Thursday, May 19, 2011

Message from Shannon Palmer, Admin. Assistant West Campus

As the school year ends, 2 Timothy 4:7 comes to mind: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This has been quite an eventful year; teachers and staff alike have faced challenges, overcome obstacles and celebrated victories during the past 10 months. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

Some of us are beginning new chapters in our lives, such as a new job or retirement. My prayer is that you “keep the faith” and “run with endurance” the race set before you. God bless you this summer and I look forward to all God is going to do the next school year!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Campus


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
...Robert Frost

Don’t you just love this Robert Frost poem? It is my favorite.

Nine years ago Mr. Koan “coaxed” me into trying “the road less taken” by redirecting me from a career as a public school educator into the world of Christian education. Having the privilege of serving two outstanding Christian schools has been such a blessing to my entire family.

Please be encouraged that as Christian educators, you are making a difference for God’s kingdom. Best wishes, and God’s blessings, to you and your families. I’ve greatly enjoyed being a colleague with each of you on the Phoenix Christian School team.

Yours in Christ,
Donn Start

Message from Judy Nunez, Admin. Assistant Central Elementary


I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. ---Ephesians 4:1-3

Lord, help me to walk worthy of the calling You have given me – looking always to You for guidance, reassurance, and strength. May Your love abound in our family and may we forever have the unity You desire for each of us. May Your Spirit give us the bond of peace that we might show the world Your never ending love. Amen.

----taken from “An Invitation to Prayer for Mothers” by Jack Countryman

What a great challenge for us as a school family. As we take a well needed break for the summer may we come back with a renewed vigor and desire to walk “worthy” of the calling God has given us here at Phoenix Christian Unified Schools!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Message from Phil Adams, Principal

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8 English Standard Version

Monday, May 16, 2011

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

Anticipating my last devotional blog of the year, this passage came to mind. When I think about each of you, my dear colleagues and friends, I am so thankful to God that He has raised you and me up to work together in this kingdom work. I listened to some tremendous and moving Senior testimonies last week, how God had used teachers and coaches and friends at PCUS to change their lives. I listened, and I thought of you, faithful faculty, and I thanked God for you.

I attended the High School Honors Assembly and the Junior High Honors Day last week, my chest swelling with pride at the accomplishments and achievements of these kids. I know that behind each and every success story from the student body of PC lies at least one faithful servant-teacher who diligently applied the craft of instruction, all with love and (I am sure at times) super-human patience.

These kids are not all lovable…but because they are here under your tutelage…they are loved.

These kids are not all scholars…but because they sit in your class…they are stars.

So many years ago God “began a good work in you” which He continues to this day. Now you, faithful servant, are an instrument of good work and divine refinement in the lives of these kids.

I thank God for you…and I thank you for sharing this past year with me and with the community of PCUS. Blessings on you until we meet again.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Message from Bruce Consier, Athletic Director

God is Never Too Busy to Talk
by Rick Warren

Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. Galatians 4:7 (MSG) God is always near. He never says, "Some other time."

Here are three encouraging facts to remember about God:

God is never too busy – “The Lord is near to all who call on him.” (Psalm 145:18 NIV) He's never too busy to talk to you. He's always near. He never says, "Some other time."

God loves to meet your needs -- He's not annoyed by your request. "If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

God is sympathetic to your hurts -- "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18 NLT) When you hurt, God hurts. When you grieve, God grieves. He is there. And He cares. That is the Good News

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Message from Donn Start, Principal West Valley

This devotional was published on the Joyce Meyer website, dated March 23, 2011.

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
— 1 Peter 5:8

Listening to the Holy Spirit will keep us balanced in every area of our lives. The Spirit will tell us when we’re spending too much money or not spending enough, when we’re talking too much or not talking enough, or even when we’re resting too much or not resting enough. Anytime we are doing too much or too little of something, we are out of balance.

The verse for today states that we are to be well-balanced so Satan cannot take advantage of us. For years, he took advantage of me because I was not balanced in my approach to work. I felt that my whole life should be arranged around work. As long as I was working and accomplishing something, I didn’t feel the guilt that the devil used against me. But that urge to work all the time was not from God; it did not push me toward godly balance in my life. Work is a good thing, but I also needed to rest and have enjoyment.

Each day as you seek to hear from God, ask Him to show you any area in your life that is out of balance and work with Him to make adjustments. We have many things in life to juggle and therefore it is easy to get out of balance, but God is always available to help us in this area. Simply ask Him if you are doing too much or too little of anything and make the changes He recommends.

Message from Jonathan Medina, First Grade Teacher West Valley

After Jesus’ death, the disciples were very fearful of the immediate future. After all, if Jesus was just killed, they were inevitably next. Sure, Mary had just said He was risen - hallelujah! - but that was just hearsay. They needed more proof before their faith would be strengthened. So, to prove it, Jesus decided to drop by Himself…

John 20:19-21 says, “In the evening that same day, the first day of the week, when the talmidim [disciples] were gathered together behind locked doors out of fear of the Judeans, Yeshua [Jesus] came, stood in the middle and said, "Shalom aleikhem! [Peace be with you]"… "Shalom aleikhem! [Peace be with you]" Yeshua [Jesus] repeated. "Just as the Father sent me, I myself am also sending you." Having said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit]!”

Jesus knew the Shavuot [Day of Pentecost] was approaching and Jesus knew the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit] was going to fall and create great revival that would sweep the planet. However, Jesus also knew 50 days was a long time for the disciples to wait, especially in apprehension and fear of the immediate future. So, Jesus did two things to help His friends. First, He spoke peace upon them, “Shalom aleikhem” [Peach be with you]. He then prophetically confirmed it upon them by speaking it again, “Shalom aleikhem!” Secondly, He enabled them, no, empowered them, to believe it by breathing the Holy Spirit upon them. They were now able to make it to Shavuot [Pentecost].

How wonderful that Jesus gives us just enough to get through until that day of great outpouring of blessing! I don’t know what you’re going through or what uncertainties there may be in your immediate future, but I know there is a day of great outpouring of blessing coming! I speak “shalom aleikhem” to you today. Shalom aleikhem! Don’t lose faith, peace IS with you. May the Ruach HaKodesh empower you!

"I have said these things to you so that, united with me, you may have shalom [Peace]. In the world, you have tsuris [trouble]. But be brave! I have overcome the world!" John 16:33

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Message from Joe Frost, Director Operations/Technology

Matthew-5:14-16 You are the light of the world...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.


The simple truth about light is that it helps us to see - better - in the dark. If there's ever any doubt about that just go find the darkest room around, go to the corner furthest from the door, have someone throw some marbles and thumbtacks at random into the room and turn off the light. No doubt we'd soon be screaming for the light in order to see and avoid the obstacle littered floor.

Much like the cluttered room, life often throws some obstacles in the way too, but if WE are the light then not only do we see a bit more clearly, we help others to navigate life more efficiently as well.

Without fanfare - light doesn't make much sound - quietly, we go about the day helping others not just see better but see our Father - God of Love - better through our works. Like the boyscout helping the little old lady across the street, like the gentleman opening a lady's door, like the girl picking up a crying, skinned kneed child, like the family serving food at the shelter, like the couple visiting the elderly at a home, like the guy letting kids climb on him at an orphanage...

We are the light of the world. Not in hiding or switched off, but out in the open shining brightly for all to see just how much our Father God loves us...that He sent His only son so that whoever would believe in Him would have eternal life...

Chances are, when we get this right we'll know because we'll see others praising God because of our good works.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

Be Still and Know that I Am GOD.

If your month of May is anything like mine, the last thing on your agenda is “Be still.” You may say “Seriously? Do you know all I have to do? Grades and concerts and graduation ceremonies and don’t get me started on what is waiting for me at home. And furthermore…”

Can you relate? But time and again God calls us to “be still”, to pull away from the hustle and bustle of this world and our schedule, our agenda and our responsibilities. Pull away, be still, and focus on Him.

All of those distractions are actually good things, things we should be attending to. But God reminds us that while we are to be about our Fathers work, we are also at times to “be still…and know that He is God.”

Take a moment now, or sometime today, and listen to this song from Steven Curtis Chapman.

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Message from Margarita Llanes, Spanish Teacher

Join me in prayer as we begin a new week,

“Let me now go forth, O Lord my God, to the work of another day, still surrounded by Thy wonderful loving kindnesses, still pledged to Thy loyal service, still standing in Thy strength and not my own.

Let me today be a Christian not only in my words but also in my deeds. Let me follow bravely in the footsteps of my Master, wherever they may lead. Let me be hard and stern with myself. Let there be no self-pity or self-indulgence in my life today. Let my thinking be keen, my speech frank and open, and my action courageous and decisive.

I would pray, O Lord, not only for myself but for all the household to which I belong, for all my friends and all my fellow workers, beseeching Thee to include them all in Thy fatherly regard.

I pray also-

For all who will today be faced by any great decision.

For all who will today be engaged in settling affairs in the lives of men and nations.

For all who are molding public opinion in our time.

For all who write what other people read.

For all who are holding aloft the lamp of truth in a world of ignorance and sin.

For all whose hands are worn with too much toil, and for the unemployed whose hands today fall idle.

For those who have not where to lay their head.

O Christ my Lord, who for my sake and my brethren’s didst forgo all earthly comfort and fullness, forbid it that I should ever again live unto myself. Amen”

“A Diary of a Private Prayer” by John Baillie

Friday, May 6, 2011

Message from Joe Frost, Director of Technology & Operations

Matthew-4:18-25 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, [Jesus] saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed him.... He saw two other brothers, James...and John, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.


Jesus is walking along the seashore and He sees a couple of guys down the beach, not far off shore, out in a boat working hard to keep the business going. Jesus watches them cast out the net, one grabs an oar to paddle the boat slowly while the other lets out the net carefully to sink down into their favorite fishing hole. They might even have one haul of fish already in the boat by this time, but suddenly they hear Jesus yell out to them - follow me - and they immediately row to shore, and leave everything behind and follow Him.

That's tough. You know what you're called to do and you're doing it. You're working; in fact, you're working pretty hard because you know that without hard work the paycheck will be pretty slim. Especially with a trade like fishing where the more you bring in the more you have to sell. So, there's some incentive to keep on working it hard until it's time to go to market.

But along comes Jesus and everything changes. They leave their family, their business, their hope for a secure future, and everything else to simply respond to the call of Jesus and follow him. And it certainly isn't to follow Him to a better fishing location - at least not for fish.

They keep walking and Jesus sees another pair of brothers, James and John.

They too are fishermen hard at work. The only difference seems to be that these two are working to repair the nets with their dad and the other two were casting in their nets by themselves. But, differences aside even James and John immediately leave their dad, their nets, and therefore their security and embark on a risky adventure that changes the world - for all time.

And for many, though years have passed, this scenario is still remarkably similar in lives today. Where were we when He called us? What were we doing the day when we finally gave it all up and followed Jesus? Some respond and go to be missionaries in a foreign land. Others may be compelled to pursue a pastorate.

Many more of us hear Jesus and remain right where we are and that may be exactly what He wants. Not all of us are called to leave, at least not physically. We are, however, all called to leave behind whatever hinders our relationship with Jesus once He calls us.

Let's follow Him daily, reading His Word, living the life He calls us to because by doing so we get to step out into the unknown and embark on an adventure that continues to change the world - with Jesus - right now - right where we are.

Message from Sharon Leary, Second Grade Teacher West Campus

I’m not sure where the story originated, but I like it. God always makes a way out of no way!

Tale of Two Pebbles

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter.

Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.

3) If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the girl do?

Well, here is what she did . . .

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

'Oh, how clumsy of me,' she said. 'But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.'

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

Most complex problems do have a solution. Sometimes we don't attempt to think them through thoroughly or we try to figure them out on our own.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” Proverb 3:5-6

“In God I have put my trust. I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Ps 56:11

May God grant us the wisdom to think outside the box.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Message from Darren Johnson, Development Director

"Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Colossians 4:5-6

The Gospel of Jesus Christ implies mission. Jesus commands us to never be content with just knowing the Gospel ourselves and not sharing it with other people. God places people in our paths – people we connect with, who need and will want what we have to share. Don't be afraid to share a word of encouragement from the Bible or ask if you can pray for someone here at school. Take the opportunities as they present themselves to bring the conversation back to Jesus and His Gospel.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Message from Donn Start, West Valley Principal

May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory, flying banners to honor our God. May the LORD answer all your prayers. Psalm 20:5 nlt

There are so many major hurdles in life that we may sometimes forget to celebrate the small victories along the way. Taking the time to recognize, appreciate and thank God for the many small blessings and answers to prayer that He gives is essential. By expressing gratitude daily, we create a deep reservoir of faith that will be there to replenish your soul when it comes time to face the bigger obstacles.

Recognize and celebrate every small victory today!

Message from Karen LaCrosse, West Valley Preschool

A New Day

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22

WE tend to take each new day for granted. The sun rose yesterday morning, and it will rise again tomorrow; that's the way the world is. Why give thanks for something so predictable?

We may be fooled by appearances into thinking that each day is much like every other. But today is a new day. Each day is a gift from God. No day has been like it before, and no day will be like it again. For me, this is above all a sign of hope.

My store of faith, hope, and love is limited and easily exhausted. I sometimes go to bed feeling weary, drained of energy and emotion, wanting only the oblivion of sleep. In gracious mercy, God uses the hours of darkness and sleep to restore me. In the morning I wake with fresh resources, ready for new opportunities, new experiences, and new encounters with other people. Who knows what God will do with this new day?

Margaret Price (Wiltshire, England)
Thank you, God, for each new day. We pray as Jesus taught us, saying, "Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation."* Amen.

Each day is a gift from God.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
  he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
   and gently lead those that are with young.
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
   and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
   and weighed the mountains in scales
   and the hills in a balance?
Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD,
   or what man shows him his counsel?
Whom did he consult,
   and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
   and taught him knowledge,
   and showed him the way of understanding?
Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
   and are accounted as the dust on the scales;
behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust.
Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,
   nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
All the nations are as nothing before him,
   they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.

Isaiah 40:11-17 English Standard Version

Trying to encompass who God is and what He does is not possible in any language. Words are not enough. In this passage we see the great and sovereign God who rules the universe who, at the same time is a personal and affectionate God who loves us as individuals. The “nations are like a drop from a bucket”, but He still has time to gently wrap each of us in his arms.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Message from Jim Koan, Superintendent

“La, la, la, la Live out loud.” This was the Steven Curtis Chapman song ringing in our ears Saturday night as we left the concert in Peoria. “There’s a life we’ve been given, meant to be lived out, so la-la-la-la live out loud.”

These words and this song would be so trite – if not for the fact they were penned and sung by Steven, who lost his young adopted daughter three short years ago in a tragic family accident in Tennessee. This multiple Dove Award winner and best selling Christian musician has inspired me, and my family, for more than 20 years: Great Adventure, Dive, Speechless, to name a few. We went to the concert anticipating great music, little realizing how great a testimony of God’s grace awaited us.

His music, indeed his very faith, has been tested by the fire of unfathomable pain…and his faith and the lyrics he’s penned for 20+ years have stood firm. We heard from Steven’s own lips that were it up to him or his wife Mary Beth, they would turn back the hands of time to the day before the accident of May 2008 and once again hold their daughter Maria Sue in their arms. That said, they learned, and we can learn and know, that God’s greatness and His all-sufficient grace is proved in the fire of adversity and to-the-bone pain and sorrow. His grace endures no matter the circumstance; “His mercy endures forever.´(Psalm 136)

I pray that you and I never know the kind of loss the Chapman family has absorbed, but I know we are in the hands of the very same God who gave hope and confidence and healing to Steven, to Mary Beth and to the Chapman family, such that night after night with unshakable conviction Steven testifies in song about heaven and a loving heavenly Father and all the things God intends for us to experience here on this earth. He knows they are true because God is faithful in our time of greatest need…we know that is true too.

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You! Psalm 84:10-12

Message from Carol Kirchman, West Campus Kindergarten Teacher

This past week we have been discussing in our classroom the plan God had for Joseph. It is probably not the plan that you and I or even Joseph would have chosen, but yet Joseph was faithful in everything. His is a story of hope, grace, love, and forgiveness. God used Joseph in a mighty way. Even though he was hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, taken away from his own family to a foreign land to be sold into slavery, cast into a prison for something he did not do, he learned to trust in God. God molded him into a Godly, honorable man.

In the end with his brothers all in attendance, “Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God?”Genesis 50:19 His brothers had played a cruel and unfair game on him. But Joseph was led by grace, he spoke with grace, he forgave by grace, he loved by grace, and he provided by grace. Because of this grace that he had received from God, when his brothers bowed down before him in fear, he could say to them, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:20-21

Are you in the place of God today? Trust in God to help you not only when things are going great but when difficult times come our way. God has a wonderful plan for each one of us that unfolds daily. We only need to be faithful and trust Him no matter whether it is in the pit or in the palace.

Rejoice this week knowing that God has his loving hand on every situation that comes your way.