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Pastor Encourages Students to Build Right Relationships

February 25, 2000

Living in biblical community was the theme and relationships were the topic of Oklahoma Baptist University's Focus Week chapel service Wednesday, Feb. 23. Hance Dilbeck, pastor of First Baptist Church, Ponca City led the service as an introduction to the Focus Week activities.

"I had a professor in seminary who said that the most important word in the English language is 'relationship'," Dilbeck said. "The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ lived and died and rose again not just to give right relationships with God, but to give us the tools, the capacity and desire to build right relationships with each other.

"Only when our relationship with God is healthy and vital and strong are we ready to build healthy and right relationships with others. And the way we build relationships with God is through relationships with Jesus Christ. I think that's the story of the Bible. I see God working in reconciliation. It's the story from the garden to the cross, from the tower of Babel to Pentecost. I see God working to bring people to him and to each other."

Dilbeck told the students that they would examine II Corinthians 13:14 during the rest of the Focus Week services.

"In this verse we discover how God wants to impact all our relationships," he said. "It's a benediction, a word of blessing, not pronounced on individuals, but on a large group of people. It's a corporate blessing.

"A blessed life is all about blessed relationships. If you want a God blessed life, pray about God blessed relationships.

"Think back on a miserable time in your life. Those dark days were probably caused by a ruptured relationship. Christian relationships are relationships marked by grace, love and fellowship that the Holy Spirit produces."

Dilbeck directed some remarks to students only.

"One of the things I love about your generation is your love and openness for expressing your to God in worship. But remember young people, it is hypocrisy to display your love for God in worship but not in relationships with others. It's a package deal."

Dilbeck, a Pawhuska native, received his bachelor's degree from OBU in 1987, and a master's of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992. He plans to complete work on his doctorate within the year.

Dilbeck has served as pastor of First Baptist, Ponca City since 1997.

Prior to that, he served as youth minister of First Baptist Church, Shawnee, and as pastor of Little City Baptist Church, Little City, First Baptist Church, Snyder, and First Baptist Church, Noble.

He is currently serving on the Board of Trustees for OBU.

He and his wife, Julie, have three boys, D.H., Dax and Leighton.