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WILMORE, Ky. — Time-honored tradition met real-time implications in Asbury University’s Spring 2014 Holiness Emphasis Week, Feb. 3-7.

Asbury junior Dani Larson says the many spiritual-life events on campus, especially Holiness Emphasis Week, have drawn her closer to God. “A lot of the speakers have said very influential things in my life,” she said. “God really does appear at the (Holiness Emphasis Week) services…He really does show His face there.”

Dr. Sandra RichterThe week’s speakers were Dr. Sandra Richter, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College (Ill.), and Rev. Steve Schellin, senior pastor at Southland Community Church in Greenwood, Ind. Richter and Schellin explored the theme, “Live Holy: Holiness is a Verb,” highlighting specific strategies for holiness in action.

Richter spoke on caring for the environment — what she calls “Creation Care” — as an issue of personal holiness. Properly caring for the earth, she told students, is one way to reflect Christ into the world.

“There is a profound theology that runs from Eden to the New Jerusalem,” she said. “Humanity had been called to reflect the image of the Creator to His world. In our fallen state, we failed at that task, but in our redeemed state, the primary point on our horizon is to be re-conformed to the image of the Son.”

In Monday evening’s service, Richter explained Old Testament teaching about caring for the earth. Richter says the laws God gave Israel, which detailed everything from agricultural policies to the treatment of livestock, were not about turning a profit. Instead, these laws instructed the Israelites to care for those who depended on the produce of the land, and to honor for the God who made it.

“This is not some new political fad,” she said. “It’s an ancient issue that God made laws to arbitrate, and to offer us, in our short-sightedness, the wisdom of the ancients, and the long-term wisdom of the Creator.”

Richter says the devastation of poor environmental policies is more than a conservation issue — it’s a justice issue.

“This is not about tree-hugging, folks,” she said. “This is about widows and orphans. We need to break out of our evangelical culture and hear the message of Scripture once again. And the message of Scripture is, “This is my Father’s world, and I don’t get to mess with it.”

Rev. Steve SchellinThis kind of holiness in action, according to Rev. Steve Schellin, has to begin with transformation. In Wednesday’s Chapel service, he described the new life of Christianity as a process grounded in Gospel-centered thinking.

“What you think affects what you feel, and your thoughts and feelings affect how you act,” he said. 

Schellin says Asbury’s annual Holiness Emphasis Week presents students with opportunities to discover sanctification for themselves, moving from transformed thoughts and emotions to transformed action. 

“While many in the Christian faith would tell us we have to live our lives in perpetual failure, Scripture tells us we can live a life of consistent obedience and blessing,” Schellin said. 

To pursue holiness, Schellin says, it is crucial to maintain a disciplined commitment to prayer and Scripture.

“I say this not only because it was taught to me, but because I’ve seen it in my own life,” he said. “The habits you develop in college are absolutely the habits you take with you from this day forward. It will be very difficult for you to establish a meaningful, consistent devotional life when you leave here if you haven’t established it while you’re here.”

Asbury provides students with many opportunities for spiritual growth, Schellin says. From chapel services to classroom experiences to small groups, students have unparalleled opportunities to experience sanctification.

“Asbury does a phenomenal job of providing students options to grow in their faith,” Schellin said. “The fact is, this student body is really a joy to preach to. Most of them seem hungry, and want to grow spiritually. Now it’s up to the students to take advantage of those opportunities to go deeper in their walk with God, and to apply holiness to every element of their lives.”

–by Joel Sams ’15