Many of us were shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Mike Ovey on January 7th 2017. Mike was probably best known for his role as the principal of Oak Hill theological College where he leaves a legacy of men and women inspired and trained for biblically faithful gospel-centred ministry for generations to come. It is well worth reading Chris Green’s short obituary for Mike here and pausing to give God thanks for his life and pray for his family and friends.
I recently came across Mike’s 2013 address to GAFCON – The Grace of God or the World of the West? If you want to get a flavour Mike’s Christian convictions it’s a brilliant and challenging message to hear. You can watch/listen to it below.
To give you a flavour of what he has to say here is a short extract that particularly struck me: “It is not enough just to say the word grace an awful lot. The issue is what we mean by it and whether we mean what the Bible means by it or whether we have made up our own meanings for ourselves…the kind of grace that I think the Western church talks about is cheap grace… Dietrich Bonhoeffer defines cheap grace as the grace that we bestow on ourselves…it is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession… it is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ living and incarnate.”
“Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward!” Job 5:7
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” John 16:33
“Through many hardships and tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22
No one has ever lived, who has not had his times of discouragement, heaviness, sorrow and disappointment. Cares and afflictions come to all. Life has its adversities — it must needs have them.
Adversity, pain, sorrow, and disappointment — are the lathe upon which God shapes us. They are the grinding-wheel which grinds and smoothes us. They are the polishing-wheel which makes us shine. If we can never be happy until we are so situated that nothing exists which may tend to render us unhappy — then we shall have little happiness in life.
Happiness does not come from a life of ease and indolence. It is not the result of the absence of obstacles and difficulties. Happiness comes from triumphing over them. Therefore the song of true happiness, often arises from the soul which undergoes many adversities.
Dear soul, Jesus knows all about your troubles. He knows every heartache, every difficulty, everything you must overcome, everything you must bear. Trusting in His grace, relying upon His help — you shall soon find your heart filling again with melody, for the clouds will pass away! (Charles Naylor)
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away!” Revelation 21:4