Don't miss out on God's love, Chavez tells Chapel

Noemi Chavez's Chapel address Monday focused on the importance of turning to God and turning away from worldly desires. (Photo by Gillian Rea)

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

What makes you truly happy? Is what’s happening in your life ever good enough for you? And even if you think it's good enough, is it really?

By unwrapping those simple and yet provocative questions Monday morning at Grand Canyon University Arena, Noemi Chavez gave her Chapel listeners food for FOMO thought and discussed the pursuit of joy in our lives.

FOMO, for those who aren’t acronym acolytes, is the Fear of Missing Out. Most of us have those “if only” cravings every day. If only we could go on that vacation. If only we could get that job. If only we could have that relationship.

Or, quite simply, if only we could have that burrito.

“We live in a world and in a culture that always finds ways to make us feel like we’re missing out,” said Chavez, Lead Pastor of Revive Church in Long Beach, Calif. “I mean, I don’t know about you, but if I stay on Instagram long enough, I’m going to feel like I’m missing out on something.

“There are very few things in life that are sexier than somebody posting a picture of a burrito, you know? Come on! I mean, if I look at that picture, FOMO takes over my life.”

Chavez then replaced “If only” statements with “What if?” questions:

“What if the satisfaction we’re looking for is not in the picture that we saw and the place we wanted to go? What if our true thirst was not satisfied by the food experience that we longed to have or the place that we longed to vacation at or the career that we’re hoping for …

“What if that dream of experiencing these things is not what’s going to truly satisfy us? What if the pure joy that we are looking for is what God has designed for us in relationship with Him?

“What if it’s just not that complicated?”

It’s right there in Romans 12:2, Chavez said:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

That kind of thinking requires getting out of our worldly comfort zone, putting aside desires that might satisfy us temporarily but never will fulfill us.

“The things that God wants to present us with are not only opportunities,” she said, “but they are adventures – adventures that will transform our lives right now, adventures that will give us a glimpse of heaven on earth right now.”

She has seen it herself in her work with sex-trafficking victims, 80 percent of whom, she said, come out of the foster care system. (It says a lot about feeling abandoned as children.) Her task is daunting and nowhere near her comfort zone, but she presses on.

“Too many times our dreams include things that feel safe, comfortable and desirable for us, and they will always leave us wanting,” she said. “But when we allow God to make our dreams bigger and beyond our own experience, not only are we becoming a generation that is willing to take risks, but we are willing to engage something that is powerful and eternal and will satisfy us and satisfy others as well.”

Chavez then told the story of something she thought would satisfy her last year: a trip to Italy. It had been a crazy busy year. She needed a break. She was so sure this would do it.

And then she got up early to witness dawn in Tuscany and, as beautiful as it was, felt a strange sense of emptiness and angst.

“God, why do I feel this way?” she asked.

The response from the Holy Spirit:

“What you were looking to find thousands of miles from home was in your living room.”

Acts 17:26-27 says it well, she noted:

“From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.”

This does not mean, Chavez emphasized, that we should never take a vacation or have a nice meal or seek a good job or hold the hand of the one we love. But none of those things will truly satisfy our souls, no matter how much we love them.

Two final questions from Chavez:

“Can we stop looking over God’s shoulder to find meaning and satisfaction and fulfillment? Can we simply look Him in the eyes?”

Don’t miss out on that.

● For a replay of Chapel, including the music by the Worship team, click here.

● Next week’s speaker is Dr. Tim Griffin, Pastor and Dean of Students

Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


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GCU Today: Mueller challenges us to do God's work full-time

GCU Today: Unger eager to add to sights, sounds of Chapel


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