Stories of Degree Students

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by the grace of God

Achieving Her Goal by the Grace of God

As a 57-year-old  student of Christian Leaders College (CLC), Martha Brabaek’s dream goal was to obtain an Associate in Enterprise Degree by 2020. Although she has never taken any college-level courses until now, the time has come for her to achieve this lofty goal by the grace of God.

Answer to Prayers

Christian Leaders College was an answer to my prayers. I asked the Lord to allow me to go to school to obtain a degree from a Christian educational institution. However, I was quickly stopped by the massive expense to enroll in any of the Christian Universities located in Colorado. As I look back, I see that God’s timing is always perfect. By the grace of God, Christian Leaders College been a great fit for me and my financial situation. I would not have been able to consistently attend a traditional brick-and-mortar university. I am a home-schooling mother and it would have been difficult for me to attend college courses in-person.

By The Grace of God

After I realized I could not attend a local Christian university, God compelled me to do an extensive internet search for an online Christian college. By the grace of God, I found my beloved Christian Leaders Institute and College. The education I have received through this program has been of the highest level. I have only praise and gratitude for what the Lord has provided through these nearly two years of study. As a result of the flexible on-line format, I have been able to maintain a consistent pace of learning. Sometimes I have studied on my phone in my car, and other times in the middle of the night at my home. Regardless of the time and place of study, it has been an enriching experience.

Supportive Staff

Another aspect that has been outstanding is the support that the staff has provided. The Christian Leaders College staff has had to put up with many questions and a few missteps on my part. They have always been gracious and supportive beyond words. As a new student, this was an encouragement to me and helped me press on even when I was discouraged.

Impactful Classes

As I look back over the last several months, I have been pleasantly surprised that every class has applied to my life. Each class has been a blessing, and the Lord has used what I have learned in wonderful ways. Some of the most important facets of what I have learned have been the improvement to my Christian walk.

The classes in Christian leadership have made the biggest impact in my day-to-day life. Those studies were outstanding, and I have been able to apply what I have learned. First and foremost, I have applied it in my household with my family, and secondly in the public arena through my volunteer work. I have gained confidence in my ability to deal with people in a Christian manner, even in difficult circumstances. I feel able to represent our Lord as a true Christian Ambassador because of the classes I have taken.

Challenges Along the Way

Additionally, during my educational journey, an unexpected pair of situations arose earlier this year that challenged me in many ways. I have seen where the Lord prepared my heart through the various Christian leadership classes that I had previously taken. In January, I learned that I needed a complete hip replacement. This was both shocking and unexpected. As I was investigating the best way to have the procedure done, the worldwide bombshell of COVID-19 dropped. As a result of the complete shutdown of nearly everything, my surgery was put on hold along with many other things.

Through it all, our Lord has been merciful. He has kept my eyes on Him and on continuing the completion of my education. Praise God for His steadfastness and the strength He provides to His children! Romans 8:28 says that, “we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose” (NIV). God is always looking after us and we can be confident that His precious promises to all of his children are always for our good.

Looking Ahead

I can definitely say this has been one of the best experiences I have had in my life as a Christian. Overall, I am so grateful to God for the strong desire He has placed in me to continue my educational pursuits at my age. If it is God’s will, I plan to sign up to obtain the Bachelor of Christian Leadership with Christian Leaders College this fall. I will possibly even push beyond that point to pursue a Master’s degree in Christian leadership! I do not know what the Lord has in store for my future. However, I can rest assured it is going to be good, and probably thrilling as well!

 

planted in good soil

Planted in Good Soil

As a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Divinity degree program, William Arnold shares the impact of being firmly planted in the good soil of God’s Word.

Good Soil

What an incredible journey it has been at Christian Leaders Institute (CLI)! I started my studies at CLI three years ago after having previously attended a “brick & mortar” Bible College. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew God led me here, and where God leads there is always blessing. When I think of studying at CLI the word “Growth” is what stands out most in my mind. The Parable of the Sower is such a good analogy for CLI. I think of the seeds in the Parable like students looking for fertile ground to grow in. Not only do they grow strong and healthy when they are planted in good soil, but they “grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times” (Mark 4:20). Jesus explained the Word of God is the soil. The multiplication is at the heart of the great commission. That is CLI’s core mission and has been true of my studies: growing in the Word of God and becoming a revival leader to multiply Jesus’ disciples.

Biblical Growth

Every CLI course is planted in good soil: God’s Word. One of the wonderful things I found in many courses was scripture memorization. I have been led many times to share scripture that I knew because of CLI courses. There are a few keys I have taken away from my study of the Bible at CLI. One is a deeper understanding of the word itself in Dr. Feddes Theology courses. Another is a better understanding of the background of Biblical times in courses like Old and New Testament history and Biblical Interpretation. The third are tools to pull out some of the deeper context such as Hermeneutics and Exegesis. Overall, my growth in Biblical understanding and developing a Biblical worldview have increased tremendously during my time at CLI.

Spiritual Growth

Spiritual growth is where Biblical knowledge becomes Biblical application. I found many courses focused on the spiritual life itself as a result of being planted in good soil. I think this is one way theology has been such a blessing: it teaches the real-life application of the scripture. In my studies, courses that specifically focus on the daily Spiritual walk have been abundant at CLI. The course in Prayer and the course on Evangelism were both particularly impactful. As a result of those courses, both my prayer life and ability to evangelize have been sharpened.

Digging Deeper

I have also been challenged to think more deeply about my beliefs. Sometimes, those of us raised in the Church simply accept what we’re told, even if it’s basic like the belief in God. Although we are planted in good soil, sometimes that root isn’t as deep as it could be because we never dig deeper.

When I think of a challenging course Dr. Clouser’s “How Can We Know God Exists” course quickly comes to mind. For those of us who believe in God, it seems like a preposterous question to even ask. But as revival leaders it’s one we should ask, because the world does ask. This course asked me to think about what I believed and why I believe it. This has deepened my spiritual walk, and now I encourage other believers to think about why they hold certain beliefs. This, too, is part of the parable of the sower. It says, “Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away” (Mark 4:16-17). CLI has encouraged me to grow much deeper roots and to challenge others to do the same.

Ministry Growth

This is an of the area of growth I have appreciated the most at CLI. It is also part of what makes the course of study for a Bachelor of Divinity Degree unique. There are many ways a Christian can grow spiritually and in biblical knowledge. Good Bible studies, books, sermons, retreats, and many other ways – but most of these opportunities don’t focus on vocational or bi-vocational ministry.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus talks about the one who produces a crop of 100, 60, or 30 fold increase (Matt 13:23). I think about why some produce 30 fold and why others produce 100 fold. I ask myself: wouldn’t God want us all to produce maximum results for His Kingdom? If the answer is yes, and I believe it is, then what makes the difference in our yield? Just like Jesus raising up his own twelve disciples to lead the Church, ministry training and discipleship at CLI has raised the effectiveness of my ministry several fold.

There are also excellent nuts and bolts classes teaching how to organize and run a ministry effectively. Professor Elzinga’s Management by the Book provided practical leadership lessons that I immediately applied week after week. In fact, several issues and opportunities for growth in my Church would seem to come up right after I had finished a lesson. I was able to effectively work through those challenges as a direct result of the teachings that week.

What’s Next

In one of the first courses I took at CLI, Pastor Reyenga asked the profound question: “what is your Ministry dream?”, and I’ve prayerfully considered that question throughout my studies here. In part, my dream is to be the most effective bi-vocational minister possible. This is why I believe the Lord led me to CLI in the first place, and has blessed my ministry with increasing effectiveness as I’ve grown in the good soil here. I also plan to continue to take courses offered by CLI and continue to support CLI’s work as a Vision Partner.

As an alumni, I plan to complete the Christian Leaders Volunteer class and find ways to help other students follow their ministry dreams. I am also prayerfully considering continuing onto my Master’s degree at one of the graduate schools CLI has partnered with. Finally, I dream of starting a mentor center at my church to help give in-person support to upcoming revival leaders. One of the best ways to increase the harvest is to use the principles of discipleship and multiplication.

Those are some specific goals, but my biggest ministry dream is to allow that dream to evolve as the Lord continues to grow me in my faith and walk. The Professors in the courses didn’t just share information, they shared their hearts and stories of their lives and ministry journeys. It was a blessing to hear how their own ministries had evolved in ways they couldn’t have imagined. I pray that above all else, I’m open to what God has in store as he uses me, planted in good soil, to plant His seeds in fertile ground.

Life Forever Changed

A Life Forever Changed

Almost a year ago, Shaun Davis’ life was forever changed in the blink of an eye.  As he nears the completion of his Bachelor of Divinity degree, he reflects on the new directions that God has taken him in and the second chance that he received. 

Life Forever Changed

On June 9, 2019, I nearly died from a motorcycle crash. My life was forever changed. I was lucky not to be paralyzed, let alone die. I have been an athlete my entire life – running is my favorite. According to doctors, I will never run again. I use a cane part-time. Faced with a long recovery, I needed something to focus on. I did not want depression to claim me. The Lord was with me, so I knew I would be okay.

I was still in the hospital when I found Christian Leaders Institute online and signed up for some courses for self-enrichment. I wanted something positive and constructive to do with my down time. Not long after, I felt like I was being led to do something different with my life, so I signed up for college. I am now at the end of my journey, and I will soon have my degree! These courses have had a profound effect on my life, and I think differently now. I have a deeper understanding of God and what is written in the Bible.  My plan is to be ordained through the church that I attend as a Deacon Minister. I would also like to be ordained as a Chaplain through Christian Leaders Alliance.

Long-Range Plans

Occasionally, our Head Pastor has had me deliver the Communion Message. He has also asked me to deliver my personal testimony message when we are meeting after the COVID-19 restrictions are rescinded. The Associate Pastor has asked me to accompany him on some hospital visits. I also plan to learn some Chaplain duties from our local American Legion Chaplain. Currently, I am the substitute Sunday Bible School Teacher. The long-range plan is for me to take over for the current teacher who wants to focus on youth. I will be retiring from my career in corrections in the next one to three years. I would like to work with current inmates as well as former inmates. With my experience, I believe that I could make a difference in their lives. I plan to finish the Restorative Justice classes that CLI offers in the next little while.

Ultimate Calling

The combination of my life experience, work experience, and the classes that I have taken will be valuable tools to use for these endeavors that I wish to undertake. I am a busy person who needs to stay busy in retirement, so I chose volunteer work. Not only do I enjoy teaching, but I also like working with inmates. I have had ample opportunity to do both. About five years ago, I returned home to Jesus as the prodigal son. I changed a lot about myself and the way I treat others, and it did not go unnoticed at work.

I have had numerous inmates come to me for advice, so I felt like a counselor at times. Many of them have told me that I should switch to a correctional counselor instead of a job foreman. I know that I have made a difference in some of their lives, but I would like to do more. It feels as if my ultimate calling is to work with these offenders: I want to help them have self-confidence, a productive life, and faith in Jesus.

I plan to continue taking CLI courses for my own self-enrichment. Even though I am almost finished with my degree, I want to keep my mind sharp! These courses make a great daily bible study program. Not only do I envision these courses benefitting me in whatever endeavor that I undertake, but they are enriching my personal life. In turn, this affects my friends, family, and co-workers. Everyone notices the changes, and some are curious to know what is different about me.

New Direction

Since my near fatal accident, almost a year past, I have heard the same few comments spoken by so many people: “How do you stay so positive?”; “Why aren’t you angry or depressed?”; “Why aren’t you suing them?”;  “You look happy”. I tell them that my faith in God has carried me through this time, and that He has something better planned for my life. God is not done with me yet! He has given my life new direction. I had felt the pull to put in practice The Great Commission, but I had not put it into place yet. There was always something else to do. I was too preoccupied with my projects and my obsession with trying to stay physically fit. I will never again be the athlete that I once was. Medically, I will never be capable of doing those things again. I have replaced that void in my life with something much more valuable: God and His will.

A Second Chance

About five years ago, I re-dedicated my life to God. I spent two years working on myself, and restructured how I think and treat others. I eliminated vulgar language and talking down to others. Also, I try to treat all people with respect and really listen to what they have to say. In the year before my accident, I felt like my life was missing something. I felt that I should start sharing my faith with others. Gradually, I put it out there that I was a Christian, but I was fearful of witnessing. I was afraid that I would not have the right words, and that I would look foolish. Now, I have a second chance to do something for God’s kingdom. I have learned so much valuable information in my time at Christian Leaders Institute! My fear has lessened, and I am stepping out in faith that God will work in any situation that I am involved in. I am to plant seeds and water them, but it is the Holy Spirit that changes someone. It is in God’s hands, not mine! I am moving forward with the Holy Spirit as my partner and my guide!

Do you feel like there is something missing in your life, too? It might be that God is calling you to leave your past behind and step into a life that will be forever changed by His power, grace, and love. 

Christian Leaders College Degree

Ministry Degree with Free Courses

Ministry Degree with Free Courses

Free Correspondence College Classes

Free Correspondence College Classes

Christian Leaders Institute Opportunity

Christian Leaders College Opportunity

Revival Leader Reynaldo Mendoza Passes Away

Bi-Vocation Leader Get Degree – Joseph Nadolski

I was saved on May 2nd 2014, but this is a story for another time.  Today I will share how I came to be a student at CLI, what I have learned along the way, the challenges I have encountered, my favorite classes, and finally how CLI has affected my ministry.  I cannot assure you that what you discover here will make sense or provide a clear understanding of the journey that has carried me to this point, or why I have been blessed this way, or even what purpose God has chosen me for.  That sure would be nice, neat, and clean for the both of us.  Although my understanding of what I am experiencing grows as my trust and faith does.  I am far from articulating any of it in a coherent, understandable manner.  What has become clear to me these last few years while attending CLI is that God is using me for something bigger than me.  For something that serves his good purposes in this world.  And I am so very happy and grateful for that!

                Shortly after my salvation I was filled with a deep desire to know the Lord.  I was drawn to my newly acquired bible by a powerful calling to read it.  It was supernatural.  It’s all I thought about during the day.  It filled me with the excitement of a child on Christmas morning as I thought about what I would discover next while reading it.  The gifts it blessed me with did not disappoint.  My compulsion to immerse myself and soak in His word overwhelmed me.  I could not read it fast enough even though most of it didn’t make sense to me.  I just couldn’t put it down.  I couldn’t get it into me fast enough. It was like a dream most of which I couldn’t recall but knew in my heart was good.  In time I began to understand more and more of what I was reading but knew I needed help. That is when God blessed me with Christian Leaders Institute that has taught me about Jesus and Christianity’s Impact on the people and civilizations in the world. The more I learned about Jesus the more I began to learn how to love people, do kind things, and play a good part in helping the world find truth.

                Along the way the Lord stretched and challenged me to grow by commanding me to make Him first in this life.  I began to recognize his voice as my relationship with Him grew stronger, more intimate, and personal.  In order to do this I had to surrender control of my destiny to Him, let go of my expectations in this life, and try to always remain humble.  All these things appeared to be simple enough and probably would be if I weren’t in the world.  In my quest for a more loving, intimate, personal relationship with my Father in heaven I found myself continually confronted with worldly challenges, needs, and desires.  So, my biggest challenges have been learning to trust Him, make Him first in all that I do, and to surrender my own will to His.  And to accept that He will never abandon me, always provide what is best for me, and love me unconditionally for all eternity.

                Dr. Ted Hildebrandt’s course on Biblical Literature, History, and Theology is my favorite course so far.  I attribute this to his passion, knowledge, and enthusiasm for the course material.  A close second is Reverend Dr. Adam Navis’s course on basic writing.  As with Dr. Hildebrant Dr. Navis’s passion and enthusiasm for the course material combined with his sincere encouragement was inspirational to me.  Right behind that was Dr. Sally Vaughn’s course on World History.  Her comprehensive knowledge of the subject matter accompanied by her patience, and compassionate teaching style motivated me to absorb as much of her expertise as I was capable of.  But honestly, I enjoyed almost all the courses and professors who gave so much of themselves so that I may come to the place where I am now, filled with an insatiable hunger to continue learning, writing, and growing.  They have all been an encouragement to me and have inspired me on my walk with God.

The ministry journey I am on is becoming clearer as I continue walking the path God has willed for me in this world.  Christian Leaders Institute has awakened me to how the example of my life will help those near to me turn towards God.  How I can witness the truth as God reveals it to me to those who are right now where I was in this world yesterday, lost, feeling alone, and desperate.  Christian Leaders Institute is helping me to understand why God chose me and the miraculous transformation he has and continues to make in me and my life in this world.   I am now much better equipped to share my testimony through the gifts of writing, teaching, and speaking that He is blessing me with today.  God willing one day soon I will help those brothers and sisters who are seeking a relationship with our Father to begin on their journey of faith right where they are, no matter what their current situation or circumstances may be through writing about the miracles I have experienced and see happening around me every day in this world.

So, as 2018 comes to an end I can look back over the last three years with joy and gratitude for the miraculous transformation God has and continues to make in my life in this world.  Today I am blessed in every area of this life and filled with enthusiasm for how God will use me as this life unfolds ahead of me.  Somehow, someway I would like everyone to experience what I am experiencing.  Even though I can’t properly explain what that looks like right now it is becoming clearer as God allows me to hear him, see him, and follow him more closely every day.   I would like everyone to come to know the Lord just like I am.  God willing I will continue my walk towards completing the journey he wills for me in this world.  And Christian Leaders Institute will be at the center of that for me.  I am so very happy and grateful for all of you who are making this possible for all of us.  God bless you!  And a merry Christmas to all!!!