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God Chose Tyler Trent

This week I attended the funeral of Tyler Trent, who quickly became known throughout our nation because of his love of sports, Purdue, and, most importantly, Jesus Christ. He was an incredible witness to the love of Jesus and the hope of the resurrection as he battled cancer and now has achieved the ultimate victory.

Like many people who followed Tyler’s story, I marveled at the impact he made, and I often wondered what it was specifically about his story that led millions to identify with #tylerstrong.

Without question, God’s providence permeated Tyler’s witness. This was truly a “God thing.” And through faith, Tyler responded with grace, dedication, and a determination that bordered on the supernatural. In fact, it was beyond the natural.

Part of the #tylerstrongresponse, I believe, is also because of our human longing for hope. Tyler gave people hope. He demonstrated that whatever you face in life, whatever your “cancer” may be, there is hope through Jesus Christ.

So many people feel they live insignificant lives with no real . . . hope.

I recently read about the Voyager 2 space probe launched in 1977 to explore interstellar space at the speed of 34,000 miles per hour (John Stonestreet, “BreakPoint Daily”). Last year, 11 billion miles from earth, it officially became the second craft to ever leave our solar system, and it only took 41 years to get there.

Amazingly, Voyager 2 is still transmitting data back to earth, giving us “first-of-its-kind” observations on how massive our universe truly is, and how small we earthlings really are. Consider this. For Voyager 2 to reach the nearest star to our sun would take an additional 40,000 years, and that would only cover a fraction of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy. And the Milky Way is only one of at least 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe.

So, here we sit on a teeny-tiny planet, which is part of an itsy-bitsy solar system, which exists in one miniscule location of the Orion Arm, which is part of one nanoscale galaxy called the Milky Way, which is only one of 100 billion other galaxies in our known universe.

And yet the God of this awe-inspiring, breathtaking, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, wondrous universe chose to use one young man named Tyler Trent to inspire millions. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 82:3-4, NIV).

What Tyler demonstrated for us all is that this God of the universe chose our little planet to reveal Himself most fully through His Son, Jesus Christ. He bridged the gap to give Tyler life, purpose, and the hope of eternity, and Tyler made it very clear that God has done that for you, me, and the entire world as well.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

Faking It Never Works in the Long Run

Now that we’re in a New Year, I’m beginning to think about how I can live a better life.  Be a better person.  Be a better husband, father, and friend.  I know I want to appear to be kinder and wiser, more disciplined, gregarious, and thoughtful. I want people to see me as a better leader, preacher, and writer.

But am I willing to do the hard work of actually being kinder, wiser, and more disciplined, etc.?  Appearing to be something and actually being something are two different things. Looking good isn’t the same as being good.

And sometimes I wonder if I, and maybe “we,” approach our faith in Jesus the same way.  We can be very successful at practicing our religion without actually deepening our relationship with God.  You can go to church, sing on the worship team, help in children’s ministry, attend a class or even teach a class and simply be engaging in spiritual activities devoid of the depth of relationship.

The same goes for me as a preacher.  I can hone the skill of public speaking, know how to engage people with smiles, listening eyes, and firm handshakes.  I can craft my prayers to fit any and every situation.  I can exegete a text, apply sound hermeneutics, and use smart-sounding words to convince others that I know what I’m talking about.  I can do all these and more and still be far from God. Religious knowledge and activities do not necessarily produce a Christ-like life. 

Now, I’m not against knowledge and activities.  And I’m not suggesting you should not go to church or sing on the worship team or help in children’s ministry.  But what I am suggesting is that you ask yourself the same question I am asking myself at the start of this New Year:  Am I actually becoming more like Jesus or am I merely appearing to be more like Jesus? 

I guess there are worse things for us to appear to be, but faking it never works in the long run. I’ve heard it said before, “All glitter is not gold.”  What one appears to be and who one truly is may be two different things.

One of my goals for 2019 is to stop trying to appear to be someone I think would gain the approval of others and simply be someone who aspires to follow and become more like, Jesus. 

May this be true for all of us this year, that we “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, NIV).  And may it not just appear that we’re mature, may we actually grow in spiritual maturity.

Posted by Rick Grover, Lead Pastor with

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