Moody alumnus challenges discernment between God’s will, acting on it

by Lebo Pooe correspondent

Moody alumnus Dr. Mike Fabarez, from the class of ’85, addressed the student body during Spiritual Enrichment Week from November 4-8. Annually, Dr. Paul Nyquist, president of Moody Bible Institute, invites a speaker to minister to the student body during their weekly chapel sessions. This year, Fabarez told students in a packed Torrey-Gray that they needed to be very careful not to idolize the will of God.

After graduating from Moody with a bachelor’s degree in Bible and theology, Fabarez and his wife, Carlynn, attended the University of Arizona. Fabarez also holds a master’s degree from Talbot School of Theology and a doctorate from Westminister Theological Seminary in California. More recently, Fabarez is the senior pastor of Compass Bible Church in South Orange County, California, the church which he founded. On top of his work in the church, he is an author of several books, including a children’s survey bible, and can be heard across the states on his radio program, Focal Point.

Beginning on Tuesday, Fabarez cautioned the student body not to allow their desire to do the will of God become an idol. Rather, they should actually live out the will of God. “I think in theory things are a lot easier than they are in practice,” he said [in an interview]. “It’s so easy to say ‘I’ll follow you wherever you go’ but sometimes Jesus has to ask us if we’re really there. It’s like he says in Luke 14:28, No one is going to build a tower unless they sit down, plan and calculate the costs. It costs to follow Jesus, and I don’t know if we have really calculated the cost with much specificity.”

photo by Ray LealDuring his messages, Fabarez challenged students to be willing to do God’s will no matter the cost. He raised the question, “Are you willing to have a Genesis 22 moment and lay your dreams on the altar? Even your most precious relationship?” He used blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby as an example of someone who pursued God’s will despite tremendous personal adversity. “Being willing to do the will of God really comes down to the fundamental core of our love for Christ,” he said.

Malinda Olson, junior pre-counseling major, expressed her appreciation for Fabarez’s message. “I loved when he said, “if you’re not making a difference now, what makes you think it’s going to happen later?” Senior biblical studies major Aaron Kwon added, “It’s about realizing that we face difficult circumstances now – not only on the mission field or when we ‘officially’ start ministry.”

When asked why he felt this message was important for the students, Fabarez reflected back on his time as a Moody student: “God was gracious enough to allow me to grapple with the idea of being willing to do anything, go any place‚ at any time. For me it meant taking my PCM seriously and even being willing to give up my relationship with my now wife if that’s what God required.”

Fabarez said he really wanted the students to understand the fundamental difference between the idea of God’s will and the reality of acting on it. As sophomore elementary education major put it, “We don’t have to wait to use what we’re learning at Moody. We need to put it into practice now because this is our mission field.”

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