Digest Four: A Life Lesson
By Shuling Barker / Associate Dean
Missionaries had been sent to Taiwan from different denominations for years. Growing up as a church goer, I met some of them. I had heard of great testimonies about some from Chinese Church History, but I never met one that impressed me. To me, they were not doing much, and yet they were rich. They were supposed to know the Bible, but I was not convinced that they knew what they were talking about. They lived in nice places with maids helping them cook and doing their housekeeping. Everything they had was a luxury dream for most of the natives. I always wondered, “Why God made their life better than ours, and yet I rarely saw Jesus in them?” Until one day I met Su Bok-Su (Rev. Smith).
Su Bok-Su and his family came to Taiwan as missionaries around 1974. He started to learn Taiwanese at the same time he was helping with a Bible study at our small Reformed Presbyterian Church in Taichung, in the central part of Taiwan. Though he struggled with the language and had difficulties expressing himself during that time, I was impressed with the way he tried hard to do his best.
One Sunday afternoon my father, the church’s elder, was having a phone conversation. All of a sudden he screamed, “He hung up on me. He hung up on me.” My younger brother and I looked at each other. I asked, “Who?” “Su Bok-Su” my father answered and walked away. End of conversation. We didn’t know what happened and why he was upset.
A few hours later Su Bok-Su showed up at the door with his motorcycle. He said to my father, “I am going to church for evening service. The Bible says, ‘So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift’ (Mt. 5:23-24). Here I am. I have come to ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me.” He stretched out his hand trying to shake my father’s hand but my father refused in anger, “You’ve done no wrong. You don’t need forgiveness.” Su Bok-Su was humiliated, embarrassed and hurt... He walked away with a grieving heart. My younger brother and I were shocked by what we saw and heard. I wondered if Su Bok-Su might have thought that he was a failure but in my heart, I saw a spiritual giant, a godly example, a walking Bible, a humble servant, and a true follower of Jesus Christ.
My father passed away in February, 1979. We moved from Taichung to Taipei which is the northern part of Taiwan. We lost contact with Su Bok-Su until two years ago. I found out he is the senior pastor of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois which is just 24 miles away from where I live. The world is big and small, isn’t it?
There have been many missionaries that I had encountered in Taiwan. Why did Su Bok-su stand out? He lived out God’s Word and applied His truth in his daily walk even at the risk of looking bad. His example spoke loudly to me, more so than any missionary that I have encountered. I thank God for using him to teach me a life lesson that I will never forget. Thank you Rev. Lendall Smith. X
How I Have Been Hindered?
By Brian Henderson / Student
When I started working on the assignment for class, little did I know what I would learn about myself. Our assignment was to reflect on what we learned from Galatians that would be helpful for ministry. Upon reflecting, a question popped up from Galatians 5:7, “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” This question became my life probing question. I had to ask myself how I have been hindered.
Paul reminds the churches in Galatia about how well they were running the Christian race. In the past they welcomed and positively responded to the teachings of Christ through Paul himself. The reality of their belief in the truth about Christ was demonstrated by their obedience to Christ. In the words of a songwriter they were running trying to make a hundred because ninety-nine and a half won’t do. The Galatians were running a great race but they were not thoroughly grounded in the truth and as a result, during Paul’s absence from them, they were led astray by Judaizing teachers. These Judaizers taught that the benefits of the Gospel could be appropriated only by meeting the requirements of Judaism. For them to be accepted by God it was Christ plus Mosaism. The Galatians did not carefully examine the teachings of these Judaizers and as a result they were tripped up, distracted, and they were turning from the truth of Christ. They were no longer running a good race so the Apostle Paul penned this Epistle to help correct the errors of the churches at Galatia.
As I look at myself, this passage in Galatians 5: 7 reminded me that I was running a good race, a great race. I received the Word of the Lord and positively responded to the teachings of Christ. I operated, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, in the realm of my calling. I spoke and stood boldly upon the promises of God and as a result I was elevated in the sight of God and man. I was running a great race. However, I was side tracked by some man made doctrines and traditions. My hindrance did not come because I went along with man, but because I did not go along with man. Nevertheless I was side tracked. I was ostracized, my name was slandered, and I was held back because I did not support the unbiblical self-centered teachings of the pastor. It was said that anyone who did not whole heartedly support him was not a Christian. This troubled me so much, but instead of continuing on the path that I knew was pleasing to God I changed my message. My message was still the Gospel, but it was different. It was sugar coated. It was watered down, and it was so diluted with phrases and colorful slogans that it was like I was saying nothing and in essence I was saying nothing. Ironically, it seemed even more people liked me when I was saying nothing, but I didn‘t like those sermons and I know God was not pleased. I was no longer running a good race. I am thankful to God that He reminded me of the truth, His truth, and that I have embraced His truth.
In response to the questions that were assigned, the book of Galatians has helped me see myself clearly. It has helped me to see where I was (a man pleaser), where I am, and where I am going. This book has also encouraged me to give God my all in service to him, and not to worry about pleasing man. I have learned as a leader not to be easily persuaded by others, but to obey God’s Word no matter what the cost. My hindrances do not come from God for He is the One who called me to freedom (cf. Gal. 5:8). X
(This article is an adaptation of a paper submitted by the student for the Book of Galatians class.)
God Made a Way Out of No Way
By Edward C. Ivory / Student
Deep in my heart, I always wanted to go to Bible School. However, I was instructed that if God did not call you by His Spirit, then you could go to all the colleges in the world, but it would not be helpful. I wanted to please God so I took the advice. I disregarded Bible School for about fifteen years, but I still had a yearning for biblical training. I have been the pastor of Pentecostal Deliverance Temple for two years. I praise God for the miracles, signs and wonder that follow those who believe in our Lord Savior Jesus Christ. One day I sensed the Holy Spirit said to me, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). How can you do any better if you don't know any better?
I priced Moody Bible Institute, but I could not afford it at that time. My mother-in-law, Helen Oliver, found an advertisement saying that Chicago Bible Institute had free classes available for whoever would like to be trained for ministry. God really made a way out of no way for me to attend Chicago Bible Institute. I not only have spiritual insight, but I also have knowledge of the Word of God to apply it properly to everyday life. Praise the Lord for the blessing of allowing CBI and my path to come together. X
God is in the Blessing Business
By John K. Wynn Jr. / Alumnus
Chicago Bible Institute (CBI) is truly a tool God is using to train and equip laypeople and church leaders in the inner city to do the work of the ministry to the glory of God, so we will no longer be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the deception and craftiness of men that await to deceive us. CBI helped me to grow up spiritually in Christ Jesus. Where I was immoral in my past, CBI helped me to become a moral person in the present. CBI helped me to fear God. The teachings I received from this godly institute scared the hell out of me, making me realize that the God we serve is in control. He is the true and living God who has a plan and purpose for all of creation, including me. These teachings have helped me to take the Word of God and apply it to my life making me the spiritual man God has called me to be.
CBI was a hindrance to me at first because it wasn't a big time seminary or have accredited courses. My teachings were not accepted by some of my peers of the Gospel, but that's O.K. because Jesus wasn't either and still isn't. The teaching I received from CBI has opened doors for me. In July, I got to speak for the Illinois State Baptist Convention Youth Day. Normally, only well known speakers speak at these conventions. I'm proud to say that those pastors that attended wanted to know where I received my teachings they were very pleased with my message and they asked my pastor where he had been hiding me.
God is in the blessing business. He has blessed me through CBI and CBI will be a blessing to others. X
God Does Things According to His Will, His Way and His Time
By Wylanda Wynn / Student
How would you respond if your husband told you that he was called into ministry after eight years of marriage? We got married on May 18, 1991. After a personal renewal, I started praying for my husband’s salvation. I was surprised eight years later when he told me that he was called to ministry. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself. I kept talking to God for days because being a minister is a lot to handle. Then I talked to my husband about his calling and expressed all of my concerns. At the end of our conversation, I had to believe it was God’s will. I told him that I would support him and his calling into God’s ministry.
Yet, I had further concerns because he was not a man with a soft voice or compassionate words. He didn’t have a welcoming face and a warm smile. I kept praying for him and continued to be supportive. Since his calling, I have to admit that God has and is continuing to change my husband for His glory. I realize that God does things according to His will, His way and His time. In preparation for ministry, my husband finished his Christian education at Chicago Bible Institute in 2004. I have noticed that he is applying the biblical principles in his daily life. It is also a blessing to hear him teach and preach God’s Word. I enjoy being the first to read his sermons - I type them for him.
My husband has encouraged me to get more training with CBI. As result of taking classes, I am stronger in my relationship with Jesus. Since being at CBI, my knowledge of the Bible has improved, which is greatly needed when working together with my husband in the Lord’s vineyard. I still pray for God’s guidance and instruction in our lives. May God be glorified in us and through us. X
To My Beloved Child
When you were little, I spent a lot of time teaching you –
Sliding on the slide;
Using the spoon and chopsticks;
Tying your shoes, buttoning your buttons and zipping your zipper;
Putting your clothes on, combing your hair and blowing your nose;
I cherished each moment we were together.
So, when my mind is not sharp and even forgets what I am going to say,
Please be tolerant with me.
Give me more time to think. I might forget all.
Did you forget how we practiced hundreds of times to sing your first nursery rhyme?
And you might not know that I had to brain storm to answer many of your unthinkable questions.
So, when I repeat the old, old stories and hum my childhood songs over and over again,
Please be considerate to me.
Let me savor in those memories.
I still long for talking with you.
Recently I often forget buttoning my buttons or tying my shoes
Even when I eat, I get myself dirty and when I comb my hair, my hand cannot stop shaking.
Yet, whenever I am with you I feel the stream of warmness in my heart.
So, please bear with me.
Give me a little bit more gentleness and patience.
Now my feet cannot stand firm and I can hardly walk.
So, please hold my hands tightly
And walk with me slowly,
Just like in the old days when I helped you walk one step at a time. X
(The original handwriting was in Chinese and was discovered on a wall of a nursing home in Taiwan. Translated by Shuling Barker.)
Copyright © 2005
Chicago Bible Institute. Based in Chicago, Illinois.