To open The Gathering on Tuesday, campus minister Cyrus Eaton introduced a new opportunity on campus — Come and See.
Come and See is a student-led ministry with a focus on encouraging students to promote unity through the life of Jesus. Five small groups that will meet once per week are available for students to join.
The Gathering’s guest speaker this week was Rick Atchley, the Senior Teaching Minister at The Hills church in Ft. Worth, Texas.
Atchley’s message addressed approval and its capacity to be either a freedom or a burden. He began with an anecdote of an Easter sermon, referencing John 11 when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead and asked for his burial clothes to be removed.
To open his message, Atchley posed a question to the student body.
“Is it possible we have received eternal life if we are still walking around in bondage?” Atchley followed this question, noting that Lazarus could not freely be alive again without letting go of his past as a dead man.
The minister also told a story of how he once asked his congregation to write down the burdens that they were dealing with personally. After looking through all of them, he found the most popular burden to be an issue of self-esteem, or what he referred to as “the fear of man.”
Throughout his presentation, Atchley gave examples from his childhood, highlighting times when he chose to be “cool” rather than doing the right thing.
“Our sick desire to be liked leads us to do things we don’t like,” Atchley said.
By seeing the look in the eyes of the “dumb girl” in 3rd grade when he publicly humiliated her, or the silent plea for help from the “weird kid” on the school bus, Atchley said he realized that the approval of the majority is not worth the pain of the individual.
“’Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God?'” Atchley questioned, quoting Paul in Galatians 1:10. “‘Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.’”
To finalize his point, Atchley’s introduced the audience to “Tim,” his stuffed teddy bear from childhood. Atchley discussed how he loved this bear growing up, so much so that he refused to let his mother sell it at a garage sale for 25 cents his senior year of high school.
“Tim’s worth is determined by the one who owns him and loves him,” Atchley said.
Photo by Anna Rogers