September 18, 2009
People make decisions everyday: what to wear, whether to go to class or work and, often the first decision of the day, whether or not to hit the snooze button one more time. During a chapel message Friday, Sept. 18, Steve Winterberg challenged Oklahoma Baptist University to make the conscious decision to follow and know Jesus Christ each day.
Winterberg, director of OBU's Avery T. Willis Center for Global Outreach, spoke during one of three chapel services as part of OBU's annual Global Outreach (GO) Week. The week is designed to help students focus on opportunities for local, regional, national and international missions service.
"Decisions are part of our lives," Winterberg said. "Following Christ and knowing him in a real way - while it may have begun at a point in the past - it is something that we need to decide to do day in and day out. It's not something that was a moment in the past, and then we are free to do as we please."
Winterberg referred to the Book of Amos, which was the scriptural foundation for GO Week. He said the book tells how God had a concern for Israel and the nations surrounding it and their moral behavior. At the same time, Winterberg said, the people of God believed their special relationship with God made them immune to his judgment, and they could do as they pleased as long as they followed through on certain practices. People today may have a similar perspective, he said.
"Oftentimes I think of my own understanding of grace, and I think how in our culture it is very easy for us to have a skewed understanding of that grace," he said. "I'm reminded that we often think that we were saved at some point in the past, and that relinquishes us from responsibility. It frees us from an obligation to obey."
Obedience to God should come not only out of a sense of obligation, but from love, Winterberg said. Likewise, he said, worship should be genuine, not merely actions to appease God. He also contended that unlike the selfish lives of the people in the Book of Amos, the lives of Christians today should reflect a concern for others.
"A life of knowing and following Christ is complete," Winterberg said. "It is all-consuming. Everything of who I am should reflect him and should reflect his desires in our lives. My words should be backed up by my actions about how I live, and what I do day in and day out."
Winterberg told students they have a decision to make - a decision which may not be comfortable. He said they must decide if they will seek God daily. He encouraged the students to make the decision to get uncomfortable with a complacent lifestyle and choose to live a life full of action in obedience to God.