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A week of work can change a lifetime
By LISA PEEPLES
© St. Petersburg Times, published June 24, 2000
INVERNESS -- Whether you are dealing with bad habits, guilt, financial pressure, bitterness, anger, depression, child-rearing difficulties or marital problems, you may find that a video seminar offered by a local church sheds light on your problems.
In July, First Baptist Church in Inverness is hosting the 32-hour Basic Life Principles Seminar, for youth and adults, taught by internationally known Christian speaker Bill Gothard.
"This seminar ... has continued to transform lives all over the world," Gothard said. "The seminar focuses on character qualities and life principles applicable to all, such as being thankful for the way we are designed, properly responding to jurisdiction of family, church, government and employment, having a clear conscience, forgiving those who offend us and yielding our rights to God and trusting in him," said the founder and president of Institute in Basic Life Principles, based in Oak Brook, Ill.
Gothard, 65, said the qualities and life principles taught in the seminar are necessary for a victorious Christian life. He said he has spent the past five decades teaching biblical principles, trying to help everyone from Chicago's inner-city gang members to governors and leaders of several countries.
"Our founding fathers did not want to have one church control the nation, but they did want the reverence of God and the Bible, which was understood for many years. Now, there is no understanding of God or the Bible. Now, young people really don't know what is right and wrong," he said.
Gothard, who has been working with young people since he was a teenager himself, said the seminar has had a tremendous impact on the young and the aged.
"More than 2.5-million people have gone through the seminar. It gives them a whole new perspective on their personal life, marriage and children. It helps teach them to conquer rebellion, children learn to relate to their parents and parents learn to get along with their children. The majority of people say it is a life-changing experience for them," he said.
Gothard said people from throughout the world have participated in this seminar, including the leader and presidential staff of Guatemala, 127 leaders in the Philippines, and communities from Russia to Australia.
According to an informational letter published by the institute, "The application of the principles taught in the seminar to other areas of life has caused IBLP to become an international service organization providing training to families, churches and government leaders on how to apply practical, lasting solutions to social problems and conflict situations."
Gothard said the institute has also developed a juvenile rehabilitation program, prison ministry and orphanage and helped with disaster relief. He said that all of those programs are based on biblical principles.
"I made a choice when I was 15 to dedicate my life to helping young people make wise decisions, and I am still doing that today," he said.
According to the informational letter: "There are currently 47 divisions of the IBLP ministry. ... Each of the programs are based on the biblical, universal, non-optional moral principles and good character that America and all successful civilizations have been founded upon."
Some of the topics covered in the seminar for youth and adults will cover habit-breaking, keys to success and happiness, resolving conflict, anger and bitterness, successful marriages, overcoming guilt, financial freedom, conquering boredom and establishing friendships.
The children's seminar for ages 6 to 12 teaches biblical principles and character. Topics include developing attentiveness, conquering rejection and anger, obedience to parents, overcoming bitterness and encouraging self-esteem, gratefulness, patience and generosity.
Joe Maddox, a home-school father of seven children, is the local seminar coordinator.
"I just want to encourage anybody that would like to deepen their walk and have a closer relationship with the Lord to attend," he said. "Somebody may be frightened because of the number of hours and weeklong commitment with the seminar, but I have seen people rearrange their schedules ... so they could participate.
"Mr. Gothard takes the biblical principles and gives true-life experiences that he has gone through and watched others go through. When people understand that principle, it just revolutionizes their life."
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.