“I was in a really deep hole and Jared pulled me out.”
Those are the words of an 18-year-old young man named Noah, a current ARISE student, who testified to me and his classmates regarding the impact that one of our ARISE graduates had upon him.
Before I tell you the rest of the story, let’s answer the question, what is ARISE?
ARISE is the discipleship school of Light Bearers. The primary instructors and curriculum authors are David Asscherick and myself, along with a few carefully selected adjunct instructors. ARISE operates in three forms:
“I never knew God was so beautiful and I am now completely in love with Him.”
First, there is the three-month program that runs each year in Australia. Students from various locations around the world come to engage in an enlightening and fun journey through Scripture, including planned outreach work in the community. Students consistently testify that this is a paradigm-shifting, life-transforming experience. The short version of the consistent story is always something along the lines of, “I never knew God was so beautiful and I am now completely in love with Him.” The curriculum is called The Story, because we move through the big narrative of Scripture in seven basic chapters:
- The Fall
- The Church
Second, ARISE is an online course that anyone around the world can join and receive lifetime access. The course covers the entire curriculum of The Story and can be done individually or in a group. In addition—hallelujah—the online course can also be done at your own pace in the comfort of your own home, in your car, or while sitting under a tree in a park with a gentle breeze caressing your face.
Third, a few times each year, in various locations around the world, we offer a crash-course called The ARISE Intensive, in which we move through the key ideas of the biblical narrative in a single weekend. It is an extremely powerful experience, like passing through a veil of darkness into a whole new world of light.
And that brings us back to the story of Noah and Jared.
Jared is an American student who attended the 2019 ARISE course in Australia. In class after class, I could see the light of God’s love turning on in his eyes as one mind-blowing epiphany after another was dawning upon him. When he enrolled in ARISE, Jared had already been accepted to medical school at Loma Linda University and was doing ARISE as a three-month break from his academic pursuits. However, the fire of the gospel took such a firm hold of Jared’s heart that he decided to put off medical school further and remain in Australia to do Bible work for a full year. Along the way, however, he sensed God’s call upon him to forgo medical school entirely and pursue full-time ministry. He is currently a chaplain at a Seventh-Day Adventist academy in Australia.
I could see the light of God’s love turning on in his eyes…
Noah is an Australian young man, who was, in his own words, “in a deep hole” when he met Jared. To honor his privacy and that of his family, I will not share the details of how deep and dark that hole was. Noah continued with his story by sharing how it was Jared who pulled him up out of the pit in which he found himself.
“Jared asked if I wanted to do Bible studies with him, but I had no spiritual interest, so I said no.”
Noah explained that he had no interest in God and wanted nothing to do with religion, mostly because he had endured so much suffering and trauma that he couldn’t even begin to imagine that life could be any different.
However, Jared noticed Noah and was impressed to become his friend.
“A while later, Jared asked me again if I would do Bible studies with him. Again, I said no. But he didn’t give up. He was really persistent, but in a nice way. He let a little time pass again and asked a third time. So, I finally said yes.”
Noah’s body language seemed to indicate that he simply told Jared yes in order to get him to stop pestering him about joining the Bible studies. So they began to get together on a weekly basis to study the Bible.
“At some point,” Noah continued, “Jared told me about ARISE and suggested I should attend the upcoming 2022 course. But I didn’t want to go because I thought it sounded like a bunch of weird religious people doing weird religious things and I wasn’t religious. But Jared talked me into it and signed me up. Months went by and I forgot about it. Two days before the program was to begin, he asked if I was ready. ‘Ready for what?’ I asked. ‘Ready for ARISE,’ he said. Then I remembered that I was signed up. So, here I am. ARISE has completely changed my life. I never could have imagined the things I would learn here.”
“…ARISE has completely changed my life. I never could have imagined the things I would learn here.”
As Noah spoke those words, he began to cry. He continued by saying, “I don’t know what else to say. Everything is different for me now. The end.” Then he nervously walked to his chair and sat down.
My eyes were glassing over with tears too. They were tears of gratitude for the transformative work being achieved over and over again through the ARISE discipleship program.
This is the kind of story I hear repeatedly. It’s incredible to think that one ARISE student, in this case, an American kid named Jared, now on fire for Jesus, reached with the hands of his heart down into a dark pit and pulled another kid out into the glorious light of God’s love.
Some variation of Jared and Noah’s story can be yours as well. We would absolutely love for you to join the ARISE community in one of these three ways. Why? Because we are eager for you to encounter the beauty of God‘s character and experience the transformative impact of understanding Scripture in the light of His love for you.
In fact, we just finished an ARISE Intensive in Fresno, California, and it was spirit-filled! Hundreds of people, with roughly half of them under 35 years old, came and were impacted by the Gospel. Do you feel like you need to be pulled out of a hole? Or do you want to be equipped to share Jesus’ love with people who might need a hand? Maybe you’re somewhere in between? Either way, I’d like you to consider joining us for one of our upcoming ARISE Intensives. Visit ariseintensive.com and sign up for an event in a city near you.
Ty is a speaker/director for Light Bearers and pastor of Storyline Adventist Church. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.