Ken Davis – Liberty University Convocation


>>KEN DAVIS: Thank you very much. What a
delight to be here. Congratulations to the football team, I will be watching what happens
out there. And here’s what I love, guys, I love looking over and seeing a team of men
who know how to hit hard, who know how to run hard, who know how to praise God. It is
wonderful to watch you praise God together, so good luck! We’re going to be praying for
you. It is an absolute delight to be here. I am going to jump right into what I have
to say, but I would like you to know that we are headed toward a truth from God’s Word
that I think revolutionizes lives. The bottom line, I call it, because if you look at all
of Scripture and all of life and all that we face, there has to be some bottom place
where your feet can touch the ground and you can find the assurance and faith that you
need even in the midst of the most difficult circumstances. I come to you this morning
not filled with a personal confidence. I look out and I see these faces, these young, fresh,
wrinkleless faces. I look into the faces of people who can remember what they had for
breakfast, and I want so badly to just come down and slap you. I’m 68 years old, I don’t
remember what I had for breakfast. My mind is going crazy. I’ll give you just a glimpse
so you’ll understand who’s speaking to you today. If it wasn’t for the fact that God
had laid this message on my heart I would be trembling with fear cause at 68 I’m in
this stage of life, this weird, confused stage of life – The other day we were on the way back from
Colorado, we have two dogs, very small dogs. Not worth much except that my wife loves those
dogs, and I love my wife so we have the dogs. The dogs require that we stay in a hotel that
is below what my standards are. A dog — a hotel that accepts dogs has low standards.
And so, we stayed in this hotel, I was a little frightened. The hotel was a little messy.
Middle of the night I get up, that’s what 68-year-old guys do and I’m — I don’t want
to wake my wife so I don’t turn the light on as I head toward the washroom. This is
a true story. Halfway to the washroom, movement out of the left eye, I look over there is
a man in his underwear standing in my closet. I may be old but I’ve got some reflexes, I
smashed out at him, almost broke my first on the mirror in the closet in our – But I
hurt him, I know I hurt him, because I heard him yelling. That’s who’s talking to you this
morning. Gives me great pleasure to know that someday,
your young, fresh, flaces — faces will feel what I feel today. But what I want to tell
you is that God is faithful and what I want to leave with you is the bottom line that
you be able to grab ahold of in the face of finals, in the face of life, in the face of
circumstances that for some of you, in an audience this size, have to be very difficult. I was born with a desperation to be loved.
I am not unique in that regard. I was born into a family that showed love by putting
a roof over our heads, by putting food on the table. There is no doubt in my mind that
I was loved. But I was born with a desire for more than just to know it, I needed to
hear it, I needed to feel it from the beginning of time. My father was a war hero, three and
a half years as a prisoner of war. When he was liberated, he weighed 85 pounds. They
told him he wouldn’t live past age 50, he died at 86. They told him he would never have
children. Well, they told him he’d never have normal children. I have four sisters. My dad was an amazing man, he was faithful
to my mom, but because of the generation he grew up in, he was incapable of saying words
I desperately needed to hear. He would sometimes hug me, he made sure that it wasn’t an affectionate
hug, it was a manly hug. I remember receiving an award for one of the
books I had written one time and I was on the way home at 30,000 feet. Above me, in
the overhead bin, was an award that I had won for this book, beautiful little statue-like
thing. And suddenly, uncontrollably, out of nowhere I burst into tears. I wish it had
been that quiet little sobbing that some of you ladies are expert at where you just rub
your eye — this wasn’t that at all. This was a loud noise with a lot of bodily fluids
coming out my nose. And I realized all of a sudden that what I wanted more than anything
else was not the award that was above me but the acknowledgement from my father, that he
loved me, that he was proud of me. I took out a piece of paper and a pen and
I wrote a letter to my father and I, I said, “Dad, everything that I’ve done in my life,
I didn’t do to make a great career, to make a lot of money. Dad, at the bottom of it all,
I want to know that you love m., I want to know that you’re proud of me.” I mailed the letter when the plane landed
and then I waited for an answer and it didn’t come. I can remember for months when the phone
would ring I would run to the phone, as a young adult, hoping to hear the voice of my
father. And he never called. We were on the way to the house to visit him. The closer
we got, the more frustrated and angry I became. My mom opened the door, she was surprised.
We had called her and told her we were coming, she was surprised. If we’d have knocked on
the door — my mom is such a sweetheart — if we’d have knocked on the door and said, “We’re
going to knock on the door again in three seconds” and we did that, she’d have been
surprised. She welcomed us in. Suddenly she began to do all the gestures that mom — “Shh,
shh, your dad’s in the garage, he’s working on some stuff. Come here; I want to show you
something.” She took me into their bedroom and in the bedroom, in the corner, was a candle
on a table. There was a picture of me. On the wall, were newspaper clippings from every
speech I had ever done in my life. And there was a frame there, I thought perhaps another
picture, and I looked closely at the frame. A frame my father had built in the garage
where he was working, a frame that framed the letter I had written to him at 30,000
feet. I fell back onto the bed, sobbing, making those noises, draining, because this wall
screamed to my heart what I was born to hear. This was my father’s way of saying “I love
you, I love you.” Then my sweet mom said, “Stop sending him
stuff, he’s building a shrine in here.” The bottom line. I didn’t want children. It
isn’t though — as though I hated children, it’s just that we had met one. You know what
I’m talking about. And we went to a dinner to eat, a nice dinner, and there was a two-and-a-half-year-old
child sitting next to me. And he had food, he had weapons, he, he had peas. They gave
him peas. They gave this child peas and he smashed them and you could see he was disgusted
with what he had created and so he hid it in every crevice. In his ears, there were
14 peas draining out of this kid’s ear. He spoke a language I didn’t understand. “Goobee,
nokoshintim, poopoo, monkaishindepamioue.” Food clear up to his elbows. He got friendly
with me. “Koboshintim poopoomo kishimte.” I whispered to him, “You touch me I will
dropkick you.” On the way home I said to my wife, “I don’t
want to have children.” I looked over, she was rubbing food stains from her beautiful
dress. She said, “Neither do I.” I took her hands in mine, I wasn’t much older than
you guys, I said, “Baby my love is reserved for you, I will share that with no one! No
child! It’s you and me, you and me.” Then we went home and celebrated. That was the
wrong answer. I want to make this brief but I want to make
sure you understand, I was not a happy camper when I found out we were going to have a baby,
our lives were going to be destroyed. How would we ever eat a meal again? But I was
there the day that child was born and I’m going to tell you God did a miracle that day
in my heart and right in front of my eyes. I went from a reluctant father to a head over
heels in love daddy in a heartbeat. I remember sitting on the floor crying like a baby. Doctor
came over; he said, “You have a little redheaded girl, would you like to hold her?” I said
“No.” He said, “Why would you not like to hold your own child?” And I began to
weep uncontrollably. I said, “She will break! she will break!” I had never seen anything
so fragile in my entire life. The doctor said, “Stand up, you idiot.”
My wife, Diane, had given him my name. I stood up, he put that child in my arms, a little
hand shot out, her whole hand no bigger than my thumbnail. She wrapped four little fingers
around my little finger and wrapped her soul around my heart. And in an instant, I knew
I would die for her. You see, through our life God gives us little
glimpses of the bottom line. And that day I got a little glimpse about how God feels
about me. How he feels about you. If there’s anything the deceiver wants to do through
our lives, it’s to take away those images. To make us believe that maybe there’s something
else that exists that’s the bottom line. In my book, Fully Alive, I chronicle that
at the pinnacle of my ministry, I lost my sense of direction. “Were you into drugs?”
No. “Well, we heard you used to live in Colorado.”
No, I wasn’t into drugs. “Did you do one of the nine nasties that
we’ve learned about?” No, no. What I did was I started to lean on my success, my career,
my bank account, my — the success of my ministry, for Heaven’s sake. Instead of leaning
on the one who gave everything for me. All of our efforts to be noticed, all of our desperation
to have worth bestowed upon us by what we do is a desperation to know simply we are
loved. I blinked that day in the delivery room and
when I opened my eyes she was no longer holding my finger, she was clutching my arm. We were
standing at the back of a church, she was all dressed in white from the top of her toes,
from the — the whole, the whole way she was dressed in white the whole way. I see
hundreds of you going I’m so glad I’m young. if you’re dressed in white from the top of
your toes, you’re naked. It was her wedding day, we were standing at the back of the church,
the church was filled with our friends, the organ was playing, there was a little pervert
waiting for her at the front of the church. The applause isn’t from the women here, the
applause is from the — the women are going, “Oh, he said ‘pervert.’ We’re in chapel;
he said ‘pervert.’ What’s a pervert?” — but the men are going “Yeah, he’s got
the right word.” Because I’ll tell you, any father on the face of his earth believes
from the bottom of his heart there isn’t a man on earth worthy of his daughter’s hand. We went to the front. The minister was over
the top. “Who, who giveth this woman? Who here would give this woman to this man.”
And I was so freaked out I went “my mother and I do,” and that’s the wrong answer.
I was a basket case. I was unwilling to give the hand of my daughter
in marriage. But God commanded His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, He freely
gave His Son to die? Another little glimpse of the bottom line. The preacher said “sit down,” I sat down.
Made a terrible mistake, I blinked and when I opened my eyes she wasn’t hanging onto my
finger or clutching my arm, she was lying in a hospital bed giving birth to my first
grandchild. When I heard that baby cry, I realized that somehow God expands our heart
to love when we thought we couldn’t love any more. I’ll show you a couple quick pictures. I have
to because they’re the pictures God has given me. These are my three fairy granddaughters.
Lexi, drama queen, on the left with the green egg. Lexi cannot speak. If you were to tie
her up, she would not be able to say a word. Everything is accompanied by flourish and
drama. “Dad, I’m so hungry. Grampa, will you take me to a movie, one that has sound?”
Lexi, championship volleyball player. Tiny girl, but can she — she can set a ball and
spike some kind of curve that scares the daylights out of her opponents. Straight-A student,
if she gets an A-minus she goes into depression for a week. First born. She was the first
born. And Jadyn, my princess. I call them my fairy granddaughters because they have
given me a glimpse of what my heart was born to know. I will go home tonight. I will walk
into that house, I will call out their names, they will come running. They will wrap skinny
little arms around my neck and whisper in my ear what no award, no accomplishment has
ever brought me. “I love you, Grampa.” I was born to hear those words. Knowing that
I am loved ignites a passion to live. And I don’t want you to get all gooey on me.
They’re real girls. They’ll say “I love you Grampa” and then they’ll say something
like “eww, gross! What is that in your ear?” And I tell them, “That’s a Nativity scene.
Three little wise men there, you see ’em? Got a whole ‘nother cast of characters here
if you’re interested.” I see some of the young men going, “Oh that’s gross.” You’ll
get to be a grampa; you’ll be showing off everything. Throughout my life, I have been followed by
a doubt. The world would call it self-doubt. I have come to believe that it is a doubt
born of a lack of faith. And I think in our culture, we walk around with the same doubt
all the time. It’s the doubt that makes a tight-end afraid to have another pass thrown
at him because he dropped the last. It’s the doubt that makes a man or woman wonder, “Does
God still love me?” Before Jesus went to the cross, He met with the disciples, He said,
“A new command I give to you.” And I often have wondered what they thought in that brief
pause. “What’s it going to be? Let’s see, we shouldn’t do this and this and that — on
Sunday — ox — what, what is it? Don’t — what, what, don’t smoke that, don’t drink
that, what is it?” Jesus said, “Love one another.” And we
might be tempted to go, “Oh that’s the bottom line! We need to love each other. We need
to be like those three little girls, we need to let people know that we love them.” But
He didn’t stop there, I wish He had stopped there. If He’d have stopped there then it
would be such an easy thing but He said this, “Love each other like-” what? “-I have
loved you.” So life in its fullest essence, the expression
of our faith in the fullest essence, the ability for us to be everything that God created us
to be rests on this bottom line: full faith in God’s love for you. All of the difficult
theology, set it aside for a second. The essence of life, living fully alive, being everything
God created you to be lies on believing that God loves you. “But, but I.” No ifs, no
ands, no buts. God loves you. The Bible says in Romans that “while we were yet sinners,
God gave His life for us.” And while we are still yet sinners, He loves us. There’s
nothing you can do — I’m not the first to say this, I’ll be the first to repeat it
until the day I die — there’s nothing you can do today to make God love you more.
And there’s nothing you can do to make Him love you less. And the deceiver’s job is to go, “Remember?
I know what happened last summer.” God says “I know, too; it’s covered by the blood.” This is my little granddaughter Jadyn. That’s
actually me, but there. Jadyn was my princess, she wore pink and high heels. She is now almost
a teenager and doesn’t wear pink and high heels anymore. She has become quite a rough
and tumble little girl, but we had a connection. She deer hunted with me in a deer stand with
high heels on. She helped me clear wood. I mean, I had a chainsaw and she was beside
me picking up little sticks with high heels. Throughout my life, I will confess to you,
I have struggled with this idea of God’s love. Perhaps because I grew up in an environment
where my life was judged by what I did or didn’t do. By the level of success, I had
achieved, and by the way, that’s rampant in the Christian world. Our own personal value
attached to our ability rather than to His sacrifice. And I never lost that deep desire
to hear the words “I love you.” We were camping in the mountains of Colorado
at 10,500 feet. I went to get some firewood. I didn’t know it but Jadyn wanted to be with
me and so a couple of minutes after I walked into the forest, ab — I mean, wilderness,
total wilderness, she walked into the forest. I didn’t know she had tried to follow me,
so I came back and we were at the campsite and she was gone. Storm’s rolling in over
the mountains. I’m going to tell you it was a day of terror like none other. Could not
find Jadyn. I ran every direction I could possibly run. There was a little logging road,
we took a ATV on that and went up as far as we thought she could possibly go, nothing,
nothing. Rescue team comes, they line up, nothing. I was running through a swamp and
I stumbled and fell, it had been almost four hours. I tried to get up and I couldn’t, my
strength was gone. I tried to call out and I couldn’t, my voice was gone. And I remember
on my hands and knees that day, doing probably what we should do every day, I said to God,
“You can have everything, you can have my career, you can have my bank account, it’s
all yours God, but please bring this baby back.” I said to God, “Take my life if
need be.” I stumbled back into camp in time to hear the radio crack to life on a forest
ranger’s belt, by now the police were there, there were people everywhere. And the words
I heard were, “Jadyn has been found; she is alive and well.” They told us that she wouldn’t go up hills,
she went two and a half miles straight up the mountain. A teacher, walking through the
woods saw a splash of color and went over to investigate. There was a little girl sitting
on a rock and the teacher said “are you okay?” My granddaughter said, “I cannot
speak to you.” Teacher said, “My name is Molly. I’m not a stranger, did you know
that? I’m a teacher. Are you okay?” And my granddaughter said, “My grampa is lost.”
And in some way, she was right. This is the picture — my time is running
out, I want to show you, want to get to the essence of this — this is a picture that
was taken at our reunion. People say “what are you saying to her?” And I respond, “I
was saying, ‘You’re a bad girl! How many times have I’” — you buy that? Do you
buy that’s what I was saying to her? Absolutely not! I memorized what I was saying to her.
Only these words would come to my mouth: “I love you. I love you, Jadyn. I love you. I
love you.” I grabbed her by the arms and I just kept saying it over and over and over
again and as those words spilled from my lips, God in His mercy allowed them to echo from
somewhere else. “And I love you.” “But, but you know how I think.” “I love you.” “I’ve been lost.” “I love you. I love you.” Look at me friends. Do you believe it? Set
the other theology aside, just for a second. Do you believe that just as you sit, the God
of the universe, who created everything, has His eye on you? Because He loves you. That
moment changed my life forever. At 60-some years old I heard those words whispered and
I realized, I’ve got a lot to do. I don’t have to worry about pleasing other people,
I just need to respond to what I believe. And I believe He loves me. Everything else
you can name, dear friends, can be taken from you. This cannot. From Romans chapter eight,
beginning with verse 35. “Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?” How many of you are going through struggles?
Can I see your hands? Be honest, come on. Listen to this, “shall those struggles, trouble,
hardship, persecution, famine,” — most of us haven’t even experienced that — “nakedness,
danger, or the sword? It is written, ‘for your sake we face death all day long.’”
In this culture, Christians were dying by the thousands. “We are considered like sheep
to be slaughtered. No,” Paul said, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through
Him who loved us.” Through Him who loved us. Through Him who loved us. The bottom line. Listen, “for I am convinced
that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, nor the present nor the future, nor
any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all of creation will be able
to separate us from the love of Christ. The love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”

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