As a child and a teenager, I never gave God much thought besides going to church on Sundays with my family. I was a regular kid, whose life was ruled by sports, school, and girls. However, God guided me towards a lifetime relationship with him through those interests.
I was at a summer wrestling camp in Pennsylvania where a world-famous college wrestling coach told all the campers on the first night that he was more interested in us as young men than as wrestlers, and that is why he wanted to tell us about his faith in Jesus Christ. I listened intently as he shared about his faith and stuck around afterwards to ask some questions.
Around the same time, at school, a girl I was interested in told me that she went to some “Young Life” meetings at different people’s homes each week. I didn’t know what that was, but I wanted to go if she was going to be there. What I found at Young Life was a group of students and young-adult leaders who were really cool and who also spoke of having a personal relationship with the God of the universe. Again, I asked some questions and spent time thinking about it all.
In the fall of 1973, I was part of a large high-school choral group that spent a weekend rehearsing and performing in Baltimore. A group of these students invited me to a Bible-study one evening. I didn’t know what to expect, but I went. Again, these students told me about their faith in Christ and how they had asked him to be the Lord of their lives.
I asked more questions, and they encouraged me to start reading the Bible – beginning with the book of John (the fourth book in the New Testament). I did, and as I read it, things started to make sense – to come together. Jesus wasn’t just a good man, nor was he a deity who had no interest in me. Jesus Christ was God himself and he wanted to be an integral part of my life.
Finally (still in the fall of ’73), I went to see a movie called “A Time to Run." It was about a young man with whom I identified. He was interested in normal things like sports, but God was pursuing him – letting him know that there was more to life.
At the end of the movie, someone asked me if I wanted to commit my life to being a follower of Christ. I said that I did, and in a prayer, I told Jesus that I believed he was the son of God and that I wanted to surrender my life to him.
Those were the events that led me to step out in faith and make the rational, carefully-considered decision to believe that Jesus Christ is who the Bible says he is, and to commit to following him throughout my life.
Today I am still a Christ-follower. This means that I believe that Jesus of Nazareth was God in human flesh, that he physically rose from the dead after being crucified on the cross, and that I have committed myself to follow all his teachings. I believe that the Bible was written by men who were inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, and that anyone who steps out in faith and commits their life to Christ will live forever with Him.
I have many favorites and like to start each class with one of them as the “Thought for the Day”. Here, I will select one that most people wouldn’t expect to come from a finance professor: “A good name is more desirable than great riches.” – Proverbs 22:1
Friends describe me
None of my friends have ever told me how they describe me. Will I get a truthful answer if I ask them?
Running and Triathlons. You can read more about my hobbies (some would call it my obsessions) and find out about my family at https://breesefamilyhobbies.tulane.edu/
Fantasy dinner guests
My guests would be a younger Bill Reese and an older Bill Reese. I would tell my younger self some of the things I’ve learned through the years and ask my older self to share with me some of the things he has learned.
Best advice I ever received
When I was a high-school science teacher in my early 20s, and thinking about getting a master’s degree, someone suggested that I get an MBA instead of a master’s in education. Maybe not the best advice for everyone, but it worked for me.
My undergrad alma mater
The College of Wooster – in Wooster, Ohio. It is a small liberal arts college.
My worst subject in school
I always got bad grades in spelling and handwriting.
In college I drove
Chevy Vega – probably the worst car ever made.
If I weren't a professor, I would
I would probably still be a banker, but if I could be any profession; I would want to be a professional athlete.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis and More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell.
The first Batman movie with Michael Keaton, The Empire Strikes Back, and the home movies I've taken of my family.
New York City – I wouldn’t want to live there, but it is great to visit.
Mocha Latte with two packs of Splenda
Nobody knows I
But if I tell you – that will invalidate the question, because it will no longer be something that nobody knows about me!
My latest accomplishment
Completing this questionnaire.
Professor Russ Robins and I have worked (and are continuing to work) together on a series of papers – each of them dealing with how to teach a particular financial concept using experiential learning through Excel spreadsheets that we designed. I have incorporated these spreadsheets into some of the classes I teach.
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