"God left behind an old, rugged, wooden, bloodstained cross declaring for eternity that God loves you," Rev. Jackie Allen told Oklahoma Baptist University students in his Jan. 30 chapel address.
Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church in Miami, told students that with God's unconditional, sacrificial and eternal love, they could make a difference in their world.
He began with a story of a testimony he heard at an OBU chapel service 15 years ago. He retold the story of a young man whose little brother had passed away just before Christmas. The young man, whose parents lived overseas, decided to stay home with his parents throughout the holiday.
While passing out the Christmas gifts, the young man discovered a small package hidden in the back corner of the tree. It was from his younger brother to his father. The gift was a small, gaudy pencil holder, but the message inside meant more to the father then any other gift. The little boy had written a note, which said, "I love you dad."
Allen said that God also left behind a gift to show his love - the cross.
God's love is unconditional, Allen said. He said unlike pulling petals off flowers saying, 'he loves me, he loves me not,' with God it is always, 'he loves me.' God's loves does not go up and down, Allen said. It is steadfast inspite of whatever one encounters in life. Despite any hang-ups or problems, God sees potential.
Allen said that not only does God love his people, but he also loves the world.
"The heart of a loving God aches for a world that is away from Him," he said. "God desperately wants to love the world through you. Once you step into the arena of God's love, you have a responsibility to let God love the world through you."
Students at OBU have a unique place in God's desire to reach the world, he said. The world believes that the purpose of higher education is to get an education, to get a job and to get rich, Allen said. The Christian definition of higher education however, is to get an education, to get a job and to make a difference.
His final illustration was from a scene in the movie Pearl Harbor. As a young pilot sat through flight orientation, he became impatient. He wanted to go out and do what he was trained to do. His instructor asked him why he was in such a hurry to die. The young man replied that he was not in a hurry to die, but he was in a hurry to matter.
"God is saying I love you, I love the world and I want to love the world through you," Allen said.