we are going to do that. i say that, because of that morning, i felt totally unprepared. god was writing the story. on a day that is unprepared, the cameras are everywhere. for some pooring guy to show up in front of a camera, well, it was my day. as i go there, i go to start to talk, they were just trying to buy a little time while waiting for the speaker to announce that he was resigning. it was a live feed on a most every single network. . a day that i did not feel prepared my wife was in the gym working out. story.w the back there she was working out, and
all of a sudden, my head pops up across the screen all over. it was not a good day. but here is what i wanted to say. that day,ent, later called and said, mark, i saw you on tv. who said, you know what? you looked good! come am going come aboard on my worst day, the president said i looked good. effect, you sounded good too! and i thought, it wasn't really me come i was really about following the leadership of our heavenly father. we need to make sure, that we are ready to give in and sir. whether it is a bad hair day or day. timtie and hopefully, gentlemen, you have learned to tie a tie. patrick henry college has prepared you to do great things, but god, but god, has called you to do extraordinary things.
so i encourage you to take the step. to trust and know that god is writing the story. and may god bless you. , and may your story glorify him. thank you, god bless you. [applause] lancejanuary, he shall annual gave the commencement address to georgia graduating class. this is 10 minutes. [applause] bottoms: i have to remember to add that our dogs name is logan. [laughter] thank you, dr