Dr. Ray Van Neste, dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, delivered OBU’s chapel message Oct. 2. He was on campus as the keynote speaker for the Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts’ “To Tell the Story Conference.”
Van Neste acknowledged it was a privilege to speak in chapel and to be part of the “To Tell the Story Conference,” which focused on the Psalms.
“The singing of the Psalms is a great treasure,” he said. He then shared a reading of Psalm 100.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,” he said. “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”
“The Psalms summarize the whole Bible for us,” he said, “and are given to us in poems, and songs to sing, and prayers to pray, so that the truths of God can sink deeply into our hearts.”
Van Neste discussed how Psalm 100 calls everyone to praise the name of the Lord, with all of the earth called to make a joyful noise. He then discussed how Christian worship must call on the whole world to worship, because that is what the Lord is worthy of.
He challenged students with a question, asking them, “How can you honor God?”
“One of the things that honors him is recognizing that he deserves the praise and the celebration of the whole earth,” he said. “It’s not enough to limit him to our place, or our group, or our economic setting. He is the great God of all the earth.”Van Neste has published numerous books and scholarly essays on topics such as biblical studies, pastoral ministry and church history. In addition to being a dean, he is an ordained minister, preaching and teaching often in local churches. He has served in pastoral or other roles in Baptist congregations in Tennessee, Wisconsin and Scotland. He also serves on the editorial board of the Southeastern Theological Review and on the Board of Reference for Eagle Projects International, a missions organization.