By Jordan West

CLEVELAND, Ga (TMNews) – Truett-McConnell welcomed Chris Eppling, TM’s Vice President of Student Services and Athletics, to speak in the college’s April 21 chapel service. Eppling encouraged the congregation to overcome life’s obstacles by surrendering their lives to Christ’s calling.

Preparing for obstacles

Eppling began his message by asking a series of questions to get the students thinking. He spoke about preparing and planning for a specific goal, and asked, “What are you preparing yourself for?”

He then asked, “What is the greatest thing you’ve ever done?” As the congregation began to share answers, Eppling inquired, “What makes something great?”

He shared, “What makes something great is not the achievement in and of itself, it is the obstacles you overcame to reach that goal. But here’s the thing: greatness comes at a price.”

Eppling referenced Rev. 12:7-11 as he reminded the congregation of God’s grace. He said, “To overcome the obstacles in your life, you have to press into God’s grace – not the world’s grace – but God’s grace. Define your life by the Gospel, and risk it all to accomplish His will.”

Identifying the enemy

He explained, “The first way we can do that is to recognize who the enemy is. If you don’t know who the other team is, they’re going to be difficult to combat.”

Eppling made it clear that the enemy is the devil. He said, “Understand this –  the devil, no matter what you think during temptation, no matter what you think is going on when you’re living in a sinful lifestyle, no matter what you think is going on, the devil is your adversary.”

He added, “The devil hates you. His end game is to destroy you.”

Eppling encouraged, “I don’t know what difficulty you face in life. I don’t know what relational issue you’ve gone through this past week, this past month, this semester. I don’t know what financial strains are on you and your family. I don’t know what’s going on with you right now. But I can tell you this – If you are going to press into God’s grace, you have to recognize who the enemy is.”

While studying through the verses he focused on, Eppling said, “They overcame him the devil by the blood of the Lamb. You will never be able to overcome your difficulties in any eternal way apart from the blood of Christ.”

He continued, “You were created to press into God’s greatness, but you will never be able to do that apart from the blood of Christ. When Christ died on the cross, he handcuffed Satan’s power. He handcuffed Satan. You don’t have to fear – you don’t have to live in fear of Satan as long as you live under the blood of Christ.”

He said, “God demands great things from you. Where are you in relation to Christ’s blood?”

The value of a testimony

Eppling reminded the congregation, “They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”

He explained, “Look, the message of your life is not what you say about yourself. It’s not what you arrogantly assert to be true. The word of your testimony is the sermon that your life preaches to everyone. What does it say?”

Eppling made it clear that overcoming obstacles cannot be done relying on one’s own strength. He said, “Do you want to overcome? You have to be willing to risk it all. We have to live by faith and walk by faith even when we can’t see very far down the path.”

“What it that you’re willing to risk your life for, and even when you’re faced with death, you’re not willing to let it go?”

Surrendering it all to Christ

He said, “If you want to overcome your difficulties, the number one thing that has to be a priority in your life, is Him.”

In order to overcome, Eppling described the desire to hold onto sins and the value of letting these entanglements go. He said, “Too often we get confused, and we say, ‘Hey, the devil put something here, and I like it, and I’m not going to let it go’ – and we forfeit our lives.”

“We forfeit our chance to touch the grace of God for a sugar cube, or for something 500 years from now will matter not a bit.”

Eppling divulged, “You will face trouble, obstacles, obstruction, but here’s the thing – God wants great things for you, but God demands great things from you.”

He concluded, “You can overcome all of that by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of your testimony, and by risking it all – and surrendering your life to Him.”


Jordan is a senior English major and is an intern for the Communications Department.

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