Kruckenberg to Chapel: What are you worried about?
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Garrett Ohrenberg
GCU News Bureau
Brian Kruckenberg’s Chapel talk on Monday at Grand Canyon University Arena can be summed up in two words:
But the Lead Pastor of New City Church in Phoenix had much more to say about why trusting God should make worrying obsolete. The secular world obsesses with methods, not principles, he noted, but faith is like an airplane – it’s built to withstand turbulence.
“We have to put our hope and our faith and our trust in Jesus,” he said. “That’s the biggest question you can answer of yourself: Is this really true? Is what this Scripture says about Jesus really true – is there really hope in Christ?”
Philippians 4:4-7 lays it out for us:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
But, Kruckenberg wondered, do we always live with that in mind? Do we truly trust?
“What is your big picture? What is your big principle?” he asked the audience. “Do you truly believe that this is true? Because that’s the most important question – because if this is true, you have all the reason in the world to be stable, to be secure, even in the midst of tremendous turbulence.
“If this is not true, if this is just sort of made up, well, then we live and we die and we conquer and the weak are eaten by the strong and it’s survival of the fittest and it’s get yours and take what you can and climb to the top – it’s all of these things.
“But if it’s true, then what it says is what we should live by.”
Kruckenberg summoned two other biblical passages to underscore his point:
Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
… Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body.
He closed by telling two stories that demonstrate that our home is in heaven if we trust Jesus to show us the way there.
The first came when Kruckenberg was a new Christian and was asked by his pastor to visit and anoint with oil a sick child who was being airlifted to a hospital. Kruckenberg was surprised that he and his wife even were allowed to see the boy, considering how tight hospital security usually is, and the fact that the boy’s family hadn’t yet arrived made it more surreal.
“It’s almost like my wife and I were invisible,” Kruckenberg said.
So after a few awkward moments, they prayed over the boy, and Kruckenberg applied the oil. Just then, the parents walked in and the boy suddenly woke up and asked his father to tell him more of the story about Jesus.
A month later, Kruckenberg’s 50-year-old father was deathly ill with pancreatic cancer. Kruckenberg got some time alone with him, put his hand on his father’s feet and said, “Dad, you’re going to go be with Jesus right now.”
“He couldn’t talk, they had so much morphine in him, cancer had ravaged his body, and all I remember is that my dad just started shaking, as if to tell me, ‘I know, son. I know, son,’” Kruckenberg said. “My dad had the big picture in mind.”
That picture is framed in 1 Corinthians 15:16-20 and punctuated by what Kruckenberg likes to call “those big Bible buts:”
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised, either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Kruckenberg left the hospital, and a few hours later he got the call – his father had passed away. But after he raced back to see his father’s body before it was taken away, it was as if his dad was no longer there.
Luke 24:5-6 said the same thing when Jesus was gone from the tomb:
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!
“I hold onto that promise, not as a promise in vain, because I have the Scripture, the witness, the testimony, and I have the testimony of my own life,” Kruckenberg said.
“… This is not an empty promise. This is a principled promise. This is a true reality. The life to come is more real. It’s our real life. It’s more real than this life itself because Christ lived, Christ died and Christ rose again.”
● Chapel replay
● Next Monday’s speaker: Jodi Hickerson, Mission Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].