Most Christians are caught in the trap between the sacred and the secular, but instead their lives should be a unified existence of being "in" the world but not "of" it, and focused on sharing the love of Jesus Christ with others, Mary Kay Henderson told OBU students Wednesday, Nov. 30.
She spoke on OBU's current chapel theme, "The Pursuit of God: The Human Thirst for the Divine," based on the classic book by Christian author A.W. Tozer. Her message was based on the chapter titled "The Pursuit of God: The Sacrament of Living." Henderson is a vocalist and women's retreat speaker. Her ministry is focused on encouraging the local church, the importance of praise and worship, and victorious day-to-day living through Jesus Christ.
As a student at OBU years ago, Henderson said she felt conflicted because she knew and obeyed what she thought a Christian should not do, rather than knowing what she actively should be doing. She felt weary with keeping up with expectations. During that time, she said she realized God still had a purpose for her life. She simply needed to focus on being available to God's plan.
Tozer's book contends Christians tend to divide life into two departments: a sacred life and a secular life. "Sacred" acts are performed to please God. "Secular" acts include the ordinary activities of life such as eating, sleeping, working and other dull duties. Trying to compare the two causes frustration in life, Tozer said.
"This is the old sacred-secular antithesis," he wrote. "Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tight rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them."
Henderson said a good illustration of the conflicted Christian life occurs during the Christmas season when people focus on saying only, "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy Holidays," and judge others' spiritual life based on their response. To a friend who refuses to have anything featuring Santa Claus allowed in her home, Henderson said, "I love you, but get over it."
Instead, Henderson told the students, they should focus on their hearts being committed to Jesus Christ, and be open to opportunities to share His love in even the most unexpected places, such as a check-out line in a retail store.
She read Romans 12:1-2, from The Message Bible. The passage says, "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life -- and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
"Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
In addition to her personal ministry, Henderson travels throughout the United States and abroad with CHIEF (Christian Hope Indian-Eskimo Fellowship), a Phoenix based international ministry to indigenous people. She is also employed by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma as the director of the Cherokee National Youth Choir, based in Tahlequah, Okla.
In l980-81 and l981-82, Mary Kay served as a goodwill ambassador for her tribe as Miss Cherokee. She is the only person to have served two consecutive terms in this position. As Miss Cherokee, she developed a rapport with and recognized a need for ministry to Native Americans. During this time, she was recognized as an Outstanding Young Woman of America.
She and her husband, Brad Henderson, have several recordings to their credit including hymns, contemporary Christian music and a Christmas project. Residents of Fort Gibson, Okla., they are members of First Baptist Church in Tulsa, Okla., where Brad serves on staff as a worship associate. They have two sons, Josh, a recent graduate of the US Naval Academy, and Joe Creed, a musician based in Oklahoma.