A Spiritual Emphasis Week for a Spiritual Emphasis Life
By Janai Tedder
Etched in stone across the Columbia International University campus are CIU’s five foundational core values: Authority of Scripture, Victorious Christian Living, World Evangelization, Prayer & Faith, and Evangelical Unity. An emphasis on each core value is scheduled each school year, most recently through the Christian Life Conference, a week challenging students, faculty and staff to grow and become victorious in their Christian walk.
The speaker was 2013 CIU Alumnus of the Year, Chris Thomas, the international director of Torchbearers International, a worldwide Bible training center. Through the week he asked biblical questions designed to lead to a deeper and more intimate relationship with God.
“I want to, through God’s enabling, speak to the heart, to give life, flesh and muscle on dead bones so they can come alive,” Thomas said.
Students enjoyed how Thomas’ empathized with where they are in life and how he presented the Bible in a way that was straightforward and easy for them to understand.
“He made everything seem really simple by straightforwardly telling us exactly what the Bible said and what it meant,” junior Janie Holland said. “The message wasn’t fluffed and very clear which allowed me to easily apply it to my life.”
For sophomore Doran Batterman, Thomas’ analogy of a child on his dad’s shoulders was impactful to him.
“It showed me how walking through life alone can be full of fear but when you have someone solid, Jesus, as your foundation underneath you, life is no longer full of fear but of joy,” Batterman said.
Amber Caviness was encouraged by Thomas’ point of God’s faithfulness in the midst of trials.
“The biggest impact the message had on me,” Caviness said, “was when he talked about how God is with us through our storms. He isn’t watching from a distance but is right there with us in the middle of the mess.”
Scott Grigsby, said he found himself wrestling with one of Thomas’ points in particular: How theologically we can’t have more of God, because He already gave all of Himself to us through Jesus.
“Instead, Thomas said we need to give all of ourselves to God and it is this action that the Christian life centers around,” Grigsby, a junior said. “Doing this requires that we turn over every area of our life to God, even the things we think we can hide. It really struck home that living the Christian life requires not only action from God, but daily action from me as well.”
Thomas ended the week with a charge to students saying, “This isn’t the end of a spiritual emphasis week, this is the beginning of a spiritual emphasis life.”
Chris Thomas' messages are posted at CIU's podcasts.