I think God’s messing with me.
A few months ago I was asked by Chance Vanover at Oklahoma Christian University to speak at OC’s chapel. Anybody who had any connection to that school back in the mid to late ’80s understands full well how improbable that is. Me? Speaking at OC’s chapel? If you had told me 20 years ago that I would be standing on stage at Hardeman Auditorium this morning preaching the Word of God, I would have said the Rangers have a better chance of winning the World Series. The men of Delta would have a better shot of winning a social service award (inside joke). But our God is the God who breathes life into the dead and calls things that are not as though they are. So, of course, I agreed.
A few weeks later, Chance sent me the text. 2 Corinthians 3:18. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Chance wanted me to talk about a changed life, a new life in Christ.
Probably just a coincidence.
Part of me wanted to just read the passage to the students and then declare, “Exhibit A!” and point to myself and then sit down. That would probably greatly please the faculty and staff. But their collective sigh of relief would collapse some walls and endanger the lives of hundreds of tuition-paying students. So, I preached.
While I preached this morning, my sister, Rhonda, who lives in Edmond with her husband, Geoff, and their three kids, was standing in the back. She updated her Facebook status while I spoke. “Listening to my brother, Allan, speaking at OC’s chapel.” Almost immediately, a common friend of ours replied, “Does OC security know?”
The moment I finished, Dr. Larry Jurney made a bee-line to the front. Dr. Jurney was our Radio-TV department head at OC. I hadn’t seen him in a dozen years. He greeted me and then, in front of eight or nine others, said, “Here’s what I remember about Allan Stanglin! Allan Stanglin is the reason I had to serve on the school’s disciplinary board! They put me on the board when Allan got in trouble. And after we dealt with him, I asked to be removed. But Dean Mock said as long as Allan was at OCC, they needed me on the board!”
I was so pleased to see Jamie and Charley Jo, two of our Legacy kids, at OC today. I’m hoping we can have lunch together tomorrow and catch up. I was glad to see Dr. Jurney and so many others who had a great influence on me so many years ago. I think about Stafford North. Philip Patterson. Tod Brown. Bailey McBride. Even Dean Mock. They loved me. They pushed me. They disciplined me. And they did their dead-level best to keep me on the right track. They gave me every chance. They extended to me every grace. They gave me much more than I ever deserved.
And I didn’t see it at the time. I didn’t recognize it then. I wouldn’t have even admitted it ten years ago. But I see very clearly now how true are the things they told me. How wise is the counsel they gave me. How loving was the rod they applied and the mercy they showed.
I’m thankful for the nearly two days and a night I get to spend with Rhonda. We ate Mexican food at Ted’s today, we picked up the kids from basketball practice, and we’re getting ready for a youth group devo at their house tonight. Maryn played and sang for me a beautiful song she wrote a year ago. She’s a genius. I’m listening to Asa right now playfully argue with his guitar instructor in the living room. He’s hilarious. And Caleb’s hitting the books. Homework and hoops: that’s his whole life. Geoff will be home from work in a few minutes. The Cowboys play his Vikings this weekend. He’ll rag Dallas. I’ll rag Favre.
I’m giving one more message at OC chapel in the morning about what it means to live a new life in Christ and to be transformed by his Spirit. Coincidence, right? At the very least, it’s incredibly ironic.
I think God’s messing with me.