One doesn't have to look any further than the Pharisees in the Old Testament to see that the religious ear has a difficult time receiving the truth of the Gospel in all its goodness. For Ken and Lori Balma, the truth came like torture. As much as Andrew's teaching cut across the grain of the Balma's Christian religion, they couldn't stop listening. Once they opened their hearts to the truth, the couple began to let the Lord lead their lives. Today Ken and Lori are graduates of Charis Bible College in Colorado, and they have opened a CBC extension school in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ken had only been listening to Andrew's radio program for a short time when he and Lori watched their first TV broadcast of the Gospel Truth. Lori's introductory teaching came from the series The Word Became Flesh and the topic for the day was The Sovereignty of God. The teaching was quite a shock to her because she had spent many years investing in performance-based church righteousness. Lori said, "I could hardly stand it. I told Ken, 'This [teaching] is heresy—turn it off.' At the same time the Spirit was saying to me, turn the TV back on—listen to this man. We would turn it on, listen for five more minutes, and turn it off."
The Balmas continued listening to Andrew and finally came to realize that their efforts towards holiness had all been dead works. The two would study one of Andrew's teachings as they made their daily hour-and-a-half commute to work. "For the first time in our lives, we were growing in the word together, getting understanding and truth spoken into our lives through Andrew's ministry. We were so excited for all that God had for us," said Lori.
Lori and Ken went to work every day, sensing that God had a different plan for their lives. One day as they were walking together and praying during their lunch hour, the Lord spoke to the Balmas that they were to attend Charis Bible College in Colorado, and bring the message of grace and faith back to their home in Minnesota. Lori admitted, "We did not know much about AWM or CBC, or even that there was such a thing as extension schools. We thought we were going to Colorado for a year. We really had no information about Charis Bible College."
The Balmas immediately made plans to attend Andrew's upcoming Summer Family Bible Conference in Colorado. It quickly became clear to the Balmas that CBC-Colorado was where God wanted them, and six weeks later the couple had relocated. They had rented their home in Minnesota, and sent their three children off to other colleges. Lori is quick to emphasize that their family had five people in college at the same time, with tuition due for each person. "When we said, 'yes' to the plans and purposes of God for our lives, supernatural things and supernatural provision began to be available," she said.
Lori shared that prior to attending CBC, she had always struggled with trusting God for finances and had virtually no understanding of how the laws of the Kingdom worked. As a result, she had always worked long hours to help provide for her family's needs. Part of the provision Lori saw, at the time they decided to leave Minnesota, was that the large corporation she and her husband worked for offered them a remote or offsite position, allowing them to stay employed with the company as they moved to Colorado. While this made the transition easier, it didn't last. Within four months of their arrival in Colorado, the Balmas saw this source of income dry up almost overnight. It was during this time that the inner knowing of God's goodness and care for her became very real. Even facing tuition payments over $24,000.00, Lori was able to release her grip on the things of this world, and she began to receive provision from God's hand.
As their tuition payment deadlines drew near, the couple had dinner with some classmates, and the friends prayed and agreed in faith for the Balma's provision. It was at that moment that something changed in the spirit for Lori and Ken, and the Balmas knew that they knew that they did not have to strive for their provision anymore. The next afternoon, the Balma's employer called and offered them two new positions with a pay increase totaling three times the amount they had been earning. Ken and Lori's finances were restored, and they were able to meet their tuition obligations.
"We saw this story repeated over and over during those three years in Colorado. We learned to trust in God's goodness and live in a place of the peace of God. We entered a place of Sabbath rest as we understood our position in Christ. I am not saying that we live it out perfectly, but this new place is so different than our old address," said Lori referring to their place of self effort. "God is always speaking if you will take the time to listen. He provided that Sabbath rest for you and me, but it is up to each of us to receive the provisions God has already made," she said.
Ken and Lori have since graduated and completed their third-year internship at CBC-Colorado, and they are now directing CBC-Minneapolis. The word the Lord spoke to them during their lunch-hour walk several years ago has come to pass; they have brought the message of grace and faith back to the people of Minnesota. The Balmas are leading 39 students and they know they are in the center of the perfect will of God for their lives. "It is the best place ever. He has this place for each of us. If we will take the time to earnestly seek Him, we will find Him. It is a promise, not made by me, but by Jesus," said Lori confidently.
For more information visit CBC-Minneapolis, contact the Balmas via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (612) 217-4565.