Abundant Life Lesson

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.

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7 responses to “Abundant Life Lesson

  • Greg England

    We should all be so blessed as to have an “Earl” in our lives. Better yet, to be an Earl to someone else.

  • Meowmix

    Again, I’m reminded of the Southern gospel quartet The Florida Boys and a song they sang about “the good folks in my life.” Would to God we can be the good folks in others’ lives, as Earl was in yours. I hope you can find him.

    One of the instructors at IBC, or he may have been president at one time, is a man I remember hearing preach in NE Arkansas when I was a little girl. Years later when I was grown and living in Memphis, he came to my congregation to speak. He is the man I referred to in my post today who stopped a sermon to lead us in singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

  • Keith Davis

    Judy, The man to whom you are refering is probably Charles Coil. That would be my guess. He truly was an awesome speaker.

  • Meowmix

    That would be the one!

  • c3andp

    Keith and Meow,
    I remember the sermon Charles Coil used to preach in which he would lead Jesus loves me. He would tell the story about how he went on a mission trip to India, preached and preached, but felt like he just was not connecting the message with his hearers. Then one night the song leader led “Jesus Loves Me” and he could see on the faces of the gathered that they were touched by the message of that simple song. So then, he would lead the song.
    I was at IBC from 77-80. When were you there, Keith. I knew an Earl W. Is this the Earl you refer to?
    Cecil III

  • Keith Davis

    I was there from 84-91. Yes it took 7 years. The Earl to whom I’m referring it Earl M. Brother Coil was a wonderful speaker.

  • cwinwc

    I hope you find Earl. We had a “finding” of our own this past weekend.

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