God’s love is where the action is, Mueller tells Chapel
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Garrett Ohrenberg
GCU News Bureau
The first in-person Chapel of the fall semester was an opportunity to set a tone for the 2020-21 academic year, and Grand Canyon University President Brian Mueller wanted to make sure the assembled students know who sets that tone.
“God is really clear throughout Scripture that He wants us to take action,” he said Monday.
As action-packed as Mueller’s first 12 years at GCU have been, he foresees a 13th that’s luckier than ever despite all the challenges of this year. Again, there’s one reason for that.
“This is not going to be a throwaway year,” he said. “God does not take years off. I really think that we’ll all look back on this year someday and say, ‘It’s at times like this, when things look a little bleak, when God usually takes action, where He shows up and starts moving.’
“… I anticipate that this is going to be the best year that we’ve ever had here. I think God is going to move in a way that He has not moved in the 12 previous years, and He’s really moved since we’ve been here.”
Mueller centered his talk around two biblical passages that are remarkably similar: the 58th chapter of Isaiah and the 25th chapter of Matthew. Both make it very clear what God expects us to do for each other, how He will assist us in those efforts and what the reward will be.
Isaiah 58:11-12 reads:
… If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Matthew 25:34-40 describes what Jesus will say when He returns:
“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’
“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You something to drink? When did we see You a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe You? When did we see You sick or in prison and go to visit You?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’”
Mueller told two stories to illuminate how much God loves us.
One was about taking his young sons, ages 9 and 11, to a talk he was giving at a local resort and then not being able to find them when he was finished. After several frantic minutes, he finally discovered that they had left the room where he had left them and had fallen asleep on lounge chairs next to the pool.
“It took me three days to calm down after that,” he said. “Your kids are part of you, and your compassion and love for them – it starts right away when they’re babies.”
The second story was about meeting a highly successful businessman whose son had died of an opioid overdose. The man told Mueller that it’s hard to go on after such a devastating loss.
Mueller said it all points to the most famous Bible passage of all, John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“This God that we want to have a relationship with, He probably has, I don’t know, a hundred, a thousand, 10 thousand times the capacity for compassion and love that we have … and yet He was willing to give His only Son for us,” Mueller said.
Mueller then recounted GCU’s commitment to its neighborhood by creating jobs, improving public safety, transforming homes through the largest Habitat for Humanity program in the world, and helping educate local children through the Learning Lounge and the Students Inspiring Students program.
He told one final story, of a man, an immigrant, who was delighted with the Habitat work but even more grateful for the fact that GCU students would take his two daughters to the park every Saturday morning for the Canyon Kids program.
“There is so much we can do,” Mueller said, “especially in this time when there is so much racial tension and unrest, where there is so much focus – as there should be – on meeting the needs of people who don’t have the same opportunity.
“I’m so happy that we’re back here this year, that we have a chance to do this in the middle of this pandemic, because I think what we should do is double down now – we should double down. We should make an even bigger commitment. And I think if we do that – in fact, I know that if we do that – the impact that it’s going to have on people’s lives and the impact that it’s going to have on the Kingdom is going to be very, very special.”
● Chapel replay.
● Next Monday’s speaker: Brian Kruckenberg, New City Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].