President John Jackson welcomes the start of the 2019-2020 school year with a message of MORE; more of God, more adventures, and more lives changed.
It’s so encouraging to be here at convocation chapel and to see the beginning of another academic year start. Let me just check the room, any freshmen in the house? All right, you have no idea what you’re about ready to get into sophomores, any sophomores in the house? You know everything. juniors, any juniors in the house? You’re doing that? Because you know what you don’t know. Right?
That’s good. And then do we have any seniors members of the class of 2020 in the house? That’s awesome. Great to have you here. Well, hey, I want to just share a message I think will encourage you today. I’ve been praying about it for a while and came across a study in 2014 that the Ford Motor Company did the Ford Motor Company did this study in 2014, and suggested that Americans want more and they want specifically more adventure, they rated adventure as higher than friendship in terms of value. And what was interesting is that 50% of the American surveyed said that they felt like their friends, social media presence, suggested that they were more invit adventurous than they actually were in real life. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced somebody’s social media being different than they are in real life. But that’s the truth. Kind of Arnold Toynbee said, this famous guy said this, the spirit of civilization is the spirit of adventure. And when you remove the spirit of adventure, it begins to decay. Adventure is super, super important. So you think that Jesus, when he was on the planet might have addressed that, and you’d be right, in john chapter 10, verse 10, Jesus said, I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full. I believe Jesus wants us to live a life full of adventure. But I want to contrast Jesus’ view of life being full of adventure with what you might hear in sort of general society. So I’ve compiled about four or five quotes. I think they’ll be interesting to you. The very first one comes from a famous theoretical physicist, name is Richard Fineman, he says the following quote, I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things. But I’m not absolutely sure of anything. And many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here and what the question might mean. I might think about it a little bit, but if I can figure it out, if I can’t figure it out, then I go on to something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn’t frighten me. I just want you to know that that quote frightens me. Carl young, a famous psychiatrist said this quote, I don’t know the meaning the purpose of life, but it looks as if something were met by it. Isaac Asimov, the futurist wrote this, as far as I can see, there is no purpose. And then finally picking on scientists, again, I apologize to our faculty of natural and Applied Sciences, Joseph Taylor, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner in physics wrote a book titled, quote, I have no answers to the meaning of life, and I no longer want to search for any. Is that really what the world has to offer? Is that really where we are some of the greatest minds of our time? The reality is, I believe that Christianity is a life defining adventure. It’s a life defining adventure. And there’s not a single verse in the Bible that suggests that it’s okay for you to think about Christianity and be halfway in. Jesus is a full adventure God Jesus is a full in all in commanding relationship in your life. CS Lewis said the only thing that Christianity cannot be is moderately important. Jesus tells us that more is ultimately about relationship. More is ultimately about relationship. So next few moments I want to launch you into a journey about more and I want to encourage you and say that, when I do say more, I do mean more adventure. I want to encourage you to have amazing adventures this year in school. If you miss out on one late night event to Mel’s, because when you think about Rocklin seriously, I mean, how many things are open past 10 o’clock at night, many of you 10 o’clock at night means the beginning of the day. And Can I get an amen? There we go. And you just know when you’re looking for a place to go and Rocklin at 10 o’clock at night. There’s not a lot of options but mouths on loan tree is a great option. I get no commission from them. I say it every year, but it’s a good place to go. I want you to have more adventures. I want you to have more dreams and hopes. This is a place where your dreams and hopes can come alive. If I want you to have more healthy relationships, and I really, really believe I would not do what I do, were it not for the
belief that you have the seeds of world changing futures inside of you. So I really want you to go after that I want you to go after more world changing futures. But I want to suggest to you today that the more that is most important is to have an understanding of what it means to have more of him. I was born and raised in church, some of you know my story. I was literally born on a Wednesday I was in church on Sunday, between the ages of zero and 16 in the Baptist Church that I grew up. I went to church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night, between the ages of zero and 16. I was never allowed to miss church. That is not an exaggeration. I’ve been to church with cold fever, flu, mumps and chickenpox. That’s an absolute True story. I’ve been to church with those conditions, they would put me in the ushers closet. There was something about being at church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night that was supposed to be good for me. Piquet’s By the way, my dad was a pastor Piquet’s pastor’s kids either end up in who’s who, or in most wanted. Thankfully, thankfully, I didn’t rebel against that. And I have a love for the church, a deep love for the people of God. And this deep love for the people of God. It comes with full recognition of how imperfect and flawed and failing we are. But in the church that I grew up in, I used to think about that time and the church service when music was playing, as being the preliminary, when music was playing, that’s when I could talk to friends pass notes to the pretty girl, one row up, and I could have those kind of distractions. But the moment my dad got up, the moment my dad got up to preach, that was the moment I had to have eyes locked to the front. Because I know if I didn’t lock my eyes to the front and watch and listen to my dad, that it’d be a painful afternoon. I’ll explain that in detail if you want to later. But I’ve come to experience over the years, that the first part of the service when we come into an experience of worship, that’s not the preliminaries. That’s not the Justin tell the guys get ready or the gal gets ready to talk. That part of the service where we enter into worship, we’re actually inviting the presence and the Spirit of God to come and meet us where we are. More of him. The Scripture tells us that more of him is what life is all about. Several years ago, I wrote this couple sentences I thought I’d share with you today. I’m more convinced than ever before that for God’s size things to happen. We have to remain risk taking faith filled Jesus trusting culture, engaging men and women of God. The church should be a safe place for a dangerous message. I believe that God is calling us to more. Sometimes people say well, okay, I want more of I just don’t know what it takes to have more of God. I don’t know what it means to please God. And I think as you begin this academic year, it’s super important that you get good grades, you work hard, you develop great friendships, you have adventure, you have all kinds of pursuit of your hopes and dreams. But really, what does it mean to please God? Because I think the Scripture is clear in Matthew 633. If you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these other things will be added unto you. So how do you please God? How do you get more of God? How do you have more in your experience in your encounter in relationship? Well, we’ll make it real simple this morning. I think there’s one thing that’s required to please God. And that is the word, faith. In Hebrews chapter 11, verse six, it says this, without faith, it’s impossible to please God, because anyone comes to him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Earlier in the chapter, it gives us a definition of what faith is. Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. It’s being sure of what we hope for. The longer that you walk with God in life, the longer that you experience, his presence, the more of God that you have, the more he has a view what you do experience as an increased certainty. It’s been my privilege to walk with many women and men towards the last days of their lives. I’ve been in their homes, and I’ve been in hospital rooms when they’ve literally taken their last breath on planet Earth. And it’s been a great joy and a humbling privilege to be at that moment, when people who have walked faithfully with God for 20 or 30, or 40 or 50, and occasionally 60 plus years. And to hear them say that while they’re saddened to leave their family and friends and people that they love and care for deeply
That as they reach death’s door, they literally have a longing to reach their hand across and go to the other side. Because they have absolute confidence because of the faithfulness of their father, and what God will do. If you get a chance this semester, while you’re doing your studies and going out to Mel’s, and hanging out and developing relationships, and doing your sports and your arts and the intramural activities and all the stuff that you’re doing, which is all awesome. While you are doing all of that, if you get a chance, read Hebrews chapter 11. It’s an amazing chapter in the Bible, I read it on a pretty regular basis, because I want to be encouraged that other people have grappled with things that I’m grappling with, and other people are working through challenges in their life. And so I just quickly wanted to tell you, a few of the heroes and they’re able to learn to trust God with this stuff. And when you’re a poor college student, that’s sometimes hard to learn to trust God with your stuff. Enoch learn to trust God with his life. A famous missionary, William Carey said that we should expect great things from God, and therefore attempt great things for God. Number three, no learn to trust God with his family. For some of you, this is your first time away from family. And that’s a hard thing. And for some of you, this is your first time away from family, that’s a really awesome thing. And for a lot of us in between, we just have stuff going on and our relationships. And sometimes our family is broken and fragmented. And sometimes it’s awesome and wonderful. And many times it’s awful and terrible. No learn to trust God with his family. Number four, Abraham learned to trust God with his future. One of the things I want to speak into this particular class is that we would be a people of faith. And then we press in, and we’d seek for more more of what the Father has for us. And then finally, Moses learned to trust God with his fears. I was reflecting on that a period of time some time ago. And it just felt like, God gave me this saying a lot of times, we’re told to face our fears, right. And it seems like that’s good wisdom, we should face our fears. And I just felt like I had this download that I don’t need to face my fears. I need to face my father. And if I face my father, and I give him my fears, he’ll take care of it. A lot of times, we say, I’ll be bigger than my fears. I’m tough enough, I can do this. But the journey of more is to learn to have faith and trust him. So I want to encourage you to think about that. Don’t face your fears. Face your father, your heavenly Father, the one who knows you and loves you, and knows all about you. I want to share with you today in closing, and that’s pastor talk for five or six more minutes, okay? Don’t don’t get all excited about like, Oh, that’s awesome, dude, he’s gonna let us out early on. Okay, I got five or six more minutes, at least that I’m gonna go after here. But I want to share with you my favorite prayer and all the Bible. And let’s share this prayer with you because I believe it’s about more. It’s about what God intends for you. I don’t know where you are in the faith journey. Some of you here in this room would say, Look, I don’t even know who God is. I’m at Jessup. I know it’s a Christ centered school, but I don’t really know who God is. And others of you are here today. And you grew up in a Christian home, we went to a Christian school. But to be honest, you have a second generation faith. Like you’re you’re hoping that grandma and grandpa’s faith or our mom or dad’s faith, or brother or sisters faith can can work for you. And I’m just here to tell you that doesn’t work. You either have to have a first generation faith or it doesn’t work. When times get tough, you’ll get squeezed. And so maybe that’s where you are. Or maybe you’re here and you’re totally on fire for God and you’re seeking after his purpose and you wanting to more in your life. Either way, I
think this prayer will encourage your heart Ephesians chapter three, the apostle Paul is talking to his favorite church. And he says these words, and I want to pray these overuse. So sort of being an attitude of prayer, you can keep your eyes open if you want. But for this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven, and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches, he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit, in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Let me stop there if if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and you’re just beginning your journey at Jessup, I want you to know that you have an entire campus community. You have faculty, you have staff, student life, folks who will come alongside you and help you explore the journey of faith. What would it mean to actually know God? The apostle Paul prays that Christ would dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people. to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, the love of God is so overwhelming. There are many times in my life where I have wondered if God could really love me not just for the things that I did, or the things that I said, but for the things I thought that nobody ever knew about. The apostle Paul prays that we would know how long, wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. And to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to the measure of all the fullness of God, I want you to excel in your studies, I want you to go big, I want you to be your best. I want you to be excellent in your discipline, I want you to achieve in your field, I want you to excel, athletically, and artistically and academically. But more than any of that, I would put all that aside. If it meant that you experienced the height, and the width, and the depth of the love of God, you are loved. And I pray you experience that here at William Jessup University, last two verses. And this is the more now to Him, who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power, that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever, and ever. Two more minutes, and I’m done. The more what is more of God all about. Let me just take some phrases, some declarations that came out of those last two sentences. I pray that you’d have more than you could ask or imagine. I pray that you’d have more according to His power that has worked within us. I pray that you’d have more so that he would receive the glory. I pray that his glory would be in church and in Christ Jesus. And throughout all generations, forever. And ever. Some of you remember the movie Remember the Titans? Remember Denzel in that movie? Like we have a couple movies in our house that are go to movies, we have Pirates of the Caribbean. All four of them now three of them. But anyway, we watch them over and over again. But then Remember the Titans if we’re ever kind of like wondering if life’s obstacles can be surmounted, wherever wondering if tension between people and society and racial and socio economic stuff get over we watch Remember the Titans. And I know you think it’s a movie. But while it’s taking place. I’m there with Dan Zell. I’m sweating within Zell. And right now I’m really sweating within Zell. By the way, bling is a thing, folks. It’s real. Okay. But in that movie, Remember the Titans? You remember that Denzel at several different moments gets his team around him after they bonded together and surmounted all the obstacles. And he says to them, this is our time. This is our time.
Well, I want you to know when the Apostle Paul prays that Jesus would have all the glory in the church, throughout all generations, forever and ever. This is our time. This is your time. You are not here by accident. You were assigned From the Annals of eternity pass to be in this place. God has a plan for your life. He has a dream for you. You’re meant to soar. But in all the dimensions of life where he longs for you to soar, adventure, hopes and dreams, relationships, there’s one dimension, more important than all the others. And that is that you’d experience more of him. So I pray that you have an encounter with a living Christ, that you encounter him in the hallways, you encounter him in the classrooms, you encounter him on the field or on the stage, and that you experience Him. Would you pray with me? spirit of living God, we thank you and praise You for Your presence in this room right now. I want to thank you for the student body and the staff and faculty of William Jessup University. I want to ask you, Father that you would right now. Right now, take all of us with our crazy routes, the detours and the pathways that we took To be in this place, and that you would take us and say, we want to be shaped this class this this academic year, we want to be shaped and have more, more adventure, more dreams, more hopes, more relationships. Most importantly, we want more of you, God, reveal yourself to us and shape us into the women and men that you long for us to be. To him be all the praise in Christ Jesus and in the church, to all generations forever and ever. This is our time. Amen.