November 20, 2000
As an Oklahoma Baptist University senior, Vern Charette usually attends chapel. He quickly learned Nov. 15 that standing behind the podium, chapel takes on a whole new perspective.
"I'm glad there is a podium, so you all can't see my knees shaking," he said.
Despite nerves, Charette, part Chippewa, delivered OBU's Native American Heritage chapel address focusing on the breadth of God's love and encouraging students to meditate on God's love.
He shared passages from the Bible focusing on God's love such as Ephesians 3:14-18. He used these verses to paint a picture of the everlasting, undeserved love of God.
"Our hearts can grow calloused to the love of God," he said. "We should never get tired of hearing about and meditating on the love of God."
God chooses to love us, even before we are saved, Charette said.
Charette said that he knows that God loved him 10 years ago when he was a high school drop-out involved with drugs and alcohol. He sees God's love in the plan and future he has for him.
In his ministry in Native American churches and many others, Charette said that he sees that the depth of God's love can reach any man, woman and child.
Charette challenged students to consider the heights of God's love.
"He is willing to lift us up," he said. "Through his mercy which none of us deserve, he is preparing for us a home in heaven."
According to Charette, 95 percent of Native Americans are not Christians. There are 10 tribes in the Shawnee area alone, he said, encouraging students to see the mission field around them.
"Respond to God's love for you. Be willing to leave your comfort zone," he said. "Ask God to break our hearts and send us to those people who need the Lord."