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Auburn chaplain speaks at FDA assembly

Though Auburn University team chaplain Chette Williams hailed from the Plains, he made it clear in his introduction to Fort Dale’s student body that he didn’t come to talk football.

“We won’t get into Auburn, Alabama or any of that stuff,” Williams said to a packed gymnasium Thursday morning. “This is a Jesus thing.

“I didn’t come today to bring you more grief and mourning.  I came to give you hope.”

John Gibbons, who serves as state director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and also introduced Williams during Thursday’s assembly, said that the event had been in the works for the past month.  Though no one could’ve foreseen the tragic circumstances that befell the Fort Dale community with the passing of 16-year-old Carter Boswell this weekend.

Instead of cancelling the assembly altogether, Gibbons said that such an event grew even more important.

“God had other plans,” Gibbons said. “He knew what you would be going through today.  And I can’t think of anybody in all of the country who can bring the power and the hope of the gospel better than Chette Williams.”

The basis for Williams’ talk stemmed from Thessalonians 4:13-14, which reads:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

And so Williams urged the Fort Dale student body to chose hope over grief, due to their believe in Christ.

“When my father died when I was a senior at Auburn University, and I went home and preached his funeral, that is the same passage of scripture I gave,” Williams said. “Because my dad was a believer.  If he wasn’t a believer, I wouldn’t have hope, but because he had given his heart and his life to Jesus Christ, I have hope that I will see him again. And so I want you to have that same hope.”

Williams closed by highlighting the relationship between Jesus and his best friend, Lazarus, noting that Jesus took two full days to visit Lazarus’ tomb. 

Williams offered four reasons for Christ’s delay, and why it applies today.

His first reason was because our viewpoint is limited.

“All you can see is what is in front of you, but God sees beyond it,” Williams said.  “Lean not to your own understanding.”

Secondly was a desire to respond to his delay with faith, and not doubt.  Thirdly, in the darkest moments of our lives is when we often find the brightest spark of inspiration.

And with his final point, he urged all of those who listened to see the whole picture and glorify God in the end.

“How are you going to be used for Him to get the glory?” Williams asked.

“This is my challenge to you: somewhere in all of this, let God get the glory.  Use this as an opportunity to build more than a religion, but a relationship with Christ.”