Monday, January 31, 2011

Message from Karen La Crosse, West Valley Preschool

The Psalms are an excellent source of comfort, courage and strength.

“But you, O Sovereign Lord, deal well with me for your name’s sake; out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.” (Psalms 109:21)

Crisis often brings us closer to God because it reminds us that he has total control. In other words, all of our hopes and expectations depend upon his mercy and grace. The Apostle James said it more bluntly: “Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

It’s important for us to understand that divine sovereignty does not mean that everything that occurs in the world is God’s will. Solomon, who grew wise from his own mistakes, finally realized, “I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11)

God doesn’t always will the calamity that comes our way, but his will always allows for it. The truth is much of the trouble we experience in life comes because of the freedom he gives us to make choices. “This freedom”, according to one biblical scholar, “means that sovereignty must always be distinguished from ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, the belief that everything that occurs in the world has been predetermined, scheduled in advance by God.” In other words, we’re not puppets in a mechanical universe in which all choices are made in advance and where freedom is not possible.

Genuine freedom has nothing to do with the ability to do whatever we wish and everything to do with submitting to the sovereign will of God. It’s when we have experienced his greatness that we realize we don’t really have the freedom we thought we had. And that’s when we understand what Paul meant when he said, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

I did it again; I fell into this trap. Tell me if this sound familiar to you.

I cry out to God when a great need is staring me in the face. God in His mercy and love reveals to me a solution, usually not in a miraculous way (like manna and quail falling from heaven or the Red Sea parting) but through human hands or human intervention. He provides for the next few steps on my ‘walk of faith’.

Usually I am then quick to tell any who would listen, “This is so cool what God is doing…” and then I tell them how God is providing for this need or for that surprise or even going above and beyond the minimum needs of my life…but then something happens.

A phone call comes in or an email is received or the check I was expecting doesn’t materialize and my outlook totally changes. I start to fret; I wonder what solution I can come up with. I start to analyze my resources and wonder how long I can hold out. I begin forming my plan for how I will respond …I…I…I…my…I… Do you see a pattern?

Whereas initially I gave God glory for the solution He revealed, when it did not go according to my expectation, according to my timetable, my default response all too often has been to fix my eyes on me…my…I.

I took my eyes off of Jesus, Creator of this world and Lover of my soul.

1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 emphasis added)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

My natural desire is to have a worry free, unobstructed life, but the reality is hardships and setbacks and disappointments and even pain will mark this race we run. But fortunately my success, and your success, is not reliant on our inner reserve or our intellect and experience. Christ is our sufficiency. I remind myself, and I encourage you, let’s keep our eyes on Christ.

Message from Janice Koivisto, Junior High Teacher

Luke 12:22-31

“How are you, Mrs. Koivisto?”, “How you doin’, Mrs. K?”, “Janice, how are things?”

I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times a day it seems like someone asks me how I am and how things are going. In the past I have blown right past them with a blithe answer: “I’m fine…Going good….Things are moving right along”….and I didn’t even break stride to acknowledge the person OR their concern for me…I was too wrapped up in the work to be done, the copies to be made, the appointment to be kept, etc….

But this week, God has slowed me down, put on the brakes, and focused my attention on how things REALLY ARE going for me…and I’m not talking about the work or the copies or the appointments…He whispered into my heart, “Janice, I am here, I care for you, I am holding you in My hand, I know what you are experiencing…And yes, things really are fine….Fine for you because you are with Me…Count your blessings, look at My provision for you…It is a fine day for you!”

This week, when the dear people in my life asked me how I was, I stopped, and I looked at them with a smile…And from my heart, I said, “I have a husband who adores me, two sons who think I’m pretty cool, a job I love, a car with gas in the tank, and a house with food in the fridge...and most of all, a God who loves me enough to die for me…what more could I want? I’m having a GREAT DAY!

So, when someone asks you today “How are you?”, stop, look them in the eye and tell them how blessed you really are! I pray you will have a GREAT DAY…

Luke 12:33 “But seek His kingdom, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Message from Bruce Consier, Athletic Director

What to do When You Feel Overwhelmed
Let God give you strength.

Some of you know God will give you strength but you won’t let Him. You act as if it all depends on you. You keep saying, “If it’s to be it’s up to me.” Or “God helps those who helps themselves.” God didn’t say that! Ben Franklin said that. Neither of those statements are in the Bible. In fact, God says the exact opposite. It’s not up to you. It’s up to God. God wants to help us. And, yet, ironically, those of us in ministry very often try to go it alone when things get tough. Instead, we need to be believing and claiming the promise of God. He gives us over 7000 of them in the Bible.

The reason why this young little thirteen, fourteen-year-old peasant girl named Mary was not blown away by her overwhelming circumstances is she was a woman of the word. She claimed the promises of God. She knew them and she claimed them.

The Bible says this in Luke 1:34 in describing Mary, You are blessed for believing that the Lord will keep His promise to you (GW). She was calm and composed because she had the promises of God in her heart. That gave her strength.

One of the great promises you want to hold on to when you’re overwhelmed is Isaiah 43:2, When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you. Your troubles will not overwhelm you. When you pass through the fire you will not be burned. The hard trials that come will not hurt you (GW). On your own strength you may drown when that flood comes. But not in God’s strength.

(taken from a study from Rick Warren)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Message from Renee Trapp, Business Manager


“God’s business is putting things right.” Psalm 11:7 The Message

We don’t see Jesus settling many disputes or negotiating conflicts. But we do see him cultivating inward harmony through acts of love:

**Washing the feet of men he knew would betray him.

**Honoring the sinful woman whom society had scorned.

He built bridges by healing hurts.

May we model Jesus today.

(Everyday Blessings by Max Lucado)

Message from Carol Kirchman, West Campus Kindergarten

Isaiah 40:31 "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

We are all weary, worn out or even stressed at times. But God is there wanting to renew our strength.  The key is that we need to wait on the Lord. We live in a society today that is always on the go. We never seem to have a lack for doing things. Sometimes in the rat race of things we forget to rely on God. God wants to slow us down and when that happens we realize that we depend on God's strength. As we wait and seek His will for our lives, He reveals His plans. Take time this week to slow down and listen to God's will for your life.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Valley Campus

Proverbs 13:24 states that “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

If you watch sports very much, you've no doubt seen some great plays that ended up not counting, because they made that great play out of bounds. As a former coach, I've seen many arguments over whether or not the players actually were out of bounds. But you don't see arguments over where the boundaries are. In sports, every coach and player knows exactly what the penalties are going to be for breaking the rules.

In athletic competition, if we don't have clear boundaries and clear penalties, we won’t have a “civilized” game. The same is true for school and at home too. If children don't have clear boundaries and clear penalties, they won’t have a ‘civilized” life! It seems as if way too often we see kids who are out of control; as if there's no such thing as being out of bounds. As Christian educators, we have an important duty to teach Christ-like behaviors and consistently enforce its boundaries in a Christ-like manner.

Proverbs 29:17, says, "Discipline your son and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul." Discipline is one of the highest forms of love for a child. It's a love that cares and brings children back when they've gone too far. As educators, when we discipline students, we respond thoughtfully in the way from which they will learn the most. This is far different from “punishment” when people simply dump their anger on the child.

As Phoenix Christian School educators, let’s be intentional in letting students know that not only do we love them, but that we owe it to them to teach and enforce Christ-like behaviors in our classrooms and on our school campuses. By intentionally teaching God’s desired behaviors, and correcting students when needed, you are providing children with a gift that will truly make a difference in their lives.

Blessings to you on a Christ-filled week.

Message from Gretchen Janes, Central Preschool

The sandbox is a popular spot to be if you’re a preschooler. I personally detest the sandbox. It’s messy all the way around – clothes, toys, hair and body parts; it travels with you inside after dribbling across the patio; it builds up in your shoes; and it sometimes can leave a really bad taste in your mouth. There is no escape!

The sandbox is a little like life, actually, it’s a lot like life. Life can be messy and many analogies could be made or lessons learned from the sandbox season. One such life lesson in particular is respect for others. A simple (preschool) definition of respect means that you treat another person just the way you would like to be treated. Jesus showed respect to everyone He met when He was living here on Earth. He wants us to do the same thing by loving others just as much as we love ourselves. When we respect people, all people, we are becoming more like Jesus.

Bible Reading:

Romans 12: Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Philippians 2:33 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

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

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.

I Timothy 2:1-3 English Standard Version

Our Constitution provides that the President periodically report to the Congress the condition of our country as he sees it – the “State of the Union”. Traditionally our President sets aside a Tuesday evening each January to do so. Tonight President Obama is carrying on that requirement. As he speaks, we Christians would do well to remember our own mandate. We are to pray for our leaders. They face enormous pressures from a variety of directions.

Our form of government and our social tradition have made criticism of our leadership possible, even expected. Often we Christians are at the cutting edge of this criticism. Let’s be sure to follow the biblical mandate to pray as earnestly as we may follow our political or social mandate. Our children are watching.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

“Where was God on January 8th in that Safeway parking lot in Tucson? How could a loving God let that happen?”

Tough questions for a tough situation but God’s in the business of answering the tough ones. I’m not speaking for God here, just sharing with you some thoughts that came to my mind as I reflected on those events.

If God were invited to appear on Fox News’ O’Rielly Factor and Bill asked Him “How can a loving God let an 9-year old die? Are you a loving God?”, I can hear God replying…

“Bill, every single man, woman and child on this earth lives with a death sentence hanging over their head. It is the consequence of man’s sin. Each of you at some point will die.

Now, I’m a father too, so I understand the grief little Christina’s parents are feeling. I understand because I sent my own little one, my Son, to suffer an undeserved and cruel death. I loved Him when I sent Him, more than anyone has loved, but it was that same love with which I love every single man, woman and child on this planet.

Yes, death is tragic, and these 6 deaths appear senseless, but I sent My one and only Son so that the death’s of 6 billion on this earth would not be senseless. That’s where the heart of this loving God is…making sure that death does not have to be the final chapter for every person on this planet. My arms are stretched out to welcome all who will come.”

Now for the unregenerate, for the non-spiritually minded, this response may not give much comfort. But for those of us who place our trust in God and have His spirit within, we can recognize that God was not diminished in any way on that tragic Saturday morning, just as He was not beaten on Good Friday on a hill called Golgotha. In death, Christ’s death, God brought life to man.

We can take heart knowing that because of God’s great love for us, our final heartbeat is not our final moment. Instead, it is the last breath before eternity with the ultimate God of love.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

This is love, not that we love God, but that He loved us, and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (I John 4:10)

Message from Gena Horn, Technology/Operations

We Have to Ask
"It must be faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting." James 1:6

If we read the New Testament book of James, we will see that James opens by telling us how to handle life’s problems and trials. There is a natural way of dealing with these things, but there is also a spiritual way to handle them. In James 1:5-6, James basically says, "If you are having trouble, ask God what you should do." You may not hear His voice and receive an answer immediately, but if you ask in faith, you will find as you go about your business a wisdom operating through you that is divine and beyond your natural knowledge.

In Psalm 23:2, the psalmist says that God leads His people into green pastures and beside still and restful waters. In other words, God will always lead us to a place of peace and safety if we seek Him. Look back at today's verse and notice that we have to ask in faith. All to often we do not receive help because we do not ask for it. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He waits until we invite him into our situations. We cannot assume and presume; we have to ask!

God's word for you today: When you need something, ask God for it.

Joyce Meyer Daily Devotional - Hearing from God each morning.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Message from Joe Frost Director of Technology & Operations

Matthew-5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... Rejoice & be glad...
We don't have to trace too far back through history to find cases of believers being persecuted. In fact, despicable acts are still being carried out against Christians today. Just correspond with any number of missionaries nearly anywhere in the world to hear their testimonies of trials.

However, there's also persecution for many of us here at home. Look at what happens when today's youth state they believe in creation rather than evolution. Or watch what happens when some of those kids post signs to tell others about a bible study or prayer group they're starting at school.

And it's not too different for adults when they attempt to do the same at work regarding creation, bible studies, or prayer.

We don't even have to set foot outside our front doors either. Just turn on the radio or television & we hear the attacks by the lyrics of the songs or the language and attitudes of the programming. It's quite possible that today's persecution is even more widespread than ever before attacking many of the values and principals we choose to live by.

For those that identify with persecution, God promises theirs is the kingdom of heaven, but wait, look at how this section ends... with a reminder to rejoice and be glad when you're persecuted because great is your reward in heaven, but what it doesn't say seems to be just as profound...

If we can't relate to persecution...well, maybe if we practice what we preach...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Message from Jay Hendricks, High School Teacher

Matthew 7:7 (ESV) "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

“Love is a peculiar balance of self sacrificing and self seeking; of giving away and getting; of blind following and perceptive, determined, faith-filled action.” Sarah Hornsby

The challenge is to find the balance between wanting, seeking, finding, and sharing. As a teacher, I often ask myself how much of myself I should give; how much should I hold back; when do I demand space for myself, and when should I enter the fray without reservation? In the effort to be more Christ-like, I remember that even Jesus held back at times; even he sought refuge from his followers, who had to be at least as annoying as some students in my classes.

Ultimately finding the right balance between give and take is a day to day, moment by moment task. It is a matter of weighing the need and the reward, of recognizing my limitations and my strengths and trying to act appropriately. It is a matter of trusting God to fill in the gaps left by my shortcomings. I cannot be all things to all people, but God can.

1 John 3:19-24 (ESV) “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Valley Campus

Isn’t it comforting to know that God has high hopes and expectations for each of us? The fact that He invested the life of His only Son to see us set free shows how precious we are to Him. I used to think that God was disappointed in me when I made mistakes. But God knows every decision we’re ever going to make, He loves us anyway, and He knows that He can change us if we’ll stay in His Word.

I believe that our attitude has a lot to do with how God works in our life. God doesn’t reward a negative attitude or self-pity or an “everybody owes me” attitude. God promises that we will be rewarded if we have faith and hope in Him. Hope is one of those positive attitudes that He desires from us. Having hope is expectations that something good is going to happen in our lives. God wants us to believe that He can change whatever needs to be changed and that we can do whatever needs to be done.

The Bible teaches over and over again that we’re to help hurting people. I believe that’s God’s passion for us. Although He wants us to enjoy our lives and have nice things, He also wants us to remember the poor, the lost and the needy.

Sometimes we don’t seem to fully comprehend that one person can really make a difference. We can sometimes simply inspire people around us just by making right choices. We can also change the world through our prayers, our giving, and by reaching out with the love of Jesus to those who are in desperate need.

You and I can fulfill God’s expectation for our lives by living with expectant hope and being passionate for the things that He is passionate about in life. Blessings to each of you on a Christ-filled week.

Message Mary Hendricks, Central Elementary Teacher

Love Is Belonging

“…Anyone who gives you a cup water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

Mark 9: 41

Love generates belonging, a sense of family, participation, being included, wanted, accepted. Because I am loved, I will gradually become more loveable and loving, more accepting, including of others, relaxed, available.

Lord of Love, give me a quiet confidence that radiates acceptance.

One thing God has spoken, two things that I have heard: that you, Oh God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

Psalm 62: 11 -12

Our society calls out to us that we need to possess many expensive belongings. We need to own the most updated cell phones, iPods, computers, super cars, and extravagant dream homes. Sadly, many people over the past couple of years have had to readjust their priorities from what they might want to possess to what they can realistically afford to possess.

In our Christian community, throughout this financial crisis, we have known that our greatest possession is the firm foundation of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing beyond any doubt that we belong to Jesus and we are part of his family is the greatest possession that we can ever know in this world and in the next.

As a young child I learned that I was blessed to belong to a large family with my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, who loved me unconditionally just because I was related to them.

When I was about eight years old, I was adopted into another family who shared the Lord with me and taught me how much Jesus loved me by the way they accepted and included me in their Church family. They were a group of believers who shared Jesus with their community by taking children to Sunday school on a rickety old school bus. My brother and I enjoyed that Sunday bus ride for many years.

Those amazing Christian people from that small Free Methodist Church in Harvey, Illinois knew that by sharing the love of Jesus right where they lived, they would spread the gospel message far beyond their church doors. Their greatest possessions were their faith and far reaching love for others.

Daily, as I teach my fourth graders about the love of Jesus and His acceptance of each one of them, I am assured that these precious children will carry this message far from the doors of Phoenix Christian Unified Schools, unto the farthest corners of the earth. I am confident that they will shout to the world that the greatest riches are the acceptance and love of Jesus and the promise of living in His family for all of eternity. This is my sincere prayer for all of our children.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Message from Colleen Helman, High School Teacher

Am I Listening . . . or Ignoring?

Of late, the Holy Spirit of God has been after me with the question, “How much of yourself is really committed to Me, The God of the universe, the Lord of your life, the Savior of your very soul?” He did not hit me with that all at once, I’m sure, because I would have answered, “Of course I’m committed to you, Lord! I asked Jesus into my heart when I was eight years old. I go the church every Sunday and to a Bible Study every Tuesday night. I’m married to a minister. I teach in a Christian school. “What do you mean, how much of me is really committed to You?’ Can’t you tell?

Well, the problem is . . . He really CAN tell how much of me is committed to Him. And so, a little bit at a time, the Holy Spirit keeps asking the same question, in different ways, at different times of the day, in different circumstances, until I can no longer pretend I don’t hear Him. It comes everyday. And will continue, I’m sure, as I examine every corner of my life. And then He will begin again.

Below are the verses from Mark in which a religious leader asked Jesus which commandment was the most important of them all. Look at what Jesus said in answer to the question:

Jesus said, "The first in importance is, 'Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.' And here is the second: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.' There is no other commandment that ranks with these."

Mark 12:28-31 (The Message)

Then, last Sunday night, during the Praise and Worship part of the service, I heard an old, old hymn, sung by a group of young men and women that I have watched grow up at our church. They sang it beautifully, from their hearts, and I sang along as the Lord again asked me His question. Those of you who know this hymn can sing it in your mind. If you don’t know it, please read the words that the Holy Spirit would not let me ignore:

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Thank your for letting me share the daily challenge each of us face as we look for God in our daily lives. My prayer for me (and for you) is that I be listening for, and expecting, His continual, daily prompting to examine my actions, motives and my commitment to and love for HIM.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Message from Bruce Consier, Athletic Director

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17, New International Version

We get gifts at Christmas, our birthday, anniversaries and other occasions. It is a joy to see the excitement on the faces of the person receiving the gift. Can you image what God feels like to give us many great gifts and for us to be excited for that gift? What more so when we use that gift. Sometimes my boys get me something I do not like. But when I wear it or use it they are so proud and excited.

Just think of what God feels when we are using the gifts he gave us.

Phx Christian has many gifts from God. Let's remember them each day.

Message from Harold Harmon, High School Teacher

“My heart bursts with praises to God;
every fiber of my being reaches out in rejoicing!
How can I ever forget His blessings?
He forgives my sins;
He touches my afflictions with healing;
He snatches me back from the gaping jaws of hell;
He covers me with concern and love;
He fulfills my deepest desires and gives me
meaning for life and purpose for living.” Psalms 103.

I read the obituaries almost every day and generally find myself praying for the families of the deceased. It is sobering to find that almost half of those listed are younger than I. It is also interesting to read that virtually everyone was a saint in this life and all are now resting in the arms of God. I sometimes wonder what my family will write about me and if they will exercise the same level of forgiveness for my shortcomings as others seemly are afforded.

This is one of my favorite Psalms. As I grow older and realize that more of my years are behind me than ahead, the loving-kindness of our God is becoming more understandable and apparent. I like to think it is because I have become less earthly minded in my dreams and pursuits. Perhaps it is because my earthly purpose for living has become blurred. I used to cry when my dad would say he felt so unnecessary. When we feel unnecessary and that our petty efforts will never make a real difference, it is good to remember that God gives meaning to life and a real purpose for living.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Message from Renee Trapp, Business Manager


“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart…But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed…Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 1, 7-8, 16-18

**When God through His mercy calls and commissions his servants, he also supplies the strength necessary for them to persevere in the face of hardships and persecutions.

**The all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. The absolute insufficiency of man reveals the total sufficiency of God.

**Seen in the perspective of eternity, the Christian’s difficulties, whatever they may be, diminish in importance. By comparison, the eternal glory is far greater than all the suffering one may face in this life.

**The experiences and circumstances of this present life, often painful and perplexing, are what are visible to the Christian; but these are temporary and fleeting. To fix our eyes on these visible things would cause us to lose heart.

**By contrast the unseen realities, which are no less real for being invisible, are eternal and imperishable.

(Excerpts taken from the NIV Concordia Self-Study Bible)

Message from Shannon Geiger, West Valley 3rd Grade Teacher

The LORD truly works in mysterious ways to teach us and continue to grow us in His ways. Last week, my husband and I experienced a difficult situation within our family. We prayed, asked others to pray for us/with us, and I sought out God's Words. However, for whatever reason, God did not answer my prayers in the way I thought they should be answered. I remember thinking, "God, did you hear me? God, why did you allow this to happen?" Throughout last week and this week, I felt the Holy Spirit minister to my heart to teach me through this situation. God's peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and a strength that I know could of only come from God (Isaiah 40:29) fell upon me. The LORD reminded me that His way is always perfect and good (Jeremiah 29:11).

It is truly funny the way that the LORD works because the first lesson I taught in Bible this week happened to be on how Jesus teaches us how to pray. The timing of this lesson was so Godly appointed that the lesson helped to continue to minister to my heart. Throughout this lesson we read a story about a boy named Jonathan. This story described the struggle that Jonathan experienced as he prayed for his dying Grandfather. The lesson he learned was that God is faithful to answer prayer, but also sovereign to answer as He chooses. Sometimes when we pray, God's answer is YES. On the other hand, God can also say NO, or Wait until Later. Sometimes God will even say Yes, and I will give you much more than you asked. We can never really fully understand why God answers as he does, but that is where we have faith and trust in the LORD. God's answers can be trusted because He is all-knowing, and He knows what is best for us even if we don't understand His answer at the time.

Throughout my lesson, the Lord gave me a picture (as He often does because that is how I seem to learn best). I immediately ran over to my game shelves and pulled a puzzle box out. I randomly picked a piece from the puzzle and held it up for my class (without showing them what the picture of the puzzle looked like). I asked the students, "Who knows how this piece fits in the puzzle? Where does it fit? Which way does it go? What part of the picture do you think this piece shows?" Everyone had a different answer of course. I then went on to explain that this is similar to us and God. All we can see is one piece of the puzzle. We aren't sure where it goes, how it fits, or maybe why it doesn't fit somewhere, etc. However, God sees the whole picture and knows exactly how that piece of the puzzle is going to work into the big picture. We might eventually understand how that puzzle piece fits in the big picture, but we only get there by trusting that this piece is part of the puzzle and working through the situation. The Holy Spirit showed me that I can truly do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). I hope this situation can help you in your prayer life. Know that prayer is important and essential to understanding God, but also know that God gives us GOOD things that can be different than what we thought was best for us because ultimately God knows what is best. God is good all the time!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Message from Alicia Galindo, Human Resources Manager

"Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Colossians 3:1-2

So many times we get distracted by all the things we experience in a day. Our minds get full of this earth. We must fix our minds on Him in order to cope with today's fast pace society. God wants to help us with our day to day life, by His Word. Many times we talk strategy, but the true and real strategy is found in the Word of God. So today, set your mind on the things that really matter in life, and that is fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ.

(Daily Devotional from Tom Nannarone)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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

After half a century of salvation I have always regretted never having read through the Bible. Well this year I am going to do it. For Christmas I asked for, and received, a One Year Bible. Each day I read a passage from the Old Testament, one from the New Testament, some Psalms, and a few Proverbs. I am looking forward to how God will bless and challenge me over the next year.

Recently I read the passage in Genesis where Abram decided to tell a fib to Pharaoh by telling him Sarai, (his wife) was really his sister. He was afraid Pharaoh would kill him to get at Sarai. Never mind that put Sarai in a pretty awkward spot with the most powerful man in all Egypt, and never mind that brought judgment down on Egypt and many innocent people suffered. Never mind also that Abram’s fears were not unfounded. The Bible doesn’t record that God expressed any displeasure with Abram, but that is probably a given. Abram feared death more than he loved Sarai. Maybe he figured Pharaoh would take Sarai one way or another so why not live to tell about it. In this one instance at least this particular Pharaoh had more character than Abram because not only did he let Abram live, but gave him back his wife.

Often we rationalize our way out of tough ethical spots in the same way Abram did. It’s funny/sad the lengths we will go to avoid danger, discomfort, inconvenience, or confrontation. I can’t be too hard on Abram. He was human like the rest of us. We Christians are prone to cut ethical corners at times. We usually have pretty good reasons for doing so, or so we think. May that never be said of Phoenix Christian or those of us who minister here.

Message from Laura Furedy, Preschool Director

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

Perhaps the heaviest burden we try to carry is the burden of mistakes and failures. What do you do with your failures?

Even if you’ve fallen, even if you’ve failed, even if everyone has rejected you, Christ will not turn away from you. He came first and foremost to those who have no hope. He goes t those no one else would go to and says “I’ll give you eternity.”

Only you can surrender your concerns to the Father. No one else can take those away and give them to God. Only you can cast all your anxiety on the one who cares for you. What better way to start the day than by laying your cares at His feet?
“Walking with the Savior” by Max Lucado

Whether you are burdened today with regrets and remorse, burdened with the tyranny of the immediate and all you have to get done, or burdened with the financial challenge of “more month than money” we have an avenue of escape from the crushing load. Recently in my devotions (Experiencing the Heart of Jesus) God has given me such words of encouragement and hope that I could not wait to share them with you. Like each of us, I struggle as I lift and shoulder the burdens of life – all these I’ve mentioned above and many more. Early mornings seem to be the toughest time – lying awake in bed before the dawn and thinking about the school, or my family, or finances, or even failures – past and future ones.

I can’t seem to clear my head and face the day…until I call on God to take these burdens that He never intended me to bear. Most mornings I’m out walking the neighborhood while it is still dark, and I pour out the concerns which stirred me from my sleep. As I mentally hand them over to God I hear Him saying to me “That’s right. Now you’re getting it. Give them back to Me because I’ve got this…and this one too…and that one, I’ve already settled it.” God’s got them under control – all of them. Not the slightest or greatest care of ours escapes His loving gaze.
Read these verses, and if necessary take a moment to unburden your heart and mind, and then go forward in this day refreshed and renewed and released, as God intended you to be this day.

You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.

Job 10:12

For he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.

Psalm 95:7

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

John 14:16

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 23:1

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33
Matthew-5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, God's perfect rightness, that which is of God and only comes from God.

Those who are acutely aware of their need for righteousness as much as their need for food and drink, seeking it over and over again throughout the day, yes, they truly understand what is fulfilling and satisfying. They've reached the point of desperation and are driven to find nourishment from God.

They won't settle for a quick fix, cheap substitute, or temporary thrill ride, but push on regardless of the cost to satisfy that throbbing hunger pang, tongue swollen, lip chapped, craving for God.

They know their pursuit of God is not in vain as if it were a mirage, but rather an oasis of life. Though once emaciated and dehydrated, faltering and fatigued now they grow strong in Him, only Him.

These God chasers will be satisfied. Come, join the pursuit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Message from Joe Frost Director of Technology & Operations

Matthew-5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.


Blessed are the meek, the sweet quiet girl in the back row of the choir that also serves meals at the church youth camps, the old man who says so little until you ask him a question and you find he has so much wisdom to share, the college student that came home early to care for the much younger brother rather than let him go live with another relative when they were suddenly orphaned the day their parents flight didn't return home as planned.

They don't stand up and scream about the inequalities, the unfairness, or the duty of life. In fact, quite the opposite, they seem to thrive in obscurity. But Jesus does speak up for them. He stands for those that perform the chores before them each day without argument. Yes, the meek, those who are gentle, kind, humble will inherit the earth, but before you think about this gift as not quite what you expected, think again about the "Garden of Eden", the perfect type of earth! Now, you who are meek, what God originally created as a perfect place for man to live and walk with Him - continue to press on through all you do, because this beautiful "Garden" also called Earth is your inheritance.

Message from Angie Dickerson, Assistant to Principal Phil Adams

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28

There are a lot of things that we don't know in life, but here is one thing that we DO know; God has a plan and He knows what He is doing. Even if it doesn’t make sense to you, you can trust His plan for your life.

Centuries ago a great architect was secured to design a magnificent church for the king of Spain's magnificent palace, the Escorial. The name of the church is San Lorenzo.

When this awesome building was being constructed the architect designed a huge arch, one larger than any that had ever been built before. That single arch was supposed to support the entire weight of the church's giant roof. The king, however, was worried that the enormous weight of the roof would be too much for that arch. So he insisted that the architect build a column from the floor all the way up to the center of the arch, to help support it.

The architect took the King's command to build a center column as a tremendous insult and argued loud and long with the king that this was not necessary and that his fears were all groundless. But the king insisted and the column was built. After the building was finished the king worshipped in peace. He could look at that column and feel secure that the column he had added to the architect's design would hold up that enormous roof.

Many years later, after the King's death, the architect revealed that he had left a quarter-inch space between the top of the column and the arch it was supposed to support!

Even now, though hundreds of years have gone by, that ceiling has not sagged even a quarter of an inch! You can go and visit the Escorial today and the tour guides will take you to San Lorenzo Church and they will pass a board between that column and the arch proving that the great architect's plan was sure. He stands vindicated even after all these centuries!

God's plan is this way. His plan for our lives is sure and doesn't need our support. We can trust the work that He is doing in our lives and we can rest in His gracious design. We aren't left in the hands of fate. Lady Luck doesn't control our lives! We are in the hands of a loving God! There is nothing that happens to us which does not dovetail into God's plan for our lives.


Taken from the January 4th edition of GRACE MAIL

Written by Pastor Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church, Phoenix, AZ

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Message from Bob Denson, Junior High Teacher

The Eagle and the Wolf

There is a great battle that rages inside us.
One side is the soaring eagle. Everything the eagle stands for is good and true and beautiful, and it soars above the clouds. Even though it dips down into the valleys, it lays its eggs on the mountaintops.

The other side of me is the howling wolf. And that raging, howling wolf represents the worst that's in me. He eats upon my downfalls and justifies himself by his presence in the pack.

Who wins this great battle?

The one we feed.

Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.

The remarkable thing is, we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

from Strengthening Your Grip
by Charles Swindoll

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Valley Campus

Written by Leslie Williams, PC West Valley Librarian

The Old Testament story of Samuel selecting a new king gives us insight into how God chooses leaders. In I Samuel 16 the priest is told to travel to Bethlehem to choose a king from among Jesse’s sons. When the sons passed in front of Samuel for consideration, the scripture records: “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I Sam 16:7 (NIV)

It’s the heart of a man – the heart of a woman – that God examines for service. What a profound and holy act! God cannot be fooled, and it is no small matter when He anoints teachers to direct the instruction of His little ones, or principals to administer organization and inspiration for their staff.

And I use the word anointed with purpose. We are anointed for our callings. God has examined our hearts and has chosen us for the particular tasks before us. Let us go forth each day with confidence, knowing that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:6 (NIV)

Message from Keith de Laet, High School Teacher

I’m not really much of a New Year’s Resolution guy. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t get too excited about flipping the calendar over from December to January. It doesn’t really seem to be much different from any other calendar flip at the end of any other month, unless of course you haven’t purchased a new calendar. Then you have to use that little square at the top that holds January in miniature. Having said that, I do use the start of a new year as an opportunity to re-evaluate my commitments. What have I said “yes” or “no” to that proved to be correct, and where have I said “yes” or “no” out of guilt, or manipulation, or some other such reason.

I have done this ever since I read Boundaries by Townsend & Cloud. In their book, they point out that “This concept of boundaries comes from the very nature of God. God defines himself as a distinct being separate from his creation and from us. He has boundaries within the Trinity. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one, but at the same time they are distinct persons with their own boundaries.”

I really like this idea because it not only allows me, but also forces me, to prioritize my time according to my responsibilities and callings as a Christian, a husband, a father, an employee, and a volunteer. I can reaffirm my commitments to those things God has called me to do, and receive release from the things he has not called me to do, but I took on anyway. The amazing thing about the whole process is that I usually feel more connected to the things that God has indeed called me to do, one the other clutter has been removed. It’s a simple thing really, and the start of a new year seems to be the perfect time.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

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

Proverbs 11:24-25 (English Standard Version)
One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Each of us knows someone who just gives and gives. They may or may not be wealthy by this world’s standards, but they can’t help themselves. They give sacrificially. They give without hesitation. They give expecting nothing in return. They just give out of an abundant heart, if not an abundant purse or wallet. The Bible says they give and yet grow in wealth. They bless other people’s lives, and are blessed in return.

We are surrounded by such people at Phoenix Christian. They are teachers, staff, students, parents, and volunteers. May God bless each of you for being a blessing to others in 2011.
Matthew-5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are those who mourn, grieve, sob uncontrollably over the loss of their loving spouse of many years, over the loss of their only child, over the loss of their best friend, over the divorce they never saw coming, over the accident that surgery couldn't correct. They cry out, but there is nothing that can fill the void of an empty womb - again, nothing that can soothe the phantom pain where a leg once stood, that is not until today when they hear Jesus tell them that the day shall come - emphasis on the promise of SHALL - and that they SHALL be comforted.

The words are those of hope - then and today as well; words for strength & endurance, and more. They provide not only the comfort necessary for us to understand that a living, loving God cares for us, but His words also provide us with the necessary abundant love for those around us, to comfort others, for as freely as we receive, we can freely give - from His

Monday, January 3, 2011

Message from Margaret Crotts, First Grade Teacher

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good,  pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am one of those people who always make New Year’s Resolutions. When our children were young, my husband began the tradition of taking them to McDonald’s at the beginning of each new year to plot out their goals for the year and a strategyfor reaching those goals. They always did a much better job of keeping to the plan than I. Sometime between the making of the goals/resolutions and about a week later, mine went by the wayside.

Now my New Year’s Resolutions seem to be very similar year after year….more quiet time,
less shopping, a closer walk/communion with God, less shopping, more exercising, less shopping.
I think you get the picture.

God’s Word gives us a plan for Everyday Resolutions – “Come to Me with a teachable spirit, eager to be changed”. A close walk with God is a life of continual newness. Don’t cling to old ways as you step into a new year. Instead, seek His face with an open mind, knowing that your journey involves being transformed by the renewing of your mind. As you focus your thoughts on Him, be aware that He is fully attentive to you. He sees you with a steady eye, because his attention span is infinite. He knows and understands you completely.

Join me this new year and let’s give ourselves fully to an increasing attentiveness to God and His
Continuing Renewal in our lives. New year….New You!