Course Spotlight: The Early New Testament Church Timeline

Click below to take a good look at a timeline that chronicles the events that befell the early Church following the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, ranging from the years 31 to 135 CE!

Course Spotlight from Acts of the Apostles: (Unit 1) The Church Begins

Forum Summary: Examine the Whole Man

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

Evangelist Richard F. Ames spoke in a forum this September.

In this message, he addressed the subject of personality, its complexities, and how it applies to the students as we develop our character during this nine-month program.

He pointed out that although every member of God’s Church is unique, we have the responsibility to develop the character of God within our own personalities (2 Corinthians 13:5). Yet these attributes only shape our character; they don’t alter our personality itself. According to the definition we were given, “Personality is a totality of all your behaviors, attitudes, and characteristics.” With that, Mr. Ames gave different ways we can all make the most of our personalities. 

Examine Yourself

“You are unique. Who are you?” Mr. Ames directed us students to truly analyze ourselves. Only by self-examination of your personality can you determine what you presently are, and then truly see your faults. He then gave examples of tools that help with this, such as the Meyers Briggs sixteen personality system that denotes extraversion versus introversion, sensing versus intuition, thinking versus feeling, and perceiving versus judging. Mr. Ames shared his own personality type and examples of the tendencies he showed even as a young man that confirmed that type. 

Another resource he recommended was the self-examination questionnaire given to the students of Ambassador College. In years past, students who wished to take part in school-sponsored service projects around the world would complete the form before being accepted into various programs. Mr. Ames then encouraged the students to think about using these tools and deciding what qualities we desire to develop while attending Living Education–Charlotte. 

Analyze Positive Examples

The Bible is full of examples of strong personalities, and Mr. Ames pointed out a few of these. Individuals like Paul and Peter stand out as characters of great renown, but the ultimate example we can study is that of Jesus Christ. We need to develop our personality to be well-rounded, as these notable men were, but in our own unique way. Mr. Ames then referred the students to an article written by Dr. Roderick Meredith, “Build the Personality of a King,” as a guide in this process. This article delineates five practical methods we can learn from the Bible for developing our unique personalities. 

Develop Your Personality

Mr. Ames outlined these methods, expounding on them as he went. 

  1. Develop outgoing interest and warmth towards others. This is shown by Jesus and defined in the principle “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). 
  2. Build zest and humor into your life. We need to make sure we help others enjoy their lives. 
  3. Be patient, compassionate, and modest. Christ exemplified this many times, especially with the compassion He showed to the multitudes (Matthew 9:36). 
  4. Be strong, confident, and courageous. The Bible is full of examples of courage and strength, such as that of the Apostles after they were threatened by the Sanhedrin (Acts 5:17–42). 
  5. Build enthusiasm, drive, and purpose. Mr. Ames said that if we practice all of these methods, we can use the entirety of our personality to be an ambassador for truth and for Christ. 

In a post-forum interview, Mr. Ames said that “each student is precious in God’s sight” and that God sees them as the future leaders of the Church. By developing the whole man, as is said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, we can then express godly character by developing our personalities and the qualities of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Sabrielle McNair is currently one of the student leaders at Living Education. For the majority of her life, Sabrielle lived in Albany, New York. Having grown up in the church, she has been involved in church programs since she was a young girl. Presently, she works as the women’s Resident Assistant, assists in LivingEd event preparations, works in the finance department, and writes for the website.

Forum Summary: The Demise of the West

Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

In his recent forum, Dr. Douglas Winnail spoke on the demise of the West and the degradation in its quality of life.

Businesses are failing, morality is loosening, millions are fighting for the right to kill their unborn children, and Marxism is becoming an increasingly popular school of thought in our society. Dr. Winnail stated that “ideas have consequences,” and he followed that comment by explaining that our nation is in decline due to a lack of a proper understanding of the Bible.

The Missing Biblical Perspective

Over the years, Western nations have been influenced by many leaders, both political and ideological, who have spread their disruptive ideas throughout the world. Dr. Winnail listed several individuals and their respective works and ideas that have shaped the thinking of our world, and he stated that their ideas have become “new gods of the mind.” He began with Voltaire and Rousseau, who criticized the monarchy and religion, and that their philosophical ideas influenced the French Revolution and even our modern world. Charles Darwin doubted the teachings of his former church—the Church of England. With only speculative ideas about evolution, Darwin was able to convince many people that there was no need for a Creator. The atheistic socialist revolutionary, Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto, which attacked religion, the family and private property and eventually led to the deaths of millions of people who were subjected to his ideas. From the perspective of today, we can see the influence these men had on our culture and society. Simply stated, ideas have consequences.

The Frankfurt School

After Marxism failed in Europe, the Marxists packed their bags and brought their ideologies to America. Ultimately, the followers of their philosophical ideologies became known as the “Frankfurt School.” The ideas of these “cultural Marxists” have spread through the media and our social institutions as public schools now promote radical sex education, homosexuality and gender-fluid bathrooms. All these ideas are the product of Satan, and Revelation 12:9 states that he “deceives the whole world.” His ultimate goal is to hinder and disrupt God’s plan to expand the God family. Satan will attempt to divide society in any way possible, and he uses all the “devices” that he can get his hands on, including misguided ideas and leaders who have been able to influence millions (2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:1-15).

Why is This Happening?

Dr. Winnail pointed to Genesis 12, where God made promises to Abraham that his descendants would become great. These promises were eventually fulfilled by America, Britain and other nations of the West. He also read from Leviticus 26:14-17, where it states that if the people of Israel obeyed and worshipped God, they would be blessed; however, if they disobeyed, they would be cursed and ruled by those who hate them. The divisions that are tearing at the foundation of Western nations today have come as a result of our nations turning away from God and following the ideas of misguided thinkers and leaders. If our nations would turn to God, we would experience better lives and truly enjoy a land of prosperity. While we wait for the kingdom that God will establish on this earth, we will see the western nations continue their downward spiral to their demise, because they have been deceived into following ideas that have serious negative consequences.

(Edits were made to the original post on September 30, 2022)

Nathan Kroon is one of the Student Leaders at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Course Spotlight: How Did Paul “Kick Against the Goads”?

Apparently, “to kick against the goads” was a common expression found in both Greek and Latin literature—a rural image, which rose from the practice of farmers goading their oxen in the fields. Though unfamiliar to us, everyone in that day understood its meaning.

Course Spotlight from Acts of the Apostles: (Unit 2) Apostolic Tour

Student Life: A Day at the Beach

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

On a beautiful, sunny Sunday, the LivingEd-Charlotte students took a trip to Sunset Beach and enjoyed big waves, good rays, and ocean spray; a good day away from the fray. 

Our morning began bright and early. We got on the road by 7:30 and arrived at the beach by 11:30, and we wasted no time getting the fun started. The beach was picturesquely white and wide, and the water was warm and welcoming. We soon found ourselves lost in wild waves in a blissful blurr. We crashed in, out, under, and over the rolling ripples. When we had our fill, we took back to land and ate the packed lunch. We threw a football around; we lounged in the sun and read books. Some of us even played chess on a sandy board beneath the shifting shade of the canopy. 

We paralleled the serene sea on a wandering walk as we all began to feel the fatigue that comes from swimming all afternoon. We watched the obdurate ocean continue to churn. It was a fine chance to get away from the distractions and expectations of day to day life. It invigorated and inspired us, and we left recharged and ready for the next week. 

All the LivingEd students evacuated Sunset Beach with fond memories, illumined hearts, and exhausted muscles. Before we piled into the mobile vehicles again, we stopped to finish all the food and snacks that had been brought. A few of the students even threw a frisbee around, seeking to enjoy every last drop of fun. 

Forum Summary: God is a Family

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

The Living Education students in Charlotte recently had the privilege of hearing from a minister serving as the area pastor for Southeast Asia and India, Mr. Rajan Moses.

He serves members of God’s Church in seven countries and has learned much from his experience covering such a large region. Mr. Moses began by stating that God is a family. When he came into the church 50 years ago, Mr. Moses had to prove to himself, and then defend to his family and others, that God is not a Trinity. “To understand that concept,” elaborated Mr. Moses, “it took many years to really come to grasp how God is a family.” It is a profound truth that carries many pertinent lessons for us right now. Ultimately, God is reproducing Himself to expand His family, and the physical family is a type of this. We in God’s church today are to look at one another as brothers and sisters, preparing for the coming time when we will be born again into God’s family. 

Family and the Church of God Today 

Mr. Moses proved the Truth to much of his family, and many of them are in the Church too. But this is not a singular event. We see through the Bible that God works with families. Today, the Church is filled with these families with whom God has worked, and the area Mr. Moses covers is no exception to this. In Southeast Asia and India, many congregations are one or two families, often large families, who strengthen and support one another. Mr. Moses then took a moment to tell the students about our spiritual family in an area quite far away from Charlotte. 

The Expansive Family of God 

Mr. Moses showed the students a map of Southeast Asia with all its congregations as dots, telling us about the members who were there and some unique bits about each place. He showed a map of India and Sri Lanka and mentioned the members and congregations there. We learned that these parts of the world are home for many members of God’s Church, our brothers and sisters. And here, too, God works with many unique families and people. These members of our spiritual family come out of mainstream Christianity, Isalm, Buddhism, and Hinduism, which is an example of God calling people all around the world from all backgrounds. The Work is still increasing in this part of the world.

congregations Southeast Asia photo

A Challenge for Us All

Our brethren in Southeast Asia face difficulties and challenges that we may not realize. Mr. Moses told us how getting off work for the Sabbath and Holy Days can be a bigger challenge than we are used to in the United States. Even some schools require children to attend on Saturdays, so parents in the Church have to get special absence approval for their kids. But, God works these problems out if we have faith in Him, as our brethren in these countries can testify. With the recent military coup in Myanmar, some brethren have been forced to flee villages and even the country. Mr. Moses told the story of one member’s son, a police inspector who was told by the military to execute “rebels.” He was forced to flee Myanmar altogether and escape to Thailand! It is imperative for our members to trust in God. “We all live by faith…. Whenever we face these types of trials, we rely on God, and God opens doors.”

While these members face difficulties that many of us do not, we all have a common challenge. We have to fulfill the admonition given by Jesus Christ (John 13:34-35). Do we have a genuine love, like the love a family has for one another? Would someone outside the Church see us showing love for one another plainly? Or would they not? As Paul said in 1 Corinthians, we must suffer together, rejoice together, and eventually we will be glorified together (12:24-26). Mr. Moses gave a specific challenge to the LE students: “Talk to them [older church members]; ask them how they came into the Church and about their experiences in the past.” The trials the older generation faced are very similar to the ones that this generation is and will face! We can learn from their experience. We all must do our part to bring this spiritual family of God, prospective members of God’s divine family, together in unity. Mr. Moses concluded by saying we must all practice and radiate the love of God as one unified family to prepare for the soon-coming time when we will be sons and daughters in the family of God. 

Forum Summary: Good News!

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

Is There Good News?

Mr. McNair began his forum for the LE students by asking, “Should we watch the news?” As Christians, we want to limit the involvement we have in the politics and concerns of this world, yet the proverbs admonish us to increase knowledge and pay attention to what is going on around us (Proverbs 1:5), and Christ told us to watch for the end of the age (Luke 21:36). We rely on news sources to deliver us this information.

Bias of the News

Mr. McNair then delved into the subject of news sources by asking, “Where are we getting our news from?” Younger audiences get their news from social media and online sources, primarily. On the other hand, older audiences often use television. These different news sources are fully aware of their audience’s demographics, and they use that information to provide articles and segments that appeal to their viewers. If we are not careful, we can be entertained by the news and not educated. We must seek knowledge and not foolishness (Proverbs 15:14). In addition to just demographic divides, news sources have political and topical divides. Some only address politics or economics, but every source presents information through the lens of what they deem relevant. 

How to Get Good News

The challenge we face is sifting through incomplete, biased, and inaccurate information. We have to understand the political and topical bias of the news sources we use. As a result, it is necessary to vary our sources from time to time to ensure we are getting multiple perspectives. Mr. McNair then outlined four tips for us to bear in mind when approaching the news: 

  1. Understand the system. The news is meant to get attention and keep it.
  2. Find the source. Whenever possible, look at the original source. Oftentimes, one piece of information is posted on one news source and then is proliferated around due to that initial publicity. Examine the bias of the source as well. 
  3. Understand the slant. No news source is right from God’s perspective, and they often have an obvious and intentional slant on the information they present and the light in which they present it. 
  4. Know yourself. Examine your personal bias. Be aware of what concepts appeal to you and how they can affect your intake of knowledge. 

If we apply these four principles, we can find knowledge through the foolishness, narratives, slants, and systematic influences that exist in news sources, and we can be wise and fulfill our admonition to always watch. 

Student Life: A purr-fect activity

Author: Kaleb Johnson | Student, Living Education – Charlotte, 2022-23


Estimated Reading Time: 2 min.

The students in the Living Education program had a lot going on over Labor day weekend.

There was a drive-in movie night on Saturday night and a black and white movie night on Sunday night. By the time Monday came around, one might think that we had run out of activities to do. Yet We most certainly had not. One of the students had the grand idea to go visit a Cat Cafe.

A Day in a Cat Cafe

Cat cafes are little coffee shops that have a lounge area for cats. People can come in and look at cats while enjoying beverages. Most often, these are used to help adopt-out kittens and young cats that are sociable and well-trained. And they raise awareness for a particular shelter that is associated with the cafe. They have become fairly popular in cities these days, and the LivingEd students wanted to see what they were like. We had reserved an hour for just our group at a cat cafe downtown, so we piled into our cars and drove into Charlotte. 

We arrived in the Arts and Entertainment District in Charlotte, NoDa, where the cat cafe is located. It was a short walk from a parking lot to the story-two building that houses the cafe. We entered the building and walked up the stairs to the second floor. The door to the Mac Tabby cat cafe was a modern design with glass and etchings, yet it congealed well with the older building. After we all plodded through the door into the cafe, we glanced over at the cat lounge, which was separated by a glass wall, and we saw about 8 cats either strolling or strewn about the room. After we made our way through a glass door into the domain of the cats, I made my way to an oddly shaped chair that resembled an egg with a collapsed top portion, a rather contemporary design. The room was kept at a brisk 45 degrees (or so it felt to me) for reasons I can only speculate on now. Perhaps it is better for the cats at that temperature with all their fur and whatnot. Maybe it makes the cats more sociable. Maybe they turned the air conditioning way down just to see what visitors would do. 

Cats! (not the musical)

The cats never swarmed us nor overpowered us with affection. Rather they reflected our own energy level, mildly exhausted and desiring sufficient time to warm-up to an environment rather than just jump in. Gradually, the cats condescended to become acquainted with us. One decided to take up camp on my lap, which was rather convenient as we were not allowed to pick them up, and I was cold. I sat and sipped my drink, quietly taking in the environment. 

The cats were given quite adorable names like: Kevin, Babe (as it was the youngest), and Ulf Ekberg, my personal favorite. Then, there was the cat named Jem.  This black cat just sat in his bed, located on top of a cat tower, and slept the entire time we were there. He poked his head up a few times and seemed to enjoy being pet, or at least did not actively hate it. Yet, he never moved from his cozy bed and slept the vast majority of the hour we were there. On the other end of the energy spectrum, there was the rambunctious adolescent cat, Babe, who played vigorously with all the toys that were spread out around the lounge. The staff at the cafe gave us a laser pointer. Then we took turns seeing if we could get Babe to jump on people by pointing the laser at them. It worked quite successfully on multiple occasions. 

Never a Dull Day

When our hour was up, we all said goodbye to our newfound feline friends and made our way out. Overall, it was a great trip, one that illustrates one aspect of the living Education experience: you are always up to something. This was not an activity planned by the Living Education program, but something the students in Living Education decided to do on our own initiative. Truly, there is never a dull moment at Living Education – Charlotte.

Forum Summary: Character is a Choice


Estimated Reading Time: 3 min.

In his recent forum, Mr. Lambert Greer wished to express the importance of keeping godly character, especially in today’s world. 

The world realizes that people today all need good character in order for the world to become a more peaceful place, but most are unwilling to make the choice to change. People stipulate that Americans make up their own laws, and reflect their character in this way. Mr. Greer brought up how the most looked-up word on the internet in 2005 was “integrity,” which is likely a result of our nation questioning its leadership within government offices at the time. This means that the average citizen values the character of our leaders over many other leadership qualities.

The Definition of Character

Mr. Greer stated that character is who we are at heart. He also used Romans 8:7 to explain that the carnal mind does not subject itself to the law of God, which is why we need to constantly evaluate ourselves to make sure we are avoiding situations that can lead us to making irrational decisions.

Foregone Devotions

Today, nothing seems to be seen as sacred anymore. Many marriages today end in divorce. While the statistics may show you that divorce rates have actually decreased in our country recently, what they will not show you is that fewer and fewer couples will even choose to be married anymore; they see it as a burden. Commitment and sincerity is no longer a priority in peoples’ morality. Even work ethic seems to be long gone.

A Man of Principle

Seeing all this moral corruption around us, Mr. Greer decided to read out the moral code of Benjamin Franklin to show us what a man famous for his values had kept closest to his heart.

The list consisted of 13 different values. In order, they were temperance, balance, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. He would make these values into a checklist every day and would make sure to check off all the ones that he had kept intact every day. 

Challenge Yourself

Mr. Greer also instructed us to set goals that would challenge us. He recalled the first time that he and Mr. Weston were directors for the Living Youth Camps. They had discussed how they could implement ideas to keep the young campers in line. He explained that they had to make some difficult decisions, because they realized that keeping the teens and pre-teens obedient would have to come down to how the leadership acted. They started by making rules and restrictions on themselves, activity directors, and other staff, and they were initially met with some complaints. Hearing these, they decided to hold fast and stick with their decisions. At the end of that first camp, those who had made such complaints told them that it had turned out to be the best camp that they had ever been to. This instance further cements the importance of godly character in our leadership.

Unbroken Bonds

Mr. Greer told us how Christ would act today if He had continued to exist as flesh and blood: He would continue to preach the word of God until the end. Just as Christ is, we must also be strong in our convictions and boundaries, and be careful not to break them. We will be expected to make difficult choices in our lives, and to make them with godly virtues in mind. Mr. Greer pointed to 1 Samuel 16:7 to emphasize that God looks in the hearts of man rather than their physical appearance.

With these points in mind, Mr. Greer expressed to his audience that we all must pursue godly character. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ. If we do not make the choice to change our character for the better, then that change will not happen.

Nathan Kroon is one of the Student Leaders at Living Education. He originally hails from Washington State, and is a 4th generation Christian. Currently, he works at Headquarters as a Video Editor, and is the Lead Landscaper at the LivingEd dorms. His hobbies include playing guitar, listening to music, drawing, and watching movies.

Course Spotlight: Honesty is Healthy

“In today’s competitive workplace there seems to be ample rationale to tell a lie. Over the past several years, national news has reported on Fortune 500 Companies lying about their finances, and college professors and CEOs lying on their resumes.”

Course Spotlight from Business Relationships in the Church