Beal gets real in Chapel about life’s circumstances
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Tim Beal started his Chapel talk Monday morning at Grand Canyon University Arena by telling his audience that he recently turned 46, or “halfway to dead,” as he put it with his self-deprecating sense of humor.
The college pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Chandler ran through the reasons why he feels so old and out of touch — too old to be a youth pastor, too old to have relevant advice for his three children, too old to deal with all the issues that have arisen as he has aged.
“I’m at a spot looking at life and thinking, ‘This isn’t what I signed up for,’” he said.
But in his down-to-earth style, Beal showed that he has indeed learned a few things, and he packaged them into a relatable message for students. His main point: Don’t let the circumstances of your life get in the way of your faith.
At least several times every day, Beal noted, we are greeted by someone with a simple question: “How are you doing?”
“Great,” we invariably respond — even if we’re not feeling so great about things.
And even when the latter is the case, “remember that Jesus is real,” Beal said.
You want to talk about bad circumstances? Beal brought up the example of John the Baptist, whom Beal called “the frontrunner for Jesus. He was the setup pitcher for the greatest pitcher to ever play the game.”
Chapter 11 of Matthew tells how John, who was imprisoned and only days from being beheaded, sent one of his disciples to find out if Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Even in the darkest days of his time on Earth, John’s focus was on Jesus.
Later in that chapter, in verse 6, Jesus said, “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Beal said it “messed with me just a little bit,” but it also gave him hope to hear that message, a message of pressing on with faith in God, no matter what.
“Remembering who Jesus is didn’t change John’s circumstances, but I think it did give John hope,” Beal said. “Me talking to you, you already learned this — I’m not smart enough to give you anything that’s going to change your circumstances.
“I can make you laugh a couple times and hopefully a couple more times, but that’s really all I’ve got. I can’t give you something that’s going to change your circumstances, but I can give you the God that’s going to give you hope. And if you’ll remember who He is … (you’ll) have peace.”
Beal said that’s the reason Christians sound “so screwed up” when they say they’re at peace in the face of adversity. To have that peace, Beal suggested three things:
- Stop focusing on circumstances and start focusing on Jesus.
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. “We’re built for community,” Beal said.
- Trust that Jesus does love you, and it has nothing to do with you. “God is not disappointed in you,” Beal said. “… He is madly and deeply and passionately in love with you.”
It all comes down to not letting those circumstances get to you.
“Remember that circumstances are just that — they’re circumstances,” Beal said. “Circumstances are not a good gauge of how much God loves you.”
● Here’s a replay of Beal’s talk.
● Next Monday’s Chapel: Christmas service (final Chapel of semester)
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.