Connie Sattler | Faith in Action When You Can't See Clearly

By Bailie Rouse on October 24, 2019

This week in chapel, Connie Sattler preached on Hebrews 11:1-13 and Acts 6-7. She emphasized that we become easily frustrated when we are not able to see clearly. Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance for what we do not see. Connie noted that, if we cannot see something, there are two explanations. Either it is not there, or it is there and we don't have the ability to see what…

Dr. Stowell Rescuing the Trafficked Souls

By Bailie Rouse on October 18, 2019

This week in chapel, President Stowell preached on John 4:1 -26, which shares the story of Jesus with the woman at the well. Dr. Stowell emphasized that we often forget that the gospel continues to be John 3:16, which states, "for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Oftentimes as Christians, we focus on kingdom…

Dr. Kenneth Reid: An Appropriate Example | Martyrs of the Early Church

By Bailie Rouse on October 2, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Kenneth Reid continued the theme of An Appropriate Example: A Call to Action by sharing the powerful stories of the martyrs of the early church. Hebrews 11:35-40 reminds us that there were followers of Christ who had not yet seen the victory and who had suffered great persecution because of their faith. Martyrs were committed to proclaiming the witness of Jesus Christ despite…

Dr. Mike Wittmer | The Life of Faith: Three Takeaways from Hebrews 11

By Bailie Rouse on September 27, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Wittmer preached from Hebrews 11, and he identified three key points. First, our faith rests entirely on God, and faith is a gift given to us by the Holy Spirit. Secondly, results may vary. There are some examples of the faith who did not receive what they were promised and who were tortured for their faith; yet they were commended for their faith, and the quality of faith…

Dr. John Hilber: Embracing the Word (Ezek. 2:1 - 3:15)

By Bailie Rouse on September 19, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. John Hilber continued the chapel series on An Appropriate Example: A Call to Action by preaching out of the Scripture Ezekiel 2:1 – 3:15. Although Ezekiel is not listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, he is an example of one who faced severe persecution with perseverance even when he did not see the fulfillment of the things he hoped for. In Ezekiel 2, the Lord sends Ezekiel…

Dr. Max Botner: An Appropriate Example: A Call to Action

By Bailie Rouse on September 6, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Max Botner kicked off the fall chapel semester theme "An Appropriate Example: A Call to Action" with Hebrews 11:1, which states "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

Two key points in faith are highlighted throughout the sermon. First, our hope as Christians is nothing other than the resurrection, and secondly, our faith is seen…

Dr. Max Botner: Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak and Slow to Anger

By Bailie Rouse on May 3, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Max Botner taught on James 1:19-21. As we consider our identity as followers of Christ, the question "Do I belong?" arises. This passage of James gives us an opportunity to think through and to consider the radical foundation of our counter-cultural community. We are the Diasporic community of people who should be leaning into God's radical vision.

As James identifies and…

Warriors of the Kingdom

By Susan Burner on April 15, 2019

Editor's Note: In today's post, Susan Burner offers a compelling preview of our upcoming Talking Points conference on justice and unity through the lens of women's experience and perspective. She reviews a book by one of our speakers, Carolyn Custis James, highlighting many of the key questions we will explore. The conference is tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16). If you haven't registered yet, you still…

Dr. John Hilber: An Appropriate Identity in Christ

By Bailie Rouse on March 22, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. John Hilber shared a video that compared the size of earth to the rest of the universe, which depicted how great and vast the universe is and how small we as individual human beings truly are. Dr. Hilber preached from the Scripture Psalm 8, which emphasizes "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name." In verse 5, we are reminded that despite how small and insignificant we as…

President Stowell: Be Still and Know that I am God

By Bailie Rouse on March 15, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Joe Stowell preached from Psalm 46, which reminds believers that the Lord is our refuge and strength, and in our trouble, He is our ever-present help. God has a plan for the church and His people even in the midst of chaos and turmoil. As his children, we are called to cease striving and to be still and know that He is God. We are to be vulnerable by allowing ourselves to put…

How Do You Recognize and Encourage Women in Their Careers?

By Darrell Yoder on March 13, 2019

The goal of our Justice + Unity series has been to understand more deeply the biblical teaching and practice around justice and unity so that we might move toward greater healing in a fractured church. Our next conference on April 16, focusing on women, will explore a number of topics related to the church's vision and ministries for women. If you haven't registered yet, I hope you will join us. Click…

Dr. David Turner: And now for something completely different on women in ministry...

By David Turner on March 6, 2019

Editor's Note: Today, we are reposting a piece originally published on Dr. David Turner's personal blog regarding our upcoming Talking Points conference on Justice + Unity and focusing on the experiences and perspectives of women. We are hoping for a robust conversation on April 16th among all sides of the theological discussion on this topic, and we're grateful for Dr. Turner's biblically reliable…

Rev. Dr. Howard Earle: Extreme Makeover

By Bailie Rouse on March 1, 2019

This week in chapel, Rev. Dr. Howard Earle preached on 2 Corinthians 5:15, which states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation. The old has gone, and the new is here." Rev. Dr. Earle depicts the extreme makeovers of external transformation that is often shown in the media, but there is a genuine makeover that is initiated and started by God in Christ. This extreme makeover…

Dr. Tim Gombis: The Identity of Disciples in the Gospel of Mark

By Bailie Rouse on February 25, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Tim Gombis taught on how the Gospel of Mark constructs the identity of disciples. The Scripture already assumes that we do not know our true identity. Our identities are constructed by the surrounding culture and conferred on us by family members. The Gospel of Mark invites believers to reflect on how we construct our identities from fears, false hopes and desires for self-preservation…

Dr. Kenneth Reid: Living as Children of God

By Bailie Rouse on February 15, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Kenneth Reid preached from Romans 8:12-17 regarding what it means to be adopted into Christ's family. Adoption into Christ's family expresses the blessing of salvation, and we are adopted into a Trinitarian relationship. John 1:12 expresses that all who received Christ and believed in His name have been given the right to become children of God, and the Spirit is the very sign…

Dr. Mike Wittmer: Who Am I?

By Bailie Rouse on January 25, 2019

This week in chapel, Dr. Wittmer highlighted the questions "Who Am I, and what is my identity?" In today's culture, objectively and outwardly speaking, life could not be more easy and simple with life's comforts and access to so many resources. Yet, there is still a great wave of anxiety and questioning of who we are. Colossians 2:9-10 states, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

By David Turner on December 20, 2018

Editor's Note: We are blessed to have Dr. David Turner, professor of New Testament at GRTS for many years, continuing to contribute to the life and health of our seminary. As he shifted out of his full-time teaching role, he launched a new website and blog which we're honored to highlight here as well. We hope you're edified and encouraged by this honest, biblical Christmas reflection.

If you've been…

Is the Smartphone Bible App the Same as the Bible?

By Sergio da Silva on December 11, 2018

Editor's Note: On this blog we feature staff, faculty and students from GRTS, as well as the broader Cornerstone University community. Today's post comes from Dr. Sérgio da Silva, associate professor of psychology, and offers some insightful questions from the lens of psychology about how we engage with Scripture.

“Today we will read from first Corinthians, chapter 13…” As the preacher starts the…

Sharon Brown: As Dearly Loved Children

By Bailie Rouse on November 30, 2018

This week in chapel, Sharon Brown led us through a time of prayer by incorporating prayer exercises. We opened in prayer with open hands facing upwards as a way to cast all our cares upon the Lord.  She emphasized that as we pray to God we are releasing and receiving with open hands. 

Sharon taught from Ephesians 4:32-5:2 to guide us in this time of prayer. We were reminded that we can only be kind…

Walter Gibson: Valuing Others Above Yourself

By Bailie Rouse on October 25, 2018

This week in chapel, Dr. Walter Gibson preached from Philippians 2:1-4, and he highlighted that we are to do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. We are to look to the interests of others over our own desires and interests.

The astronomer Copernicus discovered that the earth is not at the center of the cosmos. Rather, it is the sun that is at the center, and the earth revolves around it…

Marcus Little: Bearing One Another's Burden

By Bailie Rouse on October 10, 2018

This week in chapel, Pastor Marcus Little preached from Galatians 6:1-2, which emphasizes that we are to bear one another's burdens, and, in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. Pastor Little reminded us that as believers the way we serve one another is founded and rooted in love, and this is seen through the fruit of the Spirit. He states, "You cannot demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in…

In Our Image, After Our likeness

By Bailie Rouse on October 8, 2018

This week in chapel, Dr. Turner discussed Perichoretic reciprocity and the difference between Christian reciprocity and human reciprocity. He emphasized that as Christians, we are not called to be just a club of fans, but we are to take a different approach to love one another well. Dr. Turner also expressed the difference between the ontological Trinity, which acknowledges that the Father, Son and…

Immigration, Hospitality and Love of Neighbor

By Darrell Yoder on September 19, 2018

Our upcoming conference on Justice + Unity, focusing on the experience of Hispanic/Latino(a) Christians in the United States, raises important questions. When we first introduced this series, a number of people came up to me, looked carefully to their left and then to their right, and asked quietly, "Are you going to talk about immigration?" Each time, the urgency in their voices was clear. How can…

Our Conversation on Justice + Unity Continues October 2

By Darrell Yoder on September 17, 2018

Last spring, we started a three-part conference series on the theme "Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church." On Oct. 2, we will pick up where we left off and this time focus on Hispanic/Latino(a) experiences and perspectives regarding justice and unity. As I wrote previously, the biblical concept of justice and righteousness can be crystalized into two main ideas: "care for the…

Our Testimony of Loving One Another

By Bailie Rouse on September 7, 2018

The theme for chapel this semester is "An Appropriate One Another." This week, Dr. Kenneth Reid asked the question "How do our lives speak?" Are we living a lifestyle, which glorifies God and overflows with love for one another? In John 13:34-35, it is evident that as followers of Jesus, we are to live a life, which demonstrates love for God and love for one another. It is clear that love is the defining…

Hope in the Risen Christ

By Bailie Rouse on May 7, 2018

This week in chapel, Jennifer Greer eloquently shared and taught the passage John 20:11–18 in the form of a personal narrative of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection from the perspective of Mary Magdalene. Jennifer emphasizes how Jesus came to Mary and chose her to be the first to announce the good news. Instead of sending the angels to announce the magnificent work of Christ, Jesus sent Mary, an…

The Meantime

By Bailie Rouse on April 20, 2018

This week in Chapel, Dr. Gibson encouraged students to engage in specific disciplines and led students through a journaling exercise over Acts 1: 9-11. As Christ ascends into heaven, the disciples are simply gazing at him. As the disciples look upward toward heaven, they are in the “meantime.” The “meantime” in which we are waiting is often a "mean" time, in which “one is placed in a situation where…

What is the GRTS Vision? Reflections on 30 years of theological education (Part 3 of 3)

By David Turner on April 11, 2018

Editor's Note: We are celebrating Dr. David Turner's 32 years of ministry in the Bible department at GRTS. We asked him to reflect on his time here and to offer a parting word for students, alumni and colleagues. This is the third of three posts. Here is part 1 and part 2.

I've reflected on the identity and constituency of GRTS in two previous posts. It's also critically important to ponder how these…

Who is GRTS? Reflections on 30 years of Theological Education (Part 1 of 3)

By David Turner on April 9, 2018

Editor's Note: We are celebrating Dr. David Turner's 32 years of ministry in the Bible department at GRTS. After the Spring 2018 semester, he is stepping out of his full-time role as Professor of New Testament. We asked him to reflect on his time here and to offer a parting word for students, alumni and colleagues. This is the first of three posts.

Distilling (can I use that word here?) thirty years…

Trillia Newbell: “Humility and Race”

By Andrew Kischner on April 6, 2018

Editor's Note: Over the last two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University's undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today's message is by Trillia Newbell, Director of Community Outreach for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention. With each message…

A Compass Orientation

By Bailie Rouse on April 6, 2018

This week in Chapel Dr. Hilber preached from Habakkuk 1, in which the prophet is complaining to the Lord and anguishing over the injustice that is caused by the Babylonian people. As the conversation between Habakkuk and God continues, God reminds Habakkuk that the righteous person will live by his faithfulness, which is bound together by fearing God with a whole heart. Our life should be oriented…

Christina Edmondson: "Luke 19: An Act of Restorative Justice and the Response of the Exploited"

By Andrew Kischner on April 5, 2018

Editor's Note: Over the last two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University's undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today's message is by Christina Edmondson, Dean of Intercultural Student Development at Calvin College. With each message, we've provided a “Talking Points Takeaway” as a point…

Brothers and Sisters Who Do Nothing (Reflections on King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, Part 2)

By Jordan Grooters on April 4, 2018

Editor's Note: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, minister and spokesperson for nonviolent activism. He was killed on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., but his legacy lives on today. As we prepare for our series on Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church, two Cornerstone University staff members, Jordan…

When is Tension a Good Thing? (Reflections on King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, Part 1)

By Jordan Grooters on April 2, 2018

Editor's Note: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, minister and spokesperson for nonviolent activism. He was killed on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., but his legacy lives on today. As we prepare for our series on Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church, two Cornerstone University staff members, Jordan…

Marvin Williams: "Submitting Our Biases to Lord Jesus"

By Andrew Kischner on March 30, 2018

Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University's undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today's message is by Marvin Williams, lead pastor at Trinity Church, Lansing, Mich. With each message, we've provided a "Talking Points Takeaway" as a point of reflection…

Hope of the Resurrection

By Bailie Rouse on March 30, 2018

This week in chapel, Pastor Kizombo Kalumbula preached from the scripture 1 Corinthians 15:1-21 to emphasize the hope found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and because Christ rose from the grave, we can trust that God will also raise our bodies after death. Without the truth of the resurrection, our Christian faith would be hopeless. Pastor Kalumbula taught that there are grave consequences…

Serving in the Possible, Trusting the Impossible to God

By Ana Cruz on March 28, 2018

Editor's Note: Today, we've asked Ana Cruz, a GRTS counseling student, to share about her experience serving in her home country, Honduras, coming to the US, and leading others to continue serving. She offers a story of trust, simple obedience and God's faithfulness in hardship. She also offers an opportunity for others to join her and the team in Honduras this summer, July 2018. Prayerfully consider…

Christ-like Humility

By Bailie Rouse on March 23, 2018

This week in chapel, Jeff Lash preached a message on how we should seek to be humble as Christ is humble. Each day the media and culture bombard us with the notion that we must promote ourselves and put ourselves above others. Jeff showed from Philippians 2:1-11 that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death­—even death on a cross. As Christ gave Himself up for His church, we as followers…

The Power of the Spirit + the Boldness of Believers

By Bailie Rouse on February 22, 2018

This week in chapel, Pastor Christy Lipscomb spoke on the essential need of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us and enlivens us for the mission of the Kingdom of God. Her key texts were Acts 1:7-8 and Joel 2:28-29.

Pastor Lipscomb emphasized six ways the church is impacted when the Holy Spirit gives power and when believers respond in obedient boldness…

Hope is an Action Word

By Bailie Rouse on February 15, 2018

As Pastor Joe Lane began his message this week, he emphasized that first as Christ followers, we have a call to mobilization. As leaders in ministry, there must be a sense of urgency placed on our hearts and minds about living out the gospel and serving others.

Secondly, we have a call to hope. Hope is possibility. Pastor Lane used Romans 8:22-25 as a reminder that hope that is seeing, is not a hope…

Why Wait?

By Bailie Rouse on February 9, 2018

This week in chapel, Dr. Kenneth Reid asked the question, "why wait?" Jesus gave His disciples the great commission, but in Luke 24:45-49, He tells them to wait. They needed the Holy Spirit. It was essential that they wait for the Holy Spirit to come upon them, in order that they would be given divine enablement to fulfill the tasks God had for them.

Today, though, followers of Christ do not have…

A Call to Action

By Bailie Rouse on February 2, 2018

The theme for chapel this semester is "A Call to Action." This week, Dr. Tim Gombis urged us to return to the biblical text, in order to be guided to do the things Jesus has called us to do.

In the Gospel of Mark, two warnings are woven throughout the text. First, "be wary of ballpark Gospels," and, secondly, "take no comfort in Christian symbols." Contrary to what our culture says, as followers of…

Follow Jesus in the LGBT+ Conversation

By Darrell Yoder on December 14, 2017

For the last several weeks, we have been recapping the Fall 2017 conference on "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." If you missed the previous recap posts, you can check out sessions one, two, three and four.

Today, I want to give a few highlights from the final session of the conference—a panel discussion with Dr. Preston Sprinkle, Laurie Krieg, Matt Krieg, Pastor Marvin Williams and Dr. Gerald…

When Sex Is an Idol, Holiness and Justice Are Both at Stake

By Jo Anna Kelly on December 4, 2017

During the fourth session of the GRTS Talking Points event, we heard from Matt Krieg, licensed therapist and director of Caring Well Counseling. Matt and his wife Laurie travel the world doing what many of us would never dream of doing, and yet they do it with humility and a heart for service. Both Matt and Laurie discuss their respective stories of broken sexuality and the way God has worked in their…

Responding to Persistent Structural Injustice

By Bailie Rouse on December 1, 2017

During chapel this week, Dr. Rebecca DeYoung shared two stories of individuals who have experienced persistent injustice. First she shared a story of her friend Douglas, who has been wrongly convicted and is living in the prison system. Despite the hardship of living in what seems like exile, Douglas chooses to trust God by persisting and living in victory and in peace. Then, Dr. DeYoung taught from…

Five Ways Your Church Can Join the LGBT+ Conversation

By Andrew Panaggio on November 28, 2017

In session three of the Fall 2017 Talking Points event at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Dr. Preston Sprinkle and Laurie Krieg engaged in a dialogue to help attendees understand and join the LGBT+ conversation. They talked openly and honestly about how churches can come alongside people who struggle with same-sex attraction so that they do not have to struggle alone.

Giving Thanks When It’s Hard

By David Turner on November 22, 2017

It's easy to be thankful when things are going well, like when we ace the exam, when we get the raise, when we're healthy and our life is flourishing. It's not so easy to give thanks when we fail the exam, when we get fired or when tragedy strikes. I have yet to see an athlete point their index fingers to the sky to give thanks after striking out or getting sacked, and I'm not holding my breath. If…

Why is the Gospel Good News For Everyone Every Day?

By Andrew Kischner on November 20, 2017

Laurie Krieg delivered a stirring talk at the Fall 2017 Talking Points conference entitled "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." She gave a captivating first-person narrative about her lifetime struggle with sexuality and her walk with God.

As she shared, Laurie described how behind every sin lies a heart idol, and so the good news of the gospel must reach into our hearts if we are to be truly healed…

A Change in Posture, Not Theology

By Graham McKeague on November 15, 2017

The opening session of the 2017 Talking Points event effectively laid out the major aspects of discussion. Dr. Sprinkle presented a number of important considerations for pastors, ministry leaders and others to pursue in ministry where "the greatest apologetic for the truth is love."

Remaining in Christ

By Bailie Rouse on November 10, 2017

This week in Chapel, Dr. Joy Bonnema spoke on how producing fruit occurs when an individual remains in Christ, and this remaining happens through love. Often as Christians, we often forget the importance of remaining or abiding in Christ. If we abide in Him, then God will call us into a deeper understanding and a more personal experience of His love. Dr. Bonnema's main texts include John 15:1-17 and…

Love of the Other

By Bailie Rouse on November 3, 2017

During chapel this week, Rev. Kate Kooyman encouraged students to think about what the "love of the other" or Christian hospitality looks like tangibly. She taught from the text Luke 10:30-37, the parable of the Good Samaritan. Check out the full teaching below.

Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel (Fall 2017 Conference Highlights)

By Darrell Yoder on October 31, 2017

We took on a pressing topic this semester, one that Christians are actively wrestling with. The fall conference focused on "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." We wanted to ask the question: How can churches with a historical, global and Christian view of sexuality and gender become places where LGBT+ people can find love, care and community? How can we cultivate ministries where people can share…

Reformation Chapel

By Bailie Rouse on October 27, 2017

In this week's chapel, Dr. Wittmer recognized the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Dr. Wittmer asked the same question Luther did 500 years ago: "How can I a miserable sinner pass God's judgment," and there is only one answer. By grace alone, by faith alone, and in Christ alone can we receive salvation. His main texts include Colossians 2:9-10 and Colossians 3:23-24. Check out…

Jesus on Justice

By Bailie Rouse on October 20, 2017

Last week in chapel, Rev. Dr. Howard Earle preached out of Luke 4:14-21 on the topic of Jesus on Justice. He reminded us that the Spirit of the Lord empowered Jesus to carry out specific activities for the benefit and justice of people. Christ released captives and healed the blind and the deaf not for his own celebrity but in order to be in relationship with people.

The Spirit comes to empower us…

Prayer with a Regard to Justice

By Bailie Rouse on October 13, 2017

In chapel this week, Dr. Tim Gombis spoke about the importance of prayer with a regard to justice. In Ephesians 4:20-24, Paul reminds believers that we are to put off the old self and be renewed in the Spirit to put on the new self. This new self is created after the likeness of the Lord's righteousness and justice. As believers we participate in an ongoing dynamic of righteousness, and we must take…

Mercy Not Sacrifice

By Bailie Rouse on October 6, 2017

This week, Dr. Mariano Avila concentrated the chapel message around the attribute of mercy. He stressed that mercy is the "main medicine" Jesus gave his people to receive true healing. Jesus is our example of how to live in a way that is according to the will of God, and the Gospels show us how to live as Jesus lived. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus refers to Hosea 6:6, and he stresses that God desires mercy…

A Heart for Justice

By Bailie Rouse on September 15, 2017

Last week, Dr. John Hilber continued the theme of justice with his sermon entitled "Heart for Justice," by exploring Psalm 101, a psalm of David. In his message, Dr. Hilber emphasized that David drives straight to the heart of the matter—justice and mercy demand that an individual's character be aligned and committed to the Lord.

The American Church Has Some Reckoning To Do (A Response to Charlottesville and More)

By Timothy Gombis on August 21, 2017

On Saturday, August 12, various groups marched in Charlottesville, Va., in support of white supremacy, to express their desire to establish a white nation and to intimidate and denounce Jewish and black people. It is important to recognize these ideas and behaviors as evil and to denounce them as an offense to God, who created every person in his image (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9) and who does not show…

Is Christ on the Couch?

By Scott Courey on August 7, 2017

Throughout the middle of every week, tens of thousands of Christians bring their deepest life troubles to a private therapist, and most likely, keep quiet about it on Sunday morning. Here's my question: When Christians go to therapy, is Christ on The Couch? "Well of course he is! Christ goes where ever his people go"! I agree. But what I'm asking is this: Do Christians go to therapy expecting to be…

How Traveling the Land Has Brought Me to Worship

By Jennifer Greer on May 3, 2017

Years ago, I took my first trip to Israel. We visited many of the biblical sites, but the tour also included traditional sites and tourist attractions and shops. Then, during my seminary student days, I traveled with a professor on a very different trip, studying the history, geography and archaeology of the land. I didn't realize until that trip how much I had missed the first time.

A Detailed Account of the Israel Study Tour

By Jennifer Greer on May 1, 2017

A Fitbit or iWatch registers 5,000-7,000 steps a day walking the land of the Bible on our annual Israel Study Tour. For eight days, we literally step into the world of the Bible and immerse ourselves in the geography, history, culture and archaeology of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the "Intertestamental" period. We then step back into our modern-day context, bridging this ancient biblical…

Waiting with Confidence

By Brittany Stichter on April 21, 2017

As Dr. Walter Gibson began his message this week (entitled "Waiting with Confidence"), he asked two introductory questions: "How does it make you feel when someone goes out of his/her way to ask how you are doing?" and "How does it make you feel when no one asks how you are doing or what is going on in your life?"

He drew a message from the text which exhorts believers to encourage each other. As…

Why is the Resurrection So Important?

By David Turner on April 19, 2017

The resurrection of Jesus is at the heart of the Christian message. How unfortunate that church services may stress the empty tomb only on Easter Sunday, or even just through the Eastertide season. Another concern is the common way Christians summarize the gospel by mentioning only Jesus' death. Without the resurrection, Jesus' ministry ends in defeat and disillusionment (Luke 24:21). But everything…

Knowing God is Something You Grow Into, Pt. 4/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 27, 2017

Encounter. Obedience. Intimacy. All three of these themes can easily lead us to wonder, "How much is needed in order to know God?" They seem like really tall orders. What if I don't sense God's presence? What if I've been disobedient? What if God feels distant, rather than intimate? Do I not know God then? I'm hoping this final theme will help relieve this tension.

Waiting with Hope (When We’ve Blown It)

By Brittany Stichter on March 24, 2017

This week in chapel, Darrell Yoder gave a message that addressed when we've "blown it," and are waiting for healing and forgiveness. His message explored how we can wait and rest and deal with our sin, while still moving forward.

In Psalm 25:1-7, King David prays through a time of waiting in shame and pain. Darrell draws out three lessons from these verses for us. First of all, Darrell points out…

Knowing God is About Intimacy—Not Acquaintance, Pt. 3/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 8, 2017

To really know God is to experience deep intimacy with Him through His Spirit—the same Spirit who came into your heart when you believed in Christ and the same Spirit who knows your deepest longings and prays for you when you can’t pray for yourself. This biblical vision of walking with God is not that He is a divine acquaintance but an Intimate Lover.  Knowing God is about union, security, and transparency…

You Cannot Know God Without Obeying Him, Pt. 2/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 6, 2017

Last week's theme "encounter" reminds us that the Christian faith is not merely an intellectual journey nor an emotional or spiritual high. It's the day-in, day-out experience of God meeting us where we are and making Himself known to us in both mundane and miraculous ways. The Christian faith is about experiencing God's love and presence not as an abstract idea but in real life. How do we relate to…

Lent as Training in Christian Longing

By Timothy Gombis on March 1, 2017

The Season of Lent begins today. Here's a brief explanation of how this season shapes Christian identity.

The Christian calendar helps to train us in being fully and truly Christian. Many of us are used to having our brains trained to be Christian brains. We just haven't given much thought to our bodies and our loves and our longings. Most of us were raised to think Christian thoughts—that's the sum…

Don't Lose the Wonder of Knowing God, pt. 1/4

By Darrell Yoder on February 27, 2017

If you ran the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in 2009 in Grand Rapids, MI, you received a t-shirt with a simple logo on the front: a name tag with the phrase "I Run For...." In the blank space, some people wrote the names of loved ones; others listed things like health, youth, love, etc. Each person had a different purpose that kept them going when training was hard. This question—what are you running for?…

Waiting with Correction

By Brittany Stichter on February 24, 2017

Pastor Nate Wagner brought a message this week that explored the idea of "waiting with correction." He opened by sharing the image of an airplane flying from one coast to another: if that plane takes off and starts its course even one degree off, it will end up at a drastically different end point. He also informed us that planes are actually "on course" for only about 5% of their travels. Flying is…

An Appropriate Anticipation: Waiting with Hope

By Brittany Stichter on January 27, 2017

Our semester-long chapel theme is "An Appropriate Anticipation: Waiting with Hope," which comes on the heels of our semester-long reflections on lament. The anticipation theme's key passage is Isaiah 40:31. This week, Dr. Peter Osborn introduced the theme for the semester by exploring the idea of waiting and having the strength to wait well.

Peter explored Isaiah 40:27-31, voicing the frustration…

Lamenting with Naomi

By Brittany Stichter on December 2, 2016

This week, Pastor Artie Lindsay looked at Naomi as an example of lamenting well. He drew out three points from Naomi's story.

We have to be honest about the reality of life in a broken world. So often, we struggle to allow lament to exist, being tempted to call ourselves and others to move on or "consider [trials] pure joy" (James 1:2). Pastor Lindsay pointed out, "The Bible calls us to mourn with…

Wisdom to Count Our Days

By Brittany Stichter on November 4, 2016

Dr. Mariano Avila brought this week's chapel message from Psalm 90:11-12 and Ephesians 5:15-16.

He called us to "lament seeking wisdom," to make the most of every moment. Make each day a profitable day. Pay special attention to the unique opportunities God gives us. Don't miss them.

Grief, Anger and Trust: Coming to the Lord in Lament

By Brittany Stichter on October 28, 2016

This week, Dr. Todd Billings began his message with Psalm 102:1-11, 23-27. He reminded us that we do not need to "get our emotions in order" before we come to church. All of our emotions are brought to God in the Psalms, but when the Psalms complain and protest against God they do so in a specific way. Psalm 102 protests against God hiding His face.

Intercultural Lecture Series: Pastor Kizombo Kalumbula Casts Vision for True Compassion in Grand Rapids

By Andrew Kischner on October 26, 2016

During his lecture, Kizombo Kalumbula identified what many in Grand Rapids already understand—that Grand Rapids delivers a Garden-of-Eden-esque existence for some while others do not experience the same benefits. For some, Grand Rapids defines 'family-friendly'; for others, it is, economically, one of the worst places to raise a family.* At the same time, Grand Rapids is ranked among the most charitable…

Lamenting with Integrity

By Brittany Stichter on October 21, 2016

This week, Dr. Robert Lehman explored the integrity of lament, using Job as a case study. Through his experience as a pastor and a counselor, Dr. Lehman has observed many who lament with integrity, but he has also observed many who do not.

Scripture repeatedly presents and describes Job as a man of integrity, and this extends to his expressions of lament. Dr. Lehman drew our attention to the fact…

Tears

By Brittany Stichter on October 14, 2016

Pastor Joy Bonnema led us this week in chapel through a very tangible practice of lamenting. Regarding the chapel service, she wrote, "For anyone who is burdened by the headlines, aching with grief, overwhelmed with sorrow, tempted to despair or frustrated with systems and situations that never seem to change, this chapel is for you. Keeping with the theme of lament we're going to revisit John 11 using…

Ministry Goes, Sees and Feels

By Brittany Stichter on October 7, 2016

This week in chapel, Pastor Joe Lane spoke to us from Luke 19:41 about ministry. He pointed out that we need to go to ministry, that we need to see ministry and that we need to feel ministry. Since Jesus approached Jerusalem, Pastor Lane challenged us to go to ministry. He challenged us to—the next time we are at our churches—stop and look around. Where are the real needs in our churches? Finally,…

Praying Lament

By Brittany Stichter on September 30, 2016

This week in chapel, Dr. Gombis and Dr. Greer helped us to sit in the story of Lazarus' death and Mary's reaction to it (John 11:28-37). They invited us to "soak in the story and lament alongside Scripture."

They briefly looked at the New Testament's perspective on lament, but spent the majority of chapel praying as a community. "In the New Testament, lament is portrayed as truth speaking about the…

The Virtues of Lament: How Lament Arises from Faith, Hope and Love

By Brittany Stichter on September 23, 2016

In this week's chapel, Dr. Mike Wittmer posed that the language of lament is not on our lips because we do not exercise faith in God's power over all things, hope for the new creation and love for our hurting brothers and sisters. If we have full faith, we believe that God will remedy wrongs. We do not grieve without hope, because we believe that God has a plan. It takes true love to grieve for and…

Flip the Switch

By Brittany Stichter on April 8, 2016

Pastor Kizombo Kalumbula spoke this week in chapel. His message, entitled "Flip the Switch" was from Matthew 5:13-16. He explained how obeying God's command to "be the light," can have a profound impact on our communities.

Pastor Kalumbula challenges us to consider the the effects of being "appropriately present." As we embrace living differently because of Christ's work in our lives (flipping the…

Walls

By Brittany Stichter on April 1, 2016

In this week's chapel, Darrell Yoder gave a message entitled "Walls" from Ephesians 2:11-22. He drew our attention to walls in our personal lives and in the Church as a whole, going back even to the Jews and Gentiles in the early Church.

On the cross, Jesus demolished the walls between us and the Father. He also demolished the walls between us and those who are different than us. While it doesn't…

The Cross: For Us, By Us and In Us

By David Turner on March 27, 2016

In many evangelical churches, Easter is relegated to a single Sunday each year. In more liturgically-minded churches, Eastertide is observed as the eight-Sunday season between Easter and Pentecost, which this year falls from March 27 to May 15. Either way, Christ's death and resurrection is the very heart of our experience of new life in him. We need to reflect on the absolute centrality of the cross…

Jesus as Our Purposeful Example

By Brittany Stichter on March 25, 2016

In this week's chapel, Pastor Joe Lane brought a message from Philippians 2:5-11, exploring "Jesus as our Purposeful Example." He describes how Jesus' purpose affected other areas of His life and how His example relates to us.

Jesus' purpose was more important than His pleasure, power, prominence, or pain. Ours is too. Our God-given purpose cannot be fulfilled if we are not becoming like Christ.

The Cross and Christian Identity

By Kris Rolls on March 23, 2016

It doesn't take more than five minutes of watching network news to convince a person that we live in very dark and confusing times. American culture is deeply divided along fault lines of race, politics, economics, religion, and human rights. The world is longing for justice and significance, but more importantly, it is looking for answers and searching for identity.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

By Brittany Stichter on March 18, 2016

This week in chapel, Dr. Mariano Avila called us to notice how strange the words of Matthew 5:3 are: "blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." While they may be strange, these words in many ways describe the character that followers of Jesus must have. They describe a character that reflects who Jesus was.

In his chapel message, Professor Avila explores both what "blessing"…

Most Likely, Least Likely

By Brittany Stichter on February 26, 2016

This week in chapel, Jennifer Greer began by playing a game with the chapel community. She asked questions like "Are you most or least likely to ride a roller coaster?" and "Are you most or least likely to eat liver?" Through her message, she shared how Jesus often chooses the least likely to use in big ways. When Jesus healed the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19, only one came back to Jesus. The only leper…

GRTS Chapel: "An Appropriate Presence: Living as the People of God"

By Kris Rolls on February 1, 2016

Every Wednesday morning at GRTS, we gather as a community to worship God and reflect on His word. Chapel is an important part of who we are as a seminary. It's an intentional time for us to pause our work, turn off our technology and stop our lectures to gather as the people of God in worship.

Here is the chapel schedule this semester. Chapel is held on Wednesday mornings from 9:50 a.m. - 10:30 a…

Study is Worship... and Discipleship

By Kris Rolls on January 25, 2016

As a student, there is nothing like the kind of excitement that comes at the beginning of a new semester. A fresh start. A clean slate. An idealistic hope for copious amounts of productivity, new ideas and growth in every facet of life—intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. Graduate education has a way of forcing you into postures of meekness, humility, charity and curiosity. These virtues, I…

Space for the Heart in Seminary: Consider the Pirsig Fellowship

By Darrell Yoder on January 18, 2016

For the last two and a half years, I've had the privilege of walking with students in the Kern Scholars Program, which provides a generous scholarship and a cohort experience for students in the Master of Divinity program (M.Div.). I've been encouraged to see the way these men and women have connected with each other in their cohorts. As the above quote from one student testifies, the journey of theological…

Listening that Leads to Hope

By Sarah Enck on August 5, 2015

We all live in a broken world. Within our churches we interact with people who are living with depression, experiencing adultery, or have experienced intense trauma and abuse. The church is not immune to this brokenness and sin. Ministry leaders are often in roles that require a listening ear for their congregants.