by President Jack Picataggi
From Pinecrest’s earliest days, a sign has hung in our Small Chapel with the words, “Occupy ‘Til I Come.” We have always believed this sign signifies God’s mandate for us as Christians to be representatives of His kingdom in the earth.
Since our founding in 1968, we have endeavored to “occupy” the unique role God has called us to as a “School of the Spirit,” where students can come apart to surrender their lives to the Holy Spirit for His training and transformation and to establish a vital relationship with the Lord. For over four decades, Pinecrest has been set apart as a place where God would know His people and His people would know their God.
As we look back over Pinecrest’s history, we acknowledge those who have gone on before us and paid the price to forge ahead in God’s purpose for this place. Many students and visitors have come and partaken of the presence of the Lord and the spiritual truths expounded upon in our pulpits; many lives have been changed and healed by the Spirit of the Lord and all He has done in and through Pinecrest. Joanne and I feel truly privileged to be a part of what God is accomplishing in and through this ministry.
Several years ago, Joanne and I visited The Bible College of Wales and met with Mr. Samuel Howells, son of founder Rees Howells. We asked him to lay hands on us to pray and impart, and as he did, he prophesied that we would lead a school in which God would raise up “end-time anointed ones.” We believe the Lord is in the process of preparing His Bride and that Pinecrest has stood for this day since He brought her into existence.
Now, the Board of Directors has prayerfully made the decision to change the school’s name to Bethany Bible Training Center. I view this change not as the end of what Pinecrest is and has always stood for, but rather the next step in God’s continuing purpose for us. I believe that, as in the Bible when God changed Abram and Jacob’s names to Abraham and Israel, our name change signifies a fresh equipping and enabling to accomplish the plans of God’s heart for our school.
In the Bible, Bethany was an insignificant house in a town outside Jerusalem, but when Jesus was there, it became a glorious temple for His presence. That is what we believe for Bethany as a Bible school. We could plan the most rigorous class schedule taught by the most prestigious Bible teachers with worship led by the most skilled musicians. But the truth is, without Him, all these things—our best-intentioned plans—are meaningless. God’s presence, His love and His grace is what changes us from who we are into who He has called us to be: ambassadors of His kingdom in the earth—to “occupy ‘til He comes.” No man can accomplish that!
So we desire God’s presence. We want to prepare our lives to be His habitation, that His very heart will abide in us as His people. Our prayer is that the Lord can look at our lives individually and at Bethany Bible Training Center corporately and say, “Here I have found a resting place. Here is a people through whom I can freely express My heart and My desires.”
In 2007, when Joanne and I returned to Pinecrest after my installation as President, we added another sign to the Small Chapel along with the sign, “Occupy ‘Til I Come.” This new sign echoes the cry of the Spirit and the bride in Revelation, and we feel it expresses to God this desire to be a habitation for Him. The sign, and the cry of our hearts—the very purpose of Bethany Bible Training Center—is this:
“Come, Lord Jesus.”