Jim Cymbala and Joni Eareckson Tada speak at Convocation

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers and Jim Cymbala led Liberty students at convocation Wednesday, April 17. First, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers began the service with worship and ended their performance with the song, “I Speak Jesus.”

Next, Jim Cymbala, the pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle Church opened in prayer and transitioned into a message from Revelation two and three.

Cymbala discussed the significance of the seven letters that John wrote to the seven churches. He emphasized that because of God’s emotions, people can either make God happy or sad. Jesus wants people to treat him as someone they have fallen in love with, because his love for all humanity is so great.

Next, Cymbala said, “We are to hate what God hates, the deeds that God hates. God knows the toxic, poisonous nature of sin.”

Jim Cymbala speaking

Jim Cymbala spoke about the significance of the seven letters of John to the seven churches | Photo by Carlisle Jarnigan

Cymbala spoke of how God wants us to be wary of the things that he hates.

“When you love someone, you hate anything that will hurt them,” Cymbala said.

The love that God has for people is so great that he hates anything that will hurt people. 

After speaking further on the need for Christians to not tolerate things that influence one toward sin, Cymbala concluded his message with an analogy. 

“If you would give your all for basketball, how much more would you give to God?” Cymbala said.

Liberty students had the opportunity April 19 to watch an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada conducted by Josh Rutledge. Due to her physical ailments, Tada was unable to travel to Liberty to speak, so Rutledge travelled to the west coast to interview Tada.

Convocation began with a video sharing Tada’s story and her history of visiting Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church. After an accident that left her a quadriplegic, Tada chose not to let her disability define her abilities. She learned to create art, wrote books and spoke out about her story.

Tada is a cancer survivor who continues to share the message of Jesus’s love.

“I wouldn’t trade what I’ve learned in these forty-six years for any time of walking,” Tada said.

screenshot of Josh Rutledge interviewing Joni Eareckson Tada

Josh Rutledge traveled to the west coast to interview Joni Eareckson Tada | photo by Carlisle Jarnigan

Because of her own life experience, Tada believes that knowing Christ intimately requires deep suffering. Tada did not admit this fact sorrowfully, but challenged students to steward the suffering God gives them well.

“All things come at us so we might steward them well,” Tada said.

Tada spoke on our reactions to the suffering God gives us.

“If you really want to know what you believe about God, listen to what comes out of your mouth when you experience suffering,” Tada said.

Tada also spoke on our need for change.

“It’s a constant journey,” Tada said.

Tada explained that to change, people must go through suffering. Although Tada has gone through trials including a case of double pneumonia, she remained steadfast.

“Sometimes I lay in bed, I am so happy, and I am in so much pain,” Tada said.

She chooses to see Christ even when her circumstances seem hopeless.

Tada told students to be intentional about their sanctification by bringing God into the middle of everything that they do.

“You’re being sanctified anytime you bring God into the middle of something,” Tada said.

Rutledge concluded the interview by asking Tada to pray.

“I really liked (Tada’s) point on encouraging the best in other people,” sophomore Mary Clara Dees said.  “Look for the glory of God in everyone. If you don’t see it in someone, nurture it. Applaud and encourage the good in others and look for the best in people.”

Lunney is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion.

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