Pennell to Speak on Trusting God With Worry

September 23, 2011 / by / 0 Comment

By Cooper Nelson

The first three Chapel services of the semester have featured strong speakers: Dean of Students Pastor Tim Griffin, author Josh Riebock and Redemption Church Pastor Justin Anderson.

Monday’s Chapel will bring a fourth. 

Russ Pennell, GCU’s head coach for men’s basketball, will speak on the topic of trusting God with anxiety and worry.

“We as humans all worry and have a lot of things on our mind,” he says. “And Scripture commands us as believers to put all of our worries on Jesus, to place all of our cares on Him.”

GCU Men's Basketball Head Coach Russ Pennell.

Pennell, in his third year at the University, acknowledges that stress and anxiety can be huge problems with college students, who tend to worry about earthly aspirations such as marriage, making money and having a successful career — while failing to put their faith in the Lord.

“It is a constant battle students are going through,” he says. “We are never meant to handle this type of pressure.”

Pennell hopes that God will speak through him at Chapel to reach those who are struggling.

“Unless you learn to trust in Jesus and cope with (anxiety and worry) at an early age,” he says, “it will haunt you for the rest of your life.”

Many know Pennell for his passion and drive on the court, but few know much about his walk with God. He grew up in Pittsburg, Kan., as a Christian and says it helped keep him on the right path.

But because of that very upbringing, he didn’t believe he had much of a faith story to tell and took his beliefs for granted.

“My faith has made my life void of bad things and kept me out of trouble,” he says. “(Growing up,) I knew that Jesus was a part of my life, but I didn’t really feel like I had a testimony.”

He says he learned through a friend that the fact that he is saved is his testimony.

“That really hit home to me,” he says. “I learned that I don’t have to make a bunch of mistakes to get God’s love. My entire life has been attempting to walk better with God.”

Pennell brought that walk along with him to GCU. He uses the opportunity he has been given as a coach to freely share his faith — through prayer and passing on his beliefs and morals to his players.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to hear more from Pennell at 10:45 a.m. Monday in GCU Arena.

Cooper Nelson is a GCU junior majoring in communications who played on the men’s basketball team for two years.

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