I wish you had been there - our Charis Bible College (CBC) Grand Opening on March 22 was truly grand. Despite a mini-blizzard, we had over 700 people show up for tours of our new building and most of those stayed for the service that followed. Many who attended were officials from the city and our neighbours from Woodland Park.
Praise and worship, led by Daniel Amstutz and the CBC Worship Team, was powerful. Most of the guests had never experienced anything like it before. They were blessed. One of our worship leaders sang a special song the Lord gave her at 2 a.m. that very morning. It was awesome.
Jamie was part of the choir and sang "How Great Thou Art," which had special significance for me. This was my father's favourite song and was sung at his funeral when I had just turned twelve. I remember praying and asking the Lord, "If You are really great, reveal Yourself to me." God was faithful.
We acknowledged and gave thanks to God for a lot of people and also all of our partners who made this possible. Gary Luecke, the director of CBC, gave statistics that showed where we have come from and where we are going. I think this made a huge impact on the hundreds of visitors from Woodland Park.
I also shared the fact that this building project wasn't something that Jamie and I had dreamed up. We didn't ask the Lord for this; we were just responding to what He asked us to do. I really wanted everyone there to know this is all about God and not us. In order to make this point, we showed a video that my Television Department put together. They travelled to San Antonio, Texas, to interview Mark and Deb Littlestar, who are the previous owners of The Sanctuary property and the ones who built The Lodge.
Deb's father, Gilbert Jackson, originally owned The Sanctuary property. He was a shrewd businessman who thought Christians were people who needed a crutch. As an intellectual, he seemed beyond the Littlestars' reach to share Jesus, but Gilbert was diagnosed with cancer in 1992. After surgery and treatments, he was placed in hospice care. On his seventy-third birthday on June 22, 1993, his caregiver, Merline Harrison, led Gilbert to the Lord. The Lord used a woman from a different background to penetrate Gilbert's heart, and he was born again.
Before Gilbert died a few weeks later, he told Deb and Mark that he wanted The Sanctuary property to be used for Christian education. Gilbert saw a building erected there with glass walls so that those learning would feel like they were outside, enjoying God's beauty. That's what we've got. Deb and Mark, along with some friends, stood on that very ground, dedicated it to the Lord and prayed for people to come from all over the world and be impacted by the goodness of God. It just so happened that on the other side of the world at that precise time in England, the Lord spoke to me about starting a Bible college. Before Gilbert Jackson passed from this life, his prayers were already being answered.
Merline took a step of faith and shared Jesus with Gilbert. Despite the fact that he only had a short time left on this earth, the desires of Gilbert's heart changed and he imagined his properties being used for God's glory. One small act of faithfulness led to one transformed life that now - through CBC - has impacted and will continue to impact untold lives. If the Lord tarries, tens of thousands of CBC students will have their lives changed and will, in turn, go out and change the world.
I started this letter by saying I wish you had been there and if you gave to this project, you were there. It took a multitude of people standing with us to get this building built, DEBT FREE. Thank You, Jesus and thanks to all of you who stood with us.
In mid-June, I start teaching on television about Discipleship Evangelism (DE). This is one of the most needed things in the church today and this is what CBC is all about. If the church was carrying out the commission the Lord gave in Matthew 28:19-20, there wouldn't be any need for CBC, but since that isn't happening, the need for CBC has never been greater. I believe that the Lord has raised up this ministry to have a major impact in these last days and you are a big part of that.
Many years ago, Don Krow and I developed a programme we call The Complete Discipleship Evangelism 48-Lesson Course. I like to call it "Discipleship for Dummies." This resource takes you through the foundational truths of Christianity in forty-eight lessons.
It's simple, easy, and effective. Each lesson consists of a short story, along with prepared questions and answers. As you work through each lesson, you'll see God work in the lives of others.
We have had millions of people go through this course. In Uganda alone, around 500,000 people have studied DE with miraculous fruit coming from it. I know of a number of people who have been raised from the dead as a result. This is now the centrepiece of our efforts in the Karamoja region of Uganda where we show the JESUS film and then start them on the DE course. It's changing lives.
I'm sure Merline didn't stop to consider how many lives would be transformed as a result of her sharing Jesus with Gilbert. None of us can really know the full impact of our simple acts of obedience to God. I drove by The Sanctuary property every day for twenty-one years on my way into Colorado Springs and had no idea what the Lord had in store. Yet God had a plan and was working everything together for good. As the Littlestars said, "There is no way we could have planned this." This is a God thing.
I encourage you to order my DE study guide today. You may be holding the keys to someone else's miracle, just as Merline was holding the keys to the miracle of our new building.
Jamie and I, along with all of our students, are so grateful for all you have done to complete this project, debt free. Thank you so much. We have the whole Grand Opening celebration archived on our website and would love to have you view it at www.awmi.net/cbc-grand-opening. I believe you will be blessed to see what your giving has done.
We can't thank you enough. I pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to you just how much your gifts have done and will do. Only in eternity will we get the full picture.
We love and appreciate you,
Andrew & Jamie