Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Message from Phil Adams, Principal JH/SH & Central Elementary

And he said, "Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.

II Chronicles 20:15 – English Standard Version

“This is my one incessant prayer to you, hour by hour, day upon day: It’s yours. I am not fighting this battle for you, God. It’s your battle. And you are fighting for me. It is all yours and I want whatever you have for me in this situation…”

“…this day is yours; I am yours; these people are yours; the resources are yours. The challenges we face are yours, as is anything we hope to accomplish.”

“It’s yours, God. It’s not mine.”

-- From Leadership Prayers, by Richard Kriegbaum

What are the advantages to fighting in a battle we do not own?

• Someone else decides the strategy and tactics
• Someone else decides the rules of engagement
• Someone else decides the goals of the battle
• Someone else has to get and maintain the supply lines
• Someone else is responsible for the outcome

For the believer, that “Someone” is God. Each of us daily faces battles which God has already assumed control of, or has already revealed to us what the rules are. Yet we struggle so much in each of the above areas as if it were up to us. We worry. We manipulate. We lash out. We burn out. Today is God’s day. It’s really not a matter of giving it to God. It is a matter of not grabbing it from Him in the first place.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Message Jim Koan, Superintendent

Proverbs 1:1-7
These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David's son, Israel's king—
Written down so we'll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it's going;
A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair; To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There's something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

This month I’ve made the book of Proverbs my focus in my morning studies. I think I was motivated by a strong sense of inadequacy in the “wisdom and understanding” department.

Maybe my motivation comes from the season of economic hurdles the community of PCUS (and indeed our entire country) is facing right now.

Maybe it is the season of change the Koan household is going through – one senior in college with a serious boyfriend (“Do I hear wedding bells?”), a second child entering college and jousting with ‘adult-hood’, a third child who will soon enter adolescence, and now an international student living under our roof as our “fourth child.”

Maybe it is just finally coming to grips with how small my understanding really is when held up to the mind of God.

So, I went to Proverbs. And right off the bat in chapter 1 God had some messages for me. First of all, His wisdom is written down for us so we can “know wisdom and instruction…to perceive the words of understanding” (vs 2 KJV). God’s wisdom is not formatted in such a way as to be inaccessible; it’s grand and all encompassing, yes, but it is written down. God intends for us to read it and to ‘get it’ – to “understand what life means and where it's going” (vs.2 The Message). Having meditated on this truth I feel much surer God will give me the wisdom I need for the seasons we go through.

Second, I take from Proverbs 1 that I am never too old to learn from God – at any age I am in the prime of my ‘learning years.’ This seems self-evident at first blush, but I realize I’ve fooled myself into believing I should already have all the answers because I’ve lived nearly 48 years on this earth, been a Christian for 43 of those years, been a dad for 21 years and a Christian school administrator for 20 years. Verse 5 of Proverbs 1 points out that the wise man of God will hear God’s wisdom and increase in his learning and a ‘man of understanding’ will acquire wise counsel. So, no matter how learned I may be, or think I am, God intends me to stay in His Word and grow in His wisdom.

I look forward to growing in wisdom of God by growing in my fear and reverence for Him (vs. 7) and particularly growing more in love with His children who are of the community of PCUS.

Maybe there are passages from God’s Word, nuggets of truth as it were, which you would like to share which will enrich us all. Please feel free to share those in the Comment section below.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Message from Bruce Consier, Athletic Director

“O People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears , He will answer you.
Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your eyes will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:19-21

This passage has been on my heart and mind since the beginning of summer. I cannot escape it. When I open my Bible I am drawn to the passage. When I am searching on the internet I am drawn to see what others have said on this passage. There must be a message that I need. But it takes me way too long to get it.

Pastor Bill Hybels recently released a new book called the Power of a Whisper, Having the Guts to Respond. He states that God speaks to us in a whisper. Do we hear the whispers or are we too busy to listen? In our society today we have constant communications coming to us. I-Pods, Blackberries, Remote access to our computers, Phones that travel and go everywhere with us. As communications/technology advance are we losing a connection to hear the whispers of God.

I want to do what God wants me to do. I am confused at times. Why does bad stuff happen to me-where is God? But God is always there. In fact He is right behind me telling me what to do, where to go and how to do it. I just have to relearn to hear God’s voice at all times.

I believe that we all need to put aside the things of this world and listen to the whispers of God more. Because in His whispers He is encouraging us, He is loving us, He is telling us how to get through this life.

As we go through this school journey this year, I pray that all of us, especially me, will listen to the whispers of God so we can impact this world for Christ.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Message from Renee Trapp, Business Manager

“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

“Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.” James 5:7-10

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

Webster describes patience as “the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint; steadiness, endurance, or perseverance in the performance of a task.”

At times it takes a lot of patience working at Phoenix Christian when we must wait upon the Lord to bring us the students to fill our classrooms, to bring us the funding we need for our programs, and to bring us the new equipment/technology to do our jobs efficiently. We wish we could have it all—now!

But we must wait upon the Lord—and his timing.

This year the Lord has brought us many new students, some new funding, and some new equipment. Rather than complain about what we do not have or wait to act until we think we have everything we need—let us work with what we have.

At Phoenix Christian Unified Schools, our task or mission is, “in partnership with the family, to equip students to discover and develop their talents and spiritual gifts in order to live a life of service, impacting the world for Christ.”

Let us minister to the students that the Lord has brought to us—some who have never heard of God’s love or grace. Let us persevere in our task with patience as we deal with these students who were specially brought to Phoenix Christian this year!

Dear Heavenly Father, Grant us your grace and give us patience as we go about our various tasks at Phoenix Christian this year. May we do your work at Phoenix Christian diligently and without complaint. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Valley Campus

Every Monday morning we begin school at PCWV with a morning gathering in the gym. As a school community we begin with group prayer followed by children leading us in pledges to the American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible.

One morning I asked a first grade student if there was anything special she wanted me to pray for. Her reply caught me off guard: “please pray for God, that He has a good day today too.” Wow, I’m not sure that I have ever thought about giving God a good day. It seems to me that I am usually focused on having the good day for myself or for others attending PC West Valley School.

This child’s simple, yet rather profound, comment led me to ask myself “what are some things that I can do to help God enjoy His day?” And while I am certain that being actively engaged in doing good deeds does please God, I am also quite certain that what He really wants from each of us is not a bunch of good deeds but simply our hearts. As Michael W. Smith stated in his popular song The Heart of Worship – I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what You have required
You search much deeper within
Through the ways things appear
You’re looking into my Heart

When Jesus was asked in Matthew 22: 36-38 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.

So as we begin our day today, let’s begin by pleasing God. We can do this by simply whispering to God that we love Him and that it is our heart’s desire that He would have a good day too!

Blessings to each of you. Your thoughts and comments are appreciated.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Message from Dr. Phil Adams, Principal JH/SH & Central Elementary

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.

Proverbs 14:4 -- English Standard Version

Raising oxen is messy business. We are all familiar with the smells associated with the farm yard. When it rains it can be particularly unpleasant. And yet, who would advocate for doing away with oxen or farms because of the smell? Who would hold the oxen “responsible” for what they produce, which the farmer must clean up for them? We put up with a certain amount of unpleasantness because of the great benefit we gain from the oxen that occupy that manger.

The metaphor is an apt one for working with children in the Christian school. We as adults should take the same approach with our students. These kids are the future of our churches, families, and community. The “abundant crops” will certainly come, as they have come for us. We should not despair at the immaturity or lack of “cleanliness” produced by young people. That is what they do. We frequently hear “How is that possible in the Christian School?” This is usually said when a child does or says something ungodly.

Just as the farmer must clean up after his oxen, we must also clean up after our kids. But the farmer willingly cleans the manger because he knows that the ox will more than make up for the mess by the profit it will provide for the farmer. The same holds true with our students. We love them. We recognize that God has a plan for their lives that will not only bless them, but will bless the lives of untold numbers of people in the future. It is not a question of if the mess will come, but when and to what degree. We as teachers, administrators, and parents are the under shepherds, being used of God to mold these young lives.

So, I would ask: Do we want clean mangers or abundant crops? The two are mutually exclusive.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

John 14:10-14
10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Christ instructed His disciples that when they acted or proclaimed or asked anything in the name of Jesus of Nazareth they were acting and speaking and asking with the authority of the Father in heaven himself, the creator and sustainer of all things. That is a pretty potent power supply!

Each of us as redeemed children of God has all power and all authority on our side when we ask in Jesus’ name. And when we have doubts, as did Thomas and Phillip in this episode recorded in John chapter 14, we should heed Christ’s direction to “believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

For me that means to reflect on how Christ, time and time again, has met my needs and provided in ways large and small. You too, as a believer, have your own ‘file’ of miracles God has done for you which you can pull up and reflect on when your faith or confidence wavers. And if you don’t think you are the recipient of such miracles of provision and protection or just can’t call them to mind let me encourage you to check out stories of faith of the saints being rewarded with great provision from God: In The Presence of Mine Enemies; The Hiding Place; Quest for Excellence; anything written about George Mueller. You are no different from the saints in these stories; each of us “live and move and have our being” in Him. (Acts 17:28)

These are just a few books which can build our faith and confidence in God when we pray. Maybe you have some examples you’d like to share in the comment box below.

Message from Joe Frost Director of Technology & Operations

James-1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.


Solitary confinement: A holding cell for those finding themselves incarcerated for their choices. Alone, without friends or family.

Orphans, abandoned, alone, solitary, but not by their own choices. A widow, without the one she hoped with whom she would cherish for a lifetime, now alone.

So many orphans & widows just want a caring gesture, sincere compassion, time spent with a loving family even if it's not their own, even if just for an afternoon.

Whatever time we can spare, intentionally impacting the lives of others with something as simple as a visit, helps dispel the feelings of solitary confinement and fosters love; pure religion.

It takes time to love others. And time is so hard to find. But in our search for God's will in our lives we don't have to search far to see He wants us to care for others, like orphans & widows.

Time well spent on others, living out pure religion, loving God and others, leaves much less time for oneself to become stained by the world...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Message from Darren Johnson Development Director

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Praise God for the promises he makes to us in scripture! This verse was turned into a song that I find myself singing all the time.

This verse reveals to us three things about God:

First of all God’s love is steadfast: it never ceases. His love for us is not predicated on what we have done for Him, it’s all about what He has done for us. He loves us no matter what situations we are in.

Secondly, He doesn’t ration his mercies. They are limitless. He doesn’t run out of them no matter how many we need. He gives us a fresh dose of new ones every single morning.

Finally, even though we can be completely faithless at times to Him, He is faithful to us. Just like his never ceasing love, His faithfulness is not based on our performance. Great is His Faithfulness.

Maybe you have had a tough week, maybe it has been a tough year, or maybe even a tough decade. I encourage you to rest on the promises that God makes in Lamentations Chapter 3: He loves you, His mercies are new every morning and great is His faithfulness.

God bless you and may you have a great day in the Lord.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Message from Donn Start West Valley Principal

During our August 10 PC West Valley teacher’s meeting, our staff discussed what school rules we desperately want to prioritize this school year. After much discussion it became apparent that one rule would take center stage this school year – The Golden Rule. During his Sermon on the Mount Jesus instructed us in Luke: 6:31 “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” How simple yet how sophisticated.

Other religions have similar conduct rules that basically state “Don’t do mean things to others.” However, the Golden Rule instructs us to do so much more than simply not being mean to others. Jesus instructs us to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and then treat that person in a manner that we would like to be treated.

My first chapel challenge to our elementary students was to look for opportunities to apply the Golden Rule on the playground, in the classroom, and at home. This same challenge I also present to you. As we begin this new school year, I challenge you to look for opportunities to apply Jesus’ Golden Rule with school families, struggling students, and your colleagues. To ask ourselves “if I were the new student; if I were a financially strapped parent; if I were the lunchroom supervisor; or if I were the classroom teacher; what would I like for someone to do for me?”

I hope that you’ll join me in pledging to make a positive difference on the Phoenix Christian community by doing much more than simply ‘not being mean to one another.’ This year, let’s not simply talk about The Golden Rule - let’s do it!

Blessings to each of you on the start of a Christ-filled school year.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Message from Dr. Phil Adams

1. I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2. Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4. One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5. On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8. The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Psalm 145: 1-8
English Standard Version

What a blessing it is to be involved in Kingdom work here at Phoenix Christian! Notice the big thoughts David expresses when he thinks of his God and Creator. One of our tasks at Phoenix Christian is the help our students think big thoughts about our God. I have the pleasure to interact with students from kindergarten through seniors. The maturity range is vast, yet there are common goals for each student.

• God is our King
• Our duty, our privilege is to extol Him, or give Him honor
• God is great
• God is glorious
• The Lord is at the same time gracious (giving us what we don’t deserve) and merciful (withholding what we do deserve).

Finally, this passage speaks clearly of the need for each generation to pass along its experiences with God to the next generation. That is our privilege here at Phoenix Christian.

May God bless you and keep you this week.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Monday August 16th

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 ESV)

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be gloried in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14 NKJV)

Power and influence are pretty big in our country. Just mention a few last names of some political and cultural icons and your mind immediately defers to their power (either designated or perceived) and their ability to get their way: Obama, Bush, Clinton, Oprah, Bono (OK, the last two were not last names but they don’t need last names). Mention one of these names as a trusted friend and doors open for you, favors are granted and ‘heads roll’ (so to speak) if so requested.

I’ve come to realize we have the most powerful name on the tip of our lips, who is able to do “immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). The name of Jesus is all powerful; as His children observing both circumstances and creation around us we know that to be undoubtedly true. But when we pray “in Jesus’ name” do we really expect Him to do what we ask, or really believe He can do what we ask? Or has “In Jesus name” simply become our verbal “closing the door and turning off the light” on our time with God in prayer?

I want to challenge us to ponder what it means to “ask anything in My name” – remember Jesus was the one who came up with that offer – while at the same time seek to understand how in answering our prayers “the Father may be glorified…”. If I read this right God answers our prayers made “in Jesus name” in such a way that He is glorified. The definition of glorified is : ” to make glorious by bestowing honor, praise, or admiration.” (Merriam-Webster)

In future blogs I want to explore with you these two realities but first I’d like to hear your perspective or your experience of truly praying in Jesus name and the difference it has made to you. Please feel free to comment in the space provided below.

For some words straight from Jesus on this subject I would direct you to John 15:1-17 and John 16:23-28.


Jim Koan

Phoenix Christian Unified Schools