University of the Cumberlands recently hosted Jason Jimenez as the speaker for their annual Spring Renewal event led by campus ministries. For three consecutive evenings, students were welcomed into Gatliff Chapel on campus to worship and hear a message from Jimenez, who is an author, national speaker, and the founder of STAND STRONG Ministries.
“The idea is trying to teach young people not to live dead dreams because of doubts or fear that cripples them,” said Jimenez. “My hope for them is that they would really surrender their lives and want to live fearlessly.”
The first evening’s topic was doubt – reasonable, volitional, and emotional – and learning how to acknowledge it, pinpoint potential sins or issues behind the doubt, and deal with the doubt in a Scriptural, bold, healthy way.
“I think young people in America are told that, if you just read the right book or get the right college degree or find the right mentor or coach, then you will succeed,” Jimenez said. “And those things are advantageous, but you have to understand what doubts you face and why they exist in the first place and address those. If you don’t know who you are and don’t find sufficiency in Christ, you’re going to be pursuing false adequacy in other people.”
In the second message, Jimenez discussed fear, using King David of Israel as an illustration – an “unlikely character” who courageously took hold of opportunity instead of succumbing to fear. David became one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history and was ultimately one of the forefathers of Jesus Christ. But before being anointed king, he was a small shepherd boy, just the kid brother in a large family, and had no foreseeable meaningful future. Jimenez could relate to David’s backstory, being raised in an impoverished home in a Hispanic family in America.
“There was no chance in my life that I was going to be anything,” he said, “but the Bible is full of stories of people who came from nothing who made a name for themselves through God’s power and for His glory. A person living in fear is going to be inactive and ineffective. But we are all made in the image of God and have value and dignity as human beings.”
In the final message, Jimenez hoped to drive home the point that people’s futures are not automatically determined by their circumstances. To him, there is not equal outcome; there is equal opportunity.
“I think it’s a lie that people who are more privileged will have a greater chance of success. It’s not like we’re born special. We all need to pursue the opportunities presented to us,” Jimenez said. “When someone looks at the fear they’re consumed with and understands that they can overcome it, that creates a warrior mentality. Trusting in the Lord and finding sufficiency in Him is a game-changer.”
Students were invited to join Jimenez in the campus grill during lunchtime hours to ask follow-up questions about his evening messages.
Chad Everhart, campus minister and Chair of the Department of Missions & Ministry, was “very pleased” with Spring Renewal as a whole.
“Students really connected with Jason’s ability to challenge their worldview and convictions,” Everhart said. “I would like to thank him for coming and for challenging our students to take the next steps in their faith. Our hope with these campus events is to bring students, faculty, and staff together to worship God as a unified campus and hear His word proclaimed.”
University of the Cumberlands hosts weekly events such as International Food Nights, The Gospel And discussion panels, and campus worship nights to engage the campus community with the Gospel. Singer-songwriter and novelist Andrew Peterson will be visiting campus Thursday, March 5, speaking on the Gospel and the arts.