Chapel: Women are empowered by God
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Terry Crist has preached in 64 countries, but he said he had never shared his thoughts about this subject outside his own City of Grace pulpit even though “it’s been a driving passion of mine for many years.”
So Crist readily admitted he was a little apprehensive Monday morning when he began his Chapel talk by declaring that the audience in Grand Canyon University Arena almost certainly had never heard anything quite like this at any church service. And it’s also safe to say that Crist’s thoughts about the importance of strong women in the Bible and in today’s world had enormous value to a student body that is about 70 percent female, as demonstrated by the long line of women who came up afterward to thank him.
Crist said he felt inspired to tackle the subject because of the ministry he shares with his wife of 31 years, Judith, and thought GCU would be a good place to test it out. Women don’t get enough chances to “come down out of the stands and into the playing field,” he said, and it’s time they realize how much value they have.
“The world is a better place when women are brave,” he said. “The Bible is filled with examples of women who changed the world through their bravery.”
Crist used Numbers 27:1-4, in which the five daughters of Zelophehad went before Moses and other leaders — an incredibly bold move in ancient times — to demand that they not be denied a piece of the land the Israelites were about to split up just because their father had died and there were no male heirs in their family. Surprisingly, their request was granted.
It’s an example, Crist said, of how “people who change the world see injustices as others around them are blind to them.”
In the hopes of empowering women to try to correct the injustices they see, Crist gave them six lessons to take away from his talk:
- Stop waiting for someone to give you permission to be who God wanted you to be: “Brave women are secure in their identity,” he said.
- You don’t have to settle for anything your mother settled for: Times have changed.
- Stop waiting for the fear to leave you before you act on what God has put in your heart: There always are going to be reasons to be a little fearful about stressful situations, such as the jitters that come with public speaking. “Are you willing to act in faith in spite of your fears?” he asked.
- Choose your battles wisely and bring your full strength to the fight: Spend your life fighting the right causes. If you try to get behind every cause, you’ll be less effective.
- Don’t compromise your strength to accommodate the weakness of a man: Better to go without a man, Crist said, than to choose someone not suited to you. “You don’t need a knight in shining armor to rescue you. … Two thousand years ago, your knight in shining armor came, and his name was Jesus, and Jesus was a champion of women,” he said.
- Stand with your sisters: There’s strength in numbers.
Crist said he wasn’t trying to bash men, but he wasn’t giving them a pass, either.
“Let me say to the guys in the house, be secure enough to allow your girlfriend or wife to be as strong and brave as God has called her to be,” he said. “If she makes you look weak, it’s only because you are — in Jesus’ name, said with all the pastoral love in my heart. … There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing couples who have powered through life, who have partnered together and have done something great for the glory of God.”
But the main message was to women in the room who might feel beaten down by society. Crist said every woman has the potential to be a “courageous warrior princess.”
“That’s who you are,” he said. “It’s your kingdom DNA, and I’m here this morning, kind of way out there on a radical subject, challenging you to own who you are, to accept who you are and to use who you are to change the world to the glory of God.”
● For a replay of Crist’s talk, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.