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The Day Between

Joshua Walker —  April 4, 2015 — Leave a comment

Celtic CrossOn this day 1,982 years ago the men and women who had devoted their lives to following Jesus for the previous three years locked themselves in a room and brooded in despair and fear. Their Lord, the one they thought was the Messiah, was dead. Some of them had even been the ones to wrap His body and bury Him.

What transformed this group of fearful, despairing men and women into the group that would turn the world upside down? It was their witness of the risen Lord and the subsequent gift of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.

The full scope of what Jesus had accomplished at the cross was brought to light through those events: He had made a way for all men to be reconciled to God; He had initiated New Creation in the resurrection; and He had initiated the New Covenant which includes the incredible gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit!

Here we are, almost two thousand years later, and I want to ask you: Do you live in the Day Between, in fear and despair, or do you live in faith in the risen Lord and the power of His Holy Spirit given to us? Although today is the day that we remember the Day Between, we never have to live there again. He rose and is risen today! We can live in that reality each and every day: we don’t have to wait for tomorrow!

My prayer is that you would be encouraged in the reality that we serve a risen Lord! May we live in faith and power and not despair and fear. What is our King asking you to do today that requires faith and the power of His Spirit? Obey His calling with His power as you walk in the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

JahillI’ll never forget the day that I met Jahill Richards. Joy just oozed out of him. God’s transforming work was abundantly evident. I was at a Desiring God conference representing Eternity Bible College. Jahill came to talk to us because he was looking for biblical education that met him where he was and focused on teaching the Bible. I asked him to tell me his story, and I was then blessed by one of the most incredible stories of God’s power to redeem. I remember standing there with tears streaming down my cheeks being blown away by the grace and love of God.

That was four years ago. Since then Jahill has been a distance education student at Eternity. We recently had him share his testimony at Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley and so you are now blessed to be able to hear it for yourself as well. If you need to be reminded and encouraged about the power of the Gospel and the far-reaching nature of God’s mercy and love, you need to watch this now.

Jahill’s story highlights two of our great passions at Eternity Bible College. First, we believe that biblical education should be life-transforming not just knowledge-giving. True knowledge results in a changed life. Second, we believe that a biblical education should be accessible to all who desire it. This means being affordable and also being geographically accessible. Jahill has been able to embark on a degree while staying in his context and continuing to minister and serve. That is the heart of Eternity.

For more information: Jubilee Urban Leadership Initiative, The Front Porch

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the seriesThe Truth About Santa Claus
Elf - He's Not the Real Santa

From the 2003 New Line Cinema film Elf.

Leading up to Halloween, we posted a series that represented the views of a few of our faculty members on whether or not Christians should participate in Trick-or-Treating. It was a great experience for us, and we got a good response from our readers.

So we’re going to try it again. This time we’ll take on the question of whether or not Christians should tell their kids that Santa Claus is real. In today’s post, our president, Joshua Walker, explains why he was careful to tell his children that Santa is not real. In tomorrow’s post, our librarian, Yvonne Wilber, will explain why she encouraged her kids to indulge in the magic of the Santa myth.

Many of you will have made up your minds on this long ago. But maybe some of you could use some help in thinking it through from a couple of angles. And all of us should be able to benefit from seeing godly Christians disagree in a loving, intelligent, and Christ-centered way.

Enjoy!

Mark Beuving

_________________

Joshua Walker’s post:

 

Spoiler Alert: If you believe in Santa, don’t keep reading.

Let’s be honest—being a parent is one of the most difficult and significant roles that we could ever take on. And we tend to do it with almost a complete lack of intentional training. As I tried to find my way as a young parent, I decided on a couple of things, one of the most important being that I was going to strive to be brutally honest with my kids. God defines Himself by truth. I decided that I wanted my relationship with my kids to be defined by truth. I have endeavored to have a very transparent life and explain the way the world really is to them to the best of my ability and to the extent their minds could understand it.

That doesn’t mean I tell my kids everything about everything. There are times I tell them “that’s not appropriate for you at this age,” and then often later have a conversation that begins with, “remember those things I told you weren’t appropriate at your age? Well, now you’re old enough…” I think there is a value in their innocence and naiveté.  They don’t have to grow up too quickly.

Elf - You Sit on a Throne of LiesIt was on this basis that my wife and I decided what to do regarding Santa Claus (and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy for that matter). We decided that we’d be honest with them, so we explained the history of St. Nicholas, how he was a real person, and how there was a tradition that had developed of wicked parents horribly deceiving their children with regard to this person still being alive (ok, we didn’t really say “wicked” or “deceiving” but I thought emotionally charged language might help my case (I’m kidding, we honestly don’t believe it’s evil to let your kids believe in Santa)). We also went on to explain that it was important for them to not go on a crusade to tell other children the truth about Santa Claus.

As I considered the possibility of teaching them to “believe in” Santa Claus, it always bothered me deeply. First, isn’t it weird that we use the phrase “believe in” to describe people’s “faith” in Santa or not? If we’re going to model faith, one of the first ways we do it shouldn’t be in something that turns out to be a myth! Second, it seemed to me that telling them something that everyone knew was untrue and that they would eventually learn was untrue would undermine much of what I was trying to accomplish as a parent. If I had worked hard to convince them of something that was untrue, then what other more important things that I had taught them would they question?

My kids are 8 and 10, so the jury’s still out on what this has produced in their lives. As far as I can tell, my kids haven’t been deeply harmed by not believing in Santa Claus. They aren’t “weird” kids who don’t understand how to interact with “normal” kids. In fact, I think they’re quite culturally aware of things like this because we’ve had to teach them how to interact with people who believe lots of different things in an understanding and loving way.

As a side note, my kids still get money from the “Tooth Fairy.” They walk up to me with their tooth and say “Hey tooth fairy, can I give you my tooth?” and I pull out my wallet and give them a dollar for it. Then we laugh about it. Welcome to our world…

The purpose statement for Eternity Bible College is to “train students to live and die well.” Until last Friday, August 24, we had only known the first part of that statement. Dave Denney, a student since 2006, entered into the presence of the Lord that morning and truly exemplified the truth in our purpose statement. Up until that moment on August 24, he lived well. And when it came to the end, Dave died well.

Dave Denny, sitting in one of the many classes he completed at Eternity.

The last few times I saw Dave,  he had an amazing smile on his face and true peace in his heart. When I asked him how I could pray, he asked that I pray that he would be accepted into his Father’s arms as His true child. I know that he has now experienced the fulfillment of that prayer. He said that when he closed his eyes he would feel the most amazing peace that he had ever felt, and now he is experiencing that peace like never before.

Dave will be missed. He leaves behind a wife, family, and friends; co-laborers in the many ministries he was involved with; fellow students who knew his smiling face. Please be in prayer for Dave’s family and rejoice with us that Dave is face to face with His Father.

May God give all of us the grace to die well.

Student Debt Kills

Joshua Walker —  June 4, 2012 — 1 Comment

Ball and ChainEternity Bible College exists for several reasons; one of them is to provide a quality, life-transforming education at a price that students are able to afford so they can graduate debt-free.  We are committed to this because we believe student debt is deadly.  How many dreams of serving God in various ways have been killed by student debt?  How many people do you know who wanted to serve God overseas but had to stay and pay of their debt first and never made it?

One of the main responsibilities of the church is to pass on what has been entrusted to us so that another generation can run their race faithfully and prepare another generation to follow them.  We, as the current generation of the church, are responsible to prepare a generation to run their race faithfully as we hand them the baton.  The problem with the high cost of Christian education is that we end up shackling a 40 lb. iron ball to their leg at the same time that we’re asking them to run their race.  That isn’t right, and we’re out to change it.

The total cost for a Bachelors degree from Eternity is currently less than $21,000 for an entire 4-year degree.  That is not per year, even though it would still be cheaper than many Christian colleges even if it were.  There are two main ways that we are able to offer this degree for this price.  First, we keep our costs down by being efficient at what we do.  We are no-frills.  This is more like a boot camp than a country club.  Our total expenditure per student is currently at $5,800.  The average for Bible Colleges our size (less than 200 full time equivalency) is $26,432 (according to data from the Association for Biblical Higher Education).  By that measure, we are incredibly efficient – cutting about 78% of the cost of an average school.

The other way we do this is by generous donors who believe in this same vision.  This is where I’d like to ask you for help.  We have a current need of $115,000 between now and August.  If you believe that the future generation of leaders in the church should not be shackled by a giant weight of student debt, would you consider investing in Eternity?  That may sound like a number that is too big for you to help, but it isn’t.  One of the greatest supports that Eternity receives is from regular donors who give $20, $50, or $100 per month on a regular basis.  If you feel like you can’t help, trust me, you can!

You can give a one-time or recurring gift here.

On May 19, 2012 Eternity graduated 25 students.  Those students are serving in 19 different local churches.  They graduated paying less than $14,000 for their Bachelor’s degree.  They are involved in ministry.  They are pursuing God’s calling on their lives.  They are part of the future generation of leaders for the church.

Please consider investing in the almost 200 students that are currently enrolled at Eternity, living and serving here in Simi Valley, CA and around the country (and several other countries!) through our online program.

Some of our faculty will also be exploring the problem of student debt in great depth over the next several days. Stay tuned. You might be surprised.

 

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