Adjust if you must, Griffin stresses at Chapel

University Pastor Dr. Tim Griffin encouraged students, at the halfway point of the semester, to recommit to their studies and finish strong.

Photos by Ralph Freso / Slideshow

Dr. Tim Griffin briefly put on his dean of students hat during Chapel at GCU Arena on Monday, when he praised Grand Canyon University students for persevering through the halfway point of the fall semester despite persistently hot temperatures.

Those accolades, however, gave way to Griffin’s message as University pastor.

Worship team alumna Amanda Riffe returned to GCU Arena to perform at Chapel, which this week welcomed alumni.

Griffin referenced Psalm 103, in which David conveys the benefits of knowing God, following God and being blessed in God.

“David takes the entire psalm to remind himself and the reader of what God does in our lives,” Griffin said.

He also referred to “Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance,” authored by Bob Buford, sharing how someone who has lived a successful life with a family experiences a void after moving away from their family.

The comparison is football, where a team’s offense and defense are not in sync and need to make adjustments for the second half.

In the case of a student whose enthusiasm has wavered or has encountered challenges, “There’s something right now I need to adjust for the rest of the semester,” Griffin said.

“October can be a challenging month for a lot of students. We realize that and want this to be a great experience.”

Students center themselves at Chapel before kicking off the academic week.

Griffin elaborated on five topics in Psalm 103 that David shares about his relationship with God:

* He forgives sin.

* He heals all your diseases.

* He crowns us with love and compassion.

* He renews youthfulness.

* He does not treat us as our sins deserve.

Griffin said the novelty of the school year has worn off and students might be struggling. Now's a good time to refocus.

Griffin explains how students who came to campus from strong Christian homes might find their lives starting to spiral because of independence or the “temptations of their flesh.”

“David reminds us here, and I want to encourage and remind you, that He will forgive all of your sins,” Griffin said.

To reinforce God’s ability to cure diseases, Griffin shared a part of his past, when he was a young pastor with two sons and thought he had strep throat.

A doctor’s visit showed that he appeared to have two Adam’s apples. But, in reality, it was cancer.

“How can it happen?” thought Griffin, who played volleyball, basketball, softball and golf. “I’ve been healthy all my life. Now this moment of challenge.”

Griffin stressed that there can be moments of challenge throughout life, such as learning that a loved one is ill.

Students connect with the music from the Worship team.

“I hope you’ll understand that God is a God of miracles, a God of power, a God of feeling,” Griffin said. “He can bring that into our bodies, mind and souls.”

He referenced David in Psalm 103, stating that there is love and compassion in the hands of God, regardless of whether a home is filled with love or is a loveless home.

“David was reminding himself that God redeemed your life from the pit and crowned you with love and compassion," Griffin said.

He added that students may feel worn out from the burden of social, academic and spiritual life.

Worship team alum Emma Lemus performs.

But Psalm 103:5 states that “David, it’s believed, was in the latter years of his life. There was this sense that he had in, knowing and following God, that he has the ability to renew us. To bring something to our life that would just lift and encourage us. God is the master of that, who satisfies your desires with good things so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Griffin reminded students that they are in an “incredible stage in life.” Sure, some have visited his office to reveal their poor decisions, which have consequences.

“This is a halftime moment,” Griffin said. “We’ve played the first half of this game this semester, and you got another half of your semester.

“What do you need to do to reset this morning, to renew, to recalibrate going from here to Christmas vacation?”

Griffin prayed for God to reignite the flame in students' hearts that they felt when they arrived on campus in September.

Griffin used an example in which a student purchases a membership to a health club for only $12 a month in September, worked out for six hours and couldn't get out of bed the next day because of working out so hard.

But then the student regresses.

The regression reaches a point where the student is not even using a treadmill by the third week and is greeted by a friend offering Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

“You got crumbles dangling from the lip,” said Griffin, suggesting it is time for a commitment.

“I need to push this stuff to the side and say I need to recommit myself to what I’m about, who I am, who God is in my life and make this a great second half – a great comeback to your fall semester and end on an incredibly high note.

“As you go from this place to say, ‘God, take me to new places. And encourage my heart, recommit, reignite the flame you started in my heart when I got here in September. Let me finish life.’"

GCU News Senior Writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected].

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