Star search begins, ends at God, Mueller tells Chapel
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
When Grand Canyon University President Brian Mueller delivered his semiannual Chapel talk Monday morning, he made one thing crystal clear: There is absolutely no similarity between what’s happening at GCU and what routinely is reported on “Entertainment Tonight.”
The only star of the GCU show is God.
Mueller said he was amused by a recent television report that tried to predict which celebrity would be the first to have a meltdown.
“You know how often that happens, that celebrities have meltdowns and breakdowns, they have anxiety attacks? Why is that?” Mueller asked his GCU Arena audience of more than 6,000. “Because we weren’t made to be worshipped. We were made to worship. And as soon as we start accepting the worship of others, it’s the beginning of the end. We’ll have a meltdown. We’re not made that way.”
Mueller cringed when a local TV news anchor recently said that GCU is “becoming a force.”
“We’d better never believe that,” he said. “… (If) we believe that we are becoming a force, that’s the beginning of the end. It’s not us. It’s certainly not me. God has His hand on us and He’s doing this thing.”
Mueller’s Biblical frame of reference was the book of Mark, the shortest gospel but the one that describes best what Mueller called “three years of action-packed events.”
One of the most telling of those events, Mueller said, was the evolution of two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, and what it says about the actions of people who go from “outsiders” to “insiders.”
They were mere fishermen before following Jesus, but before long they thought they were special. Mark 10:35-45 describes what happened — and how Jesus reacted — when they thought their new “insider” status should be rewarded:
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want Me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at Your right and the other at Your left in Your glory.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
“We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at My right or left is not for Me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Mueller urged students to avoid the temptation of trying to become an “insider” or trying to preserve that status if they think they’ve achieved it. Instead, he said, we should follow Jesus’ example and focus on serving others, both on campus and in the neighborhood.
He cited the examples in what he called “three amazing experiences” he has had in recent months hearing from people who have seen the GCU spirit in action:
- A mother whose special-needs son was embraced by other young men in his GCU residence hall, helping him persevere through challenges that could have derailed his hopes of staying in school.
- A woman who watched in amazement as a GCU Arena food worker left his post to find a table for her blind, wheelchair-bound sister.
- A man who lives in the neighborhood and was touched by the way his two daughters love attending “Canyon Kids,” the weekly ministry in which GCU students bring children to local parks for fellowship, Bible study and games.
But Mueller emphasized that there’s only one reason that things like this keep occurring.
“We are not the force,” he said. “We are not to be worshipped. We need to keep worshipping. We need to understand Who’s making this happen. We need to worship that Person. And we just need to help people.”
● For a replay of Mueller’s talk, click here.
● Next Monday: No Chapel because of Martin Luther King Jr. holiday
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.