The men who followed Jesus were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. Billy Graham


Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23


If you have followed this magazine for very long, you know that March is the month when we honor some of Mississippi’s most promising high school seniors who are also Christ followers. This particular issue represents a milestone. It’s our 10th anniversary of the Christian Leaders of the Future scholarship program!


Whether you are launching an 18-year-old young adult this spring or about to enter a new chapter in your own life, I think you will find the encouragement and advice within these pages to be timeless and ageless in application. In this world where pop culture rules and trends come and go like hemlines and hairstyles, it is somewhat comforting to many of us to know with certainty that our rock-solid God of truth is The One who will hold us, guide us, love us and lead us every minute of every day in this world and the next. By the way, although that statement speaks of a sense of security about the future, it in no way implies a path that will always be sunshine and lollipops.


The entire world just this week lost one of the great Christian leaders of the ages as Reverend Billy Graham left this earth for his eternal home. Thankfully, his death has given the media something to cover besides rancor and division if only briefly! I have loved the vintage clips of his crusades and his Hour of Decision broadcasts that must have been filmed in his home. I have also loved the candid family pictures. As amazing as he was in the pulpit, he was also the husband who apparently cherished his wife and the father who could throw the football and have fun with his children. Could we take note of that?


Great leaders—whether their greatness is recognized worldwide like Reverend Graham or just within the four walls of their home—are really good at these basics. They do relationships par excellence. They love well, and they are humble enough to serve others. They are okay with appearing to be “last,”’ because they understand that there is a whole lot of being last involved in loving those around them in the same way Jesus loves us.


It has been a great joy to me personally this last decade to follow the students we honor and to watch their lives unfold in wider venues as they study, grow, and find their special niche. They are bright and serious and focused, and their academic prowess is impressive, but their hearts are what make them stand out in the eyes of our judges. And that is what pleases and encourages me most.


Our world is filled with brilliant researchers, scientists, and engineers whose great discoveries promise a better way of doing so many things in our lives. But no one is going to ever discover a more effective cure for the ills that cause problems between people, families, coworkers, organizations or governments than those who understand the power and influence of a heart sold out to Jesus.


Will you take a look at these fresh faces on our cover, and will you, along with us, say a prayer for every one of them? Oh, Lord, we pray, guard their hearts, light their paths, and use them mightily in your name. Amen and Amen.


Enjoy. We think you will be encouraged!