Chapel: Look past ‘trinkets’ and see God’s gifts
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Part of the reason growing up in today’s world is so challenging, Sean Myers says, is because the mixed messages of the secular world have replaced discipline as the primary teaching tool for young people.
Monday morning at Chapel in Grand Canyon University Arena, they got a dose of discipline from Myers, who brings an unusual perspective to the discussion — he grew up in a drug-infested household and says he knew nothing about Christianity before God changed his life during his freshman year in high school.
Pinch-hitting for scheduled speaker Mark Mittelberg, who was ill, Myers came on stage after a third Chapel band, with lead singer Michael Wagner, made its debut and told students to “stop looking at these stupid trinkets and getting caught up in these lies … you can get caught up in your own hype and think it’s you doing these great things” rather than God. Afterward, he expanded on what he meant:
“They’re not being pushed and prodded,” Myers said. “There’s a constant sense of ‘You can do it. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps.’ The issue is that it tends to push against the Gospel because the Gospel is the opposite in saying it’s not ‘help those who can help themselves.’ The Gospel helps those who can’t help themselves.
“So I think the further we can push against that ‘get it right or get left’ mentality and say it is about Jesus, it is about His work and it’s not about what I do and don’t do — those are the fruits of what Jesus has done — I think that’s good. They desperately want to be all-in. The problem is, they’re sold goods and services about happy thoughts and being a snowflake and they live in a world that doesn’t preach that.”
Myers, who cited Ecclesiastes 9:14-15, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 and Philippians 2:4-8 during his talk, emphasized that “the characters that we see in the Bible were not awesome,” but God was always working through people who were extremely flawed, from Moses to Abraham to David to Peter. So how could we expect to handle things ourselves?
“You’re not David killing Goliath. It’s Jesus killing Goliath,” Myers said. “You’re the soldier hiding in the corner. … By using these men in their weakness, God is reminding us that the story is not about us.”
Myers reminded the audience that we can do great things “because of God and for God” but should avoid “all the righteous swagger. Too many people think they’re too good or not good enough.”
Two reasons that Myers’ perspective is so valuable for students are that he has spent a lot of time on campus and he is, as he put it, “not too far removed from their generation.” His strong opinions are not the product of someone two or three times their age who grew up in the classic mom-and-pop-and-two-kids family environment. This is someone who not that long ago was watching both of his parents head off to prison and was sent to a foster home.
And Myers appreciates the chance to share his ideas at a place he admires.
“I love GCU students,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity the last two years to disciple and be around GCU students. It might be college students in general, but whatever GCU is doing, there is a culture that is extremely freeing. Two things: You don’t have to play into the pressures of pretending to be Christian — it’s OK if you’re not. And then the other side is that if you are (Christian), you can go all out. I think that’s very inviting.”
● For a replay of Myers’ talk, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Palmer Chinchen, The Grove
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.