Monday, September 29, 2014

Message from Jan Wolfe, Art Teacher

Test score driven curriculum scares me a bit.  I hear my family members, who teach in the public sector, complain about having to constantly teach to a test.  Salaries are tied into how their students perform. So I approached our faculty in-service with a bit of fear as we addressed test scores.  I then realized that test scores can help us better teach our students OUR curriculum.  We don’t have to change what we teach, just adjust how we teach it for our students who have low scores.  I then began to wonder, what if God gave a standardized test?  What would my scores look like?  Would I have areas that I need additional teaching, and re-teaching?  What would my scores in compassion, or faith, or helping others look like?  Would I be low in talking to others about Jesus?  If I were his only student, would Jesus get a raise?   

Fortunately, God doesn’t do standardized tests.  He just gives a final exam at the end called judgment.  That in some ways is even scarier, as we don’t have a baseline score to tell us how we are doing.  That’s why God gave us his Holy Spirit to help us develop a baseline and work on improving.  That’s something I can do, is try to tune in better to the ‘teacher’ that God has given us here on earth.  I would like to think that when I meet my maker, that he will not only say ‘well done’, but also, thanks to you I got a raise.

Acts 1:4 
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Monday, September 22, 2014

Message from Karen Boyce, Chief Operating Officer

Two of the most powerful words are yes and no.

My yes or my no regulates how I set my schedule.

How I set my schedule determines how I live my life. 

How I live my life determines how I spend my soul.

When I think about my decisions in light of spending my soul, it gives gravity to choosing these two words more wisely.

Each and every thing I say yes it sets the pace of my life.

An overwhelmed schedule leads to an underwhelmed soul — a soul with a full calendar but no time to really engage in life.  A stressful pace in life often leads to a stressful place in life. 

However, Matthew 3:17 reassures us of God’s goodness as His child: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” At that point, Jesus had not yet performed any miracles, led the masses or gone to the cross.  God was pleased with Jesus before accomplishments.  Christ’s love for His child was established just in His being.  Romans 6:4 assures us that “… just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”  The new life is our unique identity, wrapped in the love of Christ.  The new life enables us to seek God for what and who we have the ability to say yes and no to.  We have the ability to say no in order to be available for a divine yes.  But, unlike Christ, we forget. We often let others, our guilt and our assumed obligations define our identity, who we are, or what we spend our schedule and soul doing.  Social media often offers a great area of comparison to keep us motivated to striving.  Our lives then become filled with so much activity that the only way to keep up with it all is to rush.  It becomes so easy to start chasing the wrong desire, making our life to look more like others.  It is exhausting just talking about it. 

Rather, I am God’s child.  Wouldn’t it be so much better to demonstrate God’s best for me with my schedule and within my soul?

God’s best for me means engaging with life and the people in it.

God’s best for me means noticing divine invitations and understanding my freedom to say yes and to say no. 

I must underwhelm my schedule so God has room to overwhelm my soul.

Christ is well pleased because of whose I am, not because of what I do.  He is well pleased because of an unfathomable, unconditional love that’s not earned, but simply given.  Yes! Today I will unwrap the gift of His love, embrace it, and lean into His guidance for any other opportunity I am given to say yes or no. 

Excerpts and quotes from Proverbs 31, Lysa TerKeurst.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Message from Jamie Ross, Kindergarten Teacher

“Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” I. Peter 4:9
“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” 
                                                                       Romans 12:13

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”                    
                                                                        Colossians 3:23-24

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”                     
                                                                        Galatians 6:10

 “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”                                                                          Hebrews 13:16

I am so grateful for our Phoenix Christian family! The faculty and staff of the MS/HS campus have been so hospitable to our elementary part of the family. In order for us to move across the street, they too had to move and be inconvenienced. Faculty, staff and parents all helped with the move over the summer months. I don’t have a steady hand for painting, so the expert painters did that. Many parents and teachers helped us lug our things across the way. Everyone did what he or she could and we all did it with a glad heart.

What an honor it is to be a part of this wonderful family!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Message from Jeff Blake, MS/HS Principal

Seven of the one thousand and ninety-seven passed the secret test outside of the Washington, DC L’Enfant Metro station stop in 2007.  Seven slowed to listen to the music of a world class violinist who played upon a “three-hundred-year-old Stradivarius worth $3.5 million.”

In Mark Batterson’s The Grave Robber, I was/am reminded of my own hurried pace as (daily) I rushed out of the same metro station with an anxious mind occupied with lists, expectations, and frustrations.   And, it is hard for me to believe twenty years have passed since my time as a Washington intern.  
As I reflect, I have reason to celebrate ripening fruits of the Spirit, but I know I have so much further to grow, particularly as it relates to an anxious heart.   As a result, I have given much confusion, prayer, reading, questioning, and baby steps of trust in Jesus’ call to “not be anxious about [my] life . . .” (Matthew 6:25-34).  
It seems out of reach to identify Kingdom living as a life separate from the concerns of nutrition, clothes, money, and unresolved dilemmas.  It is safe to say I am adolescent in this dimension of my spiritual formation. Yet, I am seeking His Kingdom first in simple prayers/ requests that the Holy Spirit invade my thinking.  Recently, I have found a morning recitation of the promises of the 23rd Psalm as a helpful first step.

Each day, while my mind is wheeling with a thousand thoughts of anxious concern, the earth is spinning through space over sixty seven thousand miles per hour and traveling well over one million miles within a galaxy that is spinning over four hundred thousand miles per hour.  And even though I am living in this miracle, I rush about too consumed to notice the miracle of His sovereign hands.   
C.K. Chesterton puts it this way, “Grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in the monotony.  Is it possible God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon? The repetition in nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”
The anxious free life often seems so far away.  
Would you consider joining me in a daily invitation of Holy Spirit to meet us our places of anxiety?  Each day holds opportunities of discovery and rediscovery of Divine miracles of provision.