If anybody was to look at the chapel schedule issued before the beginning of the semester they would see that Dr. Jim Lo and myself were to partner in vision for the chapel service Wednesday, March 26. Unfortunately, Dr. Lo’s schedule wouldn’t allow him the time to prepare a message with me, due to traveling around the globe (no big deal) and preaching around the states. We met on Friday, less than two weeks before the service, and decided that I should go on ahead and put together the service that day. Dr. Lo was planning on giving a brief introduction in chapel that day, but his schedule became even busier and that detail changed less than two days before.
I sought the Lord and asked what He would have me share. I had a sermon that was extremely transparent, but I was advised to give something a little less transparent. I scrolled through my Evernote folders and came across some notes from a Jesus Culture podcast I had heard nearly three years ago. I had taught from it before, but never in a setting like chapel. I felt confident and a peace when deciding these words were what God would have me share. I crafted an outline, sent it to the Dean of the Chapel’s Office and had the service planned only a little behind schedule.
The night before the service myself and the worship team spent a few hours in the chapel rehearsing and praying specifically for obedience and openness to the Holy Spirit’s calling. There’s not a doubt in my mind that those prayers didn’t go unanswered. I ran through my sermon, found it was too long (nothing new), cut a few things and repeated.
The day came to speak and everything ran smoothly. We walked away knowing and already hearing stories of individuals taking life-changing steps; not because of anything we did, but believing because we as a team asked and were obedient to His leading. There was no doubt God worked in our community.
Afterward a few individuals approached me about the sermon’s illustrations and crafted phrases being close to a sermon from a JC podcast video. I explained that the sermon I preached was that very word – the word that God first used to call me into a life of continual leadership. As I wanted to communicate that, I obviously fell short and did not do so effectively. My intentions were never to steal, build a name for myself or give a word that I did not first learn myself. I wanted to share a word that has and forever will shape the way I live my life in hopes that it would have the same impact on others that it did on myself.
To those I may have offended because of my faults, I mean this with all of my heart – I am sincerely sorry. I ask you would forgive me. It’s easy to look at chapel speakers, leaders, professors or even student body chaplains and think that we have a lot figured out, but I can speak for myself and tell you I don’t.
I’m thankful for three things:
1. There are a lot of lessons that I will need to learn throughout my life, some obviously of legal matters and humility. I’m thankful for these lessons being learned in a loving and incredibly supportive community. Thank you Indiana Wesleyan University for being that for me.
2. The continual affirmation of my calling into ministry and support of friends, professors and others in my life throughout this community.
3. That God is not held back by our shortcomings. That He can choose to speak, call and use individuals like myself, despite their inadequacies, failures, limited knowledge and even their sin. Praise be to Him for even incorporating us into his plan. In the times that I should feel unworthy, I’m honored, treasure and loved enough to still be used.
“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! Amen.”
-Robbie Knight (sr)