by Leon Hartwell

Cleveland, Ga. (TMNews) – “If you don’t need encouragement, then you’re just living under a rock and you’re in denial,” said Algernon Tennyson from Awaken International Ministries in Atlanta, Ga., during a convicting chapel message at Truett-McConnell, September 17.

Tennyson continued to reveal truths regarding this life by stating, “Fame is fleeting, everything is fleeting. The only one who keeps His majesty is God and God alone. If you don’t learn that, it’s going to be very hard to get encouragement.”

The importance of humility

Reading from Philippians two, where the Apostle Paul pleaded with believers to steer away from selfishness and to seek humility, Tennyson read: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

“This is how Christianity works: When it’s less about you, you get fulfilled,” Tennyson said. Speaking about the importance of humility, Tennyson asserted that Christianity is based upon humility. “Christianity only works when it’s not about you.”

Speaking of Christ on the cross, Tennyson said, “As if the cross was pleasurable. He endured it faithfully, but let’s think about what He went through. Would He do it again? Absolutely, yes. Salvation is a free gift but it was a costly one.”

Christianity and encouragement

Since Christ’s mission was to save His people, and since Paul conveyed this message even after Christ’s ascension, Tennyson asked, “Who are we to not encourage, comfort, and show love and affection to people when God Himself did and He had every right not to?”

“At your absolute worst, He gave you His best,” Tennyson said. Jesus did not save His people because they deserved it, but rather because He saw fit to do so. Therefore, by the same logic and by His teaching and commands, Christians are to be encouraging in every circumstance – whether it is deserved or not.

“God reminds you that He’s looking for us everyday,” Tennyson said, “At times when we’re not even calling on His name.”

Biblical love

Tennyson progressed with the clarification between secular love and biblical love; the love Christ faithfully adhered to. “That love is to actually like each other and care for each other,” Tennyson said. “Have the same type of relentless love.”

He spoke about the difference between the world’s idea of love and Christ’s love and explained that loving others involves tough love – or the kind of love which challenges people who are in the midst of negative decision making. He said, “Sometimes you have to tell people some tough truths even if they don’t want to hear it.”

He continued, “Christ had no problem telling people the truth, because He knew that it is the truth which sets you free. That is encouragement,” Tennyson said. “You’re not encouraging me by telling me lies. That may make me feel good for a moment, but that’s just false hope. Sometimes encouragement is rebuke.”

Joy comes from the Lord

“Christ came and set people free,” Tennyson shared, “His main purpose was to set people free from their sin.” He also spoke about the difference between temporal happiness and permanent joy. “True encouragement is when you have some joy in your life. Notice I didn’t say ‘happiness,’ because happiness is just a cheap counterfeit to joy. Happiness is based on circumstances. Joy is based on God’s circumstance, which never changes. Nobody can move Him off of His foundation.”

“Your Father loves you and wants to give you some peace in your life,” Tennyson concluded before urging students to come seek prayer for peace and surrender if the Holy Spirit led them.


Leon is a senior English major and freelance writer for Truett-McConnell.

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