Bob and Cindi Norsworthy - BS 1983, Wives Certificate 1983
That phrase, and the passion for personal engagement with the Word of God that evoked the challenge, is indelibly etched in a winsome way, in the heart and mind of every alum that ever experienced the life of Dr. John G. Mitchell.
It’s been thirty-three years since I first felt the passion and the intercession behind those words, delivered in that thick Scottish brogue. Yet those words still lead and guide me today, to a sacred and private place of intimacy with my Jesus and the only source in the universe of any “real life” … the Word of God.
A Timeless Lesson
I remember one day in Spiritual Life class, Dr. Mitchell leaning forward over the podium. With both a twinkle and a pleading tear in his eye, he asked all of us in the most sincere way he could, “Do you love the Savior?” Long pause for effect… “Do you really … love … the Savior?”
He elaborated with a simple story. “A young man came up to me on campus to compliment my wife Mary. He told me a story about how she had blessed him and encouraged him and he ended by saying, ‘I just love that Mary Mitchell! She’s a great lady!’
“Of course I agreed with him!” Dr. Mitchell said with a chuckle.
Leaning forward for more effect, Dr. Mitchell’s face took on a stern look. He singled out one of the men in the front row.
“But let me tell ya! If a young lad like you was to come up to me and say, ‘Dr. Mitchell, I have to confess something to ya. I think I have fallen in love with your wife. I think I have fallen hopelessly and romantically in love with your wife. I’m in love with Mary Mitchell.’
Well that’d be a different story. Why I’d have no choice!” pulling his suit coat off and putting his dukes in the air like a boxer. “I’d have to take my coat off and give ya a strong lickin now!”
Gently again, “Do you see the difference?” With the warm smile returning to his countenance he repeated the heartfelt plea. “So I ask you again…. do you … LOVE …the Savior. Have ya fallen head over heels in love with Him yet? Do you know He is head over heels in love with you?”
Then holding the Bible high above his head he lovingly admonished us all, “Please young people, don’t read this book as a textbook! Read it everyday for what it is. It’s a love letter written especially for you.”
Like many of you reading this, I left Multnomah with a fire in my belly to change the world for God. I had mountains to conquer and dreams and visions to accomplish! By God’s grace I have been able to do many of the things God put into my heart. For that I am humbled and grateful.
But as I reflect on the last 33 years and things I have experienced, accomplished, learned or imparted to others along the journey, nothing has come close to the profoundness of the simple challenge and plea to love Jesus with all of my being and the focus on relentlessly pursuing a romance with Jesus through His love letter to me.
The Bible Poverty of Today
Perhaps Dr. Mitchell was speaking and pleading prophetically. We are sadly living in a day where we see a precipitous drop off in Scripture engagement. We see a generation that is by and large Biblically Illiterate, with masses of people walking in a new kind of poverty. “Bible Poverty.“
I would close by challenging all of us Alum, who have had the privilege of such a great Bible Education, to be the voice of Dr. Mitchell for this generation.
Do you Love the Savior? Are you reading Your Bible? Are you reading it to find romance with Jesus?
Love it! Engage it! Model It! Teach it! Challenge others with passion and a genuine tear in your eye to meet their lover and God in the pages of His Story.
About The Authors
Bob and Cindi Norsworthy were newlyweds their first year at Multnomah. They moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1983, where Bob became a Pastor to Youth and College Students. From 1985 -2000 Bob served in various capacities from U.S. Vice-President to International Vice-President of Ministries for International Students Inc (ISI). He is currently the Executive Director of the Newman Family Foundation. Cindi is Founder and President of Giving Joyfully, a 501c3 that engages and brings funding to numerous Kingdom Projects around the world.
Their favorite Scripture Engagement project is a revolutionary new layout of the Bible for Storytelling that Bob has helped to publish, called The SourceView Bible™.
Tags: Bible, Bible Poverty, Bob and Cindi Norsworthy, education, Giving Joyfully, International Students Inc, John G. Mitchell, love, love letter, Ministries, Newman Family Foundation, Pastor to Youth and College Students, Savior, Scripture, Storytelling, U.S Vice President