Jesus said, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full!” That particular verse rings loud in the memories I have as a student at International Bible College. This is particularly true because of a fellow-student named Earl who was a good friend during his short stay at IBC. He pointed out this verse to me and to this day I think it was he first verse I’d learned that taught me about the love of God and the grace He’s given us through His Son.
During those years the campaigns we went on were some of the best memories of my time there. We took a week out of each semester to go to some other city in the US and knock doors and teach the gospel. We all struggled with the best “method” of teaching people how to be saved. There were Jim Massey’s “Departures” lessons. Many of us used them. There was the “Open Bible” series. There were lots more tools that were wonderful for young Christians to use to teach the gospel message.
Earl believed that the best way to teach someone was to simply open the Bible and begin teaching straight from the scriptures. This was a really tough one for me. My working knowledge of the Bible was not very good at the time. Earl taught me a trick to use my Bible that would eventually help me use it much easier. I would begin at John 10:10 and place the next passage I wanted to go to in the margin next to that verse and repeat the process until I was done. It was a real blessing.
Earl left the school after that campaign we went on. He was in an extremely conservative part of our fellowship and just could not handle some of the views held by many of our instructors. I remember the day he got up and announced his leaving. I cried because he had helped me so much.
Isn’t it interesting how God can take a person with such views and teach a young preacher about grace. I will always remember Earl as a man who taught me to begin my teachings to those who don’t know Jesus with the concept of “life.” Having life to the full is what most people say they desire. There is no better life than the life we find in Jesus–the abundant life!
I wonder where Earl is now. I’ve tried to locate him through the school’s data banks and they have the wrong address for him. I would like to find him and thank him for helping me be able to share the good news of Jesus and the life He gives all who call on His name.