Griffin to Chapel: Elect to put your faith in Jesus
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Garrett Ohrenberg
GCU News Bureau
Dr. Tim Griffin began his Chapel talk Monday with a story about trying out for the Angels.
He ended it by stressing that this life is merely a tryout for something far more important – eternal life in heaven.
In between, the Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and University Pastor had strong advice for people who consider the current events in America a living hell.
“Regardless of whether your candidate or candidates get elected or not, we will trust Jesus … and we will follow Jesus regardless of what happens because we know this is not our ultimate home,” he said. “… Heaven is our true home.”
Griffin suggested that some of the students gathered in Grand Canyon University Arena might be experiencing new challenges in life.
“The Christian walk can have ups and downs in it, great blessings and great challenges,” he said.
For him, one of those challenges was joining a friend on his high school baseball team at an open tryout conducted by the Los Angeles Angels baseball club, then known as the California Angels.
Just the simple act of walking on the perfectly manicured field of the team’s stadium in Anaheim, Calif., was heavenly for the teenager, and he felt as if he was doing OK in the tryout until it was time to try to hit against the pitching machine.
Anyone who has attempted the hardest skill in sports – hitting a baseball traveling more than 90 mph – can relate to the sight of the ball exploding out of a wall and zipping past you as you flail helplessly. That’s what happened to Griffin.
Not surprisingly, he didn’t qualify for the next phase of the tryout. He went into the stands and contemplated what had just happened.
“I sat there and I thought, ‘This whole day started, I was up here, and it’s ending down here,’” he recalled, gesturing with his arms. “And that is life. Life has those great moments of victory and celebration and great spiritual experiences and moments of trial and difficulty.”
For biblical context, Griffin then turned to Luke 4:1-12, in which Jesus was tempted by the devil after not eating for 40 days, to show how the passage applies to life today in three ways.
First, this happened:
The devil said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
“You cannot live on emotions,” Griffin said. “There are going to be times – maybe that’s you today – where you will be physically exhausted, emotionally exhausted and spiritually depleted.
“And if you’re resting on feeling good and making that the anchor for how your soul is, you’re missing something that’s incredibly important that Jesus referenced, and that was the truth of the Word of God.”
Griffin added that he rode the emotional roller-coaster for years, often relying on church messages to pull him through, before he realized this:
“You cannot rely on your emotions to give you security.”
His next point, from verses 5-8, was that the devil tries to entice us with thoughts of power and glory:
The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to Him, “I will give You all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If You worship me, it will all be Yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’”
“Here’s the point,” Griffin said. “This world can invite you to be powerful and influential and have authority and riches and fame and more likes than anybody else and more followers than anybody else, more retweets and reposts, and all of a sudden we feel like we’re significant … because social media has told us so.
“And the point of Scripture here is that the enemy will work in all kinds of way to root out of us the Lordship of Jesus.”
This is where the election comes into the conversation.
“There are some,” Griffin said, “that feel like unless the election goes one way or the other, we have no hope, we have no future and God cannot get His thing done in our world. And I just don’t believe that.”
In other words, put your trust first in God, not in government.
Griffin’s third takeaway: The enemy will assault your confidence in God’s goodness. That’s what the devil attempted in verses 9-12:
The devil led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If You are the Son of God,” he said, “throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command His angels concerning You
to guard You carefully;
they will lift You up in their hands,
so that You will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Griffin shared three ways to combat what the devil is trying to do:
First, know God’s Word.
“Don’t rely on your emotions. Don’t rely on the way you feel in the moment, what social media tells you about yourself, what others tell you about yourself,” Griffin said. “Rely on what God’s Word says.”
For example, rely on John 10:27-30:
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Second, worship and serve Jesus.
“Make Him Lord of your life,” Griffin said. “Learn how to come in here and get your mind wrapped around lifting your voice in song whether you can sing or not, whether anybody can hear you through that mask or not, to lift your voice to praise Him.”
Finally, have an eternal view of God’s plan – because that way, you will understand that some days will be difficult.
Griffin then told the story of prayer meetings he was attending with a group of pastors in Southern California, including one, Daniel, who had lived under Communist rule in Romania. The pastors all were concerned about preparing their congregations for Y2K, the widespread belief at the time that computers would malfunction when the calendar flipped to 2000.
When Daniel told them that Y2K was nothing compared to what he and his followers had known in Romania and explained what those horrors were like, the room went silent.
“All of us realized that he had walked with Jesus in places that none of the rest of us had walked,” Griffin said.
Which brought him to his well-grounded message:
“We are in a battle. You are engaged in spiritual warfare whether you know it or not. The enemy is seeking your defeat, but Jesus has already defeated him. …
“Let us commit ourselves afresh and anew today to following Jesus, letting Him be the Lord of our life, being confident that He means good – even though it may be difficult around us.”
● Chapel replay.
● Next Monday’s speaker: Chad Moore, Sun Valley Community Church
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].