Monday, December 17, 2012

Message from Colleen Helman, High School Teacher

2012 . . . A PERSPECTIVE

This year, 2012, has been a year of changes, both for me and for my family. Some of the changes have been wonderful blessings. Some changes have been less-than-desirable, from my limited vantage point. But, the perspective I gain this time of year, as I take time to reflect, is always educational to me, and revealing as I look for God’s hand in each event/situation.

Here are a couple of “high” points:

  • Our son, Jonathan, married the love of his life in February and we, as parents, adore Roxy and love adding her to our family as our daughter!
  • Jim and I sold our home of 24 years so we could downsize to a condo in downtown Phoenix. I love it here!

Here are a couple of “less-than-high” points:

  • I unexpectedly needed to have surgery five days after school began. (I dislike things that happen “unexpectedly”.)
  • Our pastor at our church announced his retirement. (I dislike change.)
  • My dear mother-in-law passed away and is now enjoying Heaven. I know this is joyful, but I miss her.

So, there have been some surprises and changes in my life during 2012, both joyful and sorrowful. Several things have not changed, nor will they ever change:

• Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Psalm 36:5

• Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

• “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

• Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7

• In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:37-39

• Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Message from Harold Harmon, High School Teacher

This past weekend was our Christmas celebration in Mexico.  My wife, daughter, and I have been involved with this mission group, AIM, for around 12 years now.  Where twelve years ago virtually everyone lived in a make-shift shanty of some sort (one family’s house consisted of a piece of plastic supported on four corners with sticks), many of the families now have small crude block houses.  The government has laid slabs for some and has extended access to electricity to about one-half of the area we refer to as the dump.

Twelve years ago AIM supplied presents to around 500 children who lived in the area.  Saturday over 800 children showed up for the celebration and over 1200 hotdogs were served.  The mayor, with his entourage and camera crew, usually shows up when we have a major event and gives a boring speech; but he does extend appreciation for what AIM does in the area.  He has pledged to match us dollar for dollar for the food that is distributed which has allowed us to bless many more people. 

We have prayed for a way to reach the people with the gospel since our Spanish is not very good.  God has provided a retired New Tribes missionary and his wife, who live in the area, and who are going from home to home teaching the people about Jesus.  Although meager by our standards, the area has shown major improvement over the past decade.

Sandy, Paulita and I are now moving into a new area by the tracks that has about 250 people that have not been reached yet.  This is where many of the shoes that Phoenix Christian donated last year went.  Since this new effort is not really supported by AIM, everything is essentially done by the three of us.   Sandy and Paulita handed out over 200 shoe boxes filled with toiletries, etc., and served about 250 burritos.  They were very sad because this was all that we could afford to do and we had no presents for the children.  Please pray that God will greatly bless our efforts there.  Food distribution is once per month but we are only able to go down every other month because of our health and other commitments.  Our next trip will be in February. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Message from Irma Flores, Elementary Teacher

December is a month where we have shopping on our minds and buying the right gifts for friends and family.  The following poem is about heavenly shopping.  I found it on a tract from the Old Paths Tract Society in Indiana.  May it be a blessing to you as it was to me.

 Shop In Heaven's Grocery Store

I was walking down life's highway a long
    time ago.
One day I saw a sign that read Heaven's
    Grocery Store.
As I got a little closer, the door came open
And when I came to myself, I was stand-
    ing inside.
I saw a host of angels; they were standing
And one angel said, "My child shop with
Everything a Christian needed was in
    that grocery store.
And all you couldn't carry you could
    come back the next day for more.
First, I got some patience, love was in the
    same row.
Further down was understanding, you
    need that everywhere you go.
I got a box or two of wisdom, a bag or two
    of faith.
I just couldn't miss the Holy Ghost  for
    He was all over the place.
I stopped to get some strength  and
    courage to help me run the race.
By then my basket was getting full, but I
    remembered I needed some grace.
I didn't forget salvation,  for salva-
    ion that was free.
So I tried to get enough of that to save
     you and me.
Then I started to the counter to pay my
     grocery bill.
For I thought I had eveything to do my
    Master's will.
As I went up the aisle, I saw prayer and
    just had to put that in.
For I knew when I stepped outside, I
    would run right into sin.
Peace and joy were plentiful, they were on
    the last shelf.
Song and praises were hanging near so I
    just helped myself.
Then, I said now how much do I owe?
He just smiled and said, Just take them
    everywhere you go.
How much do I really owe?
He smiled and said, My child, Jesus paid
     your bill a long time ago.
--Lorine Woody

Monday, November 26, 2012

Message from Keith de Laet, Elementary Principal

This past Thanksgiving weekend, I had the opportunity to go and see the Grand Canyon University presentation of “A Christmas Carol”.  It was an added bonus that my son Nathan was cast a Bob Cratchit  I love the story of  “A Christmas Carol”, and it is a holiday tradition to take in a couple of times.  It doesn’t seem to matter to me if it is a play or a film, serious or parody, or even the muppets!  A Christmas Carol never seems to get old for me.

Different viewers take in different meanings, I’m sure.  To me, the tale is about the value of the human soul.  When the story opens we meet Scrooge who, for all his business success, has lost sight human worth.  One by one we are introduced to characters, living and dead, who see beyond the day to day routine of life.  Life, to these characters is a celebration of human worth and therefore we only really live when we care, share, and invest ourselves into the lives of our fellow man.  Failure to make this investment leads to a wasted existence, Dickens tells us.

I think that I love this so much because it ties in directly to what Jesus taught us when he said that the thief comes to kill, steal, and destroy, but I have come that you might have life and that you might have it abundantly.  Killing, stealing, and destroying comes in many forms.  Certainly Scrooge had his possessions, but his joy had been stolen.  Most of the other characters had little wealth, but were filled with joy and wonder for the value of the human soul.  The same is true for us.  A person can have more wealth than one could ever need, but be lost.  One can also seemingly have nothing, but be filled with purpose and direction.  

I may seem to digress, but often we play the wish game.  If you could wish for anything, what would it be?  I like to think it is a simple question, one should wish for contentment.  If you think about it for a moment, most people wish for things like money, fame, or relationships because they believe these things will make them content.  So why not cut to the chase and wish for contentment.  It seems to be the thing we long for and the thing Jesus said He came to offer; life with abundance.

I think this is why I love “A Christmas Carol” so much.  It reminds me of the value of the human soul and that true contentment comes only through Christ.  I’m also glad that every year we get a reminder.

Blessings to you this Christmas!
Keith  de Laet

Monday, November 5, 2012

Message from Margaret Crotts, Elementary Teacher


Owen likes road trips.   He does.  His crate fits perfectly in the back of my car, and he’s always ready to hop in.  He never begs to see an itinerary.  He never questions my route.  He doesn’t ask if we’re “there yet” or whine for a rest stop, or water, or a toy.  He gets settled in his crate, I get behind the wheel, and off we go.   I’m in charge of the driving – and my sweet, four-legged friend is along for the ride.

 I usually put something interesting in the crate to occupy his attention – a chewie rawhide or a beat up toy -  but before long Owen’s lying down, his eyes drooping closed and his breathing even and slow.  He’s not afraid to sleep while I navigate; he trusts me to get us where we’re going.

 If the trip is long and I stop for a bit, I’ll open the back and take Owen out for a break;  a turn on the leash, sniffing and exploring, and a drink and a bit of a treat to eat.  I don’t leave him unattended; I never forget he’s there.   When it’s time to crate up again he doesn’t balk; he goes right in easy and settles down quickly.  He’s along for the ride.

 You see where this is going, right?

 My dog’s faith puts mine to shame.  In contrast to Owen, I wonder how often what the driver ( let’s call him God) is up to;  question the route he uses to take me where he means for me to go;  feel the need for frequent updates to reassure me that we are, in fact, making good progress.  And in no way do I relish being “loaded in” for travel facing backward, with no visibility and no control over the trip.

 He means to get me from point A to point B, and to mature me in the process.  I find it difficult to give myself to this “going” without seeing – to say “yes” to the journey and say nothing more.  I struggle to relax, and fear that if I close my eyes we may veer hopelessly off track.

Even writing these words I feel ashamed.  I’ve followed him long enough that I should be more confident with his way-finding skills.   I should enjoy the trip, and be relieved to not be minding the map.   I should feel free to sigh and sleep – to snore even – knowing he is getting us where we need to be.  After all, he is the navigator.  And I’m just along for the ride.

Leigh McLeroy


Monday, October 15, 2012

Message from David Callahan, High School Teacher

The Marks of a Spiritual Leader

I define spiritual leadership as knowing where God wants people to be and taking the initiative to use God's methods to get them there in reliance on God's power. The answer to where God wants people to be is in a spiritual condition and in a lifestyle that display his glory and honor his name. Therefore, the goal of spiritual leadership is that people come to know God and to glorify him in all that they do. Spiritual leadership is aimed not so much at directing people as it is at changing people. If we would be the kind of leaders we ought to be, we must make it our aim to develop persons rather than dictate plans. You can get people to do what you want, but if they don't change in their heart you have not led them spiritually. You have not taken them to where God wants them to be.

Everyone has the responsibility of leadership in some relationships. But my concern in this paper is with the characteristics that a person must have in order to be a spiritual leader who excels both in the quality of his direction and the numbers of people who follow him.

Biblical spiritual leadership contains an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle of spiritual leadership is that sequence of events in the human soul that must happen if anyone is to get to first base in spiritual leadership. These are the absolute bare essentials. They are things that all Christians must attain in some degree, and when they are attained with high fervor and deep conviction they very often lead one into strong leadership. In the outer circle are qualities that characterize both spiritual and non-spiritual leaders. What I would like to try to do now in this paper is simply explain and illustrate these qualities on the inner circle and the outer circle.

The Inner Circle of Spiritual Leadership

1. That Others Will Glorify God

The ultimate goal of all spiritual leadership is that other people might come to glorify God, that is, might so feel and think and act as to magnify the true character of God. According to Matthew 5:14-16, one of the crucial means by which a Christian leader brings other people to glorify God is by being a person who loves both friend and foe. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid, nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven." This text shows that there is an attitude and lifestyle that is so distinctive that when it appears in the arena of fallen humanity it gives valid evidence that there is a God and he is a gloriously trustworthy heavenly father. When the reality of God's promises to take care of us and to work everything together for our good grips our hearts so that we do not fall prey to greed or fear or vainglory but rather manifest a contentment and a love and a freedom for other people, then the world will have to admit that the one who gives us hope and freedom must be real and glorious.

2. Love Both Friend and Foe by Trusting in God and Hoping in His Promises

But how shall we attain to a love that is strong enough to bless and pray for its enemies? The answer given in Scripture (and this is the third level in the inner circle) is that trust in God and hope in his promises leads to love. Galatians 5:6 says, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." That is, when we have strong faith in the goodness of God it inevitably works itself out in love. Colossians 1:4, 5 says, "We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven." In other words, when our hope is strong we are freed from fears and cares that prevent the free exercises of love. Therefore, a spiritual leader must be a person who has strong confidence in the sovereign goodness of God to work everything together for his good. Otherwise, he will inevitably fall into the trap of manipulating circumstances and exploiting people in order to secure for himself a happy future which he is not certain God will provide.

3. Meditate On and Pray Over His Word

But how shall we sinners come to have this kind of confidence in God? Romans 10:17 says, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ." And Psalm 119:18 says, "Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." These two texts together show us that faith in God is rooted in God's Word. When we hear God's Word, especially the preaching of Christ in whom all the promises of God have their yes, we are moved to trust him, but this does not happen automatically. We must pray that our eyes be open to the true significance of the Word of God in Scripture. So the spiritual leader must be a person who meditates on the Word of God and who prays for spiritual illumination. Otherwise, his faith will grow weak and his love will languish and no one will be moved to glorify God because of him.

4. Acknowledge Your Helplessness

But finally, we must ask how a person comes to be willing to spend time with and be open to the Word of God? The answer seems to be that we must acknowledge our helplessness. All true spiritual leadership has its roots in desperation. Jesus commended the man who said, "God be merciful to me, a sinner." Jesus said of his own ministry, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous but sinners." This means that the beginning of spiritual leadership must be in the acknowledgement that we are the sick who need a physician. Once we are humbled to that point we will be opened to reading the doctor's prescription in the Word. And as we read the wonderful promises that are there for those of us who trust the doctor, our faith will grow strong and our hope will become solid. And when our faith is strong and our hope is solid all the barriers to love, like greed and fear, will be swept away. When we become the kind of people who can risk our lives, even for our enemies, and who don't hold grudges and who devote our energies to do others good rather than seeking our own aggrandizement, then people will see and give glory to our father in heaven.

The implication of this inner circle of leadership is that in order to lead you have to be out ahead of your people in Bible study and prayer. I think there will be no successful spiritual leadership without extended seasons of prayer and meditation on the Scriptures. Spiritual leaders ought to rise early in order to meet God before they meet anybody else. They will probably want to keep a journal of insights and ideas as they read the Word and pray. They will want to read books about the Bible (for example, books by J.I. Packer and Paul Little and John Stott and dozens of other excellent evangelical authors) and about prayer (for example, the eight books by E.M. Bounds). They will want to take a periodic half-day retreat with a Bible and a notebook and a hymnbook. If you want to be a great leader of people you have to get away from people to be with God.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Message from Jim Callahan, High School Teacher

“You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3). The natural response to this commandment by sinners is to worship and serve the creature rather than the creator who is blessed forever amen (Rom 1:25). Hence, our society is full of idols - man made substitutes for the real God. This is nothing new. These God substitutes come in many different sizes, shapes, colors and disguises. If we are to know and acknowledge the living and true God in all areas of our lives as commanded, then we must ever be a work seeking to identify the idols of our society. This is necessary so that they do not sneak their way into our lives. As we approach that great and awesome first Tuesday in November (after the first Monday), I fear that some in our land will see the newly elected President of the United States as our “god". Some will regard him as our refuge, our strength and our deliverer. Regardless of who is elected this November, let no one be deceived as to the true status of our President. He is just a man who can do nothing apart from the goodness and mercy of the Lord of heaven and earth. Christians must remind themselves and all others that “the Lord is God, there is no other besides him” (Deut 4:35).  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Message from Yvonne Calderon, Junior High Teacher


Most of us are old enough to remember this song. We sang it in church. We sang it around a campfire. We sang it everywhere.

This song is a page from the history books. It is an old Negro spiritual. The meaning of the word Kumbaya is “come by here”. It was sang by the slaves because they wanted God to “come by” their part of the world.

I have been singing this song in my head in the past few weeks. I so want God to come by here every day!

The peaceful meditation of the song can put me in a very good place.

I hope you will join me!

Traditional Song
Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!
Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!
Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, Lord! Kumbaya!

Hear me crying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me crying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me crying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, Lord! Kumbaya!

Hear me singing, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me singing, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me singing, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, Lord! Kumbaya!

Hear me praying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me praying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Hear me praying, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, Lord! Kumbaya!

Oh, I need you, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, I need you, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, I need you, Lord, Kumbaya!
Oh, Lord! Kumbaya

Monday, September 24, 2012

Message from Karen Boyce, Chief Financial Officer

The Amazing Race

I love themes. They provide context, metaphor, imagery and vision. This is such a fun theme for our all of us to share together. I’m anxious to see how this theme takes hold and changes lives during this year, start to finish.

Have you ever been part of a pit crew? Win or lose, it is exhilarating! I learned this first hand when I married into a boat racing family. Seemed like the perfect fit being that I am extremely competitive. However, in order to even be considered part of the crew, I had to learn to turn wrenches, understand engine mechanics, identify when our motor ran lean or rich, and proudly wear the team uniform. It was all worth it. The best part was laboring together as a crew and the anticipation of a race. It was often months of preparation for the thrill of nine seconds to the quarter-mile finish line. If we lost, we took away great memories. If we won, we took away a trophy but the richness of the experience was even greater.

In racing, its not how you start the race but how you finish the race. The biggest hope and blessing we as Christians have is that we know how the race really ends. We may not know the journey of getting there – the failures, cost, manual labor, restarts, pit stops, repairs – but we know the glory that awaits on the other side of the finish line. The best part is we can bring others alongside so they too are able to experience God’s glory. Working in Christian education allows passion to meet purpose resulting in changing the lives of our students and their families.
I see the administration, faculty and staff of PC as the pit crew working together for our students experiencing both Christ and individual success. Each student here has their own race ahead of them. We all hold tools that help fine-tune their performance or lack thereof. We find areas of weakness that need strengthening and training for endurance. In various ways, we each play a part as the pit crew in preparing students for their race.

One of my favorite race quotes is “Happiness is being in the pits!” There’s no place I’d rather be, literally or metaphorically!

Have a blessed week in the pits.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Message from Lisa Blake, Head Counselor

So let's just say being a mother of 4 is certainly the greatest challenge of my life! This last weekend felt like an episode of Nanny 911 except I didn't have the Super Nanny flying in to save the day. After a long trying day on Sunday, I escaped out to the front porch to try to find my way back to sanity.  As I let out a deep sigh, I found myself reflecting on the "centering" prayer that Jeff taught that very Sunday morning at Joy. "Be still and know that I am God." So I began with Be Still. Why is this so hard for us? I ask this question to my kids all of the time. Why can't you just be still? I'm sure that's what God's asking us.  Why can't  you just "be" Lisa? I want you to be still with me Lisa. I want you to be with me Lisa. I want you to be still and know Lisa. I want you to be still and know Lisa that I am. I want you to be still and know that I am God Lisa. Be still when you're trying to make dinner and you have two little ones crying for your attention. I Am God! Be still when you look at that stack of 50 essays to grade. I Am God! Be still when you hear the news you've always dreaded. I Am God! Be still when you're head is pounding, you're back is aching, you're stomach churning. I Am God! Be still be still be still. I wonder how many more times I 'll need to hear that before it becomes second nature. It's almost as if we cannot really KNOW God until we are still. I often reflect on my grandfather's last few months. With his memory failing and his body deteriorating, I imagine him in his stillness and can't help but believe that He was in this powerful communion with His God. 

The funny thing is even just sitting here for these few minutes tonight "being still" I find myself breathing more deeply, experiencing the peace that can only be found when we rest in the truth that He Is God!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Message from Jeff Blake, Jr/Sr High Principal

Brian McClaren, in his book Finding Our Way: The Return of the Ancient Practices, quotes this wonderful little song by Carrie Newcomber:

holy is the dish and drain
the soap and sink, and the cup and plate
and the warm wool socks, and the cold white tile
showerheads and good dry towels
and frying eggs sound like psalms
with bits of salt measured in my palm
it’s all a part of a sacrament
as holy as a day is spent

holy is the busy street
and cars that boom with passion’s beat
and the check out girl, counting change
and the hands that shook my hands today
and hymns of geese fly overhead
and spread their wings like their parents did
blessed be the dog, that runs in her sleep
to chase some wild and elusive thing

Find more similar lyrics on holy is the familiar room
and quiet moments in the afternoon
and folding sheets like folding hands
to pray as only laundry can
I’m letting go of all my fear
like autumn leaves made of earth and air
for the summer came and the summer went
as holy as a day is spent

holy is the place I stand
to give whatever small good I can
and the empty page, and the open book
redemption everywhere i look
unknowingly we slow our pace
in the shade of unexpected grace
and with grateful smiles and sad lament
as holy as a day is spent

and morning light sings “providence”
as holy as a day is spent

McLaren’s point in highlighting the song is very simple.  We are to move each day closer to a discipline of “faithing our practices” (p. 184).   And by that we are to learn spiritual intimacy in the simple routines of day. 

This morning and this moment, there is a simple beauty in the back and forth questions and answers between Lisa, my wife, and Brooklynne, my daughter—as Lisa fills lunch boxes. In their dialogue, I hear simple expressions of love and intimacy, which flow from our Creator’s passion for relationship.  And by the way, I can also celebrate the cooing of my youngest upstairs anticipating his day.

Take a moment today to “faith your practices.”  Brother Lawrence once remarked that he could sense God’s presence while doing the dishes as much while taking the Eucharist.  May we sense God’s presence in our empty and full classrooms, the wet grass after an evening of rain, the laughter from the play ground, and the fellowship we enjoy from each other.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Armstrong passed away on Aug. 25, 2012 following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures. He was 82.
"High Flight"
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

President Reagan used a portiong of this poem during his speech at the memorial for the Challenger astronauts in 1986 with this well remembered line, "We shall never forget them nor the last time we saw them, as they prepared for their mission and waved good-bye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God."  I thought the entire poem would be appropriate in recognition and honor of the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Message from Phil Adams, Superintendent

Matthew 13

I was reminded in the worship service yesterday that the quality of soil is not the primary concern of the sower.  His job is to scatter the seed as far and as wide as possible. In the short term it would seem to be more efficient if he got to decide where the seed would go, but that would only slow him down over the course of time. Make no mistake, the fruit that the seed will bear will reveal the soil in due course.  Our students are "soil". No one knows but God whether they are fertile or not. Their soil may be thin. It may be choked with weeds. But just like soil can be amended, cultivated, watered, and fertilized, people, especially young people,  do not remain static. And thank God we are not responsible for the quality of the soil, just the spreading of seed. 

A criticism often leveled at Christian schools is the lack of maturity of their students. They can be indifferent, even hostile to spiritual things. They may be lukewarm or uncommitted. Christ's disciples were all adults and He often admonished them, yet they changed the world. Our kids will change the world too. Let's be as patient with them as others were of us.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Message from Connie Williams, Elementary Teacher

As the school year winds down, I'm reminded of the many choices and decisions our students and fellow staff members have ahead of them over the summer months. It is comforting to know we can entrust them to the gentle yet strong arms of our loving Savior.

This prayer is from the book, Power Prayers for Teachers by Denise Shumway.

Under His Wings

Psalm 91:4 NKJV

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Father, what a comfort to know we're securely sheltered under You.  Like a mother hen, You supply us with everything we need.  Likewise, You can provide for those we work with-students and staff alike.  We rest in Your truth, which surrounds us and offers safety in the storms of life.  Like armor, Your Word protects us in battle.

Have a restful summer!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Message from Donna Thornton, Elementary Art Teacher

On The Seashore

Sunday in our Bible class we were talking about Jesus' appearance on the seashore to the disciples who had gone fishing.  I thought it was interesting that Peter needed to be doing something while he was waiting on the Lord so he went fishing. Jesus seemed to be okay with that since he was preparing a little barbeque fish lunch for them on the shore. 

   Sometimes I get a little over anxious while waiting.  I often wonder how many years of life I could add if I was given back all the wait time.  Given this story in the Bible it seems that it may be a common human problem, not just a modern day problem.  So, is it better to be doing something while waiting?  I think so.  I'm often amazed at the calming effect this has and also the many everyday tasks that can be checked off my list by doing so. 

   Another thing the lesson brought out, that I hadn't thought of before, was the personal characteristics that Jesus demonstrated as he encountered these seven disciples - kindness, generosity, empowering teamwork, and servanthood. He didn't give them a lecture. Instead he gave them a job," Feed my sheep". 

   My birthday last week gave me a few moments of reflection concerning time.  Life is short.  I hope that in the time I have left I will take these lessons to heart. I want to use my waiting time, work together with others, and also take seriously the task of feeding the sheep.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Message from Carol Stines, Director of International Program

My method of Bible reading is that I alternate between two translations or versions.  I read the Bible through using the Message translation then I read the Bible through using the Chronological Bible then I go back to the Message.  So, I’ve read the same passages a number of times, but recently, while reading in Exodus a simple verse struck me.

It’s Exodus 16:36: The Israelites ate manna forty years.  40 YEARS! 

Immediately the song came to mind – Our God is an Awesome God

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from Heaven above
With wisdom power and love
Our God is an awesome God

Just to think about the Lord providing for the Israelites every single day for 40 years is just one reason to sing that Our God is An Awesome God!  As the song says …

I hope that you have not
Too quickly forgotten that
Our God is an awesome God

Monday, May 14, 2012

Message from Dan Stauffer, Jr./Sr. High Teacher

Many of you have probably read Francis Chan's little book, Crazy Love.  From my perspective, he has a poignant way of reminding his readers about who God is and who we are as His children.  Here are a few lines from his book that encouraged me in my busyness:

"When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job-I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities. Worry implies that we don't quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what's happening in our lives. Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control. Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it's okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we've been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won't be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God's strength, our problems are small, indeed. Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Message from Jamie Ross, Elementary Teacher

Kudos to Preschool

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
        Proverbs 22:6

My grand daughter and I have these philosophical discussions on our way home each day, from preschool.

Grand child: “Grawma, why did Jesus hafta die, then rise up again?”
Jamie: “Someone had to take the punishment for our sins.”
Grand child: “Do you sin, Grawma?”
Jamie: “Yes, I do. I ask Jesus to forgive me every day, for my sins.”
Grand child: “In that case: Grawma, will you give me some of yours? Cause I already gave Jesus all of mine.”

Not long ago, my darling grand daughter committed a biggie. As I turned to the sign out page, my heart sank. A note was attached: Please see Mrs. Furedy. She told me of how she spoke with Hailey and gave her consequences. The most important thing she did was to pray with her. When I told Hailey how sad I was for what she had done, she said that she had already said her sorries and she didn’t see the need for me to show the note to her mommy & daddy. Well of course, I did any way. Hailey wondered if this would ever be over with.

I appreciate the preschool teachers and director: Mrs. Furedy ever so much! They are helping parents & grand parents to raise kids for the kingdom.

Kudos to you: preschool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!