Special chapel speakers this semester
by Cali Carpenter, class of 2017
Campus has hosted some incredible speakers this semester. Here are just a few of the special guests we've had the privilege of hosting:
Dr. Andy Johnson
Dr. Johnson’s current title is professor of New Testament at Nazarene Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He is a published author of scholarly books and articles, an active participant in professional societies and has presented a long list of professional presentations.
The messages he delivered at NNU encouraged the audience to explore and grow in their understanding of God’s holiness and helped everyone understand the mission of God. Johnson challenged everyone to focus on God and give him their full engagement, despite life’s distractions.
Mike McHargue (better known as Science Mike) is a blogger, author and podcaster who links science and faith. In chapel he gave his testimony and explained how God was his only friend growing up. Instead of playing with other kids at recess he would spend this time alone in prayer. As he got older he found himself feeling ashamed to even believe in God and he came to the conclusion that God did not exist. He converted to atheism for two and a half years, but he became a born-again Christian after rediscovering God in cosmology and neuroscience.
Timeout was devoted to a time of Q&A with Science Mike. Students were able to ask him the tough questions ranging from theistic evolution and atheism to personal questions about his interpretation of the Bible and how his marriage was impacted when he lost his faith. Throughout his faith journey, McHargue has believed in and questioned a lot of things, but his chapel talk left the audience with this captivating question: “Is Jesus compelling enough to follow? If so, that’s enough.”
Shane Claiborne is a preacher, writer and activist for Jesus, peacemaking and justice. He shared personal experiences that ranged from getting arrested for being an advocate for the homeless in Philadelphia to working alongside Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India.
He shared that, today, Christians are becoming known for who we exclude instead of who we include and he advocated for breaking out of this negative pattern. He invoked the words of Jesus saying, “many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first,” and closed chapel by encouraging the audience to “use your gifts in a way that doesn’t compute with the patterns of this world.”
Local news anchor Dee Sarton gave her testimony in chapel and shared how God’s grace and mercy rewrote her life story. She explained a time when she was turning away from God. “Slowly but surely I lost my grip on God, but, praise him, he did not lose his grip on me,” Dee said.
Not long after, she began to see signs pointing her back to God and she ended up at church with her friend Linda. The grace laden message was focused on how God can take your failures and wrong turns and transform them into something beautiful for his grander story. After this, Dee was transformed, and God’s word was made alive to her again.
Her closing message was this: “All I have to do is love him and do what I want, because when I’m loving him and spending time with him, suddenly the desires of my heart are aligning with the rhythm of his grace.”