Dr. James Swain, associate executive director for church relations of Oklahoma Baptists, delivered the chapel message Friday, Aug. 20, inside Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee. The chapel was the second and final Fall Challenge chapel service of the week.
The first chapel messages of the semester at OBU are traditionally known as the “Fall Challenge.” They take place as part of Welcome Week, where students are welcomed and oriented to life on the OBU campus.
Swain previously served as both the equipping team leader for Oklahoma Baptists and the director of conference centers at Falls Creek. He has more than 20 years of experience as a pastor and youth minister. He is an OBU graduate and also earned degrees from both Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Swain’s message centered on a passage in John 6, where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes to feed a large crowd. He talked about the University’s chapel theme this year, centering on multiplication and how we as Christians “have an opportunity to be part of the multiplication work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
He examined the disciple Andrew, looking at multiple places in the gospel of John where Andrew is described as taking action.
“What we find is the pattern of Andrew’s life, where every time we see him mentioned in Scripture doing something, he is connecting someone to Christ. He is bringing people to Jesus,” Swain said. “He is always connecting people to Jesus.”
He then connected this pattern in Andrew’s behavior to the students in the room.
“Students, can I propose to you this morning that there is no greater thing that can be said about a follower of Jesus Christ than they are bringing people to Jesus,” he said.
He then gave an illustration about how Billy Graham came to know the Lord through the work of a Sunday school teacher, noting that, “When we connect people to Christ, we never know how God is going to use them for his glory.”
He then talked about the young boy who held the basket of loaves and fishes, and how when others saw only the insurmountable problem of not having enough food to feed the crowd of people, Andrew instead saw this boy as possibly having the solution to the problem.
“Students, I want to give you a word of encouragement and advice,” he said. “If you want to be valuable in whatever vocation God calls you to pursue, be someone that always brings possibilities to those around you. It doesn’t take much effort or energy to point out the problems, but it takes a lot of effort and energy to say, ‘Here are some possibilities that maybe we can do something with.’”
“When things seem insurmountable to us, our tendency is to want to give up, and to move on and quit. But can I tell you that I think when those times come the Lord wants us to keep looking, to keep asking and to keep serving. He calls us to have a perspective of faithfulness and to look for the possibilities instead of at the problems.”
He finished with a call to the students to submit themselves to the Lord and allow him to multiply their lives and impact for the kingdom of God.
“I think when we came to the place in our lives, where in a humble posture we come before the Lord and say, ‘Lord, all of my skills, all of my talents, all of the gifts you’ve placed in me, all of my hopes, all of my dreams, all of my ambitions, I give them to you,’ He can take our meager resources and multiply them by the Messiah’s power for his glory.”