Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Message from Karen Boyce, Business Manager

If not already, schedules are about to be very hectic with holiday festivities. As I pull out the ornaments and tinsel, I also pull out one of my favorite Bible verses, “Be still and know that I am God.”~ Psalms 46:10. You can emphasize each word of this verse and it has a different impact on your heart.

BE still and know that I am God.

Be STILL and know that I am God.

Be still and KNOW that I am God

Be still and know that “I” am God.

Be still and know that I am GOD!

Psalms 46:10 has been my partner through a lot of circumstances. There are times that I need to do nothing more than to just exist as His child. Oftentimes, I need to interrupt my daily agenda and simply exist in His presence. When my own means exhaust me, I need His divine wisdom. For Him to remind us that HE is God, I need to remember that HE is the Almighty. And, always, I just need to stop long enough to remember His awesome power. To just say the name “God” brings His authority and humility to me.

Some people assign stillness with a negative connotation - as weak or disheartened. However, being still does not restrict my mobility. Rather, being still is a command that requires me to take courage in divine dependence rather than my own self. I can be still because of what I know about God. His command for me to be still forces realization that I am finite and then humble myself to His infiniteness. He provides me a controlled composure in my chaos.

So during this season, I pray for spiritual serenity - the kind that God gives despite our circumstances. Spiritual calm does not come from peace, but a steady deep reflection of how God intervenes in the midst of circumstances. In Romans 15:4, I find hope. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”

As a little girl, I remember going to church and my mother telling me “Sit Still!” My teachers told me the same thing in the classroom. I did not like those words. I did not have time for stillness. Now, sometimes I think God tells me to “Sit Still!” That command I have learned to obey. I pray for opportunities to be still and learn more about the infinite God that I love and who loves me

May each of you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season and find some time to be still.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Message from Lisa Blake, Counselor

Our little miracle growing inside me is certainly continuing to surprise us! I definitely do not use the word "miracle" flippantly. Most of you know, but perhaps many may not know that Jeff and I have struggled to conceive. I know, it's surprising! We're on our 5th pregnancy but REALLY! It took over a year with Brooklynne, we tried at least 9 months for the next baby that we lost, we tried over a year and 1/2 for T.J. and 2+ years for Annie. So you must understand our utter SHOCK when we discovered that I was pregnant this summer (a little over 2 months since Annie's birth). Once the shock wore off (it took a little while), I remembered that Jeff and I had just talked about still wanting one more and hoping/praying for God's will in our family. So with our little miracle baby growing inside me, we began our new journey feeling both overwhelmed and utterly amazed at HIS plan for our family.

With each and every day that passes, I question if I have enough love to give a husband and four little ones. Especially after a day of changing half of dozen diapers, running upstairs 20+ times 7months pregnant with a 16 lb baby on my hips and a four year old that just cannot seem to figure out the whole "getting dressed" thing. Hoping to have the house picked-up, dinner hot and ready, and a joyous spirit when Jeff and Brooklynne arrive, I scurry around finding myself growing more and more reluctant about this miracle baby growing inside me. Do I have enough love to give?

So I search my heart and I search Christ's heart. I think He's revealed something to me that most of you have probably already discovered. I do NOT have enough love to give! There is absolutely no way I can pour myself out over and over and over - there's just not enough to go around. BUT His love is abundant, overflowing, MORE than enough.

I know, the 23rd Psalms is so over done but I've really spent some time recently meditating on this chapter. So here's the Message version which I love for it's visual depiction.

God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

4 Even when the way goes through
Death Valley,
I'm not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd's crook
makes me feel secure.

5 You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.

6 Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I'm back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.

"My cup brims with blessing" or my cup overflows...I LOVE THIS! As I rest in HIS presence and experience HIS abundant love, my cup cannot help but overflow into the lives of Jeff, Brooklynne, T.J., Annie, and our little miracle baby.

As our journey continues to take some twists and turns, Jeff and I thank you for covering us with prayers. Our words cannot express our deep gratitude and love for this community.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Message from Jeff Blake, High School Teacher

Psalm 100 (the Message, a paraphrase of scripture)
A Thanksgiving Psalm

1-2 On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

3 Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD.
He made us; we didn't make him.
We're his people, his well-tended sheep.

4 Enter with the password: "Thank you!"
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

Lisa and I enjoyed a time of celebration of God’s provision over Thanksgiving! And in that I have taken some time alone with God to recognize that giving thanks is a discipline—and one I am not good at (in the meditation of my own heart).

Over the years, our extended family has been exceedingly gracious to my immediate family with money, gifts of service, and devotion. Yet, in my own heart I experience shame (which is not from God). Privately I struggle with the need to do it all on my own. Privately I struggle with the perception that other’s assistance to me is a sign of my weakness.

And in this place, I objectively know that all good things flow from God and my dependence upon my Creator is total. God is the Provider. In my experience family is a tool the Provider uses. And so here I am in this place of paradox and learning. God simply will provide how He sees fit—the conduit is not up to me. The Provider is in charge.

And in this reflection, another tool by which our Provider uses is our school community.

Did you know . . .?

Our elementary students have provided a TON of plastic bags and egg cartons to a food ministry in Mexico and border communities.

Our elementary students provided nearly 30 shoe box gifts to Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.

Our junior and senior high students will again spread out in our community to provide just short of 1,000 hours of community service on Friday, December 2.

Some of our junior and senior high students are raising money to support Invisible Children’s endeavor to end the abuse of children soldiers in the civil wars which grip Uganda. Some of our senior high students have contacted members of Congress to pledge their concern for this injustice.

On Thursday, December 8—62 needy students from MC Cash Elementary school will be bused to our campus for an evening of crafts, dinner, Santa, hayrides, and God’s love from our JH and SH students.

Our junior and senior high students have collected nearly 300 pairs of shoes in support of Mr. Harmon’s ministry to children living in poverty.

My point is that my Thanksgiving was not laden with laughter—but interpersonal embarrassment as I am coming to grip with my own needs. Psalm 100 is a powerful reminder of celebration! We are the body of Christ. Guided by the Spirit we have an opportunity to serve and give our lives away to each other and most of all—God!

Father, this day I choose to make my self more at home in your chosen means of Provision! Thank you! That is my “password” this day. Thank you that you provide in your own way! May each gift of provision be an opportunity for myself and others to be ever more at home with You.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Message from Sonya Berges, JH/SH Teacher

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”
Ephesians 3:20

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 38 & 39

I have a brother who has been diagnosed as SMI – severely mentally ill. The past two months have been a roller coaster in my world watching him deteriorate one more time and unraveling the consequences of adult abuse toward our mom. While the situation has at times felt overwhelming and surreal, I have never before felt God’s presence and peace as profoundly as I have over these weeks.

So many situations have presented themselves where I didn’t know how or what to pray for yet God opened doors, closed them and worked ahead, behind and around us. His protection and provision have been nothing short of a miracle. My past doubts about whether God was real, if he loved me or listened to me have been silenced. As I’ve read, journaled and prayed through this time, I see God’s fingerprints all over this. It has been a difficult but beautiful testimony to a very real God who loves us so much.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving, I pray that you too will see God show up in amazing ways in your personal circumstances. Hopefully they aren’t as dramatic as mine. God Bless!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Message from Roger Bemis, Band Teacher

"Come on everyone! Let's gather round the turkey and sing Jingle Bells. Does everyone have their sleigh bells ready?"

Jingle Bells, originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh"
Author James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) wrote the song in 1857. This song was meant for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Savannah, Georgia where Pierpont was organist. The song was so well accepted that it was again sung on Christmas day and since then became one of the most popular Christmas carols.

What do you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I share the following to simply provide a different perspective on this Thanksgiving.

We, as Americans have a lot to be thankful for. When I was deployed to Iraq as a video broadcaster, the units I was doing stories on visited schools to give out basic school supplies, like coloring books, crayons, pencils, noteboooks, backpacks, perhaps a little food, sometimes desks, maybe some clothes and of course, soccer balls. I saw and shot footage of school children sitting in a room, two or three to a small benchlike seat, eagerly waiting to learn from a teacher who only had a chalkboard to teach from.

The rooms didn't have heat. For "air-conditioning", they might of had a ceiling fan, but I'm not sure the ones I saw worked. They probably opened a window, but sometimes that wasn't necessary; the windows were already broken. The walls were bare and the paint was chipped. Their dilapidated state had nothing to do with the war. These schools were the norm; especially in rural areas.

When voices in America cry out asking for 'more money for education', they should think about what they already have, for they are already richly blessed. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for our kids. Broken windows and leaky roofs need to be fixed, but there needs to be balance between need and want. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12

I know that those of us here at PCUS are very thankful for what we have. Of course, we all struggle with balancing need and want. That's normal, but God will provide exactly what we need. "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

If nothing else, we should be thankful that we have the freedom to ask, and the freedom to pray for what we believe is the best for our children.

So I guess, at the end of the day, you have the freedom to decide whether or not to be thankful that you're not singing Jingle Bells as the Thanksgiving meal is set on the table. ;-)...And if you do break into song as you set the table on Thursday, I'll never tell anyone it was Jingle Bells.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:2

Interesting Fact: On December 16, 1965, astronauts aboard Gemini 6, Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, played a prank on Mission Control. They said they saw some kind of UFO stating that the pilot was "wearing a red suit." They then played "Jingle Bells" on a harmonica backed by sleigh bells. They are considered the first musical instruments to be played in space!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Message from Roxanne Anderson, Bookkeeper

I'd like to encourage all of you with this quote from Dan Julian. He's one of our substitute teachers and he spoke in chapel this last week. Dan and his wife, Anna, pastor a small in church in Mayer, AZ. The Lord has also called them to be missionaries in Spain ( Dan was writing on Facebook about his experience speaking in chapel when he gave our students this great compliment.

"The kids at PCHS are remarkable and encouraging--the church has a lot to look forward to." - Dan Julian

These words are very encouraging to me. As one who doesn't have a lot of interaction with our students, it's so easy to get bogged down in the task of the job without seeing much evidence of how our service is paying off in the lives of our students. This gives me hope. It is indeed evidence of what I hope for each day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Message from Phil Adams, Principal

This is a blog post from my daughter, Karen, last week. Sometimes our children amaze us. By way of background, she miscarried three times in the last year, with the second one, Lily, dying at 20 weeks. -- Phil

Rough Week

Okay, this is not an easy week. It is a pretty rough week actually. I knew it wouldn't be an easy week, so I had expectations of being emotional and having rough days. I was completely right, and to be honest I just can't wait for it to be over.

When I found out I was pregnant with Lily, one of my first thoughts was "When am I due?". I whipped out my phone to find out. They have websites for this, you just Google "Due Date Calculator," type in the requested information, and boom! Your due date. When the page popped up that said, "Congratulations! Your baby is due on November 10th!" My jaw dropped. What?! How cool! My baby was due on my birthday? What are the odds? How fun!

But I also was hit with the reality that this pregnancy wasn't guaranteed to end happily. If something were to go wrong, my birthday would definitely be tainted, not only this next one, but all the ones after that. "Let's just hope that doesn't happen," I thought.

And for the first half of my pregnancy, nothing did happen. I was finally in a place of believing that my birthday might not be the most fun I've ever had (either giving birth or recovering from it), but it was sure to be extra special.

Alas, things did not work out how I had hoped. The fear that my birthday would forever be tainted with crushed hopes has been realized, and this week leading up to my birthday has been difficult. Every day I think of how this is just not how I wanted to spend these days. I wanted to be great with child, wondering if she'd be born on my actual birthday or the arguably cooler date of 11-11-11. I am in a constant state of bad mood, forcing myself to smile but inwardly feeling very gypped. When people ask me what I want for my birthday, I swallow the urge to say, "A baby". When people ask me what I want to do for my birthday, I think, "Honestly? I want to crawl into bed and cry all day." But I don't, and I think it is wise that my sister and friends have filled that day to the brim with activity so that I won't have a single moment to be alone with my thoughts.

I have known other grieving mamas who have talked about having certain dates that are particularly difficult to get through. Always the anniversary of the death. Always the birth day. Always the due date (if lost in pregnancy). Sometimes, just another Monday, when the gaping hole your child left for some reason seems particularly noticeable.

I miss Lily every day. I think of her birth day often. I think of that Horrible Day when we found out she had died. I think so often of what could have been, and what life would be like had she lived. But this week, this coming hard day, these days are worse than normal because it is a stark reminder of what isn't happening. I'm not packing my bag. I'm not having my last day at work. I'm not preparing the nursery. I'm not second guessing our name choice. I'm not washing Jake and Eisley's Big Brother and Big Sister T-Shirts. I'm not excited and nervous and happy and scared and thrilled. It's just another week in November. And it isn't any fun.

This is so not where I thought I would be this week. Though Josh and I are happy and excited about our decision to adopt, we are still grieving. We will be for years to come, forever probably. But this week, this week we are grieving hard. I am grieving hard. I am feeling sad and bitter and angry and sad again. My husband is enduring living with an extra-sensitive wife, my kids are putting up with mommy's irritability. Even my blog entry "Adoption Education..." had a bit of a touchy edge to it this week (of which I hope I didn't offend...I made a few adjustments because Josh pointed out my tone was a little more confrontational than I probably wanted to be). I have been short with family, stuck my foot in my mouth more than once with friends, and have not been the most fun person to be around. I'm in a general bad mood and am thankful for friends and family that are understanding and loving and patient.

I am especially thankful that I have a God who is putting up with my bad mood. I have spent many a car ride venting to Him this week. I have questioned and cried and inwardly given Him the cold shoulder. Why Lord, would you have my due date be my birthday? What's that about? It's not enough to take my daughter but you also have to ruin my birthday too? And while we're on the subject, did she have to be born on Father's Day? I mean seriously, why don't you just strike our house with lightning on Christmas and frost this cupcake?

I vent, I cry, I vent, I clench my teeth and say nothing. I apologize. I get mad again. But I know He can handle it. He knew this would be a hard week. He has not forgotten. And He comforts. I am fully confident that without my personal relationship with Jesus, I would be so far off the deep end that no amount of prescription drugs could retrieve me. Where do people go with this kind of grief when they don't have God to turn to? What do you do with that much anger and confusion and sadness? Because let me tell you, being a Christian does not give you an immunity idol to use in life. You still experience all kinds of difficult and awful and horrible things. Having a relationship with Jesus does not make your life perfect. It only gives you hope when it isn't. And it isn't.

I have a treasure chest that my mom gave me after a very, very difficult time in my life (arguably even more so than losing Lily). It is filled to the brim with scraps of paper with verses written on them. They were written by many people that love me, and they all have themes of hope, comfort, and triumph in tragedy. I had that chest opened every day after she gave it to me. Many days after my first miscarriage. Most days after Lily died. Every day this week.

My favorite verse, if forced to pick, is Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Awesome promises. Promises I have seen Him keep. I think it is important to point out here that the verse does not say, "The Lord prevents all broken hearts and never allows His children to have crushed spirits." He acknowledges that bad things happen. He knows we will have struggles and trials and broken hearts and crushed spirits. He does not pretend your life will be void of pain and difficulty. He flat out says "In this life you will have trials"! That's a given! But He does not leave us hanging. He does not let us go through this alone. He promises to be close to us during those times.

Before I lost Lily, one of my greatest fears (and I had actually thought about this, because I am a woman and that's what we do) was having to give birth to a baby I knew was dead. I had heard of it happening, knew women who had done it, and I thought to myself, "Impossible. I could not physically do that. I would have to be knocked out, put under, medicated into oblivion. There is just no way I could do it." When one of your greatest fears is realized, it is a surreal thing. Suddenly it wasn't just a sad story I had heard. I was living it. I was being forced to deal with it. And God met me where I was at. He gave me the strength I could never have imagined existed. I was broken hearted. I was crushed. And He was close. And He saved me. Just like He promised.

I am not having a good week. I am hurting, I am sad, I am angry, I am confused, and God is so close to me that I can feel Him. That's the trade off. I truly believe that people who experience pain on the deepest of levels also have experienced the Lord on the deepest of levels. We have seen a side of Him that not everyone gets to see. We have experienced miraculous comfort and peace that not everyone gets to experience. Would I trade all of that for a life with Lily? Probably. But that's the mommy in me talking.

I am still sincerely grateful for the deepened relationship I have with God because of my broken heart. I take comfort in His promises, especially in the one that gives me an eternity with my babies. Until then, I endure. I breath in and I breath out, I hope, and I look forward to the day when there is no such thing as rough weeks

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Message from Jim Wolfe, High School Teacher

Christ is the Light of the World

"I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Here is an excerpt of a devotional by Nigel Lee that I read last week that comes from a scientific point of view. I hope you will enjoy it.

Einstein among others showed that light consists of "particles" called photons that have energy (but no mass). However, light has many wave-like properties such as refraction (seen, for example, when light bends through a prism). Of course, light enables us to see, and the wavelength at which light radiates determines what color we see. And light (sunlight) enables plants to undergo photosynthesis, which is essential to life (plant, animal, and human) on Earth. From a physical standpoint, then, light is absolute, mysterious, sight-enabling, life-giving, and -- without a doubt -- wondrous!

From a spiritual standpoint, the Light of the World -- Christ -- is equally wondrous. Christ is the Light who forms the absolute standard that discerns the thoughts and intentions of the hearts of men. Christ is the Light who is mysterious (1 Tim. 3:16), dual in nature, both human and divine. Christ is the Light who illuminates the spiritual darkness of this world, forcing those who do not know Him to flee back into the shadows and yet enabling those who DO know Him to see and to understand the things of God. And Christ is the Light who gives us eternal life, for He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In the world we live in today, with so many uncertainties and so much evil, Christ is the only answer to the questions of life. Let us turn to Christ, the Light of the World.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Message from Jan Wolfe, Art Teacher

Lamentations is an old book, with fitting advice for today’s society. In chapter 3 verse 17 it states “My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is, so I say ‘my endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.’”

This echoes the pain and hopelessness that many people are feeling across our nation today. We have to continue reading to find the encouragement to go on. In verse 21 the author continues “But then I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’; says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”

Tomorrow is a new morning. Renew your hearts and hope with the steadfast love of the Lord and his never ceasing mercies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Message from Connie Williams, Library Media Technology K-12

I love the fact that I have a God who cares so deeply for me and desires to guide me through life like no other can.

Being the youngest of 8, I have had a lot of ‘guides’ growing up! Most of the time they had my best interest at heart or at least those of our family’s, but other times, not so much…at least when it went against what I wanted ;). But, I also grew up in a family that loved God above all else and lived with that perspective, so I knew whom to run to for my ultimate guide. As I grew into adult hood, and choices were of deeper consequences, I knew to run to God first and then listen to others, but always filter it through His Word. I’ve grown to feel sorry for those who don’t have the peace of knowing God and therefore forfeit the ultimate Guide through lives ups and downs.

We’ll be enjoying a new member to our family soon, as our oldest son marries a darling girl he met in college! It has been encouraging to Greg and me, as they ask advice but then state they will be praying about it and see what God wants them to do! How awesome is that to know they both have the ultimate Guide through life!

Psalm 25:4-5 Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

The cool thing is, He will show me His way, He will teach me his path and He will guide me in truth because He is my God and my hope! How awesome is that!!

What an inspiration to read His word, meditate, and worship Him, and as a result, get to know our faithful, trustworthy Guide!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Message from Amber Walker, Counselor

I read this devotional and it really hit home for me. Enjoy!

My Daily Bread:
Autumn is hunting season here in Michigan. For a few weeks every year, licensed hunters are allowed to go out into the woods and hunt for various species of wildlife. Some hunters build elaborate tree stands high above the ground where they sit quietly for hours waiting for a deer to wander within rifle range.

When I think of hunters who are so patient when it comes to waiting for deer, I think of how impatient we can be when we have to wait for God. We often equate “wait” with “waste.” If we’re waiting for something (or someone), we think we are doing nothing, which, in an accomplishment-crazed culture, seems like a waste of time.

But waiting serves many purposes. In particular, it proves our faith. Those whose faith is weak are often the first to give up waiting, while those with the strongest faith are willing to wait indefinitely.

When we read the Christmas story in Luke 2, we learn of two people who proved their faith by their willingness to wait. Simeon and Anna waited long, but their time wasn’t wasted; it put them in a place where they could witness the coming of Messiah (vv.22-38).

Not receiving an immediate answer to prayer is no reason to give up faith.

Not ours to know the reason why
Unanswered is our prayer,
But ours to wait for God’s own time
To lift the cross we bear. —Anon.

Waiting for God is never a waste of time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Message from Carol Vandernaalt, Registrar

“[For] it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good
purpose.” Philippians 2:13 (NIV 1984)

I took a sip of coffee and grimaced as I peered into the cup. Everything looked like it should, but the coffee wasn’t sweet. Yet I remembered tearing open the little yellow packets and sprinkling the sweet crystals over the surface of the caramel colored liquid. Then I realized that—while I had added the sugar—I had never stirred it into the coffee. Without that stirring action, the sugar couldn’t work all the way through.

I do this with my faith as well. I add all the necessary ingredients. I’ve got my Bible, my devotion subscription, my godly friends, my church, my special quiet time journal, my praise and worship songs, my verses memorized. If you looked at me, you’d say it’s all there.

But I’d rather avoid the stirring up part, truth be told. I’d tell you that I know it’s good for me. I’d tell you that it’s not good to stay in one place. I’d tell you that you should submit to God and let Him stir you up and that I’d be glad to pray for you during that process. But me? No. Just leave me alone. Let me sit. I’d rather look okay and be comfortable than be stirred up and reach my full potential.

Have you ever had those feelings?

Maybe today you’re feeling stirred up. Your finances or your job or your marriage or your children or your friendships or your dreams feel like a cyclone is swirling through them, leaving you unsettled and unstable. You might be wondering why God is letting this happen, why He’s forgotten you. Not thinking that it just might be His hand doing the stirring. He’s using those swirling forces to reach all the parts of you that He wants to get to. As today’s verse reminds us, He works in you to accomplish His purpose for you. As you are stirred up in life, thank God that He loves you enough to not let you get stuck, to not leave you bitter. The elements are there—and that’s important—but it’s in the stirring that we become all that He has in mind.

-Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotion

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Message from Tara Poovey, Assistant Athletic Director

Face to Face
Taken from Os Hillman

“I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” 2 John 12

It is easy to fire off a letter to someone in this age of electronic communication because of its expediency. In business we call this being efficient. However, there are times when nothing but a face-to-face meeting is the appropriate means of communication. We know that verbal skills are a very small portion of communication. Body language, voice tone, and our expressions make up the majority of our overall communication. This cannot be seen through a letter or electronic medium.
John knew that being face to face with those he ministered to was important. And for John, it meant some major trouble to get from one place to another. It wasn’t as simple as getting into a car or hopping onto an airplane. John’s desire and determination to visit and talk face to face reinforces the importance of one-on-one personal communication.

I once had to confront a businessman about some problems we were having in a business deal. He lived in another town. The negotiations had stalled to some degree. I could have attempted to solve the problem over the phone. But I realized the serious nature of the issues required a face-to-face meeting. I drove two hours to his office and met with him face to face. It meant all the difference. It demonstrated to my friend I was serious enough about solving the problem to take a day to come see him. It also showed I valued him and he was worth the effort. This resulted in him giving greater emphasis to the issue.

Next time a situation arises that requires more focused communication, consider whether the situation requires a personal visit. You may find this will be the key to resolving issues that otherwise might end in a stalemate.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Message from Barb Tomb, Admin. Assistant to Superintendent

Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! Psalm 89:15
I know that with all my heart that when I sing praises to God, something is happening in heaven, because my spirit gets relief, my emotions change from negative to positive, my mind feels inspired to think more wisely, my heart is guarded from the pain I might otherwise experience, my physical body relaxes and I’m drawn into God’s presence knowing His loving arms are wrapped around me in His safe and secure protection.
Make a habit of praising God throughout your day and just see if it doesn’t soothe your spirit’s dryness with the oil of joy. Don’t make it a one-time morning or bedtime deal. And don’t wait until you get an answer to your prayers or a blessing from God before you praise Him. God is good all the time, and we need to praise Him all the time – whether or not we feel like it.
When our kids were all growing up, Dave used to tell them over and over, “You can’t always control how you feel, but you can control how you act.” To this day, our family repeats this statement time and time again as we seek to praise God all the time.
- excerpts taken from Joy for the Journey

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Message from Carol Stines, International Department

> From one pumpkin to another!!!!!!!
> A woman was asked by a coworker,
> 'What is it like to be a Christian?'
> The coworker replied, 'It is like being a pumpkin.'
> God picks you from the patch, brings you in,
> and washes all the dirt off of you.
> Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff.
> He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed.
> Then He carves you a new smiling face and
> puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.'

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Message from Dan Stauffer, Jr/Sr High Math Teacher

"When I think of God's goodness to me and my family, I reflect back to a difficult experience that began on July 4, 2000. At the time I was living with my wife and two children in a remote part of Africa, just beginning a translation of the Bible for the Songhai people. On that particular Tuesday afternoon my wife lost her ability to respond and communicate clearly; she had contracted malaria. Being thousands of miles from a modern hospital this was quite frightening. What could I do? God had the right people in place, and I was able to arrange an evacuation flight to the capital city (2 days away by car, but only a 3-hour flight). Of course, I "knew" for sure that we would return to our home within a couple of weeks and pick up our ministry where we had left off. However, the doctors in the capital were very concerned. This was not an ordinary case of malaria. It was, in fact, cerebral malaria. Bad news: most people who contract such a severe case of cerebral malaria do not survive. It was evident that the medical help in the capital was not good enough, so we were encouraged to evacuate to Paris. The corporate jet rented to us for this special evacuation belonged to the president of a neighboring country. It carried the whole family to France. A few days later as my wife lay in the hospital dying from parasites in her blood, I received the news that the cost of our evacuation flight had exceeded the insurance by thirty thousand dollars. What could I do? I was losing my wife, and I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Again God had the right people in place. The doctors did their work with fantastic skill, and my wife made a full recovery--incredible! Many people who heard about our evacuation debt wanted to contribute and make sure that it would not be a burden to us. Within two to three months we owed nothing--incredible!

God answered our prayers in the way we had hoped. However, today I still have to ask myself: what if I had lost my wife? What if I had worked for years to pay off the debt I had incurred? My life over the past eleven years would have been a lot different. It seems I would have been so devastated. I need to remind myself that even if God had not used the doctors to heal my wife and blessed me with contributions from faithful supporters to meet my financial need He always leads me through what is ultimately best for my life. In spite of my lack of understanding, God always does what is right--He never makes mistakes. That's the assurance I want to face the experiences I have in my life...experiences that seem to turn out right and those that I think should have had a different conclusion."