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Entries in Charis Bible College (45)

Monday
Dec122016

Casting God’s Love over Your Children

As we walked into the assembly of over 300 children and I saw the staff dressed up as characters for Book Day, I knew it was the perfect setup for our skit: “Postman Joe,” frantic to deliver his package to Miss Ginger, wouldn’t leave until she opened it, and inside was a special book.

As she opened the book, a Bible, it glowed from within and projected rays of light. The grade school children of Birmingham, England, gasped in surprise. Every eye was fastened on Ginger as she spoke of the love of God and demonstrated that love with a red heart as the object lesson. Another Charis team member followed Ginger’s teaching with an invitation for the kids to accept Christ. Although they prayed silently, we could see the majority of kids mouthing the words after her as she prayed. It was a glorious moment as God’s love was cast like a net over the entire room.

I first met Ginger and her husband, Joe, during our preparation for the England missions trip. Like so many of us who come to Charis Bible College Colorado, Joe and Ginger Pillitteri had moved from another state—in their case, Florida. Joe was a pharmaceutical representative, and Ginger was a teacher for autistic children. Based on her experience with kids, Ginger was asked to lead the children’s ministry for our team in England.

This same couple was then asked to lead the weeklong children’s program at the 2016 Summer Family Bible Conference held in Woodland Park, Colorado. Because their teaching reflects the grace taught by Andrew and other Charis instructors, Ginger and Joe’s results with the kids were phenomenal. Children were healed, saved, and filled with the Holy Ghost as they learned about their identity in Christ.

“Essentially [Ginger taught] all those things that we had to relearn when we first came [to Charis]. Most people come here with religious baggage that weighs them down,” Joe explained.

“I think you reach kids just like you reach adults, by starting with God’s love and the nature of God,” Ginger said. “Who is He? How does He see me? Why does He love me? And what does that look like?”

As she was planning for the event, Ginger said, “God told me to teach on the identity of Christ. What does God see when He sees you? He sees Jesus—God sees perfection on the inside of you.”

Ginger described one boy who hung his head and said, “I’m not righteous.” She explained, “[The kids] don’t think they are righteous; they don’t think they are worth anything. They have condemnation at such a young age.”

For the 2017 Andrew Wommack Ministries Summer Family Bible Conference, Joe and Ginger want parents to know that they aren’t just dropping off their kids for childcare. “The Holy Spirit is naturally supernatural,” Joe said. “We want kids to realize that they have [already] heard Him many times; they just didn’t know it.

“Consider this,” Joe continued, “children always responded to Jesus.” Speaking of the time that John the Baptist leapt in his mother’s womb at Mary’s greeting (Luke 1:41-43), Joe explained, “An unborn baby was the first to recognize Him [Jesus] as another unborn baby.”

Joe wants to stress to parents, “Don’t limit your kids by believing that they are not here to have an encounter with Jesus on their level. If the Holy Spirit can talk with shepherds or wise men, He can speak to children—just as He does [with] adults.”

It is exciting to realize that families coming to the 2017 Summer Family Bible Conference can expect their children to have an encounter with God that will draw them into either a first-time relationship or a deeper one with Him. Make your plans early to come to Woodland Park, Colorado, on July 3-7, 2017. You won’t want to miss God’s perfect setup for you and your
whole family!

Thursday
Nov102016

A Sneak Peek at Christmas

One Christmas Eve, my dad agreed to let my sisters and me sleep in the downstairs family room on our grandparents’ sleigh bed, the bed he put together each time my grandparents visited. They hadn’t arrived yet, so it was all ours. Once we were bathed and in our pajamas, we crawled into that magical bed. Full of giggles, we told stories until we fell asleep with the joyful anticipation that the next day was Christmas.

In the middle of the night, my younger sister woke us up. “Let’s go peek for presents,” she whispered.

As our bare feet hit the cold, unfinished floor, the fear of being caught gripped me. Huddled together we pushed forward, opening the door to the game room. The Christmas tree was still lit, its reflection twinkling on the floor. Soon, we were on our tummies, trying to get close to the festively wrapped presents under the tree, and looking for the tags with our names on them.

Suddenly, a bedroom door opened upstairs. We knew the heavy tread of our father’s footsteps as he came down the hall and neared the top of the steps. In a flash, we were on our feet, sliding back through the door, and jumping into bed as Dad came down the stairs. Our hearts were racing as we lay perfectly still, pretending to be asleep. I sneaked a peek at my dad. In his white robe, he practically glowed in the dark.

“There wouldn’t be anyone awake now and out of bed?” he asked. “I better not hear another sound.” And then he disappeared.

Christmas morning came as usual. After church and breakfast, it was finally time to gather together and unwrap the presents.

The anticipation while trying to fall asleep and then excitement over discovering what our parents had prepared for us were always part of the Christmas experience. In the same way, as you sit in the audience and the lights fall at the start of The Heart of Christmas program, a shared holiday excitement enters the room. The set is like a great expanse filled with presents as you sit in the darkened theater. Only once the music begins and the set lights up do you get to feast your senses on the holiday wonder that the cast, director, and crew of Charis Bible College have prepared for you.

Christmas music—both the familiar and the new—fills you with nostalgia as you enjoy a feeling of family within your own community. To experience this for yourself, go to www.HeartOfChristmas.org to order your tickets. Adult admission is $25, admission for children ages 5 to 11 is $15, and children under 5 (on an adult’s lap) are admitted for free.

Arrive a little early and enjoy Christmas festivities, photo opportunities with a professional photographer, and the beautiful property of The Sanctuary. Don’t miss this opportunity to discover what’s wrapped up in The Heart of Christmas for you!

Thursday
Nov032016

Shared Experience—It’s the Heart of Christmas

I was six years old the year I found a long, rectangular package with my name on it under the Christmas tree. The box was wrapped in candy cane-stamped, pine-green paper, and inside was a doll. She had caramel-colored hair, a white blouse, and a red, Scottish-plaid beanie and skirt. I named her Tammy.

After dinner and baths, I sat on the floor in pajamas with my little sister. My parents and older siblings were there too. The darkened room created a theater effect. The television played a movie about Heidi, her grandfather, and an ornery goat. Christmas lights twinkled off the surface of our shiny floor like stars reflecting on a lake. We passed around bowls of popcorn, and Tammy sat on my lap. Nothing can ever take away the sense of belonging I had in that moment. For me, family identity was formed on holidays, during our shared meals, or on game nights. Those shared experiences were embedded in me as a child, creating points of connection.

Last year I attended Charis Bible College’s original production The Heart of Christmas. My son and I went with several families from his school. Sitting shoulder to shoulder with my son, a familiar warmth rushed through my senses as soon as the lights fell.

The Heart of Christmas, an original play written by Adam Stone and Elizabeth and Robert Muren, focuses on a family who passes their Christmas traditions down through a book, as the world changes rapidly around each generation. The book is the story of a “fourth” wise man who becomes separated from the other three wise men. He spends his life looking for the Messiah, whom he missed the opportunity to honor as a babe in Bethlehem.

The stage of this multimedia play is divided into one set featuring a two-story house and one set that displays all the action that occurs outside of the home. The family’s living room takes on scenes from the past up to the present, while the main stage portrays scenes from the book. With stage changes, the main stage also becomes the historical site of world events. Background action and crowd scenes are projected onto large screens behind the set, giving the production a larger-than-life feel.

If you’re looking for a shared family experience, The Heart of Christmas will transport you and your loved ones to a magical moment where cherished memories are formed and holiday traditions are made. The early-bird price is $21 for adults, but be sure to order by November 9. After November 9, regular adult admission will be $25. Children from 5 to 11 years old are $15, and children under 5 (on an adult’s lap) are free.

Plan to come to Charis a little early that day to enjoy Christmas festivities, photo opportunities with a professional photographer, and Charis’s scenic mountain property, The Sanctuary. It’s a holiday experience you won’t want to miss.

Don’t forget: Early-bird prices will only last through November 9. Go to www.HeartOfChristmas.org and order your tickets today!