Monday, August 25, 2014

Message from Cathy Birdsong, High School Teacher

In my quiet time recently, God has revealed scriptures reminding me that all of us are at different points in our spiritual journey with Christ.  Scripture is the basis for training of discipleship in Christ.

I shared with my student advisory class last week:  Psalms 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

I explained the cost of a clean heart through Jesus and the daily renewing of our spirit comes from God alone.  We usually struggle, as Christians, to consistently live as an example of Christ in every single moment and situation – every single day.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  

I encouraged students, as well as myself, to renew our hearts and spirits through God’s power each day with prayer and bible reading.  We are human and God created each day as an increment of time for us to manage physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually.    In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul meditated on the journey by “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

As a teacher at Phoenix Christian, I take my call seriously.  The entire faculty and staff strive for God’s direction with your children and we are NOT perfect.  My recent motto I feel God has laid on my heart personally is “Not Perfected, but Persistent!”  It is in the striving that we grow closer to God and are able to love and guide others.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Message from Phil Adams, Superintendent

As we begin this new school year we have much to be thankful for. God has preserved Phoenix Christian for many decades. We are the current caretakers of this ministry. We are grateful to those who have come before us. We are preparing for those who will come after us. I am comforted by the fact that the One who loves me most is also the God of the universe. This passage from scripture has always blessed me. I hope it blesses you too.

Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
    in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
19 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
20 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
22 I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Message from Jan Wolfe, Art Teacher

Preach the Word

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

We are all so familiar with 2 Timothy 4: 7, especially at the end of a school year!  I would like to change your focus to 2 Timothy 4: 1-5.   We have been charged to continue to be ministers and give sound teaching.  Too many students come from families that don’t base their lives on sound teaching, and refuse to see the harm it does to themselves and their families.  We become the voice of reason and safe haven in a world of other ‘teachers’ trying to lead our students astray.  As we endure the suffering of having to see students fail because of the choices they make, keep the faith that we have planted seeds for Christ.  Continue to pray for growth of those seeds so that our students may someday be reaped for Christ.  We won’t always know of the harvest, but we can be content in the knowledge that we have planted the seeds.  Leave the rest in God’s hands to water and eventually harvest those students for Him.  And, as always, keep on running the race!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Message from Carol Stines, Director of International Programs

My favorite book of the Bible is John 9 and my favorite verse is verse 25 “ …I was blind but now I see.”

One thing I love about this verse is that the recently healed blind man knew that standing up for Jesus would get him thrown out of the temple – ostracized by the whole society.  But he did it anyway. 

His parents were scared.  This is how his parents handled being asked…
19 “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?”
20 “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. 21 But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” 22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. 23 That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
But the healed man had received more than his site – he knew Jesus was the Savior so he didn’t back down…
24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.”
25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
And this was the result…
34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.
I cheer that man and hope to meet his in Heaven some day

Monday, April 28, 2014

Message from Lauren Scharnweber, Third Grade Teacher

I recently read an article by Robyn Huck, “On Love and Spider Plants”.  Honestly, I know nothing about plants… but my mother-in-law recently gave me a spider plant (a sprout from the plant on the alter at her wedding almost 37 years ago)… so this stood out to me. I thought it was a great picture of what Christian love should look like. Love is a character trait (1 Corinthians 13), it makes an impact, and it connects with something bigger. We should be cultivating love that expands beyond ourselves… like a spider plant. We have had an incredible example of love (Philippians 2:5-11)! Let’s spend some time thinking about how we love others.

Years ago there was a tall stack of shelves in our home that held nothing but spider plants—dozens of them. A spider plant (Latin name: Clorophytum comosum—I looked it up) looks like a clump of 
decorative grass, and it seems as soon as it’s barely rooted, it sends out a shoot that grows a new little spider plant suspended in midair. Every spider plant on our shelves had many shoots that produced sprouts, and those sprouts produced more sprouts. Sometimes the little offspring landed in the pots on the shelf below, and they’d happily root and sprout again.  Eventually, the spider plants cascaded down to the floor. They made such an impact in that room that we called it “the spider room.” As odd as it may sound, this wall of spider plants reminds me of Christian love. Just as there is something in the plant’s DNA that causes it to produce a never-ending bounty of sprouts, the same is true of godly love. Our outward acts of love toward others (making meals, helping with bills, lending a car, spending time, exhorting, encouraging, etc.) continuously sprout from a heart whose spiritual DNA is coded by the Holy Spirit. Loving others becomes endemic to who we are—part of our character—like sprouting is to a spider plant.

Love is a character trait
1 Corinthians 13 says we are to have love. To have love is to embody it as a character trait that is actively involved in everything—everything—we think and do. Our talents, gifts, abilities, and actions are to be influenced, informed, guided, and edited by love. This character trait of love produces acts of love that are wisely tailored to the moment and encourage that which is right and good.

Love makes an impact
Love produces fruit. It makes an impact. It furthers the kingdom of God. I have a friend named Margaret who is particularly good at blessing people. One time, I traveled an hour with her to attend a funeral. Sitting in a pew in that church was a young woman who looked frightened, like she was in enemy territory. She had a punk hair style and many facial piercings. Margaret, then in her mid 70’s with a very sweet grandmotherly appearance, sat beside this young woman and began talking with her. I saw the young woman soften from her defensive look to that of one who knew she was safe and welcome. This wasn’t even Margaret’s church but she reached out as the welcoming committee nonetheless. Her act of love changed the environment.
Fun fact: those little spider plant sprouts that hang in the air actually remove toxins and improve the air quality. I think Margaret’s love tangibly changed the atmosphere for that woman. That small act made an impact.

Love connects us with something bigger
After our spider room had been in existence for a few years, it became impossible to pick up any individual plant. They were all happily intertwined. Each plant and every sprout was adding to the nutritive give-and-take of the group as a whole. They were, in a sense, a community. And though the plants were a bit messy and chaotic (like people!) there seemed to be a strength and purpose to it. Our churches should look very similar to that mass of spider plants, don’t you think? By giving and receiving, we become connected on both a physical level, by helping each other with the challenges of living, and on a spiritual level as we seek to be known as ambassadors of Christ, loving as he loved.

Love binds us to each other and identifies us as God’s people. Because of the cohesive character of love, every one of us is an important part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Cultivate love
No matter what relationship or situation we are thinking about, involving church, family, neighborhood, friends or marriage, the essence of love is not a feeling or action or decision or commitment. Love at its core is a character trait. When Paul says “Pursue love” he’s saying “Get this quality. Grow it in yourself.” He is urging us to try to be love—just as God is love. To be love is to expand beyond self and participate in the divine nature. (2Peter1:4)
My spider plants very nearly took over that room in my house. Together, they thrived in a way they could not have on their own. It was as if they were living for something bigger than themselves. The same is true for us. Love begets love. God’s love begets ours—and the sprouts begin to fill the room.

Huck, Robyn. "On Love and Spider Plants." Web log post.  Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, 12 Feb. 2014. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.