Christian School Blog
certain variety of caterpillar forages for food in a single file, each
caterpillar with his head in firm contract with the tail of the one in front of
him. They proceed in this fashion until the leader has located a feeding area. One day a naturalist placed a line of processionary caterpillars,
as they are called, on the rim of a flowerpot, and succeeded in getting the
head of the leader connected with the tail of the one at the end of the line. The caterpillars then formed an unbroken circle around the rim of
the flowerpot. They proceeded to march without stopping for many hours. Each of
the creatures apparently was depending upon the one in front of him to lead the
way to food. They kept on until they dropped from fatigue. Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, do you find
yourself caught in the habit of approaching your lessons in the same fashion?
Maybe it is time for a change. Adding variety to
your daily instructional activities will foster a greater level of motivation
and enthusiasm. One way to vary instruction is to change your reinforcers. Try
something different. See our website under professional development for
suggestions. A third way is to use student ideas. When this happens student
interest will increase and the content will be more relevant. The
Internet is full of suggestions on how to add variety to your instruction.
A certain variety of caterpillar forages for food in a single file, each caterpillar with his head in firm contract with the tail of the one in front of him. They proceed in this fashion until the leader has located a feeding area.
One day a naturalist placed a line of processionary caterpillars, as they are called, on the rim of a flowerpot, and succeeded in getting the head of the leader connected with the tail of the one at the end of the line.
The caterpillars then formed an unbroken circle around the rim of the flowerpot. They proceeded to march without stopping for many hours. Each of the creatures apparently was depending upon the one in front of him to lead the way to food. They kept on until they dropped from fatigue.
Now that school has been in session for a few weeks, do you find yourself caught in the habit of approaching your lessons in the same fashion? Maybe it is time for a change. Adding variety to your daily instructional activities will foster a greater level of motivation and enthusiasm.
One way to vary instruction is to change your reinforcers. Try something different. See our website under professional development for suggestions.
A third way is to use student ideas. When this happens student interest will increase and the content will be more relevant. The Internet is full of suggestions on how to add variety to your instruction.
Finally, allow the Holy Spirit to be your team teacher and give you creative ideas. When released in the classroom the Holy Spirit will quicken understanding (1 Cor. 2:9-16; Isa. 11:2). Secondly, according to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will offer new patterns of thinking and acting. (2 Cor. 5:17). If you want creativity to flow in your classroom, let your team teacher offer new ways of doing things. And thirdly, the Holy Spirit as your team teacher will facilitate teaching and make learning happen (1 John 2:20-27). To facilitate means to make things easier. Not only do you want things to go easier in the classroom, so do your students.
As Christian schools look forward to enrollment for next year, the goal for each school should be to see enrollment increase. Regardless of enrollment patterns in the past, God wants to do a new thing this coming year in every Christian school. How many students can your school facility hold? Why not believe God for full enrollment and then more?
As you begin the enrollment process, consider these verses found in Isaiah 43:5-7: “Fear not; for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Then in verses 18,19: “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (KJV)
Going Beyond the Norm
God is looking for Christian schools that go beyond the basics of providing a Christ-centered environment where learning takes place. He is looking for schools to increase and where all learning and training is presented in light of His uncompromising Word. He is looking to direct parents to schools where the secular and sacred are not separated; rather, they are interwoven into a lifestyle that leads to words, thoughts, and actions that bring glory to the Creator-God.
God is looking to expand schools where the school staff are willing to brings students to a point where they can see things as God sees them; where they can think God’s thoughts and evaluate their thoughts, words and actions in light of God’s Word – to live by the Word of God and to be led by the Spirit of God.
He is looking to grow schools that are willing to reveal God in all the students. As God is revealed to the students in all they do, He will cause the Kingdom of God to flow through their lives to others. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. . . that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4:6-10).
As you think over your enrollment strategies for this spring and summer, allow the Holy Spirit to give you some new creative ideas. When promoting your facilities, staff, curriculum, student activities, sports programs, do not forget to promote Jesus. Schools have this promise, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to me" (John 12:32). When Jesus is lifted up in all of these afore mentioned areas, He will draw students to Him and to your school.
For more ideas on summer promotional strategies, see School Improvement on our website at www.delpublications.com.
As schools get closer to the end of the school year, the question often arises, “Should Johnny be promoted to the next grade level or held back? For many schools there is no consistent promotion and retention policy. As long as schools are organized as graded-schools, there will be those who do not qualify for advancement to the next grade. Given the large body of educational research supporting the negative aspects of retention, schools are modifying their promotion policies to reduce the number of non-promotions.
Think of retention this way. Suppose you need to drive from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas. Under normal conditions and with an adequate vehicle and plenty of gas, you should make Dallas in five hours. Let us say, after five hours, you only reach Oklahoma City just 100 miles from Tulsa, for whatever reason—car malfunction, detours in the road, accident, etc. Should you be sent all the way back to Tulsa and told to start all over? Unless your car is repaired, the road fixed, more gas put in the tank or detours eliminated, there is no assurance you will make it to Dallas a second time.
Retaining a student at a grade level for a second year without attempting to deal with the reasons affecting his rate of learning gives no assurance that the student will be any more successful on the second trip.
When a student fails to advance as expected, it is possible that the fault rests as much with the school and teacher as with the student. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson, author of The 7 Laws of the Learner, states, “It is the responsibility of the teacher to do everything in his power to cause the student to learn.” Consider the following strategies:
Assessment. Incorporate a system that accurately assesses individual and group progress toward achieving curriculum objectives (prescribed learner outcomes). As soon as it is evident that students are not making progress, look for reasons within the entire teaching-learning environment, not just the student.
Class Periods. Consider extending the class period, school day, time allocated to a specific skill, or even the school year (summer classes) to accommodate individual differences in the learning rate. If summer school in not an option, develop an individual study program for the student over the summer, where the student can work on mastering the objectives that were missed; then, re-evaluate the retention decision before the start of the new school year.
Instructional Adjustment. Permit teachers to adjust instructional programs, materials and methods to better meet the growth pattern of their pupils. Have students work with a classroom aide or tutor.
Reading Materials. Provide reading materials within each classroom that cover a wide range of difficulty over several “grade levels.”
Class Size. Promote smaller class sizes for teachers. Encourage them to adjust their teaching methods and to focus on small group and individual skill development.
Communication. Keep parents regularly informed about the progress of their children in all aspects of the school curriculum (daily or weekly if needed). Solicit their support and assistance in helping their child(ren) achieve specific learner outcomes.
Training. Sponsor a school-wide in-service, conference or video series, such as The 7 Laws of the Learner, The 7 Laws of the Teacher, and Teaching With Style, to equip your teaching staff to meet the needs of their students.
Computerization. Investigate using computer-aided instruction in a wide variety of subjects. For example, tutorial software is designed to teach a subject as well as drill over it. Programs are intended to stand alone as an instructional entity in the curriculum. Thus, the computer is the teacher for a particular skill or area of information.
Use tutorial programs in the classroom under the direction of the teacher, or send them home with the student to be monitored by the parent. Some schools include a variety of tutorial programs in their school library, making them available for checkout by students and parents.
Other programs can assist with drill and practice. Incorporate these programs to supplement the regular instruction. For example, concepts which have been presented in the classroom by the teacher can be practiced and refined by the computer (a good example is Skills Bank III).
Word of God. Bring the uncompromised Word of God to bear on academic challenges. Declare Ephesians 2:10 over your students, “For (your students) are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works....” Part of the good works of students are good grades.
Help students to guard their words. Words can help create within them a conquering attitude thus stimulating faith rather than doubt. Their belief, coupled with God's promises, gives your students God's ability and power to overcome any homework assignment, special project, quiz, nine-week test, or any other school challenge.
Have you ever run out of gas? One of the most inconvenient actions I know of is running out of gas, unless you were out on a date. Running out of gas is an excuse that many teenagers try to present to their parents in an attempt to extend a date.
Today, modern technology in vehicles tells drivers how many miles they have until empty, and the number of miles per gallon of gas they are using; GPS’s even know how many miles to the nearest gas station. With mobile aps, like Gas Buddy, you can also locate the cheapest gas within miles. Yet, people still run out of gas, even when they have money to purchase gas.
Carol and I drive a Ford Fusion. It is rated to get 32 miles per gallon “on the road.” On some trips, I’ve averaged 35 mpg. If I could coast all the time, I could double the mileage. And, there have been times when I have risked running out of gas, just to see how far I could go on a near-empty tank. There is a real adrenalin rush when you push the limits to see how close you can get to running out. There have been times when I haven’t paid attention to the gas gage and almost ran out of gas. I thank the Holy Spirit for reminding me to check the gauge.
Many make the mistake of risking it and paying the price of a long walk in the middle of the night to get some gas. My father gave me some sound advice when I was a teen driver, “It is much easier to run on the top half of the tank, than on the bottom half.”
Is Your Spiritual Tank Running On Empty?
As Christian educators, we realize that having a full spiritual tank is much more important than a full tank of gas in our vehicles. It’s time to allow the Holy Spirit to check your spiritual gas gauge.
Mark 4:9 illustrates how the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches, and the list of things, enter and choke the Word; the result of which is fruitlessness and an empty tank.
When one’s spiritual tank is near empty, one usually is running out of other things. Consider these examples.
1. Patience –“I’ve had it with the students.”
2. Kindness – "Why should I be kind to her? Look at what she's done to me.”
3. Forgiveness – “You don't deserve another chance.’
4. Love – “I've given so much of myself, why don't they give back to me. I'm getting nothing in return."
5. Moral and ethical conduct – viewing unwholesome movies and videos, cheating on taxes unfaithfulness to spouse, anger at God.
6. Dedicated service to God – so much to do, too many good TV programs to watch, sporting events to attend, lessons to prepare, family to attend to.
Fill Up Your Tank
The solution for getting your spiritual tank full is not found at the local Quick Trip. Matthew 5:6 shows us how to be filled by hungering and thirsting after righteousness. Get filled up by surrounding yourself with the Word of God and the things of God - prayer, praise and worship, church, and a greater sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Unlike the cost of gas at the pump, Jesus’s filling station is free. All it takes is some dedicated time to pull over and get filled up. Make the decision today - get your tank full and keep it full! Be filled with Gal 5:22 and 23.
Let this be your prayer: "Holy Spirit, fill me UP!"
Most of us have heard our students respond with “Do what?” The use of this phrase is an equivalent of "excuse me?" or "pardon me?" when someone says something they did not catch. It is believed that this regionalism is native to the Texas hill country, North Carolina, and Alabama.
This winter, how many times have parents found themselves saying, “Are you listening to me? Didn't I just tell you to get your coat? Helloooo! It is cold out there. “
Sometimes it seems that regardless of how many times you tell a child to do something, it seems like most of what you tell them falls on deaf ears or goes in one ear and out the other.
Information Does Get Inside
You may be surprised to learn that it does not work that way. The information is getting inside; they just store the information for later use.
I am always amazed during days when it is cold outside, the number of students who come to school without coats. It is not that they do not have coats, they do not plan. You would think that they would plan ahead and think “OK it's going to be cold outside so my jacket will keep me warm.” You would expect this to be the pattern of reasoning. Rather, they run outside, discover that it is cold, and then retrieve the memory of where their jacket is, and then they go get it.
Getting students to prepare for something in advance, takes extra effort. Rather than arguing and bickering, try to highlight the conflict that they are going to face. Perhaps you could say something like “I know you do not want to take your coat now, but when you are seated in the car shivering later, remember that you could have had your coat with you."
Heartfelt Desire to Obey
Matthew 28:16, says, “Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” They did not argue, bicker or delay. They did what Jesus had asked. There was no need to coerce or beg, or to tell them a second, or third time. “Their obedience followed a genuine heartfelt desire to obey. Their readiness to obey demonstrated that learning had taken place.” Many times, our students finally do what we ask but only in a grudging way. Obedience is only superficial, “covering up an inwardly rebellious heart.”
Kenneth Gangel, in Called to Teach, shares the illustration on watered down obedience that took place in the Spanish American War. “Apparently the United States Congress came up with the idea of renaming captured Spanish warships after American universities and colleges and dubbing the collection ‘The College Fleet.’ Congress itself named the first two ships the ‘Harvard” and the “Yale.’ Admiral Dewey, in charge of American naval forces, considered this idea ludicrous. But as a veteran officer he knew how to obey orders. The next ship he captured he renamed the ‘Massachusetts School of Technology’ and after than the ‘Vermont Normal College of Women.’ As quickly as it had begun, the college fleet was disbanded.” Did he do what was asked? Yes, Admiral Dewey did what he was asked to do. “On the surface he demonstrated impeccable obedience. Yet, in his heart he had a spirit of rebellion.”
A few tips for dealing with student rebellious tendencies.
1. Set clear expectations and boundaries as well as consequences for disobedience.
2. Catch them making good decisions; praise good obedience and quality decisions.
3. Minister love, acceptance and forgiveness when mistakes are made.
4. Listen to their concerns; let them speak without giving them a long lecture.
5. Do not compare them with others; focus on progress.
6. Speak to them respectfully and do not embarrass them in front of others.
7. Be patient; do not condone inappropriate behavior but offer understanding.
There are times when the perception and reality of events, situations, wrong decisions, neglect, or circumstances that are coming against us, our families, or our students, leads to questioning Gods plan to bring us through. We know that “all things work together for good...” (Romans 8:28), but we ask, “When will the good come?”
Confidence is a key ingredient in good work
Paul writes in Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
How is your confidence in God?
Usually, when we think of this verse, we remember the point in time when we gave our lives to Jesus. At this point He began a work in our lives.
For most of us, we acknowledge that He is still working in and on us. We have all heard or used the phrase, “God is not done with me yet.” It is true; God is continuing to work in all of us. He never gives up on us.
"Being confident," means we are persuaded. It also presents to us the need to release our faith for the good works to be come forth, to be completed.
Begun can also be in the present
Remember: begin, began, and begun? Begun is past tense, right? It is true; we can look back in the past and point to our new beginning in God, and recall the good things that He has done for and through us. What about the present? Is there a situation in your life or family where a new beginning is needed?
For example, take the realization for the need for more joy. We acknowledge that it is God’s will for us to have joy. We understand that the joy of the Lord is our strength. We realize that the release of joy has a very positive effect upon our lives and those that we meet. Furthermore, joy releases chemicals that cause our bodies to fight stress, fatigue, helps bring stability to our lives, and heals emotion problems.
So, what is it that we need to do to see that work of joy have a new beginning? Consider the following.
First, we must understand that when we received the life of God, we received the joy of God. We acknowledge joy as a good work and that God wants to work in us to raise our joy level. Paul writes, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” It is His will for joy to be in our lives. Therefore, His joy in us should come forth now, not tomorrow or the next day when things improve. If joy is not coming forth, then we must be the one who is stopping it.
Second, knowing that confidence relates to our faith, we must release our faith for joy to spring forth, to be freed. We know we will have what we say when we believe (Mark 11:23-24). Since we already have joy, we must allow it to some out. Not tomorrow, but now!
Finally, we are the ones who must release this joy. Begin by thinking about the goodness of God (Prov. 23:7), follow this with a smile on your face, a spring in your step, and a pleasantness in tone of voice. When? Right now!
We can bring joy right now into existence as it is released. It is an act of our will. “This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” When? Right now!
This day, release your faith (have confidence) that whatever it is that you or your students are facing will start to change – right NOW!
As we head into this new year, everyone is looking for a new start, hoping to avoid or to withstand the storms that are expected to come. It is important in this new year to stay on course – the course of blessing that God has for us.
It has been very interesting to hear how people over this past year have dealt with the financial storm that our nation faced. Prices continue to rise, markets close down one day and then up the next. So, what can we do to weather the financial storm? Invest in Bonds? Seek guaranteed Interest funds? Keep an eye on the long-term picture more so than the daily fluctuations. How about investing in gold? For centuries, buying gold has been recognized as one of the best ways to preserve one's wealth and buying power. And now it is Bitcoin investments.
Someone once said, “A sailor can’t be a good sailor unless he passes through the storms.” How are you going to withstand and pass through the storms that will come in 2018? Consider the following thoughts.
Trials of Your Faith
Peter likens the "trials of your faith" (I Peter 1:7) to being more precious than gold. In relating this to educators, the "trials of your faith" means problems, challenges, adverse circumstances, pressures, and we might add, financial storms.
No one on this earth is perfectly safe and perfectly immune from all the different kinds of storm clouds that can come our way in this life. Just as some feel that gold is a way to avoid losses, it is our faith in the power of God to take us through these storms that helps us overcome future trials.
Do not Deviate from the Course
Most of the trials Satan brings have the full intent to get us off the divine course. It is important that during the trials we face that we do not deviate from the course that God has directed. Throughout this year there may be words spoken and actions taken by parents and students that would appear, in the natural, to lead one to conclude that things are not going well. When this happens, we must be aware of the pressures that follow; these pressures could create a tendency to compromise and a tendency to lean towards the natural more than to put total trust in what the Word of God says.
When we face these storms, trials and tests, we need to speak faith filled words; to grab hold of all that is right and to speak with confidence using God’s Word. When everything is going "our way," it is easy to speak positively; but when a challenge situation comes along, then we really find out what is in our heart and if our words are in line with the Word of God.
Responding to Pressure and Bondage
Who is the author of pressure and bondage? It is not the curriculum. It is not the daily schedule. It is not the staff. It is not the lack of one thing or the other. It is the devil or ourselves.
Have you ever wondered why there are times when we feel under pressure and bondage? Dr. Kenneth Hagin shared that God does not have to put pressure or bondage on us to see how we will respond under certain situations, for He already knows our heart and how we will respond.
The devil does not know this about us so he must bring the challenges, problems and pressures our way to see how we will respond. It is not until we act or speak that he finds out what is in our heart.
If we will resist the devil (pressure and bondage), he (it) will flee. Resist with the Word of God and faith-filled words. We cannot afford to harbor any resentment, bitterness, ill-will, and discontentment towards any student, staff, parent or any aspect of the school program; these will rob us of our ability to release faith. In fact, these things give an opportunity to steal faith away from others.
Consider the Following Actions for 2018
- YOU must set a guard over your lips and thoughts. Ps. 141:3
- YOU are the testimony that God's Word works. Ps 19
- YOU are more than a conqueror through Him. Rom. 8:31-39
- YOU are far from oppression. Isaiah 54:14
- NO weapon formed against you will prosper. Isaiah 54:17
- YOU are established in righteousness. Isaiah 54:14
- YOU are delivered from the hand of the enemy. Luke 1:74
- YOU are an example in word and deed. Titus 2:7
- YOU will not bow your knees to circumstances. Phil. 1:12-18
- YOU make the devil flee. James 4:7
- YOU place the devil under your feet. Rom. 16:20
- YOUR mind is in perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3
- YOU are obedient in all things. 1 Cor. 15:58
- YOU are free from poverty, sickness or sin. Gal. 3:13, 14, 29
- YOU reign as kings in this life. I Peter 2:9; Rev. 5:10
Paul writes, “Brethern, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk as ye have us for an example (Phil. 3:17).
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the Scriptures. So practice and obey whatever they say to you, but don't follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach. Matt 23:1-3NLT
Does Your Example Change Lives?"
In the 1982 film E.T., the producers asked Mars candy maker, about using M&Ms in the film. Mars, for some reason, said “no”, so the film makers approached Hershey’s. They said, “yes” and ET ate Hershey’s Reece’s Pieces which were unknown at the time but sales went through the roof.
People, who live in other countries for any length of time, will pick up the accent of the people, not because of the water they drink, the air they breathe, or the change in their vocal cords, but by what they hear and see. Even those of us who have been around Billy Joe Daugherty have picked up his mannerisms. One’s example is often more powerful than their words. Examples will change our lives.
Our students are watching us wherever we are – at school, at sporting events, in the cafeteria, in church, in the neighborhood, or in the home. Most of the time we are not aware of it, but it is happening. Young people are checking out our example and learning from our lives. What are they learning? Are they learning obedience, humility, purity, meekness, honesty, self-denial, benevolence, forgiveness, love, compassion, and tenderness? How much of your example is having a positive influence? Can you, like Paul, ask your students to follow you as you follow Christ?
You don’t have to determine to be an example; all you need to do is determine what kind of example you are going to be.
In just a couple weeks many Christian schools who are a college schedule will be giving semester exams. Students look forward to taking exams like most look forward to going to the dentist. Very few students delight in taking exams. In fact, a few years ago when middle and high school students were asked, “What kind of help would you like to have that would help you improve your academic performance?” The overwhelming response was, “We need to learn how to take tests.”
Experts in test taking skills offer the following student tips for test taking:
1. Read directions carefully. This may be obvious, but it will help you avoid careless errors.
2. If there is time, quickly look through the test for an overview. Note key terms, jot down brief notes. If you can, mark the test or answer sheet with comments that come to mind. First, ask if this is permitted!
3. Answer questions in a strategic order. Answer easy questions first. This builds confidence, scores points, and mentally orients yourself to vocabulary, concepts, and your studies. It may also help you make associations with more difficult questions. Then answer difficult questions or those with the most point value. With objective tests, eliminate those answers you know to be wrong, or are likely to be wrong, do not seem to fit, or where two options are so similar as to be both incorrect. With essay questions, broadly outline your answer and sequence the order of your points.
4. Review. Resist the urge to leave as soon as you have completed all the items. Review your test to make sure that you have answered all questions and that you did not mismark answers.
5. Do not make simple mistakes. Proofread spelling, grammar, punctuation, decimal points, etc.
6. Change answers to questions if you made a mistake, or misread the question or if you find information elsewhere in the test that shows that your first choice is incorrect.
There is an examination process that each one of us as Christian Educators needs to take. Paul refers to it in 2 Cor. 13:5; “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in faith. Test yourselves. Do you know yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you will be disqualified (failing the test). (Living Bible) If we were to take time to really examine ourselves, we would realize our utter helplessness and dependence upon Him, just as David did when he said, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Ps 26:2)
Paul is not referring to examining our spiritual character, church attendance, our good works, as shown in preparing and delivering lesson plans, arriving at and serving our duty stations, getting papers graded in a timely manner – to name a few good things - to see whether we measure up to expectations in the handbook.
The self-examination Paul is discussing is not an examination of righteousness, spiritual condition or our good works. He says we are to examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith, that is, to see whether we are putting all our righteousness and good works aside and placing our faith and rest in Jesus Christ, His righteousness and His finished work.
Does condemnation govern me when my works are not too good? If you answer yes, you are not in faith but in works.
Do I feel like I am a failure when someone points something out to me? If you answer yes, then you are operating on how well you are doing rather than on the grace of God.
To be “in faith” means to hold on to faith in Jesus Christ or what He has done and not what we have done. If we really are resting in Christ, then nothing we do is going to affect our faith. The message of the gospel is that nothing I do changes the fact that “It is finished.” Therefore, nothing I do need hurt my faith in that “finished work.” Furthermore, the devil will no longer be effective in using our sin and failure to move us from our stand in faith.
Have a great end of semester and Christmas vacation. For more information on test-taking, see our pages under professional development.
As we look at November, consider Paul’s word of encouragement; “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)
Sent from Prison
It is interesting to note that this letter to the Philippians was written by Paul while he was a prisoner, facing a trial for his life. Encouraging others to rejoice in such a tragic time is remarkable. It shows the confidence Paul had in the power of the Gospel to “comfort those who have made Christ all in all.”
The phrase, "The Lord is at hand" was a unique watchword used by the early church. It was a slogan used to rally support for a cause, in time of trouble. It meant “We are about to be delivered."
Regardless of what one may be going
through, there will always be an opportunity for thanksgiving and good. It is a
promise found in Romans 8:28, “And we
know that God causes everything to work
together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his
purpose for them.”
Working Together for Good
Things only work together for good to those “Who love God” and those “who are being called according to His purpose.” Your calling to serve at your school places you where you can receive good as you release your faith in His Word. This means that all the frustrations, troubles and trials of life can be made to serve God’s purpose. This is the reason why the Christian can praise God during trouble. It is also why we need to be filled with thanksgiving.
Things working together for our good begins with prayer, the “outpouring of the soul; supplication, saying our desires; and offering thanksgiving; we must always come to God, not in a complaining spirit, but with thankfulness for present mercies.”
The Peace of God
The result is "the peace of God." It is a peace that comes by “putting everything in the hands of the one who is able and willing to deliver. Whenever we fully trust the Lord there is a peace that is beyond the understanding of those who have never experienced it. That peace will guard our hearts and keep our thoughts holy and pure.”
(Adapted from The People’s New Testament.) As you give thanks this month, remember to thank the One who provides. Let your conversation be filled with His goodness - no matter your situation.
Have there been times when you have felt close to God? Maybe it was in a church service, a prayer meeting, during praise and worship, driving down the road, walking through a forest, or flying in a plane. Most of us can recall such an experience. The next question is, “How often do you sense His presence?”
David wrote, “If I ascend up into the heaven, thou are there. If I make my bed in hell behold thou are there.” (PS 139:8) God sent a message through Jeremiah. He said, “Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:23,24)
We need to acknowledge the presence of God everywhere, not just in our Bible classes, chapels, prayer time, praise and worship, Camp Victory advances or connect groups,
When someone is sinning, God is there. If a student is doing something contrary to your classroom code of conduct or school honor code, God is there. Where can man go to hide from God?
Since God is everywhere, He is in every classroom, hallways, and every office. If God were seated in one of your student desks or your chair, would He be noticed?
It is time to acknowledge His continual presence in every classroom, hallways and office and to train our students to do the same.
Recently, I have been observing my grandson’s increasing level of spatial and temporal awareness and his every expanding field of detail. Likewise, as we mature in Christ, we should be increasing in our awareness of His presence. Each day that goes by in our classrooms, hallways, chapels, there ought to be a growing awareness of God’s presence.
Very few have experienced God or Jesus revealing Himself in physical form. It takes an act of faith to realize that a person is present when one cannot see or touch that person.
We can get our students to increase their level of awareness of God’s presence by helping them draw closer to God. James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” God says to us in Isaiah 29:13, “Wherefore the Lord said, ‘Forasmuch as the people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips, do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me…”
In Hebrews 10: 22 we read, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” And in 1 Chronicles 28:9 we read,” If you seek him, he will be found by you.”
A good time to begin this process is during the prayer time at the opening and closing of each classroom period (MS and HS) and school day (ELC and ELM).
I am asking the Holy Spirit to give each teacher creative ideas on how they might mentor their students to connect with God throughout the day and to help them gain a sense of awe for God’s presence in their classroom, their school, their world and in their life on a regular, if not daily basis.
Jesus, upon speaking of His departure from this earth to be with His Father in Heaven, said, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you (John 16:7).
Success as a Christian teacher in a Christian school is enhanced when the Holy Spirit is let out of the lunch box and allowed to do the work for which He was sent.
The Holy Spirit Fosters Success
Activating the release of the work of the Holy Spirit depends on asking (Luke 11:13). The Word says that when you ask in His Name (John 14:14), and according to His will (1 John 5:14), you are going to get an answer. Ask the Holy Spirit to cultivate success in your classroom. Consider the following actions that the Holy Spirit can perform in your classroom.
1. Getting God's creative ability to flow (Gal. 5:22?25
2. Quickening our understanding (1 Cor. 2:9?15; Isa. 11:3)
3. Causing old things to pass away (1 Cor. 5:17)
4. Working His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13)
5. Facilitating teaching and making learning happen (1 John 2:20?27)
6. Transmitting the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:30)
thoughts of God (Col. 2:3; 1 Cor. 2:10)
8. Revealing hidden secrets (Col. 1:27)
9. Teaching all things (John 14:26)
10. Guiding into all truth (John 16:13)
11. Doing abundant things (Eph. 5:10)
12. Restoring joy (Ps. 51:12)
13. Encouraging us to exercise power over rulers of darkness Eph. 6:12)
14. Convicting of righteousness and judgment (John 16:8)
15. Helping us overcome reproach (1 Peter 4:14)
16. Reinforcing freedom from bondage (Rom. 8:5)
17. Directing or forbidding actions (Acts 13:2; 16:7)
18. Giving grace to succeed (2 Cor. 1:12)
19. Protecting and strengthening (Isa. 41:10?11)
20. Helps us pray when we just can't (Rom. 8:26)
Consider the Holy Spirit as Your Team Teacher
Invite the presence of the Holy Spirit into every classroom, every period, to work with you on your objectives. Invoke His presence and His working. Ask that He help bring understanding, and to help you teach and the students to learn.
As you and the Holy Spirit work together to teach them the same lesson, your effectiveness will be enhanced and learning will take place. Reinforce the learning that has taken place by asking students to place in their own words what they have learned and to thank the Holy Spirit for His help.
For more information on the work of the Holy Spirit in the classroom, see our ProDevelopment pages.
Most parents who place their children in a Christian school do so out of a strong desire to be obedient to the Word of God which commands in Proverbs 22:6, "(You) train up a (your) child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
God did not say "a way"; He said, "The Way". This leaves no alternatives. God left no options. He said, "...learn not the way of the heathen..." (Jeremiah 10:2). The way of the heathen is the way propagated by humanistic progressive education that invades secular schools, retracting the Bible from its midst, rejecting the concrete and personal revelation of God in Jesus Christ, rebelling against the Holy and moral standards of the universe as found in the Bible, refusing to accept or recognize the validity of religious knowledge and experience, and removing the dignity and worth of a man as being created by God.
Obedience becomes the catalyst for supernatural provision. Obedience to God's Word and His voice leads to making right financial decisions. Furthermore, receiving God's financial provision relates to the level of obedience. "If ye are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it" (Isa. 1:19?20).
The more willing and obedient parents are to God's plan and purpose, the more they will see financial provision. It is this trust in God's provision that results in continual financial increase. "The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children" (Ps. 115:14).
We would estimate that approximately 85 percent of Christian school parents are trusting God each month so they can stay faithful to their tuition commitment. For some parents, there just isn't sufficient income to keep their children in a private school. As a result, administrators find themselves becoming financial counselors. To help in the process, we have put together a handout that administrators can give to parents to help them seek additional avenues of income. You can find this document under School Improvement.
If you had an opportunity to focus on one goal for the year, what would it be? One might suggest, “If I could just make it through a school year without any major parent/student issues, it would be a great accomplishment.” For another, it might be to have a well-behaved class or a class with no major behavioral challenges. Others might want to be able to get all the way through the curriculum. For administrators, it might be full enrollment and to end the school year in the black.
Although these are important, I would like to suggest a goal that will guarantee a successful school year in every area, regardless of any position you might hold in your school - teacher, administrator, or support staff. Simple, “listen and obey the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is in each of us, speaking to us all the time. So, what do we need to do?
Tune in to the Voice of Your Inner Man
There are thoughts that come up inside of your mind concerning what to teach, how to teach, what to say or not say, where to go or not go, what you need to do or not do. Many times, we listen and act and other times we don’t. As Gloria Copeland put it, “You hear it and let it go. Then later it comes back and you hear it again. These are the promptings of your spirit by the Holy Spirit. As we become more aware of the Spirit of God in our everyday affairs, we will be quicker to hear and obey those promptings.”
These promptings are the attempt of the Holy Spirit to reveal the will of God to each of us in our spirits. Jesus says to us in John 16:13, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”
As you obey these promptings, you will be led into the most successful year ever. The Holy Spirit will always lead you to excellence. The release of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our classrooms and our schools will result in cleansing us from tendencies to accept less than expected. Accepting less than expected, opens the door to moving down a path of excellence. Let me offer three actions that will lead to success.
Required Actions for Success
1. Pray in the Spirit. As you pray in other tongues, the Holy Spirit will deliver God’s answer to the situation or challenge you are facing (1 Cor. 14). By praying in tongues, you will find the wisdom of God being delivered to your spirit (1 Cor. 2:6, 7).
Gloria Copeland shares this encouraging word, “When you start your day praying the will of God by the Holy Spirit, many times you will have prayed already concerning the problems that you will face during the day. You will perceive an interpretation, a prompting, an impression, a word, a sentence that will enlighten you and give you the answer to the situation.”
2. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Tuning in to the voice of the Holy Spirit requires a commitment to spending time in the Word of God, prayer and fellowship with the Lord. The more quality time you commit to this task, the stronger will be the prompting of the Holy Spirit and the clearer will be the directions you sense in your spirit. As you spend time listening to the Holy Spirit speaking to your spirit, you will find God’s plans unfolding.
3. Acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the job description of the Holy Spirit to act as your Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby (John 14:16, Amplified Bible).
Allowing Him to actively assume these roles for you, increases the possibility of success in all that you face. Proverbs 16:3, Amplified Bible, says, “Roll your works upon the Lord – commit and trust them wholly to Him; [He will cause your thoughts to become agreeable to His will, and] so shall your plans be established and succeed.”
For more insights into the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian school, see our Professional Development pages on this website.
The days following spring break are among the most important days of the school year for it is the time that re-enrollment is open for the up-coming school year. Given the financial environment, investing in another year of Christian education is one of the biggest decisions families will be making in the next few weeks.
The Big Question
Thank God it is not a $64,000 decision like many parents face when they send their children off to college. But for many families with two or more children, it becomes $12,000 to $15,000 decision. Over a four-year period, the money parents could save by not attending private schools could be enough to send their child to college. Consider this question parents raise, “Is placing my children at my Christian school really worth it? Is it worth going through financial sacrifice when there are so many demands pressing to capture every dollar we earn?“ For example, some parents pay $200 to $300 per month just to transport their children to a private school.
Looking for Reasons
Parents need to have a very good reason before they are willing to make the decision to re-enroll their children at your school. Even those parents with strong convictions on the importance of raising their children in a Christian school environment may struggle with the decision to return for another year. All the points of contention accumulated over the course of the year can become wedges that separate a family from re-enrolling.
Knowing that parents are going through these financial decisions and weighing the benefits of attending your Christian school, it is extremely important that we do everything possible to ensure that we are offering great customer service to our families. We need to work at being professional, cordial, hospitable, attentive, appreciative, and helpful in our communication and contact with them.
Often it is so easy to get focused on the tasks of teaching and miss opportunities to build relationships with are clientele and enhance our image. One answer is to train ourselves and our staff to work at interacting with parents as they walk through the building. Keep our heads up, make eye contact, and engage them with – “Hello, I am glad to see you. Can I help or assist you with something?” Do not forget to say, “Thank you for being here” or “We really appreciate your involvement, support, help, etc.” It takes effort to make these kinds of contacts on a regular basis. However, as we do it strengthens us as a school.
We need to make sure communications – letters, emails, are done professionally. When people are asking for help or expressing a challenge instead of simply saying, “That’s not my area. You need to see so and so.” We should respond with something like, “I certainly can see that is an issue for you; let me see what I can find out and how we can best help you.” We need to take responsibility and be proactive in helping people even if it is to help them through a difficult solution.
- At the start of every day, encourage your students to speak to their parents about enrolling.
everything you are expected to do as a professional teacher – lesson planning, web-pages posted, returning graded papers, phone calls and emails.
- Be willing to work with students and parents to complete missed work or to improve their grade.
- Listen to students and parents and what they say. Ask questions to ensure you understand what they are saying.
As Christian schools begin planning for the next school
term, one question that needs to be addresses is, “How can we close the back
door?” When was the last time your school took a close look at retention rates
across grades? I have not seen any national statistics; however, at Victory
Christian School the retention rate ranges from 67 to 98 percent depending on
the grade level.
A Major Concern
Retaining students in a Christian school is a continual concern. Unlike public schools, where students come from assigned attendance areas and are compelled to attend based on law, Christian schools must go out and recruit students. For some schools, survival depends upon aggressive recruiting. For others, it is a matter of retaining students already enrolled: closing the back door.Parents withdraw their children from Christian schools for a number of reasons. The primary reason is lack of finances. Keeping the cost of operating a Christian school as low as possible is a must. But, lower cost without quality programs will not sustain the school. Adding to the quality of the school has the greatest influence on retaining students.
Is it Worth the Sacrifice?
would estimate that 70 percent of those students attending a typical Christian
School come from homes where every dollar spent on tuition is a sacrifice. What
is it that would cause parents to continue to sacrifice to keep their students
at a Christian school? Is it the wonderful facilities? Could it be the small
class sizes? How about the strong athletic program? Maybe it is the Christian
textbooks or all of the special classes and courses offered such as art, foreign
language, computers, music, physical education, and band? Is it the
twenty-four-hour code of conduct for high school students or the standardized
dress code? Could it be the strong moral character training that is taking
Does the School Really Care?
I heard one parent say, “If I’m going to pay this much money for this kind of teacher, I might as well send them to public school.” Teachers do make a difference in how effective the school is in retaining students. If we are going to close the back door, the school staff must take on the ministry of an encourager, doing whatever it takes to let students and parents know “WE CARE.”
What is it that would lead students to conclude that a teacher cares? When Victory students were asked this question, the answers were surprising. It was the small acts that counted the most, such as getting assignments back on time, listening to what students were saying rather than always telling students what to do; taking time to become involved in their lives; and, asking how things were going rather than just about academic subjects and homework.
Love is the Key
At the heart of caring is love. I John 4:11 says, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (NIV) As Christian educators allow Christ to fill their lives, they will be able to love their students. It is the love of God flowing through the teacher that holds the most difficult student captive. Students respond positively to love. They will go wherever you want or do what you assign if they feel you love them.As Christian educators we must never forget that we possess the power of exercising supernatural love. We can love the unlovely; the girls who are a constant source of irritation and the boys who not only look unpleasant, but smell that way also. These are all within the limits of our love. Prayer and determination are the keys to successful loving. When God said, “Beloved, let us love one another. . . “ (1 John 4:9, NIV) He gave a command to love. He also gives the means to do it, and we must do so if we are going to close the back door. There are still a few more months before school closes for the year; now is the time to begin to close the back door.
Most people have heard the Marine's enlistment call, "A
Few Good Men." The implication was that "a few" good men would
be enough. The same recruiting call was
voiced by God to Gideon, when the call went out to 32,000 volunteers; from
these only 300 were chosen by God to liberate Israel from the Midianites, who
had carried away all the Israel's grain crops and had driven the people of
Israel away from their villages and their farms.
Today, God is calling out for a group of men who would be willing to enter the Christian school battle. If you are a male Christian educator, serving in Christian school, I commend you for accepting the battle call.
God has placed you at your Christian school for reasons that goes beyond a job used to support your family (those that have families). Almost everyone could find employment in other schools and business for more money and some have left your Christian school for this reason.
The lack of male figures in the classroom is not just a Christian school issue, it is evident in public schools as well. Some point to the need to raise the “profession’s profile so that it’s more valued in the public eye” as presented by Lisa Kadane in Today’s Parent (May, 2016). Others feel that by adding males it will provide a better “gender balanced workforce” or “to offer different points of view.” Furthermore, a male can “provide a positive role model of a father figure for students who come from single-parent families” (Harford Courant, 2014).
Why does God need you in Christian education? The reason goes beyond those mentioned above or to bring academic excellence or to be coaches: it is to effect change in the life of every single student that comes to your school and to train students to be champions for Christ. This can be more evident in a Christian school setting where the male teacher has an opportunity to fully exercise not only the professional authority given to him by the school board, but the spiritual authority God has given him.
The presence of a male in any setting commands attention. Males bring courage to the classroom. God has placed men in Christian schools to be the godly male image that students need to see. Men need to exercise their leadership as godly men and to set the example in word and in deed.
Classrooms where professional authority is evident are ones where teachers have turned good order into habit. Authority in the classroom means consistent routines where there are clear directions for acceptable behavior. Teachers exercise professional authority immediately to correct deviations from the expected, acceptable behavior. Being just, standing firm in one’s convictions, braving unpopularity with students and parents and exercising tact are salient characteristics of teachers who walk in professional authority. Professional authority is enhanced when a teacher is good natured and has a likeable disposition. This authority is enhanced when the teacher is a godly man.
As men, you need to be the priest not just of our families but of your classrooms and to bring spiritual authority to bear in the lives of your students. You have been given power to confront inappropriate attitudes, behavior or speech. It is God’s intent for teachers to rule and reign in the classroom, hallways, cafeteria, sports fields. As men, with this authority comes spiritual power to act.
Utilize all of these authorities to pull down strongholds in the lives of your students: fear, lying, anger, stealing, bad attitudes, impure thoughts, drugs, alcohol, abuse, disobedience, to name a few. As a man, it is time for you to stand strong for righteousness and train your students to be champions for Christ.
Most people, when they think of the new calendar year, think of New Year resolutions. Educators are blessed to have two starts each year – the start of the new school year in the fall and the start of a new calendar year; both provide opportunities to plan fresh and exciting things. Actually, January offers three opportunities for a new start – a new calendar year, a new quarter and a new semester.
Resolutions for Teachers
I recently saw a cartoon where the question was being asked, “What exactly is a New Year resolution?” The response was, “It’s a ‘To Do’ list for the first week in January!”
Consider the following resolutions offered by teachers on the Internet:
- I resolve to become organized enough to be able to find whatever I need whenever I need it.
- I resolve to get all papers graded within two days of when the assignment is turned in.
- I resolve to see each student not as they are, but as they can be.
- I resolve to remember that it’s not personal. It’s a job.
- I resolve to not judge someone until I’ve walked in their shoes.
- I resolve to stay positive.
- I resolve to never hold a grudge against a student. Each day is a new beginning.
- I resolve to spice up my classroom routine.
resolve to give individual time and attention to each student.
- I resolve to set goals and to avoid the autopilot mode.
How nice it would be if someone would create a list of 100 or so possible resolutions for teachers and then allow teachers to simply check the ones they want to make, along with recipes for the success of each? And of course, don’t forget a list for students and their parents.
Suggestions from Paul
In addressing the church at Colosse, Paul offers some resolutions (Col. 1:10, AMP). These four resolutions, as they are applied during the new calendar year, new semester and new quarter,will help you finish this academic year strong and to keep your spiritual focus:
- I resolve to walk (live and conduct yourselves) in a manner worthy of the Lord.
- I resolve to be fully pleasing to Him and desiring to please Him in all things.
- I resolve to bear fruit in every good work.
- I resolve to be steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God [with fuller, deeper, and clearer insight, acquaintance, and recognition.
The Power of the Holy Spirit
Making resolutions is the easy part; ensuring that they are followed is most difficult. As Christian educators, not only do we have to guard against the stresses and pressures of life that would get us off course in fulfilling these resolutions, but the devil, himself, actively launches attacks against us. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working inside of us, we can overcome all of these.
Why He Came!
Dr. Dennis Demuth
During this time of the year, everyone is thinking about Christmas. For teachers, it’s an opportunity to have a significant break in the day to day routine of teaching. It’s unfortunate that each year there is more secularization of Christmas to a point where culture in Western society and around the world tend to forget the real meaning of Christmas and why Jesus came. Some cities have renamed their Christmas Parade as the Holiday Parade. Thank God for schools who chose to stand up for the Christ in Christmas Parade. However, thousands of students in public schools all across America are having the Christ taken out of Christmas. “The world’s preparation for Christmas shuts Him out. Jesus, our Lord -- the long-awaited Messiah, simply doesn’t fit today's vision of pluralism. That's why signs and symbols of the celebration bearing His name have been censored from schools and public places from coast to coast.”
John 3:16 provides the reason why God sent Jesus to this earth. Without the Christ in Christmas the Christmas break becomes like any other break.
Beyond the purpose of bringing salvation to mankind, the assignment of Jesus is outlined in Luke 4:18. Jesus said that He had come to 1) proclaim the Gospel to the poor, 2) heal the broken-hearted, 3) set the captive free, 4) proclaim deliverance, 5) recovery of sight to the blind, and 6) set at liberty those that are bruised.
During this Christmas season, it is worthwhile to reflect on the question, “Why is it that God sent you to your school? Why did you come?
Signs and Wonders
“Jesus’s coming not only was a sign and a wonder, His works were signs and wonders. Healing and deliverance were part of these signs. Jesus said in John 10:37-38, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works; that you may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in Him.”
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What works am I doing that would cause my students and their families to believe that God sent me to this school?”
You are a Channel
God has said in His Word and through prophetic words that Christians are to be for signs and wonders; as a Christian, you have been chosen by God to become the channel through which signs and wonders would be performed.”
He has sent students to your school who need to have the Gospel of the good news spoken to them. If you teach in a Christian school, in your Bible classes take time for students to express their thoughts on Christmas, then have all of them confess, as a class, Christ as Lord and Savior. There are those that need to have their broken hearts healed. Family turmoil, abuse, and depression are evident in many of our students.
You are God’s messenger to set captives free-students who have been taken captive by the spirit of this world. You are here to proclaim deliverance, the recovering of sight to blinded eyes; not just physically, but those who can not see the goodness of God or His plan for their lives. He wants to use you to set at liberty those that are bruised.
Students and parents will believe that God is real when they see the miracle working power in academics, behavior, sports, and every avenue of ministry.
How is this going to be accomplished? It will not be done by man’s mind but by the power of God, the miracle working power of the Word of God, the Name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – through you. This is your reason for coming to your school.