God has been doing some amazing things through Eternity Bible College. As we look back on 2015, God’s faithfulness is clear. In this short video, Spencer MacCuish, our president, explains some of the milestones we crossed in 2015 and looks forward to some of our prayers for 2016. Please watch this video and prayerfully consider how you might partner with us in this.
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Rarely is training glamorous; rarely is it exciting. Training is usually incredibly difficult and labor intensive. Seasons of training are hardly desirable but almost always necessary. The most compelling part of robust training is often seeing what is being produced. Here is an example of what is being produced from Eternity Bible College.
Lucas Everett is part of an amazing legacy. Over forty years ago his grandparents started the first school for deaf children in the entire country of Mexico, Rancho Sordo Mudo. As a result of this ministry, the deaf of Mexico had an opportunity for education. They now had access to vocational training. But even more importantly, this meant that the deaf people of Mexico could learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the very first time.
Lucas’ father, Luke, continued the Everett legacy of faithfully serving God at Rancho Sordo Mudo. God has given Luke an incredible story, and an amazing ability tocommunicate that story. As a result, awareness of the ranch has grown substantially and now has hundreds of graduates and over 40 fully residential students annually.
In 2009, Luke and Lucas visited Eternity Bible College; soon after, Lucas enrolled and began his training. Four years later, Lucas went back to the Ranch, degree in hand.
Lucas now serves alongside his father in caring for the deaf children. Lucas has served as a teacher, dorm parent, and spiritual mentor to many at the ranch. In addition to serving the students and staff at the ranch, Luke and Lucas are actively engaged in opening other schools for the deaf across Mexico and into Central America. Consistent with the original vision for Rancho Sordo Mudo, this is all being done so that the deaf community can learn about Jesus and be equipped to engage society.
In order for Lucas to be able to actively engage in advancing the Gospel within the deaf community, he needed to be trained. He needed to be equipped to know the Bible well. Eternity Bible College provided that training so that Lucas could think and respond biblically as he leads aspects of this important ministry. As significant as the training itself has proven in Lucas’ life, it’s also true that Lucas could not be doing the work he does if he had accumulated college debt.
Reflecting on his son’s leadership at the ranch, Luke says:
“It has been a beautiful blessing to see Lucas transformed into the Godly man he is because of God and Eternity Bible College. I was really sick and incapacitated during our first week of school at the ranch, and Lucas stepped right in, picked up the mantel, and ran with it. I’m not just saying this because he is my son (many have affirmed this), but Lucas is an amazing Bible teacher. I love hearing him ‘bring it’ to our staff every Sunday. He has such enthusiasm and joy when he is preaching/teaching, and his appetite to continue learning encourages me. Lucas has taught me a lot.”
It is exciting to see the role that Eternity Bible College gets to play in helping equip people for lives of Gospel service. The desire at Eternity has always been to provide biblical training without student debt. Will you consider an end of year gift or a recurring monthly gift to help further the mission of Eternity Bible College?
Several years ago, an 80 something year old man walked into one of our classrooms. We often have older “students” sit in on our classes, members of various churches who want to continue growing in their knowledge of the Bible and the world. But it quickly became clear that Bob was not a typical “auditor.”
Our professors could hardly get through five minutes of their lectures without an objection from Bob. And Bob’s objections came in the form of loud grunts followed by aggressively expressed opinions. I remember teaching a class on Paul and having to suddenly field this objection from Bob: “I don’t think Paul actually believed anything he wrote. I think he was in cahoots with the Roman government, and wrote what he did to throw people off.” Needless to say I hadn’t prepared to address that particular theory, so I responded with something along the lines of, “Wow, okay. I can’t think of a single thing in Paul’s writings that would support that theory, but I’d love to talk to you more about it after class.”
Sometimes Bob asked good questions, but for the most part, his objections were off-the-wall, groundless, and frequent.
It wasn’t long before our professors were asking each other, “Have you had Bob in class? What’s his deal?”
It turns out Bob was invited to class by one of our for-credit students: Dave. Dave had just left his teen years, and would talk to Bob at the YMCA where they both worked out. Bob had never considered himself a Christian, but as Dave continued to befriend him and talk to him about Jesus, Bob eventually became curious enough to accept Dave’s invitation to sit in on some Bible classes. I still tear up when I think of this sweet, faithful guy in his twenties patiently and graciously befriending this lonely, grumpy guy in his eighties. To an extent that we’ll never fully appreciate, the Kingdom of God expands through smiles and simple greetings.
I’ll admit that Bob was more of a nuisance than anything else at the beginning. Some professors had to talk to Bob about not disrupting the class with frequent objections, asking him to save his comments for after class.
But then a curious thing happened. Bob began showing up early to church services and greeting the congregation as they walked in. He didn’t do this in an official capacity—he just wanted to do it. He became more friendly and began speaking fondly of Jesus and of many of the things he was learning. Eventually, we were all sure that Bob loved Jesus, that his heart had been transformed.
As we got to know the new Bob, we learned that his first 80-some years of life were very lonely. He fought in three wars (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam) and experienced situations that haunted him for the rest of his life. He was even used as a “model” to test radioactivity-proof clothing, which means that he and his squad crouched in a desert bunker as an atomic bomb was detonated. With his eyes closed and hands covering his face, he said it was the brightest thing he had ever seen. Surprising, Bob never grew any extra arms, but he is quick to affirm that the clothing didn’t work.
After a lifetime of being more or less alone, Bob became part of a family. He took every class he could at the college, took professors and students out for breakfast and lunch, and frequently expressed his appreciation for his new family in Christ.
Post-conversion Bob could still be a bit of a curmudgeon. As an 80 something year old theological novice, Bob stumbled into more than a few odd doctrinal views, but he never stopped discussing the Bible and the Jesus he had come to love so dearly. The new Bob was frequently in tears. Mention Jesus and Bob would be sobbing. He was so struck by the brotherhood of believers that he insisted I call him “Brother Bob” whenever I greeted him. He was so deeply appreciative of Jesus that he would often rebuke me for not using the term “the Lord Jesus.” Bob could be an absolute grump, and the exasperated objections continued throughout his late educational career. But the new Bob was a man who loved Jesus, and we knew he was a man who loved people as well (even if he still barked).
During the last few years of his life, Bob put a lot of effort into planning his memorial service and inviting everyone he could to attend. Jesus was calling him home, Bob said, and he wanted his memorial to be a celebration. It took a few years for his actual earthly end to arrive, but Bob never tired of talking about the day he would be with Jesus. Overplanning his own memorial was Bob’s way of making sure everyone he left behind would remember what really matters.
St. Augustine’s famous words express well Bob’s feelings toward the end of his life: “Late have I loved you, Beauty so old and so new. Late have I loved you.” For me, the curious case of Bob Armstrong will always be a reminder that God is never done with a person’s life; that it’s never too late to be a learner, never too late to start again; that a prickly exterior does not always reveal was is happening beneath the surface; that no one is ever beyond the reach of God, no matter how hard or how long they’ve been running.
[Anyone in the Simi Valley area this weekend is encouraged to join us in celebrating God’s artistry in the life of Bob Armstrong. See details below.]
Jesus is Lord—over all of life! Unfortunately, many Christians fail to consider the implications of Jesus’ lordship over anything other than their church life. This is particularly true when it comes to a person’s educational and career choices.
David Kinnaman, in his recent book You Lost Me, explains some startling statistics about the way Christians approach education. Only 16% of Christians report learning how the Bible applies to their field or area of interest. This means that 84% of Christians spend their lives in a career, but have never been taught how their Christian faith should play out in that career!
And the problem begins earlier than a person’s career. Kinnaman also found that only 11% of Christians report receiving helpful input from a pastor or church worker about their education.
The implications? The church is sending young people out to be educated and devote their lives to a career, but we are leaving them clueless as to how their faith informs their education or career. We may be doing a good job of teaching them about church life, but we are not preparing the next generation to take their faith beyond church walls.
We all hear horror stories about our kids losing their faith in college. While it seems these statistics have been exaggerated, this remains a legitimate concern. But perhaps the more disturbing reality is that Christians are entering their education and career without Christian guidance related to their field. This practically guarantees that they will adopt a worldly standard of success in their careers, and sets them up to waste what could be a fruitful mission field.
The solution to these problems is holistic gospel living. We need to see how the gospel shapes all of life: our education, our careers, our church life—all of it!
This is our mission at Eternity Bible College. Because the church needs help in training the next generation to think and live biblically in all of life, our mission is to partner with churches in shaping people into world-changers.
We do this with a war-time mentality. We believe that college should look more like a boot camp than a country club, so we train people to live and die well. Think of Eternity Bible College as a boot camp for life, for college, for your career, for your ministry, for your God-given mission. The cost is low, the academic and spiritual rigor is high, and the result will transform your mind and heart before you enter the mission field in your college or career.
Give us one year before you enter college and we’ll train you to understand the Bible and all of its implications for your major and career.
Or give us one year after you graduate from college and we’ll train you to understand the Bible and all of its implications for your field.
The Bible is extremely relevant to everything you want to do in life. Your interests, your studies, and your career are essential to the mission that God has given you to accomplish in this world. We simply cannot afford to send out well-intentioned Christians who have no clue how their faith relates to their life’s work. We all spend years preparing ourselves for our professional careers. But how much time have you given to preparing yourself for your primary calling of making disciples through your life and career?
Invest a year into our Certificate in Transformational Leadership program. Enroll in spiritual boot camp. Ensure that the years you invest in your education and career are gospel-saturated and effective for the sake of God’s kingdom. Learn more here.
Eternity Bible College is on the move! God has called us to make rigorous biblical education accessible to as many as possible and we do that many different ways, including this blog. Another means we are employing to fulfill that calling is through extension classes, and eventually extension campuses, all over the US and the world. We are in the process of launching an extension site in Boise, Idaho, and I recently had the privilege of visiting Boise.
Several months ago, after much prayer and discussion, we sent Preston Sprinkle and his family to Boise where they have settled into their new home. Preston is investing this first year to building awareness, exploring the possibilities, and seeking local church support of an extension campus in Boise. He recently set up and scheduled an information event, invited local pastors and other interested parties, and I traveled north to attend that event.
It was exciting! The attendance approached 60 people, and many shared their excitement that Eternity was coming to their city. Numerous pastors expressed support. There is already a financial investment, not to mention emotional, spiritual, and logistic support. Preston is slowly building a faculty. (NOTE: Eternity relies heavily on adjunct professors, employing pastors and others who have the academic credentials, but who are also active, current ministry practitioners.) Locations for the campus are being discussed, and many are offering advice, possibly shared-space, etc. The excitement and enthusiasm was palpable. I even met a young lady who was totally committed to being our first student next fall!
Yes, classes will begin on location in Boise in Fall 2015! We will offer the full first year curriculum in 2015/16, adding each successive year’s curriculum each successive year. So as of next fall, students will have two destination campuses to choose from, Simi Valley CA or Boise ID, as well as taking our full program online.
Eternity is committed to the local church, and it is imperative to us that the churches in a specific location want our presence there. It was abundantly clear to me that the churches of the greater Boise area want us in their city. We are thankful for the opportunity, and excited about the possibilities as we continue to provide opportunities for God’s people to pursue rigorous Biblical education.
Follow the progress of the Boise Campus at the Eternity Bible College Boise Extension facebook page.