Brian Mowrey Encourages Gordon to “Say Yes” to DEEP FAITH

Throughout the Bible, we encounter stories of the powerful things God accomplishes through ordinary people. David brought a giant warrior to the ground with a mere slingshot, Esther convinced her husband, King Xerxes, to stop a genocide just before it began, and Peter denied Christ three times but went on to bring thousands to salvation. God had a plan and all they had to do was say “yes.”

This year’s DEEP FAITH Week—what Chaplain Bob Whittet called “a three-day retreat interrupted by classes”—brought Lead Pastor of Walnut Hill Community Church Rev. Dr. Brian Mowrey to Gordon to explore what it means for us to say “yes” to the Lord in a series of four sermons.

Session 1: Say Yes to His Promises

“I fully believe that mountains move on the other side of our ‘yes’ to the Lord,” said Mowrey. In fact, the “yes” is all we need. God takes care of the rest. No matter how hard it is to fathom what’s being asked of us or how impossible it seems, we know from countless stories in the Bible that God is 1) close 2) always moving and 3) has a desire to move through us, Mowrey explained. In other words, God isn’t hands-off when it comes to your life and his plans. He’s highly involved and can equip you with whatever you need to follow his instructions (even if that means defying gravity). “One ‘yes’ rebuilt the temple, one ‘yes’ parted the sea, one ‘yes’ led to walking on water, one ‘yes’ led to becoming the mother of a very special child. One ‘yes’ can change the world,” said Mowrey.

Session 2: Say Yes to Prayer

Our greatest adventures in life can happen when we say ‘yes’ to prayer. “When we say ‘yes’ to prayer, we say ‘yes’ to the revelation of God.” Prayer is a dialogue in which we learn to depend more on God. In keeping those lines of communication open, we actually start to recognize God’s voice from our own. And this gives us clarity about what God wants us to do, Mowry explained. Even though we already know that the answer lies in “loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself,” prayer helps us to put this verse into practice. It’s hard to love God with all your soul, mind and strength when you’re not in the habit of talking to him (or listening to him).  

Session 3: Say Yes to Compassion

We tend to approach God like an insurance agent, asking if our sin, our hurt and our failures are “covered” by his grace, Mowrey pointed out in his third DEEP FAITH sermon. “What the Lord wants us to know is that he’s a compassionate and gracious God,” he said. God describes himself in 2 Corinthians as the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our trouble. “Nothing is excluded,” Mowrey emphasized.

Just as Christ extends compassion to us, he commands that we extend it to others. To say “yes” to Jesus is to say “yes” to modeling his example of compassion, said Mowrey. This example is not only a matter of words, but of taking action to love and serve God’s people. “Compassion is entering the suffering of others ready to help,” he said. “Compassion is what precedes healing . . .  what fuels unity . . . what draws people to Jesus.”

Session 4: Say Yes in Every Season

In his final DEEP FAITH sermon, Mowrey told the story of a woman in his church who had a problem with one of her eyes. She could barely see out of it and no doctors were able to help her. She asked Mowrey and another church member to pray for her, as a “last resort.” But after they prayed together, she was immediately healed. “God just showed her what he could do,” said Mowrey.

Sometimes, a life event will bring up doubt and skepticism about God’s ability to answer our prayers—and yet we need to remember how to say “yes” to God in every season of our life. Quoting Jesus, Mowrey stated, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Often, the only thing preventing us from enjoying the harvest is the act of saying “no” to God—even indirectly as a result of fear or insecurity or the belief that we have to “go it alone.”

But by being with us, God empowers us in every season. Being all-powerful, all-present and all-knowing means he’s capable of keeping his promises and helping us do extraordinary things even though—like David, Esther and Peter—we’re just ordinary people.

Co-written by Anna Kinkade ’21, psychology and communication arts, and Alexander Bishop ’24, communication arts

Photo by Thanti Nguyen on Unsplash