Griff Henderson said his family maintains certain foundational truths, one being that dogs are good, and cats are bad. In an address to Oklahoma Baptist University students during the weekly chapel service Dec. 2, Henderson offered another truth of much greater importance: each person should make Jesus Christ the foundation of life.
Henderson, who serves as senior pastor for Waterloo Road Baptist Church in Edmond, Okla., based his message on Chapter 20 in Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book, "The Cost of Discipleship." The book is the center of the year's chapel theme, "Costly Illumination: Counting Everything Loss in Light of the Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ." Chapter 20 specifically focuses on Matthew 7:24-29 when Jesus shares the story of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand.
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"It's important today that we realize that both believers and non-believers will have storms in our life," Henderson said. "But the question is, 'What are you building your foundation on when the storms occur?' Let me urge you, do not build these foundations on the teachings - build your foundations on the Teacher."
Henderson admitted he is no coffee drinker, but rather, he enjoys sweet iced tea. He explained some tea sweeteners are better than others in terms of taste and health benefits. On the contrary, Henderson contended that when it comes to what is important in life, selecting a sugar substitute is very different from choosing a spiritual foundation.
"I don't care what substitute is put in my iced tea to make it sweet, as long as it tastes good," Henderson said. "But ... you cannot have a substitute for Jesus. The substitute for Jesus is just sand ... it's not the rock."
Henderson explained that as years have passed, he has witnessed changing - and sometimes reoccurring - fads and trends in fashion, hairstyles and music. On the contrary, for Henderson, Christ's consistency is the selling point for making him life's foundation.
"I've seen things come and go ... (but) Jesus has never changed," Henderson said. "He is our solid rock, and he must be the foundation of your life. You must choose to say, 'I will follow Jesus.'"
Henderson related Bonhoeffer's testimony as a Christian pastor and theologian who died in a Nazi war camp in 1945. Henderson explained Bonhoeffer knew that when Jesus calls us, he ultimately calls us to die. Henderson said it was Bonhoeffer's secure foundation in Christ that established his dynamic testimony of suffering for Jesus.
"Because he had an incredible foundation built upon Jesus and Jesus' example, he pressed on," Henderson said of the biblical theologian. "Bonhoeffer followed Jesus. We have that challenge to follow Jesus here today."
Henderson's final appeal to students echoed the dedication and commitment of those dedicated Christians who have come before them.
"I urge you to commit like Bonhoeffer," Henderson said. "To commit like many others and say: 'My foundation, my conclusion of my life, is I'm going to build my life on the rock - not on the sand, but on the rock."