October 6, 2000
"Rise up O men of God, be done with lesser things," said W.C. "Nick" Garland, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow, quoting an old hymn, during the chapel service, Oct. 4, at Oklahoma Baptist University.
Garland told students he had no sermon to preach but just one thought to share: be passionate.
"The greatest passion of your life should be to talk about Jesus," he said.
Apathy is widespread today in churches and even denominations, he said, adding, "Never get bitten by that bug."
Reading from the first two chapters of Colossians, Garland used the life of Paul as example of the passionate Christian life. Everywhere Paul went, in prison, on ships, even on Mars Hill, he talked about Jesus, he said.
The task of a Christian, Garland explained, is to teach and admonish, always lifting up Christ. The purpose is to encourage others in heart and to be united in love.
To the students Garland said, "Thank you for what you are. You are a generation of some of the strongest, boldest Christians we have seen in a long time."
Garland shared an excerpt from John Wesley's diary as an example of someone who remained passionate in difficult circumstances.
Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination was repeatedly kicked out of churches and asked never to return after he preached only one sermon. Yet he never gave up preaching.
After being kicked out of countless churches, he preached on the street. After being kicked off the street, he moved to a pasture where he was chased by a bull. Wesley wrote that he then found himself in a meadow, preaching to ten thousand people.
"Don't ever let anyone put out your passion," Garland said. "Rise up O men of God, be done with lesser things. Give heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the king of kings."
The First Baptist Church of Broken Arrow is the home church of 27 OBU students.
He and his wife Jenine have two children, Joshua and Jodi.