Don’t play head games with God, Buskirk tells Chapel

November 01, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

It’s a beautiful passage in the letter Paul wrote to the Ephesians while he was in prison — Chapter 3, Verses 14-21. There’s a lot to it, so much so that Ryan Buskirk of Young Life built his Chapel message around it Monday morning at Grand Canyon University Arena.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,” it begins. “I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

Ryan Buskirk of Young Life told the Chapel audience Monday that we must find a way to get the idea of God's love to travel from our head, which can't comprehend it, to our heart. (Photo by Kaitlyn Terrey)

Ryan Buskirk of Young Life told the Chapel audience Monday that we must find a way to get the idea of God’s love to travel from our head, which can’t comprehend it, to our heart. (Photo by Kaitlyn Terrey)

Buskirk, who trains volunteers to work on high school campuses, had started by talking about how it’s natural for us to develop a tolerance to things in our daily life — such as the hot weather in Arizona, which he finally has adjusted to after moving here from the Seattle area a year ago.

“The reality of God’s love changes everything,” Buskirk said. “And if we build up an immunity or a tolerance to the reality of God’s love in your life and my life and the world around us, we miss out on about 95 percent of what God has for us on this earth and for the age to come.”

“And I pray that you,” the passage continues, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

“He’s not talking about head knowledge,” Buskirk said. “This is experiential knowledge.”

Paul’s passage concludes with, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

“I think one of the greatest tragedies for young people is that they’re bored with Jesus,” Buskirk told his audience, mostly students. “And the problem is they’re not bored with Jesus, they’re bored with how He’s presented and how He’s lived out.

“It’s a shame that anybody would be bored with the goodness of Jesus. Should never be the case. He was the most interesting man in the world.”

And the key to changing the false perception of people, according to Buskirk, is to find a way to get the message out of our head, which can’t comprehend it, and into our heart. It requires a power of dynamite strength, he said, to make that breakthrough.

We first must realize that we can’t earn God’s love. We get it no matter what. “A lot of us have bought into a deception or a lie that we can only receive what we earn,” Buskirk said, comparing our best efforts to earn God’s approval to “filthy rags.”

“It’s a crazy, upside-down reality,” he added. “We’re blessed when we recognize and we acknowledge our brokenness.”

Thinking we’re hopeless and not worthy of God’s love also is incorrect. “We live under this cloak of shame and condemnation that is not true,” Buskirk said. “The truth is that you and I are not worthy. We’re not worthy to receive God’s love, except that God decided that you are worthy.”

There’s no logic to it. “The beauty of this prayer that Paul is praying,” Buskirk said, “is that he’s saying, ‘You’re right, it doesn’t make sense.’”

So there has to be a revelation, and that’s done through relationships, such as the things that Young Life tries to do. Buskirk said he has seen God’s love wherever he has gone around the world.

“One of the greatest ways that you and I can experience the love of God is on the receiving end of love from another person,” he said, noting that we also should position ourselves to be the conduits of God’s love as well.

Buskirk left his audience with these thoughts:

“If you want to experience the love of God, not just cognitively, not just theologically, but experientially, the first thing you’ve got to do is quit trying so hard. You can’t earn it, so don’t try.

“The second thing I want you to do is focus on your inner man. Develop a life of prayer, a life of the Word.

“Third is to live a life of faith.”

● For a replay of Buskirk’s talk, click here.

● Next Monday’s Chapel speaker: Courtney Cleveland, speaker and author

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or

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