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Update from the President: May 18, 2017

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Update from the President

May 18, 2017

Ambassador Bible College is graduating its 18th class this coming Sunday afternoon. What a fine class it’s been! It will be sad to see this class disperse and go their separate ways. But, it will also be most satisfying to know that they are leaving with purpose and will take their valuable training back to their congregations around the world.

For their annual class trip, the students visited Nashville, Tennessee, from Friday, May 12, through Monday, May 15. These trips are primarily done as a service to a congregation, but they are also a special treat for the students. On the Sabbath, they performed a special music program during the sermonette time, and ABC Coordinator Frank Dunkle gave the sermon. The Nashville congregation provided wonderful hospitality, including a Mexican potluck dinner. The Horvath family opened their home to house the students during their stay. Along with sight-seeing in Nashville, the trip included a tour of Mammoth Cave on the trip there, and a visit to Cummins Falls on the trip home. A highlight of the trip was having one student baptized at the base of the waterfall with his classmates present.

A few years ago the Mission Statement of ABC was updated to include an active assignment for those who have gone through ABC: “The Mission of Ambassador Bible College, sponsored by the United Church of God, an International Association, is to diligently uphold and faithfully teach the truths of God, as found in the Bible, to equip disciples of Jesus Christ for a life of faithfulness and godly service.”

We indeed expect these men and women to be pillars and examples in their local congregations, having learned more about a godly way of life and to be prepared to help out in their local congregations. We expect our pastors to note their conversion, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness and endurance when they return.

Teaching the Truth

The ABC seal at the entry to the lecture hall unashamedly states that we are ”Teaching the Truth.” What truth? “Your word is truth” (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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). And, that is what Ambassador Bible College teaches. It teaches the Truth about: 

  • Who are God the Father and Jesus Christ? What is the Holy Spirit?
  • What is man, who was created in the image of God?
  • What is God doing with mankind? With you, personally?
  • What is the Church?
  • What is the truth about the future? About prophecy? About the return of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God?
  • What is the truth about how to live our lives—Christian living?

The foundation of ABC’s training is the Bible, and we live what Paul wrote to Timothy: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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We take a high view of the word of God in that it is indeed inspired, inerrant and what Christ defined: “the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63 John 6:63It is the spirit that vivifies; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak to you, they are spirit, and they are life.
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ABC has made and will continue to make disciples who will then go out and make more such disciples who have: 

  • Learned the Truth
  • Faced the Truth
  • Lived the Truth in morality and doctrine
  • Have been transformed by the Truth
  • Will be passing on and teaching the Truth

We have taught ABC students to be responsible for their lives. They are fully aware of what they take with them wherever they go: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48 Luke 12:48But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
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Our expectation for our graduates is that they have the “godly service” component of ABC’s Mission Statement at the top of their minds. That means that they will make themselves useful in their congregations. They will apply what they have learned and they will make themselves available. They will listen and take an interest in getting to know their brethren in the congregation. And, they will further earn their trust by being a light set upon a hill in conduct, word, humility, modesty and how they appear on social media. Others in the congregation should want to say, “I want to be like them!” and some may be inspired to go to ABC.

We expect our graduates to be honored with the same reputation as Caleb, as described in the New Century version: “But my servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely. So I will bring him into the land he has already seen, and his children will own that land (Numbers 14:24 Numbers 14:24But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed me fully, him will I bring into the land into where he went; and his seed shall possess it.
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, emphasis added).

Other news

Ken and Dianne Skorseth from South Dakota are being assigned to help with pastoral work in New Zealand for three months. Our New Zealand pastor, Daniel Porteous, has had health matters that require him to step away from actively pastoring the congregations for a period of time. Ken will pastor the two congregations, visit the brethren and prospective members, as well as help with the office work. They will leave shortly after Pentecost and return sometime before the Feast of Trumpets. Ken and Dianne have traveled widely overseas and are the right fit for this temporary assignment.

Ministerial Education

Our ongoing Pastoral Development Program will start this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m., Eastern Time. The purpose is to provide further ongoing training to our newer ministers and those who have attended the training sessions at the home office. Approximately 35 ministers and ministerial trainees will be connected by web conference to hear Gary Petty’s first session about reconciliation.

Our regular ministerial online training program has been continuous since September 2012. Various classes about pastoral care, fundamentals of theology, the Gospels, Acts, prophecy and more have been taught by a variety of instructors on a weekly or twice-weekly schedule. Currently, 50 elders are online for our weekly Tuesday morning class studying the Pentateuch, taught by Dr. Frank Dunkle.

I ask for earnest prayers for those who are seriously ill that we read and hear of through various prayer request announcements. “…pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16 James 5:16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.