"Travel the Distance from the Head to the Heart"
By Julia Shields and Meghann Lightfoot
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Summary Notes of Dr. Bob Stouffer, Superintendent, Des Moines Christian
Mr. Temperley indicated the chapel audience was in for a treat. Secondary English Teachers Meghann Lightfoot and Julia Shields would be leading the chapel in song and word and prayer.
Mr. Temperley reminded students about proper chapel attire.
Mr. Temperley announced that A-Tech was installing new security equipment throughout the school, giving a heads-up about the lock-down of all entrances at certain hours.
Mr. Temperley showed a 1-minute video about Summit Ministries to whet the students' appetites about possible involvement with Summit during upcoming summers.
The video noted summit.org/conferences as the website where more information is available.
Mr. Temperley talked about Jesus being on trial, and Pilate asking Him, "What is truth?" Mr. Temperley explained that Summit is a ministry which equips students with the truth of Jesus Christ.
Albert Gustafson shared that Summit was "an awesome time" for him this past summer. He indicated the Summit material effectively reinforces what students are learning in their Des Moines Christian School Worldview course (without being redundant). He has made ongoing friends from Summit. Students shouldn't be hesitant about "giving up" two weeks of their summer for classes, especially since the camp is in Colorado, and there are many spiritual and recreational experiences.
Mr. Temperley indicated DMC is providing two Summit tuition scholarships for students who are 16 or older. The preference is one male and one female. The preference is also one sophomore and one junior. But deviations from those preferences are possible. Application forms are available in classrooms and the Secondary Office. Mr. Temperley encouraged students to apply.
Mr. Temperley asked Senior Emily Carlson to open the chapel in prayer.
Julia Shields played guitar and sang lead vocals, and Meghann Lightfoot sang harmony and back-up to two praise and worship songs.
Good morning. For those of you who don't know me, I am Mrs. Shields, and this is my first year at DMC. Mr. Caves approached me about sharing my testimony with the school, I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about me - but, more importantly, what The Lord has done in my life. I'm from Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. I have a wonderfully loving mom and dad and younger sister. I grew up in the same house my entire life. I got married to my absolutely amazing husband, who is a student at Iowa State. I commute from Ames to school every day.
I was raised going to church in a good moral standard. I didn't smoke. I didn't drink. I didn't have sex. I was taught that "good" people get to heaven. I never doubted God's existence. I knew He was there. I prayed to Him, but I didn't have an actual relationship with God. When in high school and my first year of college, three of my classmates passed away, and I questioned God's existence. I had known these classmates from elementary school. I knew God was real. I had a vague understanding of God's control. I never doubted that. But I asked why all of these deaths were happening.
I started realizing that God had been moving through my life before I knew it. I went to college. I wanted to be in the cool dorm. I was placed in a "lame" dorm. I made friends with the few girls who didn't go out partying. They were Campus Crusade for Christ girls. I realized that I thought I had it all together, but I was missing something. Someone one night at CRU asked, "If you died tonight, how sure are you that you would go to heaven?" I wasn't sure. I had lived 19 years, had friends who died, and no one had ever asked that question before. I had a wall between me and The Lord.
I was missing something. I felt a deep stirring in my heart. I was missing the Holy Spirit and a relationship with Jesus Christ. Soon thereafter, I went to a retreat, where I heard the Gospel for the very first time. Why was this the first time in my life?!
Each of us is sinful by nature. We're selfish to gain something for ourselves. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Regardless of the moral relativism of the world, I believe one sin, no matter how small, is committed to an infinitely holy God, making that sin infinitely bad. Sins in our thought life and our actions are no different. I was breaking the law of God. I was imprisoned by my sin. I had been angry, held grudges, and "murdered" other people. I had certainly had lustful thoughts, and I had committed "adultery," according to Jesus. I began to feel the weight of my sin.
God is such an absolutely perfect and holy God. He has a right to make those standards. We literally owe Him our lives. We were destined to an eternity in hell. So, how do we respond? Do we try to fix it? I cannot fix it, and you cannot fix it. God already fixed it. Please listen to me. Realize the weight of the Gospel, even if you're a lifer at this school. You've heard this hundreds of times before. God can move in your heart. The Word of God is active. Stay with me. Ask God to give you focus right now.
We know that God fixed this for us. A price had to be paid. Sins had to be atoned-for. In His infinite grace, God the Father sent his Son to be murdered for us. His death on the cross, after a perfect and sin-less life, covers us. It is by grace. A gift of God. You cannot earn this salvation. It's not "auto-reply" to you, though. We are called to respond to what Christ did for us. If you call upon the name of The Lord and enter into a relationship with Christ, you will be saved.
You need to repent of your sin and turn toward Christ. You rest in the peace of Christ and the atonement won at the cross. What does it mean to be in a saving relationship with him? You love Him as an outpouring for what he has done for you. He is infinitely worthy of that response.
God has given us his Word in community and to spur one another on. Will life get easy? No, it will get hard. The enemy will try to pull you away from The Lord. Your relationship with Christ, though, causes everything else to pale in comparison.
I trust that The Lord is good and just. I can tell you story after story about evidence of God's hand in my life.
This is a call to you in a Christian school. Do not assume that anyone is saved. I went to a church, but I did not know The Lord, and I hadn't heard the Gospel until I was in college. There are a lot of true statements of Christianity, but you've got to tell people the truth of the Gospel. People hear of Jesus, but they don't necessarily know the truth of Him. Going to church, Christian school, or church does not mean someone is saved. Talk with your teachers. We care about your hearts and your eternal existence. We care about your academic success, but, if you leave this building, and you don't know The Lord, then what? The cry of my heart is that you have a personal saving relationship with Christ.
Mrs. Shields prayed that hearts and minds would continue to be open to Mrs. Lightfoot's words.
As Mrs. Shields mentioned, I am Mrs. Lightfoot. I teach English, which is a great pleasure. This is really fun for me. The Lord set this time up for me and Julia. I can see His hand fashioning our thoughts for you today.
God has given us an opportunity to be a vessel for Him. Today, I want to share my journey of my life and the story God has entrusted with me. I am a broken vessel. My story reveals the transition from head knowledge to active relationship with God in my heart.
My childhood was filled with great joy. My father is a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful that I had parents who took sincere interest in teaching the Scriptures to their children. My parents were constantly directing us back to the Word of God. Such intense exposure can also desensitize a person to the Gospel. I was driven to achieve godliness of my own.
I surrounded myself with all of the right people. But I walked with a secret. I had secret pride in my heart. My dad revealed this painful reality to me. At a daddy-daughter date, we were chatting about selfishness. My dad called me out. He told me I was selfish, too -- only in a different way. I was agreeable to others to get people to like me. I was hurt that my father so readily pointed out my weaknesses. After all, I was more mature than my friends! I had an earthly father who loved me too much to leave me in my sinful blindness.
Because I didn't understand my father's message, I allowed pride to brew within me. I went to a Christian college to breed my ever-growing ego. My confidence had grown ten-fold. I was placing my faith in all of my abilities. At graduation, I was called to a Focus of Family program. I was going to study around other Bible scholarships in Colorado Springs! I was seeing the fruition of good words! Now, that disgusts me.
All of this changed on July 11th as the day of deliverance. I sank into dark depression on a family vacation. I questioned everything that was true of myself. I felt as though my mind had been usurped by powers of darkness. I was overwrought with darkness. My parents and sisters were equally puzzled. I found no comfort in anything. My self-reliance was no longer a possibility. I cried out to God in distress. What did I find? Silence. I wanted an audible voice from above that my life would be okay.
This is when I finally understand my need for God. I wasn't condemned. Passages of Scripture encouraged me to keep going. I no longer sought to impress others. I cried out to God to bring glory to Him. I have a deeper love for the Gospel message. I had a three-year bout with depression, but The Lord loved me too much to leave me there. I am grateful for this experience. God is so mighty and good and loving that he will inflict the debilitating truth.
The longest journey in life is the distance between the head and the heart. Our hearts and heads must match. I've got to truly believe verses of Scripture AND LIVE those truths.
I can't stand before you now as one who fully submits to The Lord; however, we are called to obey The Lord, because of the great gift of salvation He has given us. God loves me. When I went through my depression, He knew I would be angry, but he gave me His truth anyway.
God loves you too much to leave you behind as well. Ask, and it will be given. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened. So ask God to move the truths of Scripture to your heart, so you are not separating what was meant to be together.
Whenever difficult times come into your lives, look at them as opportunities to apply the Scriptures. As you leave here today, may The Lord bless you and guide you to a true knowledge.
Mrs. Lightfoot prayed to close the chapel.