Mackey shows how to make God’s ‘-ships’ come in
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Ralph Freso
GCU News Bureau
Students hearing Terry Mackey speak for the first time probably come away thinking, “How does he remember all that?”
But he sure gave them a lot to remember Monday about Psalm 23.
The Pastor of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church was live and in person at Grand Canyon University Arena this time instead of online, as he was in his last two Chapel talks during the pandemic. His command of the room is just one reason why he has become a regular Chapel speaker.
Mackey prefaced his remarks by saying, “The only constant in life is change,” and called his oration “A Change of Scenery,” tying it to the way David’s six verses in Psalm 23 jump from one place to another:
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
And here’s where Mackey’s deft delivery, punctuated by his frequent “Watch this!” exhortations, might have caught newcomers off guard. As he went through all those verses, repeating them verbatim over and over, he linked them to many “-ships.”
- And, finally, championship!
He coyly had left one out: None of it works, he added, without the first verse, “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
“You can’t get the other ‘-ships,’” Mackey said, “if you don’t have relationship with Him.”
That one is so important, he noted, it could go at the end of the verses, too, and David wouldn’t have lost the iambic pentameter of what he wrote. So Mackey recited them all again off the top of his head, finishing with verse 1 this time.
“It still makes sense,” he said.
Why would David put it first? Simple.
“Because the number one priority is relationship with the Lord,” Mackey said.
It’s right there in Matthew 6:33, too:
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
To put it in context for the large audience, which spilled into the upper deck of the Arena, Mackey equated it to relationships today.
Specifically, he wanted to talk about “relationship with someone who didn’t want you but wanted your stuff.”
Evoking snickers from both genders, he chided students who seek the perks of dating over meaningful love and commitment. And then he brought it back to his overarching thought:
“God says don’t be surprised because you treat Me like that all the time.”
In other words, we ask what God can do for us instead of seeking true relationship with Him and just trusting Him to do what’s best for us. We forget the most important “-ship” of all.
Mackey is a storyteller, and he closed with one that put it all in perspective.
Five years ago, when he was an intern, he was invited by the pastor of his church to join him at a conference.
Because it was a last-minute offer, Mackey was assigned a seat in the back of the airplane – until he heard his name called over the loudspeaker to come to the front. His pastor was a frequent flyer and could bring a companion to first class. It was Mackey’s lucky day.
But then he got a little ahead of himself.
He was offered water … and asked for Pellegrino instead.
He was offered a turkey sandwich … and requested filet mignon.
Right about the time, God whispered in his ear:
“If you can get all these benefits from knowing a shepherd of a church, how many more benefits can you get from Me when you make Me the shepherd of your soul, when you make Me the shepherd of your life? …
“And because of that, because of my relationship with Him, thank God I’ve got His Lordship, I’ve got His leadership, I’ve got His companionship, I’ve got His showmanship, I’ve got His partnership. And one day I will be victorious and achieve the championship that the Lord has for me.”
Spoken with passion and nary a breath, just like always. Now that’s a Chapel talk with true workmanship.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected]edu.
To hear the music of the Worship team and Terry Mackey’s talk in its entirety, click here.
The Gathering speaker (7 p.m. Tuesday, Antelope Gymnasium): Scott Savage, Cornerstone Church, Prescott, Arizona
Next Chapel speaker (11 a.m. Monday): Dr. Tim Griffin, Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students and University Pastor