Dr. Louima Lilite told OBU students that every student's "story" is authored by God, and true worship occurs only when people recognize the authorship of God in their lives.
An assistant professor of music at OBU, Lilite spoke during a weekly chapel service on Feb. 29. His message, "The Authenticity of Worship," follows OBU's current chapel theme, "The Purpose of Man: Designed to Worship," based on the book by Christian author A.W. Tozer.
Lilite began by imparting the importance of knowing God rather than simply knowing about him, imploring students to understand the difference.
"If we do not know God, it matters not how well-rounded our education is," Lilite said. "It matters not how advanced our hard sciences are. It matters not how skilled our artists and athletes are. It matters not how well-developed our minds seem to be. And it certainly matters not how scholarly or significant our theologians, our writers, our philosophers or educators are. Devoid of Christ, human knowledge is fruitless, insipid and inauthentic."
Referencing Jeremiah 1:5, Lilite applied the Scriptural passage to all human beings, describing how God lovingly plans "every detail, nuance, and contour" of the "plot of our story" before a person is even born. As he explained the concept of the authenticity of worship, he also quoted 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, noting four essential themes within the verse: God makes his followers stand firm in their faith; humans were designed by God to worship him; God put his seal of ownership on humans; and God deposited his Spirit in his followers.
"Authentic worship is realizing that apart from [God], we are nothing," Lilite concluded.
Noting the word "authenticity" is used often in conjunction with the term "worship," Lilite initially defined authenticity as "the theory of reliability of origin, sincerity or intention that is deemed worthy of acceptance." He provided a concise version of the definition for students, stating simply: "Get real."
"Authenticity is the extent to which one is true to one's own personality, spirit or character, despite external pressures," Lilite explained.
Lilite also discussed meanings of ownership, and referenced a statement from a book titled "Ownership Thinking" by Brad Hams: "Ownership thinking is about moving employees away from the 'me' way of thinking and towards concerns of the business," he quoted.
He explained humans inherently desire to join in and contribute to life, regardless of selfish tendencies.
Lilite reminded students that all humans are "under construction." People spend too much time focusing on the veneer rather than what is inside, he said. He encouraged students to think about conversations that take place in the OBU cafeteria and make note of how many focus on appearance.
"That girl is too fat, too skinny, too blond, too dark, too spiritual, too worldly," Lilite said, observing the nature of such conversations. "This guy is too smart, too dumb, too much of a Boy Scout, too crooked. Dr. Lilite's section is too hard; too writing intensive. Dr. So-and-so is too serious. Dr. Such-and-such tells too many jokes. This church is too traditional, too contemporary. That pastor is too 1980s. This one is too hip.
"Let me remind you that we are all under construction."
Lilite encouraged students to focus on the heart of the matter, following the example set by God.
He concluded the service by singing a prayer for the students.