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The Last Word

Faith that Rises to the Challenge

Following God’s call in the midst of a cultural shift.

There is a shift that must be understood, accepted, and adjusted to: the shift of our place in Western society. We are no longer the center; we are no longer chief; we are no longer the perceived majority. We are at the periphery. We feel like we are on the margins. …

Bishop Claude Alexander
(Photo: LifeTouch)

The calling of our lives might be that of being more exilic and prophetic than settled and the status quo. If this is true, and I believe that it might be, then the import of Christian colleges and universities is even more clear. Christian colleges and universities are not luxuries; they are necessities. The education of men and women who are able to exert influence and leadership within their given fields of study, undergirded by an unshakeable confidence in their Christian faith and commitment to the service of humanity, is an absolute necessity.

But in order for that to be fulfilled in this era, there might be a need for re-imagining the role; a recalibration of the sensibilities and sensitivities that we have. Perhaps it is the preparation of people who have been used to being the home team, the center, the majority to being the exile, the periphery, and the minority. … The students you are educating will be going into environments where there will be those types of questions. What pedagogy do you give them such that they are able to have a faith that rises to that type of challenge?

Christian colleges and universities are not luxuries; they are necessities. The education of men and women who are able to exert influence and leadership within their given fields of study, undergirded by an unshakeable confidence in their Christian faith and commitment to the service of humanity, is an absolute necessity.

Faith lets you look into two worlds at the same time. Daniel's vision [in Chapter 7] is a two-layered vision. The first layer is of four beasts who come out of the sea to exert terror upon the earth, particularly the saints of the Most High. But the second layer is where the Ancient of Days takes his seat on the throne and orders the court. … Through faith, God is able to show us another layer and level of reality that reshapes the raw data of our lives. It re-frames the pressure; it recalibrates the weight, the trouble, the tears, and the heartaches by answering four questions about God.

The first question is: Who is God? … Who is God, that we face what we face? Who is God, that we suffer what we suffer? Who is God, that we carry what we carry? … Notice the name for God [in this passage] is the Ancient of Days. It's a name for God that points to God being the eternal uncreated, unchanging, and timeless one. It speaks to God always being God. … Daniel is made to recognize that the beasts were not without boundaries; they were bound within the context of God. … Authentic faith in God rises to the challenge by recognizing that whatever we face is not without boundaries. It is bound within the Ancient of Days. …

Another question is: Where is God? Where is God when I'm facing what I'm facing? … With the beasts raging, each one succeeding the other, Daniel is able to look, and he sees thrones set in place, with the Ancient of Days taking his seat. God comfortably occupies the throne. … With things being over Daniel's head, they are under God's feet. Daniel is made to know that whatever human power is, it is still under divine power. …

What is God doing? Within Daniel’s vision, there is this juxtaposition of the activity of the beasts and the activity of the Ancient of Days. The beasts are raging, terrifying, threatening, and destroying, and the vision of the Ancient of Days is that of the thrones being set in place, the Ancient of Days taking a seat, the courts being seated, and the books being opened. … Daniel is made to see God is setting things in place. God is positioning matters of concern and consequence. God is arranging things according to God’s purpose. …

Whose side is God on? … There's a period where the adversary enjoys a time where he has his way, and in those times, we are tempted to ask the question: Is God really on my side? … But then verse 22 comes around and says [that] … God comes and pronounces his favor for the saints. God demonstrates his position with them; he shows forth his power by bringing them victory.

The thing that I have a problem with most as a leader is waiting until. It's believing until; it's holding on until; it's continuing to fight until; it's turning the other cheek until. … But for each one of those occasions where I've had to live in the tension, there has been what God has been developing until. When God has developed what God has desired to develop, the until comes.

When the until does come, it comes with great joy. That is the crux of our faith. It is the disciples having seen the Master crucified and being declared to be over, leaving believing that it is done – until Sunday and the women go to the grave site and find the tomb empty. ...

We are those who live in the until. Who is God? The Ancient of Days. Where is God? He is confidently and comfortably on the throne. What is God doing? God is setting things in place. Whose side is God on? The side of the saints. How long must we deal with this? Until. 

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The Last Word

Faith that Rises to the Challenge

Following God’s call in the midst of a cultural shift.