Worship and Goals at Northwest University
At the President's Banquet this year, I told the story of how, on November 27 at the Vanguard University Soccer complex in Costa Mesa, California, I had one of the greatest moments I have experienced as President of Northwest University. As our Sports Information office reported, "The women's teams from NU and Vanguard remained scoreless throughout regulation, with Northwest's goalkeeper Kat Sanchez having to save only two shots. Northwest put three shots on goal in regulation, and finally found their winning goal in the fourth minute of extra time when a pass from Jaclyn Metz allowed Makenna Wheeler to put in the golden goal." Immediately after we scored, I rushed to the field to be with the victors, just in time to hear Kat cry out, "We really worshipped God today!"
Nothing she could have said would have expressed the main goal of NU more clearly. Beyond her position in soccer, Kat showed that she is truly an NU "goal keeper." Our vision calls on all of us "to carry the call of God." That means more than simply going into a particular field God has called us into. The field could be anything from a mission field to a soccer field. But it has as much to do with HOW we go into the field as it does with what field we go into.
Carrying the call of God means that we turn the whole world into our sanctuary of worship. Whether we are practicing our profession, raising our family, enjoying our pastimes, volunteering in our community, or attending services at our church, our daily activity is our true field of worship as we offer our whole selves to God as a living sacrifice of spiritual worship. Erin Redwine, our former women's soccer coach who founded the program, taught her students, "When we cross that white line, we're playing for an audience of one." Coach Bryan Chud keeps that spirit alive with our current team.
At Northwest University, we believe the whole world—every dimension of our lives—must become the cathedral of our worship, the altar of our living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). We leave evidence of our worship across the whole university. Experimenting in the laboratories, performing in the concert halls, competing on the athletic fields and courts and tracks, convening in the classrooms, arguing on the debate stages, mulling over the chessboards, eating together in the cafeteria, fellowshipping in the dorm rooms and lobbies, going out on the town, texting and talking with parents, raising kids in the apartments—in all of this we carry out our living sacrifice to maximize the moment and prepare for the future that God has called us to.
In the same way, the President's Banquet gave us occasion to worship God in our fellowship, as we shared sweet company with the friends who came. We joined in praise with the Choralons, who have never sung better. We rejoiced in the testimonies of students, who inspired us to hope in their vision for the future of God's people. Finally, we raised our hands and paddles in generous praise to God, committing a final total of $792,000 to God's work at NU. As Kat said, we really worshipped God that day!
In Norway, the people say, "Tusen Takk"—a thousand thanks. From all of us at NU, especially our students whose scholarships have been funded, we say to everyone who gave: "Seven hundred and ninety-two thousand thanks!"