Chapel talk lays foundation for building up others
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Most people equate Matthew 7:12 (“Do to others what you would have them do to you”) with not treating others poorly. In his Chapel talk Monday morning in Grand Canyon University Arena, Ron Merrell of Heights Church in Prescott took a more positive look at that idea by challenging listeners to raise the level of praise.
Merrell said many people don’t have a good self-image because they base it on what others say about them or how they want others to see them or how others think they see themselves.
“What if you what you really care about is what God says about you?” he said. “… He has not made mistakes on you. Take Him at His word.”
But there’s more to it than that. Merrell dreams of a world where everyone makes it their mission to build up those around them.
“You may not yourself be struggling with what God says about you, but I bet you know somebody that is,” he said. “And so maybe He’d want to use you to encourage somebody with the truth about them.
“And can you imagine what the ripple effect would be like if we got our eyes off our failures and got our eyes off of ourselves and received what God has said about you as true, and that we just got really excited about reminding people around us who they really are.”
Merrell pointed to Psalm 139:1-8, in which David tells God:
You have searched me, Lord,
and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
You, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and You lay Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, You are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.
“What David is trying to drive home to me and you is that huge reminder that God knows you better than you know you,” Merrell said. “You may have had a parent or a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a peer or some other person who has come into your life and has spoken an awful lot of unhealthy things about who you are. … You need to turn down the volume on those voices.”
As you would expect from a former stand-up comic, Merrell mixes plenty of humor into his message. He elicited several long bouts of laughter with his self-deprecating stories, but he closed his talk with a polar opposite: a recent suicide by an eighth-grade girl in Prescott.
As a result, he said, “What I’m praying for in our community is there just be this groundswell of encouragement and groundswell of support for each other. And I’m praying that for GCU as well, that you would come to receive what God has said about you as the truth and you be quick to pass that on to people right here in this room or across this campus that need it every single day.”
Talk about a nice idea.
● For a replay of Merrell’s talk, click here.
● Next week’s speaker: Ryan Nunez, Palm Valley Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.