Chapel: What is your response to God?
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Some people let their message get lost in the way they present it. Then there are those whose presentation helps make the message.
Don’t just pencil Albert Tate, pastor of Fellowship Monrovia in Monrovia, Calif., into the latter category. Write it in indelible ink. In fact, it can be shouted from the mountaintops although that still wouldn’t match the passion Tate demonstrated at Chapel on Monday morning in Grand Canyon University Arena.
Tate took one of the simplest and most well-known Bible verses, John 3:16, and turned it into 30 minutes of oratory that had the crowd alternately applauding and wondering how he could string together so many sentences seemingly without taking a breath.
Another great Tate trait is his sense of humor, which he displayed with a long story about the response he expected from his wife when they first moved from Mississippi to California and he decided to buy her a Tiffany & Co. bracelet. The crowd loved it as Tate described in intricate detail what it was like to first see the prices, sheepishly ask if there was a clearance section, finally settle on the bracelet and then candidly get the tearful, gratitude-filled response from his wife that he’d expected.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life,” John 3:16 reads.
Tate’s take on it was like a car going from 0 to 80 mph in five seconds.
Slowly for emphasis: “Every great gift demands a great response. For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. He gave the greatest gift that could ever be given.”
Suddenly revving into overdrive: “He gave the gift that transforms our lives, He gave us the gift that brings new life, He gave us the gift that renews our minds, He gave the greatest gift that has ever been given. And the question that I want to put on the table this morning is, what’s your response?”
To set up his idea of the proper response to God, Tate told the story of how his grandfather once let him drive his big car but couldn’t help being a back-seat driver.
“Belief is the idea of you giving over the keys of your life, surrendering your hands but ultimately taking your life and resting and reclining in the provision of God,” Tate said. “If you are sleeping in anxiety and consumed with stress, you ain’t trusting God because if you ain’t resting, then you ain’t trusting.”
Tate was equally direct in talking about sin.
“I’m not one of those preachers who say sin is bad,” he said. “Sin is good. Sin is great. If it wasn’t good, you wouldn’t be so tempted by it. It’s the greatest ride you’ll have that ends in your destruction.”
So the answer is to turn away from sin and give God the response He deserves.
“You don’t fight this God. He’s too big for you,” Tate said.
Tate wished he could have talked longer, saying, “A clock to a black preacher is like Kryptonite to Superman.” But he got a lot done in a half-hour, and the only proper response was to just smile and marvel.
● For a replay of Tate’s talk, click here.
● Next week: No Chapel because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.