Talbot School of Theology’s new dean, Dr. Ed Stetzer, preached at Biola University’s annual faculty conference that took place in August of 2023.
In his sermon, titled “Our Mission in this Moment,” Stetzer points out that we are living in a time of great “cultural convulsion.” Unique challenges have arisen in recent years for Christian higher education. Stetzer drew on four points from John 20 for the sermon. Despite the difficulties, Stetzer remains optimistic, and encouraged Biola professors to look to the cross for hope and motivation through challenges.
“The moment we are in does not pause the mission we are on at Biola,” said Stetzer.
View the sermon
Below are notes to accompany the above video.
He reminds us that “the moment does not pause the mission.”
1. Fear gives way to _____.
2. _____ is the Christian response.
3. The _____ is our hope and motivation.
4. _____ on _____ in this _____.
Ed Stetzer: “So good to see you. Good to be with you, and good to share with you with the remnants of those who've stayed here as well. So, I know it's a strange time with a hurricane. You know, we actually lived here for January, February, and March. I've been on a sabbatical and in January, it like rained for a month. There was something called an atmospheric river. I didn't even know that existed. And then it snowed where we had a place in a condo in Irvine. It snowed there, and now there was a hurricane. So I don't know what I've come to, but here I am nevertheless. But, you know, it kind of fits the theme, right? We're not living in normal times. These are tumultuous and turbulent times, unlike any we've experienced in our lifetime. And part of the reality is we've got to see that the, the culture has shifted in ways that put us in a challenging space, put us in a challenging situation. It's a unique time of turbulence and tumult. It's a complicated time. It's a challenging time. And there's no better time to go back to the gospel in this case, and one of the gospels to see what the Lord has for us. So I'm going to look today at the passage in John Chapter 20. Now, you may already notice that I have a passage at the beginning. So I'm the Sunday morning speaker, so my topic, my focus will be different than the speakers that have gone before. A couple of ways, I will actually finish on time. Also, it's not been a pattern that we've seen thus far, too soon. Am I too new to make that joke with the pro post in the President? I'm not sure of the rules. I won't be referencing Wendell Berry at all. You know, some of those things will be there. Part of my hope is to encourage you. I'm a bit of a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river. Some of you are a certain age, you don't get that reference. But if it's a very narrow slice, thank you for getting that reference as well. So I'm going to look at John Chapter 20. Let me read these. John Chapter 20 versus 19 through 21. I think actually, I'll go ahead run the Powerpoint because you're ahead of me. But I'll just read the passage John Chapter 20. Let me see if I can go back one as well. Let's see, there goes, good. Let me just read the passage. You just listen along and then I'll go through the points of the message today says in John Chapter 20, beginning at verse 19, on the evening of that first day of the week when the disciples were together with doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace be with you. After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord again. Jesus said, peace be with you as the father has sent me, I am sending you Now, this passage is of course at the end of the Gospel of John. By the time we get to this point in the Gospel of John, John who's a detailed giving gospel writer, if you read the Gospel of John, know he focuses on a very narrow time in Jesus. Life gives immense details that are there. But I think for us today, we can look back 2000 years ago and look for truth That actually deeply applies in so many ways to the tumultuous and turbulent time we're living in today. I called today's times a cultural convulsion. To be honest, I was influenced by an article that David Brooks wrote in the Atlantic. And he talked about that every 60 years America seems to go through a, he called it a moral convulsion. We actually invited him into class. He's a relatively new follower of Jesus, invited him into class, had a discussion with some of our students about this from that conversation. A couple of things. I think it's more of a cultural convulsion and it's also not just an American experience as well. Don and I lived in the UK this fall and taught there at Wycliff Fall at Oxford. And this is what all the students we're talking about is the cultural convulsion of the West. But if you talk to people from Brazil or the Philippines or Africa, you'll hear all around the world, We're experiencing a global cultural convulsion. If you had on your bingo card in December of last of 2019, that we'd go through a pandemic, that we'd go through cultural division, that there'll be a war in Europe, and that we'd all be waiting for what's forthcoming, a war in Asia. You would probably have won a lot of money in bingo, but we're living in a time of great cultural convulsion. It's not just about a pandemic as we come out of that. It's more than that, it's a cultural breakdown, it's a seismic shift of sorts and we all feel it. And I'm going to talk today about this moment and our mission. And remind you that the moment we're in does not pause the mission we are on now. Biola has gone through cultural convulsions in the past. We've gone through probably the last cultural convulsion we walk through was in the late '60s. We can go back to the late 1800s, early 1900s or the middle part of the 1800s. Cultural convulsions have been part of the journey, including some of Biola's journey. But the word of God remains true and we can look to the scriptures, we can look to what happened 2000 years ago and seek to apply some of that to our situation today. There's four things I want to walk through today that we'll take a look one at a time. Just kind of walk through the passage. This is a Sunday morning, so I'll walk through a text with you. Just reminding you that the moment we're in does not pause the mission we're on. Number one, we're going to see, as we walk through this text, a few things happen. First, fear gives way to faith. Fear gives way to faith. 2000 years ago, the disciples were in this upper room. Actually doesn't give us details. Upper room, we speak of that as tradition, but it says this in John chapter 2019. On the evening of that first day of the week. Now remember, John's a detail giving gospel writer, so he tells us it's on that first day of the week. Now if you have your Bible open and you have headings in your Bible, you'll see that John, Chapter 20, begins with the Resurrection story. And so the heading there says the Resurrection. And depending on what Bible you have, about halfway between that and the beginning of this page, it just says Mary Maglin tells the disciples. So this is that day. It's that first day of the week. So it's Sunday night, it's Easter Sunday night. On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together. But then John, being the detailed giver that he is, tells us that doors are locked. I don't know if you lock your doors or if you don't lock your doors. Part of it depends on where you live. I'm coming from Chicago. We locked our doors. I'm guessing you do as well. Here, Nothing sinful or wrong about having prudence and wisdom, but John tells us why. And that's going to point to where John's going. In the text, it says, with doors locked for fear. Just with doors locked. But there was a fear that's there. Specifically the fear of the Jewish leaders. Now, why, why would they have fear? Maybe they didn't believe that Jesus was fully or really back from the dead. Though they heard already from the report from the tomb that he was risen, right? Maybe they were fearful for their own future, for their own lives. There could be myriad, And all of those reasons, a myriad reasons would make sense. But 2000 years ago, we found the disciples after the Resurrection behind closed doors, locked in fear. Now, what does that mean for us 2000 years later when we look to teaching and preaching, when ask what's going on in the original text, what were they thinking? What were they understanding? What was the meaning of the conversation? And then we ask, how might that apply to us today? So for in a unique time of turbulence and tumult, a time of fear, might we respond similarly or draw truths from the text to apply to our own lives? People are afraid. Today, fear is a prevailing theme. We're about to go back into an election season. Yes, but you'll see the commercials. And the commercials are very much fear driven. People say they don't like negative advertising, but they respond to it because people respond to fear. Or drive across this country and listen to talk radio across the country and see the fear that drives over and over again. Or just step into social media and see how fear drives so much of what's there now. Now again, people are afraid today. Some are afraid for their future, Some are afraid for their church. Others are afraid of being seen as being afraid, are afraid of being controlled. And that fear drives them, and fear wins election because it grabs people's hearts. But what we are about to see is how fear ultimately gives way to faith when the disciples understand the truth of the Resurrection. Now again, we could be in a time of fear institutionally as well. How many times have we heard the words demographic cliff and what that means for us? How many times have we heard the headwinds in higher education in general and Christian higher education in particular? How many times have we talked about the fact that we're in California, which brings a unique set of challenges to be faithful in the midst of a tumultuous and turbulent time. And what I want to say to you is those are not unreal situation. We need to be aware of the challenges that we face, but face but stand in faithful confidence and faithful trust of the God that we serve. Now that's not a Pollyanna, it's not an idea. If we push something to aside, we don't worry or prepare or act accordingly. But we are people who know, as the disciples are about to be, reminded that Jesus is back from the dead. People often ask me, I do research sometimes and I present research. They ask me, are you encouraged or are you discouraged by the state of Christianity today? And the answer is probably both. Typically in American evangelicalism, there are challenges, but also bright spots as well. But I also live in a sense that Jesus has won. The victory is already assured. I've read the end of the book, Jesus wins. And therefore I can live my life accordingly and fear can't be the driver of the Christian life. John, the detail giving gospel writer wants us to see that these people were afraid but he doesn't leave them in that fear. Let's go number two on our outline. Peace is the Christian response. Peace is the Christian response in John 2019, it says this. Jesus came and stood among them and said, peace be with you. Those four words, He actually says them twice. Would you say them out loud with me this morning? Are you ready? Peace be with you. Jesus said it twice, Let's say it twice. Peace be with you. Now this is so key because in the midst of the tumult and the turbulence, some Christians are responding well, a lot like the world. They might be on different sides of the issue, from much of the culture in the world. But their response is not the response of people who have been changed by the power of the gospel. Who live with a peace that passes all understanding. I don't know about you but when I heard Doug talk, two things came to mind. Number one, if I see him walking around campus like this, I'm going to avoid him 'cause he's having a spiritual moment that I don't need to interrupt. But the second thing that I heard in the midst of that is he talked about that peace, that peace that passes all understanding. So when Jesus comes and he says, peace be with you. This is reflective of the teaching throughout the New Testament in the scripture as a whole. Over and over again, we hear that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds. In Christ, Jesus, as followers of Jesus, as the world's in the midst of its tumult and turbulence. Our call is to stand out because we have a confidence that comes when the fact that Jesus is back from the dead. He still reigns and rules. And we know ultimately, that we can have our faith and confidence, our certainty, surety in him, the peace of God which passes all understanding. Now that doesn't mean the absence of problems. We recognize that there are challenges in higher education. There are challenges in any place where there's community. Right? The reality is, is that, you know, I'm a mysiologist article, I wrote years ago, I found out a fascinating thing that somebody else had done some research on. The number one reason that missionaries leave the field, they've gone through the training, maybe they've done theological education, maybe they've gone through years of preparation. The number one reason that missionaries leave the field is they can't get along with the other missionaries in the field. Now, I mean, missionaries are like more Godly than us. I don't know that that's always true, but that's what I always learned. So here's the reality, right? So we're going to acknowledge that we walk through in an imperfect, broken world where there will be challenges, sometimes interpersonally, sometimes organizationally we see those realities. So it's not the absence of problems that Jesus speaks to when he greets them with peace, be with you, but tied in the totality of scripture. Actually, in Ephesians 214, it says, he himself is our peace. Peace is not the absence of problems, it's the presence of the person of Jesus shapes us differently. Jesus actually says in John, peace, I leave with you. My peace I give you. I don't give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Can I just speak that word over us this morning in the midst of difficult times where we're not all going to always be on the same page with everything that we do, and we're all walking this together with imperfect people. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. That's on all of us to work towards that sense of peace. It's part of our role as the new Dean at Talbot and for us at the Talbot School of Theology with wonderful colleagues and others to work collaboratively with you across this university. It's also something we work towards in our own lives as we seek to grow. I don't know how many times I've heard somebody reflect on a spiritual direction practice Two of our vignettes this morning address that others over the last few days. I believe that's probably the influence of our Institute for Spiritual Formation. Not that you could have learned it anywhere else, but here's the reality when we're people shaped by the power, the good news of the gospel walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, it looks different and peace is the Christian response for us. But let's not end there. Number three is that the cross is our hope and our motivation, because remember, Jesus has appeared to them. They're behind closed doors in fear. They've got their doors locked in fear. We know that Jesus comes and speaks to them and says peace not once, but twice. We'll see that in just a minute. In the final verse, he says it again, maybe pointing us to it's more than just a greeting. But it verse 20, it says after he said this, he showed them his hands in his side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Now it's fascinating because John's, again a detail giving gospel writer and there are two sentences on your screen right now. The second one really might be sufficient. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord right now. Why would they be overjoyed? I mean, they actually saw or heard reports that Jesus had died on the cross. They had witnessed or someone had told them that this had happened. If they weren't in the immediate proximity, they knew that the rabbi, they followed the teacher they believed had died. And now he has appeared again behind closed doors. Is bodily resurrection is here, but still, somehow, miraculously he appears behind closed doors. But this bodily resurrection is before them and they rejoice. Now, I would say for almost all of us, if we We had some, we had a friend who died and then they showed up behind closed doors a couple of days later, Being overjoyed might not be our first emotion, but it would be on the list. So the disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. But John wants us to know, he's a detailed giving gospel writer. John wants us to know why after he said this peace be with you. He showed them his hands in his side. Jesus work on the cross, dying for our sin and in our place had to be shown displayed and made evident to these disciples who were in fear. So he shows them his hands, he shows them side the marks of the crucifixion which still remain in the Risen Savior are shown to the disciples that day. Not just to let them know that he's back from the dead. The second sentence is that, right, the disciples are overjoyed when they saw the Lord. But the first sentence reminds us they were overjoyed because he had died on the cross for their sin and in their place. So if this is still true, then everything's going to be okay. That sounds very Pollyannish. That's actually a quote from Tim Keller who when he was dying shared he did a lot of interviews. I had a privilege of doing one interview with him, and he said in that interview, with lots of interview, he said, you know, if the Resurrection is true, everything's going to be okay. So here's the reality for us as followers of Jesus, as people seeking to be faithful in Christian higher education, as people seeking to shape a next generation, to be a part of what God is doing in the world. Reminding ourselves that the moment we're in with all its tumult and turbulence, the moment we're in does not pause the mission we are on. No matter what happens, we can trust Jesus. Jesus is here. He is still risen and that changes everything. The Resurrection. And again, in the midst of the challenges of Christian higher education, that can be a trope. It can almost be some sort of casual, don't worry, Jesus is back from the dead. But it's not a trope. It's a central truth to the Christian life. We sang a few minutes ago, my anchor holds within the veil and it was super. I always love when you guys are leading worship. I preached, I don't even know, a couple years ago at your Berlinda French Church and got to see. But originally heard you at the missions conference and downloaded your music on the missions conference and still have it on my, like the only person who hasn't subscribed to a streaming service for music. I ripped all these CDs on Napster back in the day, got them on my iphone. Don't need any of that new fangled music. But I did download and pay for yours and all the others eventually in a moment of contrition. But that's another story for another day. So I want you to hear and if I was in higher education in general, I might look at the situation. And, you know, we've talked about West Virginia and other places. I might look at the situation and might be concerned, and I think concern is probably a proper and rightful response. There are challenges and headwinds. I've already mentioned that as well. But at the end of the day, we don't just serve in Christian education. We serve Christian education in exile. Our provost reminded us for 2000 years, the people of God have valued the kinds of things that we do. We need to remind them again and new why they need to value it. But at the end of the day, we'll continue to seek to be faithful in this role and in this place. And for me, it's a joy to be a part of this community. Just walking and getting to meet all of you. And shaking hands and having conversations sitting at the table, you know, I'm so no. Several people asked me, What's your vision for the Talbot School theology? My vision is to know where the bathrooms are. Right now, I'm just pacing myself because I came from a different institution. But so much of that vision, sorry, I'm just being honest. Is that too soon? Is that too soon? I think I could give a couple of other examples where people said a little more than they should have earlier. Our mission becomes central to this conversation. Remember the moment we're in does not pause the mission we're on. Let me go to number four, and finally I'll close with this. We're on mission in this moment. Now again, this is actually a theological statement, more than simply a statement that casually is tossed about. John 2021 is actually my favorite verse in the whole Bible. Just to be perfectly honest, the CSB has been mentioned a few times. You mentioned the CSB and I was actually there when we read life. We helped to create the new committee and do those things. And I love the CSB, though I'm actually using the NIV today, but I do love the CSB. But in the CSB study Bible, I wrote the article accompanying this passage. I love this passage. It's my favorite verse in the whole Bible. But I say that every verse I'm talking about becomes my favorite verse at the time I'm talking about that verse. But it really is, because again, it points us back to the moment we're in, does not pause the mission we're on. Jesus says to his disciples again, Jesus said, peace be with you. All right. So there's that reminder that we go to the world even in a fearful time, 2000 years ago. In a fearful time, 2000 years later, peace be with you. And then he says this, he says, as the father has sent me, I am sending you. Now, over the last few decades, this verse has grown its import in my field and in the theology of mission in general. There are four commissions that Jesus gives, right? We can walk through them another time. There are four commissions that Jesus give. One of them is called the Great Commission. I think they're all pretty great, but one of them is called the Great Commission. This Johannine Commission is actually speaks and says some things that are probably unique to the Johannine focus. Because 40 times in the gospel of John, Jesus has said, in one form or the other, that he's sent by God the Father. I've been sent, I'm be sent for his purpose, in his name. And then he says at the end, to the disciples, I'm adding the as a paraphrase, I have sometimes I create my own Bible version. I call it the ESV, the Stetzer version. So you have to forgive me for sorry, Preacher joke. Jesus says after 40 times saying that he's been sent by God, the father. He says, as the father has sent me, I am sending you as followers of Jesus. Not just missionaries that are sent, but we're all sent by Jesus on mission in the world. And we're sent by Jesus on mission in the world. And we joined together in this place. The Mission Saban of Byol University says this. The mission of Bio University is biblically centered education, scholarship, and service. Equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world. The Lord Jesus Christ. So all of us are sent on mission, and then we participate together in the mission of Jesus. And then there are particular applications of that mission here at the university. Also in your local church. Your university is not the church, and your church is not the university. But in all those places, we're joining Jesus in his mission as the father has sent me. I am sending you in the Greek. It speaks to the same manner, Not the same purpose, but the same manner. That's what we do. We live on mission. We do so in a world that is not our own. We are exiles in this place. Now here's the reality is, as the culture has moved away from what we might have called Judeo Christian moorings. As the culture has moved away, we find ourselves increasingly distant from the culture where we reside in the past. We might look statistically and say that the vast majority of people identified themselves as Christians, weren't necessarily church going or even followers of Christ, but they identified themselves as Christians. And we had a bit of a home field advantage, so there was a bit of a normalcy, you might go to some distinctly religious university and that would be okay because in the culture, religion is seen as a generally good thing. Those times were really nice and I missed them, but that's not the case anymore. I don't know much about sports. Sports ball is a mystery to me, but the most popular article I ever wrote was about sports. It was about a sister university that made it to the Sweet 16, I believe it's called it had to Google what that was. It appears that's a competition of great import. The pages of magazine said that they should be canceled because of what they believe. They have no place in our society today. I wrote an article for USA Today. Um, and I shared, this is what Christians believe, this is what my school believes, this is what we as followers of Jesus believe. And I will tell you that the blowback can be pretty remarkable. In moments like that, we live in a world where what was commonly held as Christian for centuries and culturally acceptable for centuries has now left. Here we find ourselves in exile. But here's the good news. Christians have been here before. Universities have been here before. In the midst of the world in which we find ourselves. The tumult in the turbulence is real. And we can actually offer an alternative as a university to say, look, we get that. Well, you can send your children to all kinds of places, but in this place, let's be rooted in the word of God. They'll bring a Christian view. They'll think Christian about film. They'll think Christianly about their work in the health sciences. They'll think Christianly about what it means to be a follower of Jesus living in the world. One of the joys for me is just to meet, even I hadn't got to meet everybody, but just to have lunch with some of our new deans and to see that these have been people who have walked in those spaces and maintained a faithful Gospel witness. And our students can do the same. We may have lost our home field advantage in culture, but the moment we're in does not pause the mission we are on in the midst of the tumult and turbulence we can actually go towards rather than away. It's a bit counterintuitive to think of a Christian University starting a focus. It was starting, but emboldening their work as a film school. There we were showing up on a list in Hollywood Reporter of schools that you need to know about and more. Why? Because we don't run away from the brokenness, we run towards it. In my instructions, They told me to be a little harmonic, so I hope I have accomplished that. Tell a little bit about myself. To accomplish that. Be a little funny, but not too funny. Tried to walk that line, prepare people for a hurricane. It didn't, never wasn't really on the list, but that subsequently is on the list. I grew up, I was born in New York City. He grew up outside of New York City. For me, coming to Southern California. You're also chill. I just got to get used to that because I am reminded that your first dean of Talbot was a New Yorker. You got a problem with that. Feinberg. Forget about it. But anyway, another story for another day. But my grandfather was a fireman, we'd say firefighter, he would say a fireman. And he became the fire battalion chief for one of the fire battalion chiefs in the New York City Fire Department. My uncle was New York City cop. My dad a a union iron lather and an Irish Catholic union. I know you didn't know that unions could have religion and ethnicity, but that was New York City when I grew up. Grandfather, we didn't have a lot. And eventually, New York City went bankrupt. And my family followed my grandparents down to Florida. They had retired there, they had a place we could stay. We were starting over financially. I got public assistance, moved down to Florida. I remember every Saturday I get to go mow my grandfather's law. And I say get to because it was really a joy because first of all, they pay me. Second of, my grandfather was a heroic figure to me. He was a fireman and he would tell me stories. And also to, you know, we didn't have a lot. So that was the one place that we'd have scrambled eggs. Every Saturday, when I whatever I mow the lawn, they'd be scrambled eggs and stories with my grandfather, and my grandfather would tell me stories of the fire department. I can't use the exact words he used because he had a colorful language. He called him his Bowling words. You know, I guess somehow that's related to Bowling. But my grandfather would tell me stories about this two alarm or this three alarm. And they would rush there in the fire department. And he called me Eddie. He called me Eddie. And you may not just so we're clear on that, that is a thing of the past. So he said, Eddie, Eddie, we'd go in and we'd go in and, you know, I carried this person out and we'd go in. And then he would always say something like this, some variant of this. So we're the people, the fire department, and you all saw the heroic nature of the New York City Fire Department in and around 911 matter. Fact, the house that took the most losses was one of the house that my grandfather oversaw as the fire battalion chief. So when I went to the memorial, I had explained to my daughters why I would just weep over the fire truck that had been crushed by the falling debris. But my grandfather would always end the story with a variant of when everyone else is running away from the crisis, We're the ones running towards the fire, the bomb squad, whatever it may be. We're the ones running towards the catastrophe and sisters and brothers. Even the world knows that the current cultural turbulence and tumult is unsustainable. You can see doom and gloom predictions in newspapers and on cable news and more. Because the reality is, these cultural convulsions, if they do indeed happen every 60 years, tend to have significant cultural carnage. Yet, as followers of Jesus, we've been sent by Jesus on mission into the world. And the moment we're in does not pause the mission we are on. The privilege we have is to rush towards the crisis unashamed and with anything other than a winsome conviction. To quote, some of my colleagues are hard center and soft edges. A passion to engage our cultural moment, showing and sharing the love of Jesus, which I will tell you, not all of our fellow followers of Jesus have adopted this model or strategy. But I'm convinced this is not a momentary strategy of cultural engagement. This is the way of Jesus. We join Jesus on mission, he says, as the father has sent me, even send you now. How do we think of this for the future? Well again, tumultuous and turbulent times can experience significant spiritual breakthrough. The last cultural, most of you aren't old enough to remember the 1968. In 1968, when there were significant civil rights protests, there were Vietnam War protests, there were assassinations. Martin Luther King was assassinated that year. Bobby Kennedy assassinated that year. There was a pandemic that year. Your parents and grandparents probably called it the Hong Kong Flu. Millions of people around the world. They didn't shut the whole world down that time. They actually started planning Woodstock, which seems the opposite plan if you want to not spread disease. But that's another story for another day. Um, but 1968 was a tumultuous and turbulent time, unlike probably anything yet we've seen in our lifetime. But these cultural convulsions don't last two. They tend to last 46 years. We may not be halfway through some of the turbulence and tumult that we're experiencing. I don't want to bring bad news, I want to bring good news. But it was also in 1968 when not far from here, a pastor said to his daughter, I'd like to meet a hippy And she brought home this hippie, they got to meet this pastor said hippie was a relative of the new father of Jesus, said, let's start a Bible study age. They started on Saturday night and grew to hundreds, and then thousands. And then it started. It was the '60s and '70s. So they started coffee houses and communes. And it spread all across. Now we watch movies about it called Jesus Revolution. And we say, man, I wish we could see that today. You know what the problem is. The tumult in the turbulence accompanied what became a spiritual outpouring. Again, I'm perpetually encouraged because I read the end of the book in Jesus Wins, but I also know, as a mysologist and a researcher, that times of tumult and turbulence often are times that lead to spiritual outpouring. If we will join Jesus on his mission in the world, you look at moments like my grandfather's badge and my uncle's badge rushed toward the crisis. Let's not shrink back, let's lean in. We ourselves in community walking and in peace with one another. Joining Jesus on mission, showing and sharing his love. Because tumultuous and turbulent times remind us that Jesus has sent us on mission. And the moment we're in does not pause the mission. We're, my favorite verse in the Old Testament is like unto my favorite verse of the New Testament. It's interesting because the beginning of Isaiah, chapter six, it's always a little intimidating. By the way, speak in front of a New Testament and old Testament scholars. But our Old Testament scholars, and we have wonderful Old Testament scholars, would remind us that Isaiah, chapter six, verse one, is a fascinating phrase in and of itself. In the year King A died, we were in the UK right after the queen died and everyone was sad, but nobody was afraid. That's not historically how people respond to the death of a monarch. Because you don't know the death of a monarch means to a power struggle, means to accompanying kingdom, invading you. It's a time of tumult and turbulence and then Isaiah has this fascinating vision of angels with wings and eyes and a coal and burning his lips and woe and all that. No time to unpack all of that. But here's what it then says with the Lord speak says, whom shall I send and who will go for us? And I said, here am I send me? So here we find ourselves in 2023. The mission of the university still before us. The mission of Biola is to, is biblically centered education, scholarship, and service. Equipping men and women in mind and character to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm thrilled to join you on that journey that you have been already doing well, But the tumult in the turbulence is a great time for us to, again, double down on our mission, our passion for the good news of the gospel. To join Jesus on mission in the world, and to say, here am I send me father? Thank you for the privilege we have to serve you in this role. May we respond to this cultural moment as Isaiah did, as Jesus spoke? May we respond to the words of Jesus as the father has sent me? Even so, send you perhaps with the words of Isaiah here am I send me for it's in Jesus name? And for his sake, we pray. Amen and amen.”
Written by Joanne Jung and Ed Stetzer, Talbot School of Theology. For more information, contact Media Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.