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Monday
Feb102014

Andrew Shares His Living Commentary

In this episode of The Inside Story Andrew sits down with Stan Priest, AWM's IT Manager, and the two review one of the most powerful study tools Andrew has created to date, his Living Commentary. The Living Commentary is a computer Bible program that contains Andrew’s personal study notes on more than 18,000 verses. And, as the name suggests, the Living Commentary is an open-ended resource. Andrew continues to update and write new notes all the time. In recent years, he has added an average of 125 new notes to the commentary each month. Be sure to watch the video below to learn more about this amazing resource.

Monday
Feb032014

For the Leupens, Age Is Not An Issue

CBC-Colorado graduates and founders of TG Leupen Ministries, Tom and Gladys Leupen. (Click to enlarge)Many times the posts to this blog, particularly the Charis Bible College graduate testimonies, will compel readers to post comments relaying their appreciation for an individual’s faith-filled story. Occasionally those comments will include an element of desire to attend CBC, coupled with a degree of self-doubt stemming from the reader’s perception of their own advanced age. The following story should be an encouragement to those who doubt God can use them because they may have a little more salt than pepper left in their hair.

After nearly 50 faithful years of marriage and three decades following the Lord, Texas residents, Tom and Gladys Leupen, were comfortable and steady in their Christian walk. According to Gladys, Tom spent time nearly every morning, for as long as could remember, studying the Scriptures. She too had made reading the Word a daily practice, but not to the extent that Tom had; there were certain things she could not seem to comprehend. In 2010, a well-known minister visited the Leupen’s church and made a significant impact on Gladys, inspiring her to try to memorize more Scripture.

Tom & Gladys with their CBC second-year mission team in the Dominican Republic. (Click to enlarge)Gladys’ favorite chapter in the Bible is John 14, so in her new pursuit, she set out to memorize each verse. While her quest was time consuming, she did manage to memorize the entire chapter. As she progressed however, Gladys found that she had serious questions about what she had committed to memory. John 14:12 in particular, provided her with quite a challenge, and she began to ask God some weighty questions.

One morning in 2011, as Gladys was preparing breakfast, she tuned in to Andrew’s television program, The Gospel Truth. She had come across the program once before and had liked what she heard, but this time she was caught off guard by the things Andrew was teaching; he was systematically answering the questions she had put before the Lord regarding John 14. She was amazed by God’s faithfulness to answer her questions and intrigued by Andrew’s teaching.

Tom & Gladys praying for a pastor in the Dominican. (Click to enlarge)As the days passed, Gladys continued to tune in to The Gospel Truth, and Tom joined her. During one episode, Andrew shared the miraculous Healing Journey of Alan and Debbie Moore. Alan had suffered a massive stroke, and his wife Debbie came to his rescue, armed only with the Word. Today Alan is healed and has since graduated from Charis Bible College in Colorado. Gladys recalls being stunned by Debbie’s response to Alan’s stroke. “When I heard the Moore’s testimony, I thought, I would never have responded like that.” In those moments after watching the testimony, Gladys purposed in her heart to know more of God’s word, and she and Tom began to make arrangements to relocate to Colorado to attend CBC.

Prior to attending CBC, the Leupens had not fully grasped the authority that God has given believers. After sitting Over the course of 50 years the Leupens have seen some ups and downs. While they were students in Colorado, the Waldo Canyon Fire of 2012, wiped out their home. They lost 48 years worth of belongings and tangible memories. Gladys said they never shed a tear, and looked forward to what the Lord had in store for their future. Above, the place their house once stood. (Click to enlarge)under the Word for four hours a day, listening to the in-depth teaching of the Scriptures, their spirits soared with the truth and new understanding. “For me, CBC helped me truly understand the Old Testament and the New Testament and the heart of God. The Bible just came together for me,” said Gladys.

During their second-year at CBC, Gladys received a word of prophesy from one of her instructors, CBC’s Dean of Education, Greg Mohr. In the middle of one of his classes, Greg asked Gladys to stand, and he told her she would be teaching and preaching in the future, and he also said she would be a sign and a wonder, and signs and wonders would follow her. Gladys treasured the words, and was excited to see how the Lord was going to bring those things to pass. “In the natural, I disliked getting up in front of a group. My knees would shake, my voice would quiver, my mouth would get dry, and so many times I would not say what I wanted because I knew I would cry,” Gladys said.

Gladys and Tom stand with their son, Derek, and their grandson, Charles Andrew, after the 2013 CBC commencement ceremony.
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During their second-year mission trip, the Leupens went to the Dominican Republic. While Tom had become comfortable with teaching and preaching over the years, Gladys still had not. No matter the effort she put into creating a message or speaking points, Gladys wasn’t able to put anything together to share. In light of this, Gladys did not sign up for a teaching role on the trip. One night however, the Lord gave her something to share, and the message burned in her bones. Although she was not scheduled to speak on the trip, the opportunity arose for her to give her testimony. As she spoke, Gladys wove her message into her story. She was so excited that the Lord spoke to her that she delivered the message fear and quiver free. Gladys realized, in that moment, that the ministry prophesied over her in class, had begun to manifest. The joyful experiences in the Dominican set the course for the Leupen’s future ministry.

The Leupens speaking at a meeting at Family Worship Tabernacle in Polokwane, South Africa.
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The Leupen’s trip to the Dominican stirred a desire in their hearts to travel the world sharing God’s love, grace and mercy. Their newfound desire led them to discuss, with classmates, the possibility of traveling overseas to minister. One day, fellow CBC students and friends, Craig and Odette Bredenkamp, asked if the Leupens would like them to make some connections for them in their homeland of South Africa. Remembering the words spoken over her, excitement began to build in Gladys’ heart.

After graduation from CBC, Tom and Gladys packed up and headed to South Africa for six weeks. When they arrived, they hit the ground running; their schedule was packed with 22 amazing nights of speaking and ministry while crisscrossing the countryside. They had the opportunity to minister in small venues as well as churches with up to 600 people, always teaching with signs and wonders following.

Gladys praying for people in the crowd in Polokwane, South Africa.
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The funny thing was, just as Gladys struggled to prepare teachings for the CBC mission trip, she encountered the same issue on the road in South Africa. Just as had happened in the Dominican, the Lord would give her a message the night before. Gladys would have a dream, and see herself preaching, and then she would know what to teach on the following night.

Gladys said that one of the pastors made the remark that what the Leupens had shared was the most relevant message he had ever heard in church. His comments made Gladys laugh. “To myself, I was chuckling at what the Lord had done, and I thought, They don’t know this is only my second week of doing this,” she said.

With all the teaching and preaching in those 6 weeks, Tom and Gladys never tired. The couple heard testimonies of the many healings and salvations people received. She said, “There was Gladys and Tom on the platform at Praise Mountain Churchin in Tembisa, just north of Johannesburg.
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one little boy, about 8 years-old, that responded to the invitation with tears streaming down his face the whole time.”

Though they have their eye on visiting their missionary friends, the Bredenkamps, now in Albania, the Leupens do not know where they will go next, but they are looking forward to their assignment. “Our age has been an encouragement for others. So many think their life is going downhill at the age of 65. We believe our life is just beginning, and we have many good years left for the Lord to use us. We are excited about the future.

Thursday
Jan302014

Benjamin Hutcherson: A Good Steward

Benjamin Hutcherson, wise steward, college graduate, artist and CBC-Chicago student.
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Just out of high school, Benjamin Hutcherson was unsure of his future. He made the wise decision to move forward with his college education as inexpensively as possible. Intent on managing his limited finances well, he chose to attend a small community college near his home, just south of Chicago. At age 20, during his two years at South Suburban College, he came across Andrew's Gospel Truth program on television. Benjamin happened to tune in to an episode mid-way through Andrew's teaching on Financial Stewardship—a series that would radically change Benjamin's future.

Although Benjamin had stumbled across The Gospel Truth quite by accident, he recognized Andrew from his childhood. Benjamin's dad, Bruce, would often listen to Andrew, and sometimes he would have the whole family (Benjamin has five brothers and a sister) sit down Benjamin with his father, Bruce, and his mother, Thomesa, during his time at the community college.
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to listen to a particularly impactful part of a message. Benjamin said, "I had a lot of respect for Andrew. The primary thing I remember learning from him back then was the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It was in May 2011 that I began actively listening to Andrew’s teachings on my own."

Benjamin was on board with being a good steward of finances, but Andrew's teaching brought something new to Benjamin's attention. He said, "What really impacted me from Andrew’s Financial Stewardship teaching was when he taught from the parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16. I realized that the primary and highest use of my finances is not for my physical necessities, Benjamin (far right) and some of his family. (Click to enlarge)but rather, to make an eternal difference in the lives of other people by sowing into the Kingdom of God."

When he was attending the community college, Benjamin paid for school out of pocket. While his wages, working for a large office supply store weren't high, he was able to tithe as well as cover his college costs. He knew that if he wanted to earn a four-year degree, he would have to transfer to a larger full-time college or university, and he knew his expenses would be significantly higher. As he considered what to do, he continued to listen to Andrew's teachings. He listened to the Financial Stewardship series repeatedly and meditated on the principles he was learning. He also studied Andrew's, How to Receive God's Best,Spirit, Soul & Body, and The Lord met Benjamin's needs even when Benjamin came up short on his end. During his last semester, his school costs were higher, and he actually worked less because of travel. Here he celebrates his 22nd birthday. (Click to enlarge)You've Already Got It.

After deciding to continue his education, Benjamin prayed about what school to attend and how to cover his expenses. Although he could have gotten some financial assistance in the form of college loans, both through the school and through his parents, he chose not to borrow any money. Having seen how so many college students had racked up mountains of debt, he decided that he did not want to take out a student loan or allow his parents to get one for him. "All of those specific teachings were foundational in my decision to go to college debt free. I continued to meditate on those principles," Benjamin said. "I just considered financial debt as bondage and as a curse as described in Deuteronomy 28. I believed that the borrower is servant to the lender as it says in Proverbs 22:7. I didn’t want that for me or my family," he said.

Benjamin pursued his degree in Film & Video with a focus on traditional animation. This is a Character Visualization project from 2012.
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Benjamin's passion for art, drawing and animation to be precise, led him to attend Columbia College in Chicago. His tuition costs leapt from $1,600 per year to $10,000 per semester, plus books, materials and a $150 per month Metra train ticket—a staggering increase. "I did not have a clue as to how I was going to pay for Columbia. So, I registered without knowing how I was going to receive the money. I resolved that either God would pay for it or I would just drop out, simple as that," Benjamin recalled frankly.

Benjamin mediated on the Word and took comfort in the Scriptures about Abraham, and how he simply believed God. "I told myself, 'I don’t care what my bank account says, what my Benjamin and his mother Thomesa, after graduation from Columbia College in Chicago...debt free.
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college advisors say, what my parents say, or what anybody else has to say. I’m going to trust God, and He’s going to provide for me.'"

Although Benjamin refused to borrow money, he did apply for several scholarships, but he never received any of the funding. He said that one of the things Andrew's teaching inspired him to do was give freely. He had always tithed, but had never really sowed into offerings or special projects. Benjamin learned that even though giving may seem like you are moving away from your financial goals, it actually works the opposite way—it moves you closer to your goals. "What liberated me to give so radically was this: Since with my personal money alone, I could never afford to pay to go to college, I would just give as much as I pleased because even if I saved it Today Bruce, Thomesa, Benjamin and his brother Rueben are all studying at CBC-Chicago. (Click to enlarge)all, it would never be enough anyway." Benjamin gave extra to his church and to other ministries, tsunami relief organizations, and he became one of Andrew's Foundation Builders for the new CBC-Colorado campus. Sometimes Benjamin would give away half his paycheck. With regard to his Foundation Builder partnership he said, "I figured that since I wanted to go to school, I should sow a financial seed that would help other people go."

Benjamin learned to trust God and rest in Him. He gave freely, and he received freely. Each semester began the same way; Benjamin would start classes without any idea where his funds would come from, and the provision would come. Even for his last semester, during Benjamin and his brother Rueben, enjoying the 2013 Christmas party at CBC-Chicago. (Click to enlarge)which he incurred higher than normal tuition and book fees, and he actually worked less hours at his job, the provision still came. "When I look back, I think to myself, 'How in the world did I manage to do that every month?' It was an absolute miracle because whenever I try to figure it out mathematically it doesn’t make sense. So I just stop trying to figure it out," Benjamin said.

Benjamin not only earned his degree in Film & Video with a concentration in traditional animation, but he did it with straight A’s and perfect attendance, and he graduated with honors. He did it all debt free!

The summer after he graduated, having not heard back from the places to which he applied for work, Benjamin laid his cards on the table before God and declared that he was willing to put his animation dreams on hold, to do whatever God wanted him to do. To his surprise, God used Andrew's program again to help guide Benjamin. After Benjamin's declaration, he came across Andrew's, How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will series on the Gospel Truth. It was the first time Benjamin had ever heard the teaching, and a short time later, he knew that going to Charis Bible College in Chicago was God’s next step for him.

Today Benjamin, his brother Rueben, his mother Thomesa and his dad, Bruce, all attend CBC-Chicago. And of course, Benjamin is attending debt free.