I just wanted to share with you that we recently had a consultant visit our school, [Calvary Christian School in Old Bridge, New Jersey], and share some professional development workshops with the staff. She was highly recommended and charges thousands of dollars for her workshops. I and several of my colleagues, who studied at CCU, were pleasantly surprised that, for the most part, everything the consultant said was a review from what we had learned in your program. There were a few resources and tips and tricks she shared that we could add to our toolbox, but the theories, recommendations and teaching strategies were familiar concepts that we had learned at CCU. It was reassuring to know that the information we are learning in your program is very comprehensive and up to date. I feel that I have a great advantage, having studied in the online program at CCU. It was very convenient, affordable and a pleasure to interact with the staff and fellow student professionals. I am eager to complete my second Master’s degree [in Christian Education] at CCU and look forward to continuing my education as a life-long learner. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
There’s no doubt most committed degree seekers give up much in the way of extracurricular activities, while navigating the turbulent waters of undergrad or postgraduate endeavors. And once that goal has been met, it should be a time of celebration, one filled with plenty of praise and a sense of accomplishment.
In fact, leading up to that “Big Day” every year, university stores are stocked with aisles full of congratulatory cards, stuffed toy animals wearing caps and gowns and a whole lot of accessible attire brimming with enough school spirit to last career-bound graduates well into retirement.
Don’t forget about those customary commencement speeches, either, which always seem to be a big hit, too.
Among the best in recent years were the words of technology legend and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who spoke on mortality at Stanford before he died in 2011 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
Then there was the comical yet lasting guidance from funnyman Stephen Colbert at Knox College in 2006: “The best career advice I can give you is to get your own TV show. It pays well, the hours are good, and you are famous.”
As usual, it’s hard to take Colbert seriously and even more difficult to know whether or not his declaration is true.
But for Michael Ellis, who graduated from Calvary Chapel University with a master’s degree in Christian Education earlier this year, widening his academic reach had nothing to do with chasing some sort of celebrity status. It simply was about heightening what the Lord had already given him, “those tools of discipleship that you see throughout God’s word, where He placed different people in different guys’ lives, at different times, to strengthen them, to encourage them, to help them with their ministry.”
“And that’s really something that I feel CCU has been able to do,” continued Ellis, who serves as a middle school assistant principal at Calvary Christian Academy and was the first CCA employee to graduate from the university. “Again, [the school] has helped me take what God has called me to do — which is to minister to students, their families and, now as an administrator, also to teachers — and build on that and cause it to grow, so I’m able to be more effective in my role as an educator.”
It’s safe to say that Ellis found himself in good company for such a pursuit, especially given the university’s approach toward helping students discover the Lord’s precise vocational plans for their lives.
“CCU is designed by the Lord to be a Spirit-led place for you and others to come together in a DISTINCTIVELY CHRISTIAN environment to discover and grow in your God-given gifts and calling,” wrote the school’s President, Dr. Chapin Marsh, in a message to the CCU community.
That’s certainly something echoed throughout scripture as well. Just look at what 1 Peter 4:10 says: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” Which also reflects longtime author and pastor John Piper’s thoughts on that very subject: ”Gifts are not for a few but for all, and every believer has abilities which the Holy Spirit has given and can use to strengthen others. And it is the supreme joy of life to discover what they are and then pour yourself out to others through these gifts.”
Ellis graduated with his bachelor’s in Biblical Studies from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, in the early ’90s and went straight into serving as a youth pastor for nearly 15 years, before moving to South Florida almost a decade ago to join God’s mission at CCA, which, along with CCU, is a ministry of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. So the native Midwesterner knows a thing or two about wrestling with and, ultimately, trying to understand what role the Lord would have us play in the life of His church.
“I gave my life to Christ at a very young age and knew when I was in eighth grade that I was called into full-time ministry,” noted Ellis, a father of two daughters who’s been married to his wife, Kori, for 22 years. “And I definitely didn’t see myself doing anything other than Christian education. So I had this path. But after a lot of prayer, next thing you know, I’m taking a Foundations of Faith class at CCU.
“But it’s one of those I’d recommend to anybody, because it will deepen you spiritually, no matter where you’re at in your walk with Christ. And, since I started at the school a couple years ago, it’s like God has seasoned some of the things He’d placed in me when it came to teaching and has now caused them to grow, to enhance and to bring out in me what I need to be a better educator.”
We are thrilled you are here! We’ve been praying for you and are here to serve you and your family. CCU is designed by the Lord to be a Spirit-led place for you to come together with other believers in a distinctly Christian environment to discover and grow in your God-given gifts and calling.
But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became afraid. Now Joseph will pay us back for all the evil we did to him,” they said. So the sent this message to Joseph:”Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you:’Forgive your brothers for the great evil they did to you.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive us.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and bowed low before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
But Joseph told them, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people. No don’t be afraid. Indeed, I myself will take care of you and your families.” And he spoke very kindly to them, reassuring them.
This is such a great example of Jesus! How often do we give into fear and rehash our past wrongs? We literally bathe in them!
Jesus’ act on the cross removes your guilt when you ask Him to be the Ruler of your life. Not only has He forgiven you, but He will care you and your families. He is for you!
Stop regurgitating your old sin.
Instead, thank Jesus for His grace and His tender care. Walk in joy knowing that the One who can forgive you has, and share the good news with another!
We at CCU thought some of you may be interested in what our Students are thinking….. This Testimonial is regarding our new Church Planting Certificate! The Lord is working in lives as a direct result of their CCU education!
Picture of Payton Jones of New Breed Church Planting who is one of our Professors for our Church Planting Courses…..
I just wanted to let you know how God has been using Peyton Jones and CCU in my life. God has been directing my family into church planting for about 2 years now, and about 10 months ago made that call very clear. For a long time all i knew was that i was called, but had no idea where i was called to or even what i was supposed to do.
The way i found out about CCU and got enrolled was totally a God thing, and it has been amazingly fruitful so far. God has “opened a great and effective door” for my wife and i to minister in some pretty remarkable ways in the apartment complex that we live in. Eventually we will begin holding church services here after we lay some groundwork. My pastor and church fully support what we are doing.
This upcoming Spring Break my family and i will be taking a trip to Utah. We believe this is where God is calling us to eventually plant a church, and want to make sure. God has given me a burden for Mormons, but for all my efforts i have never been able to reach them. I felt like Utah is where God is calling us, but i kept telling God that i can’t do it and He burdened me with 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. I spoke to another church planter who is already in Utah, and he said that recently God has been calling people to Utah. There are several church planters in Utah from all different church planting networks, and they are all working together for one common goal: reach the lost. They are all helping eachother to accomplish this goal.
Before i started at CCU all i knew was that church planting was what God was calling my family to. I go to a fairly large Baptist church in the Bible Belt, but no one has ever really herd of church planting before, so i get a lot of blank looks when i tell people where God is leading me. My pastor supports me because he sees God working in my life, but i don’t think he totally gets me. My church is very missions oriented, and heavily supports missions. But i don’t think that until very recently anyone viewed church planting as missions or important. Because of this i haven’t had anyone who has really been able to give me much direction (except for one family that spent 30 years as missionaries in Columbia) or guidance.
Since i began class at CCU, Peyton has helped me understand what God is doing in my life and what He is calling my family to. The class i took this summer was “Church Planting in the Book of Acts.” I have herd many people talk about how we need to do church exactly like it was in the Book of Acts, like there was exactly one set format for church. I never really new how to respond to this line of thinking. I do think that Acts should give us insight into what we do, but i don’t know that it gives us an exact formula for church. Since taking this class, i believe i have a much better understanding of Acts, how it applies to what we do, and how it should influence our actions.
Aside from class, Peyton has spent countless hours on the phone coaching and mentoring me. God has been using him as a tool to refine me. Much of what God is doing in my life is a direct result of Peyton’s influence. He is probably a bit unorthodox as a teacher, but there is a method to his madness. What he is doing works. I have spent several years in school already (i am working on getting my transcripts), and feel that i have learned more from Peyton than any other teacher i have ever had. He is an asset.
Yours in Christ,