Posts tagged Emmaus students
Stephen Ray: God Has Declared Me, "Not Guilty"

2,000 years ago a man stood condemned in the Roman courts. This man claimed to be the living God, sent to earth to save humanity from sin and death. The penalty for his crime: death. The police tape had been taken down, the detectives had gone home, and the case was closed. Had they known the man was truly innocent, that the jury had been paid off from the start, they might have let him live. Unlike most dead men though, this one didn't stay dead. He rose! Suddenly sons and daughters began to prophesy, young men had visions, older men dreamed dreams, and the word of this Jesus Christ spread throughout the whole world.

Now, the case has been reopened, and you are left to answer the question: what happened?

My name is Stephen Ray. I am a recent college graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communication. I have been a student here at Emmaus for 3 months now. As a detective of Scripture it has been an incredible journey to see God’s hand through the pages of Scripture as well as in my own life. I grew up in the small town of Holly, MI. My Father has been a camp pastor of multiple camps all of my life. As a child I grew up traveling the country with my father watching him lead thousands of youth to Christ. As a child, when people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would respond with, “what my papa does”.

During the summers I found myself working at Camp Lurecrest in Lake Lure, NC. While working there the assistant camp director, David Butts, took me under his wing as a mentor. Knowing my heart for ministry and leadership, David told me over and over again, “Stephen, you've got to know your bible”. Camp Lurecrest was the current location of ESBS, and over the years I built a relationship with Tom Philips, and I knew years ago that I needed to come to this school.

Here at the school we take on the role of a detective. Using the Inductive Bible Study method, we try to get back into the first century mindset so that we can get a full understanding of the text. We watch the police tape and reopen the case. One of my biggest frustrations was leaving the first few cases, Philemon, Philippians, and Ephesians feeling like I

couldn't

know every detail. It took a while to realize that I

wouldn't

leave every case with having memorized every detail. I realized this when one of our teachers told us that this year we are here only to start the investigation, these cases will have to be revisited in the years to come.

While being a detective of the gospel, the most eye opening discovery happened in the case that I’d forgotten about. All throughout the New Testament we see that those who believe in Jesus are called righteous. To be righteous before God means that in the courts of heaven you have been legally declared, “not guilty”. Not only have those who believed in Christ been declared, “not guilty”, but we have been given the very righteousness of Christ. As I have spent more time learning the Bible I see more how God views me.

I thought I was coming here to investigate the case closed 2,000 years ago. I did. But in reality, I came to solve the case of my own heart. As for that one, the verdict is in: Not Guilty.

Room Renovations
Most of the time being on staff with Emmaus means teaching, grading, and maybe cooking or having a one-on-one with a student. It's full of awesome things and the only reason you would ever do it (in our minds at least) is because you feel called by God, and you love it!

But sometimes being on staff with Emmaus means doing things that aren't in the job description.

The last two weeks we have begun renovating the five rooms that we will be using for this coming fall. By the end of next week 4/5 of the rooms will be complete! We tore out the carpet, scraped the floors, painted the room, and put down brand new flooring and trim! 

Take a look!


Before renovations began

It's not every day you get to rip stuff...especially carpet...

Scraping up excess carpet glue...stuff...

Painting, painting, painting...

Caleb putting down matting for the floor

Tom Roberts putting in our new wood flooring for us!

Tom: "This is how it's going to work from now on..."
Trey: "Good deal..."

A special thanks to Kelly for getting us a GREAT deal on the flooring!

Here's the trim...space was a little limited at the time so we had to get creative with where to paint it...


The bad news? We all got a little grumpy throughout the process. Props to Caleb for sticking it out with a migraine one day!
The good news? Nobody died either by accident or by the hands of a fellow staff member...

Just kidding! But seriously, the rooms are looking fantastic and we couldn't have done any of it without Tom Roberts! 

We are so excited at the prospect of filling these rooms with new students this August! We will post more pictures of the finished rooms once the new bunk beds are in place!

*Note: If you would like to give to our general fund to help us pay for these gorgeous rooms our students will live in, please visit our website here: http://www.emmausbibleministries.org/donate/


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The Joy of a Teacher
"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
- 3 John 1:4 -

In 3 John, the apostle John was writing to a man named Gaius. He was writing to him because Gaius was having trouble with some other men in his congregation and he needed encouragement and instruction on what to do. What was John's encouragement? He was rejoicing over Gaius, rejoicing because Gaius knew the Gospel of Jesus Christ and he was living it out, holding fast to what he knew was the truth.

John's greatest joy was to hear from other Christians that Gaius was living out his faith, diligently continuing in what John had taught him.

One of the greatest joys you can ever have as a teacher is to hear that your students are doing well, pursuing what they love with a passion, and continuing in what you taught them. At Emmaus we feel this all the time. We get phone calls from students who are leading Bible studies in their churches, going to the mission field, and reaching out to at-risk-youth. We see facebook posts and twitter feeds that tell us our students are passing on what they've learned here at Emmaus, and they're living lives that glorify God in all that they do.

Just recently one of our students from last year, Eric Frid, decided to memorize the book of Galatians. There are no words to describe how excited this makes us as a staff! Not because memorizing Galatians makes him any more spiritual than the next person (after all, isn't that the entire message of Galatians? Salvation and acceptance through Jesus, not works?!), but because it's an intentional attempt of Eric's to stay rooted in God's Word and to allow it to sink deep into his heart and mind. And when the Word sinks deep, it transforms us.

A year at Emmaus can change your life. You get into a habit of studying and wrestling with God's Word. You grow in your relationship with Christ because the Bible starts to point out which mindsets and habits are good and godly and which ones need work. It's hard to get away with not doing your work and not spending personal time with the Lord outside of your study time. You are dropped fully and completely into the vat of the Bible. You learn a little bit more of what it means to depend on the Holy Spirit for wisdom, guidance, and perseverance.

But leaving can be extremely hard. You don't have the same accountability you once had. You don't have to get up and study God's Word. It gradually becomes easy to forget all that you've learned, to fall back into old habits, and to let Netflix do it's thing.

Eric used to be an atheist, lost in drugs and sin. But God is a good God. He is a God who chooses to save us because He loves us, not because we're worthy. And He chose to save Eric and his wife, Amber.

In coming to Emmaus, Eric (and the other students as well) chose to fight a battle. It's the battle of getting to know God's Word. It's the battle of early mornings and late nights and more information than you feel you can handle. It's the battle of taking baby steps towards living the way God calls us to live. It's a battle of discipline.
In leaving Emmaus, Eric has faced the war of continuing to learn his Bible and live it out in a world that daily rejects the God who created it. Eric desires to love God, to love his wife and children, and become, daily, more of the man he knows God created him to be. And memorizing the book of Galatians is playing a part in all of that.

And it gives us all no greater joy than to hear that our students, like Eric, are walking in the truth. We are so extremely proud of all of them. We're thankful and we rejoice every time we hear or see them making the intentional choice to be transformed by God's Word. It reminds us of how powerful God's Word is, how it can take who we once were and make us into someone entirely different, and how important it is for us to keep reaching out and showing others His Word as well.


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