Have you ever had a mountain-top experience with God? You know, the kind that makes you feel on top of the world? As Christians we may attend an inspiring retreat, conference, or revival and our faith seems stronger than it ever was before. Yet, it isn’t long before the daily grind drags us back into the valley and we start to wonder what went wrong.
Standing at the top of Snow King Mountain in Wyoming, just overlooking the quaint town of Jackson Hole, I noticed something interesting: There aren’t many houses on the mountain. People come up here to enjoy the winter wonderland, but then they go back to their homes in the valley. As I pondered this fact, I was reminded that the Christian life isn’t lived on the mountain-top. While we do have amazing experiences up there, we have been called to serve God in the valley.
JACKSON HOLE BIBLE COLLEGE
Every year I look forward to my week at Jackson Hole Bible College. It’s always a treat for this Florida boy to experience (well-bundled, I assure you) the joys of ice skating, snowboarding, skiing, and snowball fights. But most of all, I look forward to getting to know the students at JHBC and sharing the God of the Bible with them. Founded in 1997 by Don Landis, this unique college offers a one year Diploma in Biblical Foundations. Through interaction with various professors, like myself, as well as JHBC faculty members, the students receive intense but meaningful training, and a foundation of truth that sets them up for life. Every year I am honored to lead the students to the pinnacles of God’s Glory, while reliving the “good old days” from when I was a student there twenty years ago!
CREATION APOLOGETICS 101
At the beginning of our week, I had just one goal: For the students to see God like they had never seen Him before, so they would understand why He is worthy of all honor, glory, and praise. In the middle of the week, I was blessed to be approached by a young man who had been raised in church with Christian parents, but had never come to a personal understanding of truth. There in that classroom, he showed me a written pledge he made, unequivocally surrendering his life to God. Nothing could have given me more joy! Then one of the girls shared how the Apologetics training that week had equipped her to share the Gospel with her co-workers, even giving her the boldness to engage a skeptic with Biblical Apologetics. Every year I hear stories like this and every year I am amazed at the spiritual growth I get to witness in one short week with the students at Jackson Hole Bible College.
Many of us are missing something in life because we are after the second best. I put before you what I have found to be the best—one who is worthy of all our devotion—Jesus Christ, the Savior. Choosing best means choosing surrender. Lord, here I am.
—Eric Liddell, Gold Medalist in 1924 Paris Olympics; Scottish Missionary Martyr to China
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS
Because it isn’t enough to just talk about Apologetics, at the end of the week we always set aside time and “take it to the streets!” First in the classroom, engaging social skeptics on my Facebook page, and then on the streets of Jackson Hole Wyoming. Equipped with ministry packets from Living Waters, the students are challenged to initiate conversation and offer gospel tracts to those passing by on the street. Every year we get different reactions and interesting encounters.
This year, I was surprised when a Chinese man took the tract he was offered, but quickly hustled the young girl who was with him away from us, muttering that this sort of thing was not allowed in China.
Then, a young man named Anthony took our “I.Q. Test” and answered 2 out of 3 correctly! We were able to take him through the “Good Person Test” and encourage him to seriously consider his eternal destiny. While the harsh weather did seem to discourage most people from engaging in conversation, I used the opportunity to remind the students that God is in control of the weather. He only asks us to be faithful in sowing the seeds of truth–for His glory–not our own. Only eternity will reveal the impact those seeds made here on earth.
BACK TO THE VALLEY
As my amazing week at Jackson Hole Bible College came to an end, I was able to look forward to next year remembering that, while a mountain-top experience can be invigorating for a Christian, we aren’t called to stay there, but to live life in the valley–for God’s Glory.
“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” —Jim Elliot, Missionary Martyr in Ecuador
TESTIMONY FROM STUDENT
This week of class has been phenomenal… I cannot wait to throw myself into whatever work or ministry the Lord would have me be in. Our professor this week is Eric Hovind. He has been sharing the gospel in class like nobody’s business, and two of our classmates actually admitted that they didn’t know if they were saved on the FIRST day of class this week. One of them gave his life to the Lord today.
I am so full of joy and conviction and love I don’t know what to do with it all… but tomorrow I can “let ‘er loose” in a way, because we get to go street evangelizing for a few hours in the Jackson town square. I cannot wait.
I really culminated my thoughts about missions outreach and prayed seriously about my plans for the future as I took Eric Hovind’s Creation Apologetics 101 class. I was awestruck by who God truly is, and what HE has done for us. Praise God for all of this! This week and last week have changed my life… I will remember them always as a hallmark of my Christian life. —Annie, 2018 Student at Jackson Hole Bible College