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Monday
Mar092015

Redeeming the Arts

Nathaniel Carter (Click to enlarge)Talk to someone even remotely engaged in today’s culture, and you’ll likely find a person well-versed in the music, movies, and accompanying gossip of our time. In many instances, the arts have become a cesspool for immorality and hopelessness. But for one man, this fact sparked a life-purpose to see the church rise up and use her God-given talents to honor Him and bring hope to a lost world.

“I have always looked at the artistic excellence of the world and seen how people’s God-given gifts are twisted to proliferate Satan’s influence in our culture,” Charis Bible College student Nathaniel Carter shared in a recent interview. “Recently I started asking myself why the church hasn’t recognized this powerful tool that’s been left on the shelf.”

Nate grew up in a Christian home surrounded by godly examples of people using their talents to honor the Giver, but much of what he saw seemed tied to religious dos and don’ts. “I grew up knowing the Word of God but rarely experiencing it. I knew the expectations of the religion I grew up in, but I had never seen the love of God displayed to me in the way I now understand it. I didn’t really know the God of the Bible—and the Holy Spirit kept confirming to me that I would find what I needed at Charis.”

Even though he had a steady job, a fine arts degree from a respected university, and a portfolio that qualified him as a professional musician and actor, Nate took Philippians 3:13-14 to heart. He decided to “forget those things which are behind and press on toward the goal” of God’s high calling for his life.

Nate worked behind the scenes to produce the Christmas at Charis productions
(Click to enlarge)
“At Charis, I discovered that nothing can trump the satisfaction of true relationship with God. It is something I can’t logically process—but I have experienced it! In my secular arts education, the concept of experiencing what you have theoretically understood is the cornerstone of the learning process, and praise God, it has become my spiritual cornerstone here.”

Jesus and His disciples (Click to enlarge)After Nate started attending Charis, he began recognizing needs that his previous education and experience gave him the ability to fill: “I started volunteering with the praise and worship team and the Audiovisual Department. After eight months, I was offered a part-time job. I worked faithfully with the AV department and, last October was offered a full-time position.” One of Nate’s first assignments was the month-long Christmas at Charis extravaganza. He became an integral part of the set design, production, and technical direction for each showcase. “The event really created a community within the college that gave students an avenue to use their giftings in ways many of them had never considered.” That’s what Charis is about: stirring the hearts of people to discover and use their God-given gifting to change the world.

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Click to enlarge)“I’m so excited to be stepping into what God has planned for my life. I want to use my gifts to paint a picture of God from a perspective that most have never seen. We, the church, have a message worth sharing—we need to learn to do it with excellence and use every avenue God has given us to accomplish it. For me, that’s by redeeming the arts.”

Monday
Mar022015

Miraculously Kept in the Love of God

Emergency crews at Scott's accident (Click to enlarge)The serenity of the fallen snow was shattered as red and blue emergency lights converged on an accident in northern Michigan. Andrew Wommack Ministries partner Scott Peterson struggled as his heart slowed in the -9 degree weather. “Jesus!” he got out before losing consciousness.

After stopping to help a stranded motorist in the ice and snow of that winter day, another car spun out on the icy roads, lost control, and veered into the ditch where he was working, pinning him between two vehicles. Scott started rapidly losing blood. He was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital for emergency surgery to try and stabilize his condition. The doctors discovered that his femoral artery—the main blood carrier in the lower half of the body—had been severed! Scott was given thirty-two units of blood during a seven hour operation even though the doctors gave him twenty-four hours to live.

Scott with his family about five months after the accident (Click to enlarge)Forty-eight hours later, Scott was life-flighted to the University of Michigan’s hospital in Ann Arbor, enduring numerous operations to save his life and leg. With a massive amount of blood loss, slipping in and out of comas, soft tissue damage, and organ stress, Scott was not expected to live. Doctors told his wife, Diane, to expect amputation as the “best-case scenario” for his recovery. But Diane refused to limit her faith to that. Diane relied on the truths they’d learned from Andrew and others of God’s unconditional love—

“It wasn’t any one particular teaching by Andrew or anyone at that particular time that got us through. It was the things that we had learned from him over the years, especially Harnessing Your Emotions, Christian Survival Kit, and through our partnership with the ministry. Andrew’s ministry became everything as they stood with us. It meant so much. Jill and Charlie Leblanc’s praise and worship was also a blessing. The Healing Journeys DVDs were also inspiring. God’s grace is always sufficient. When I thought I didn’t have strength or patience, God’s grace provided.”

Scott Peterson working hard in therapy (Click to enlarge)Scott regained consciousness six days later. However, he aspirated the very next day during a surgery and was once again given no hope of surviving. He was in a coma for nine days, during which time he flat lined and was in the presence of the Lord. Scott remarks “When I saw Him, I realized how much He loves us. I was very happy to see Him, but He was even happier to see me. I knew I was totally accepted.” That experience greatly helped Scott in his recovery, as he was able to rest in the Lord’s unconditional love.

Today Scott is walking on two healthy legs. He is driving and rebuilding his strength. His doctor recently declared, “If we’d seen this kind of recovery after three years of therapy, I’d be ecstatic.” But it’s only been nine months!

“Thank you Jesus!”

Monday
Feb232015

Karamoja—An Opportunity for the Gospel

Reception committee of Karamojong children with real bows and arrows used for hunting (Click to enlarge)After years of visiting Uganda and preaching in their churches, the Lord began stirring Andrew’s heart for more. Andrew asked one of his contacts there to take him to a place he’d never been, a place where the people had never heard of the Gospel. Soon he was flying into another world—the world of the Karamojong.

The first time Andrew visited Karamoja, he was not only astounded by the abject poverty of its people but frustrated with his inability to adequately share the Gospel with them. “How do you tell a people about the wonder of God’s goodness when they’ve never heard of Jesus? They don’t know what the crucifixion is, they’ve never heard of Israel or the Law, they know nothing outside of their village. I remember leaving that place thinking, God have we accomplished anything good here? Although half of them prayed to receive Christ, I don’t know if they knew what they were doing,” Andrew recalls.

Confiding in his friend and contact there, Andrew said, “Francis, you’ve got to help me. This is not making disciples.” But as promised, the Lord had gone before Andrew (Is. 45:2), preparing hearts, developing plans, and working out details. Francis replied, “God has already spoken to me. I’ve resigned from my church, and I’m ready to start traveling throughout Uganda with Discipleship Evangelism. If you want, I’ll come to Karamoja too.”

Mark Rowe preaching with the Jesus film (Click to enlarge)Partnering with Andrew Wommack Ministries in Uganda, Pastor Francis Tumusiime began traveling to remote villages around Karamoja with the Jesus movie and Discipleship Evangelism tools. The movie gave his audiences a reference point for the Gospel, while Discipleship Evangelism gives them step-by-step instruction in the Word. To date, thousands of people are being discipled all over Karamoja. Even though most cannot read or write, Francis and his team don’t allow that to stop the spread of hope and truth—they share the Gospel in the oral tradition of the Old Testament. With this kind of growth, in two years 1.2 million people will have been discipled!

“Forty-three years ago, the Lord spoke to my heart to start making disciples. That’s why I became a teacher. Second Timothy became my mantra—”

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. [2] And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

2 Timothy 2:1-2

A typical Karamojong village (Click to enlarge)“Now we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reach a basically unreached people with the Gospel,” Andrew shares. “But not only are we preaching the Gospel in a way these people can understand; we are teaching their churches how to prosper and care for the people. We are bringing aid and resources they would otherwise never receive. We’re providing water filters and medicines, developing plans to drill wells, working to introduce them to aquaponics or other sustainable farming techniques, as well as teaching them simple business skills and supplying them with micro loans.”

Mark Rowe shaking hands with Pastor Moses at one of the intended project sites for well drilling (Click to enlarge)Mark Rowe, our director of International Operations said, “Watching what God is accomplishing in Karamoja is simply amazing. Because they are a communal people, we are able to go in and disciple an entire village at one time. We want to use that attitude to prosper the whole community so they can provide their own schools, their own hospitals, and their own businesses—all on the principles they are learning in the Word of God. Then we can take that model and translate it into any country in the world!”

This really is a wonderful opportunity to see multiple nations changed for the glory of God. Join us today!