Digest Two: God's Purpose for CBI
By A. Daniel Barker Jr./Dean
When I became the Dean of Chicago Bible Institute, I spent several weeks asking God to show me His purpose for CBI. One day as I was reading Ephesians 4:11-13 in a book, I could sense the Lord speaking to my heart that this was His purpose for CBI. As a result, Ephesians 4:12 “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ” became the foundation of CBI. Based on this verse I came up with the following purpose statement:
The Chicago Bible Institute exists to train and develop lay people and church leaders in the inner city to do the work of the ministry so that they can build up the body of Christ to the glory of God.
What is it that drives our ministry at CBI?
There are two parts to our mission statement:
1. Our purpose is to train lay people and church leaders so that they can do works of ministry.
2. The ultimate goal of our training is to see the lay people and church leaders build up the body of Christ to the glory of God.
We believe in Christian education that equips servants to minister more effectively to build up the body of Christ in Chicago. We also believe that as we fulfill God’s Biblical purpose for CBI, He will be gloried. Our passion is to do this in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Why should you consider studying at CBI?
There are three reasons:
First, although you are called to ministry, you may feel inadequate. In fact, this is precisely what Paul means in Ephesians 4:12. The training or equipping has the connotation of supplying what is lacking in the minister. In other words you may already be doing ministry (e.g., preaching, teaching, evangelism), but there is an incompleteness that needs to be strengthened so that you can be more effective. This is why I went for training in Seminary to be more proficient in communicating God’s Word. I could see that people were starving for God’s Word - taught and preached with accuracy. We are here to strengthen your skills to communicate God’s Word.
Second, you may have lacked the credentials to get into other schools. Perhaps you do not have the grade point average to enter other Christian institutions, or you have very little formal education. At CBI, we believe that servants should not be hindered from their training because they lack the academic credentials.
Third, CBI offers tuition-free Christian education. If you are concerned about the cost of education, CBI may be the solution for you because our classes are free. Many of our students have shared with us that they wanted to get formal education, but most schools were too expensive. Consequently, CBI has been an answer to their prayers.
We are a non-denominational Christian institute. Our school is non-accredited. We offer certificates for each course completed and a diploma for the completion of any fifteen courses. If you sense that God is calling you to fulfill His purpose of building up the body of Christ and leading you to study with us, please contact us at (847) 392-1242. X
GOD MADE A WAY FOR ME
By Carl Pinkler / Student
How God has changed me from a sinner to a servant is really a long, long story. It’s easy for me to look back now and see that God was always in the picture.
I came from a very dysfunctional family where growing up was not easy. Though I was baptized at age 5, I leaned on my own understanding for many years. I took my first drink at an early age. One problem always seemed to lead to another problem. After high school, instead of going to college, I went to the streets because it was something familiar. Strangely, many times I went out to party and someone would say, “You look like a preacher.” That was the last thing I thought I would be. You see, I was trying to be something that I was never meant to be.
I refused to face and accept the reality of life, and I used drugs as a way to escape. Discovering cocaine, I became dependent very quickly. At first, I thought I’d take one hit from the cocaine pipe. Every time I thought, just one more, but one hit was too many and a thousand was never enough.
After 22 years of drugs, alcohol, lying, cheating and living like an animal, I had nowhere else to run but to God. When I was in the County jail, I was scared and tired, and I asked Jesus to come into my life and save me. As a result of my riotous living, I went to my first of 15 hospital visits in July of 1989. During my stay, I went to church with my mother, but it took me another five years of rising and falling before I fully surrendered my life to God.
On April 30, 1994, I came to the end of my road, with the writing of twenty-five bad checks, and the selling of everything in the home except the bedroom set and the kitchen utensils. I had no money for food and didn’t eat for seven days straight. I had rented out my apartment and had nowhere to go. I found myself sleeping on the floor with a pair of overalls as a pillow and a jacket for a blanket. Finally, I hit rock bottom, but God was watching over me. He made a way for me to get on a greyhound bus headed to Chicago from Anderson, Indiana so I could take part in a recovery program for drug addicts. Coming to Chicago was a turning point in my life, I was out of my comfort zone and was forced to trust God and focus on my recovery. As I struggled in the program, God stayed by me. I saw death and destruction knocking at my front door, but God slowly revealed himself to me and caused me to depend on him alone. He transformed me and showed me that with him all things are possible. God enabled me to regain my self-esteem.
In Chicago, God led me to New St. Matthew Church. After becoming a member, I finally accepted my calling into the ministry and asked God, “send me, I’ll go.” The Sunday school lesson on the day I accepted my call was so fitting. It was based on Isaiah 6:1-13 especially verse 8b, “Then said I, here am I; send me.” I had originally received my calling while in a treatment center years earlier. The chaplain had to be away and she agreed to allow me to fill in for her while she was gone. At the service, the overwhelming presence of the Lord filled that place and I knew that God had called me for this purpose: to seek and to save that, which was lost. After the service was over I made a note in my Bible to remember that experience.
God revealed to me through Elder Ingram, a man greatly respected, that school and more teaching polishes off what God has already given. Going to school, however, was out of the question. I needed training but could not afford to go to a school that required tuition fees. A friend told me about CBI and I was accepted in spring, 2001.
When I first arrived at CBI, I thought it was going to be boring and a waste of time. How wrong I was! My first class was Public Speaking. It is amazing that sometimes you don’t know half of what you think you know. God is good. He blesses me and the students of CBI. Since the first day of school, I no longer just read the Bible. I now know how to study my Bible. I am able to share with others what I’ve learned from my classes at CBI and as a result, other members from my church have attended CBI classes as well.
God has brought me to a good place. The detours that I insisted on taking along the way added pain to my life and detained me from the calling God had for me. But, consistent with his character, God continued to pursue me and lovingly showed me the better way. Now I enjoy the privilege of living as God intended and I am showing others how to do the same. X
MOVING BEYOND THE BROKEN PIECES
By Irma Walker Love / Student
God stepped into my life to save me and change me when I was a crack cocaine addict.
It was around 11:00 p.m. on May 18, 1987. I wanted to quit freebasing cocaine, but I saw no relief and no way out. I came to my end. A thought came into my mind that the only way out was to kill myself. Then, I would be free from this hell on earth. As I was sitting in my bathroom contemplating how I was going to do it, a voice commanded me to go to bed. It was such a strong urging within that I could not disobey. I went to bed that night but the same voice woke me up around 3:00 a.m. He told me to get a VCR tape that I had taped before. I responded, “I don‘t know which one”. He told me to run my hand across the tapes until he said, “Stop.” I did as he had commanded and I played the tape. On the tape, Morris Cerullo of World Evangelism was praying for a woman who was addicted to crack cocaine. While I was watching the video, I was knocked out cold. Two hours later God delivered and set me free from my addiction of cocaine.
I was born again on May 19, 1987. God supernaturally changed my life and healed my stutter. The Lord has granted me a hunger and thirst for Him and His word. I tried to apply the Scripture whenever I was weak or confused on the journey of the narrow way. God knew that I needed a church as a spiritual home. He guided me to Christ Deliverance Ministry, which I joined on July 5, 1987. Later, I was ordained to become a missionary and an evangelist to bring souls into God’s kingdom.
God gave me a special love for the lost street people. I had taught drug and alcohol addicts in the Cook County Jail as a Chaplain and shared the word of God in a women’s shelter. I told them that I had been out there and understood their plight in life. What Jesus had done for me, He could do for them also. Glory to God, who used me to bless many lives through the work of his Spirit.
I desired to go to school to get more training. I asked God to help me get into a good Bible school that was free. He led me to Chicago Bible Institute. My friends and I started in September 1999. In my classes at CBI, I am being prepared to study and teach the Bible. The more He reveals himself and his Word to me in the classes the more I hunger to learn.
God is using CBI to change my way of thinking. I learned that transformation is more important than numbers. I thought that I could not be used by God to do something big for Him. The Lord showed me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 1:13). Through CBI, God has given me the understanding that I must love the unlovable and touch the untouchable.
God gave me a new ministry, Moving Beyond the Broken Pieces, on February 12, 2002. He said to me that there are so many hurting and wounded people with broken lives that need to be mended. He stated, “I am ordaining you to go forth and organize this ministry.” The past summer, God helped me to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor by the State of Illinois, which I needed to start the ministry.
I will miss CBI when I graduate in 2003. I pray that God will bless our benefactor forever and ever. X
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Chicago Bible Institute. Based in Chicago, Illinois.