Hannibal – During a week where much of the nation was solemnly remembering the tragedy that happened eight years ago on Sept. 11, the Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) community was given the gift of laughter.
Tom Richter, a communicator from New Hope Christian Church in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens in New York City, was the featured guest speaker for HLG’s fourth annual “3 Days in September” campus renewal services Sept. 9-11. His comedic timing, whether doing Tommy Boy impersonations or prancing around the stage comparing himself to a leprechaun, had the collegiate audience rolling in the aisles. The effect was that they were immediately intrigued by this up-tempo, contemporary speaker.
“God is not as far away as some make Him seem. He is right here,” Richter stated, reminding the audience of how society tends to make God seem unreachable, but He should really be in their hearts.
In a world where instant gratification seems to be the driving force, the key is knowing that life isn’t always going to go the way you hope it will.
“If the Lord said yes to everything we asked, we would probably destroy ourselves,” said Richter, who was raised in Murray, Ky. He was called to preach and wound up earning a master of divinity degree from Princeton (N.J.) Theological Seminary.
His style of speaking on a campus setting during a period of time where many are reflecting on deaths due to terrorist attacks proved to be refreshing.
“Tom Richter is one of the finest communicators to young people in America,” said Tom Hufty, vice president for collegiate affairs at HLG. “His ability to merge humor and truth connect with students like few people I know. Our students have responded positively to the messages by their attention and their attendance. I have been extremely pleased with the attendance in the evening sessions which are not required.”
“Many of our hearts are laid out before someone that is not God,” Richter observed. “To be free from God’s authority is to be free from breathing air; it just doesn’t make sense. Who will you worship?”