Heaven helps us help others, Mueller tells Chapel
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Why is Grand Canyon University working to transform its west Phoenix neighborhood from crime-ridden to prosperity-driven? Just because.
Why did renowned broadcaster Ernie Johnson and his wife, Cheryl, adopt a severely disabled toddler from Romania even though they were told he would never walk, talk or bond with people? Just because.
Just because that’s what Christians do. Or at least what they need to do if they are to live in concert with God.
President Brian Mueller demonstrated the parallels between the two stories in an emotional Chapel presentation Monday morning that he started by saying, “I want to talk about impossible things.” He then challenged his audience to truly believe that God makes possible the seemingly impossible — and to openly show that faith by taking on the most daunting tasks.
He began with an ABC “20/20” video about the Johnsons, who have four adopted children in addition to their two biological children. When the 1990 revolution in Romania left thousands of children orphaned, Cheryl Johnson felt compelled to act — and her husband felt compelled to honor her wishes.
They adopted a nearly 3-year-old boy they named Michael knowing that he would require special care but believing that, with God’s help, they could make a difference in his life. Did they ever. He did walk. He did talk. He did bond.
But then his condition, the result of an aggressive form of muscular dystrophy, worsened in 2011, when he almost died and had to be put on a ventilator. Still, they persevered, happily sharing the duties of 24-hour care. The conversation as Ernie lovingly washed the head of his adopted son in the video was the epitome of goodness.
“That’s an example of how powerful God is if we just take Him at His word and believe Him,” Mueller said after the video was shown.
Now switch the focus to Camelback Road in Phoenix, where GCU has planted a similar flag of hope and kindness. Using the first 10 chapters of the book of Luke as his Biblical reference, Mueller took his listeners on a journey down the road of what it truly means to help someone and expect nothing in return.
When local students come onto campus to get special tutoring in the GCU Learning Lounge, they aren’t asked whether they’re Christian. They just get the help they need, and the results are showing in Alhambra High School’s ascent from a D grade to just nine points short of a B.
When the University partners with Habitat for Humanity to renovate local homes, it doesn’t matter whether the homeowners are Christians. They get the help they need from people, mainly GCU students, they don’t even know.
“This is not me. This is not us. God is doing something powerful here,” Mueller said. “Ernie, you could feel it. He was so blessed in his life. A great wife. Two kids. Great extended family. His career’s taking off. … He knows he’s been blessed, and so his job is to bless other people.
“What’s happening at Grand Canyon right now is that we’ve been blessed. We’ve been blessed with overwhelming blessings. … And now we’re going to reach out and bless the neighborhood that we live in in unimaginable, impossible ways.”
But make no mistake about the force behind this force for good.
“That’s the power of Christ,” Mueller said.
● For a replay of Mueller’s talk, click here.
● Next week’s Chapel speaker: Riccardo Stewart, Redemption Tempe
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.