Chapel talk shows how to fight the good fight
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
Kent DelHousaye was in the fight of his life late last year. Some people would say he lost. DelHousaye has no doubt that he won — because God won.
DelHousaye had been so comfortable in his role as senior pastor of Bethany Bible Church in Phoenix. He thought his life with God just meant ministering to people in his congregation. That’s what pastors do, right?
“I couldn’t have been more wrong,” the now ex-pastor told his audience at Chapel on Monday morning at Grand Canyon University Arena.
In a talk titled, “How to Win, Even if You Don’t,” DelHousaye explained how the bouts of depression he fought last December convinced him that he must reach out to people in new ways.
The result: He stepped down as pastor to start two ministries, Love to Life International and The Lazarus Project, that potentially could help far more people by bringing comfort to the lonely and taking a fresh look at the missional identity of the church.
“You can criticize what’s going wrong,” he said, “or you can stand up and do something about it.”
DelHousaye began by sharing the story of the longest boxing match in history, an 111-rounder between Andy Bowen and Jack Burke. That’s right — 111 three-minute rounds. Seven hours, 19 minutes until the referee called it a draw because both fighters were too dazed to continue.
Now keep in mind that those were the days when fighters duked it out barehanded. Burke broke every bone in his hands; Bowen died less than two years later in a fight with Kid Lavigne.
There are two ways of looking at the marathon fight, DelHousaye said: They both lost because of the toll it took. Or, there’s the Biblical perspective — they won because, as he put it, “they stayed in the fight.”
DelHousaye likened it to the many times in the Bible when one of the protagonists tangled with God, most famously Jacob wrestling with the angel in Chapter 32 of Genesis. Because Jacob stayed in the fight, he was renamed “Israel,” which means, “He who wrestles with God.”
The point, DelHousaye said, is that “when you fight with God, there will be depression, heartache and setbacks,” and he certainly gave witness to that by describing his own struggles.
But that doesn’t mean he lost. “God shouts to us in our pain,” C.S. Lewis once wrote, and DelHousaye heard it loud and clear during his recent showdown.
“You want to have a real, authentic relationship with God?” he said. “Then be real and authentic with Him. … Stop pretending that a life with God is a walk in the park.
Next Monday’s Chapel will be a Worship Service. It will be the final Chapel of the spring semester.