By Abbey Shoemaker
CIU Student Writer
Prominent pastor, leading author, and 1997 Columbia International University graduate Tullian Tchividjian returned to campus for the first time in over 10 years to address the student body in chapel. Tchividjian, who pastors Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said the years he studied at CIU were foundational in his life and ministry. Some of the foundational lessons he learned have carried him through the toughest ministerial struggle of his career.
Tchividijian said 2009, was the most painful year in his life to date. That was the year when his church, New City Presbyterian in Fort Lauderdale, merged with the well-established Coral Ridge Presbyterian, formerly led by nationally-known pastor D. James Kennedy, who had recently died. There was some opposition to the merger, and Tchividijian felt the pressure.
Tchividjian shared how God used Colossians 1:9-14 to help him rediscover the power of the gospel. He realized during the difficulty of 2009 that he had been longing for the approval of people.
“I never realized how dependent I had become on human acceptance and human approval until God took it away,” he shared.
From his own experience, he explained the importance of understanding on a personal level the reality of what Christ has done.
“The gospel tells us,” said Tchividjian, “that the determining factor in our relationships with God is Christ’s work for us.”
After illustrating how crucial this reality has been in his own life, Tchividjian challenged the students to consider how the gospel alone resources them with the perseverance they need to press on faithfully in life and in ministry.
In closing Tchividjian remarked, “The banner under which Christians live reads ‘It is finished.’” That reality alone provided him with sufficient strength to survive the struggles of ministry and gives him the grace necessary to live each day for the Lord faithfully.