1 Timothy 1:6-7 says, “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” The idea of kindling afresh really means to “stir up”. Paul was praying for Timothy to go back to his calling and his enthusiasm for that calling. Paul was praying that Timothy would take his passion for God to a much higher level.
As I pondered that verse, I am convinced that this is a prayer that we all need for our everyday lives. What if we were all to ask ourselves on a regular basis how enthusiastic we are about what God is doing in our life? The word “enthusiasm” comes from two Greek words that mean “in theos”. In other words, real enthusiasm has its foundation in being in a close relationship with God.
How would our lives really look if we were seeking a closer relationship with God and we allowed His Holy Spirit to stir us up regularly with a passion for Him? I believe that this kind of lifestyle is what the Apostle Paul talked about in Galatians when he instructed us to “walk in the spirit.”
I believe today that more than ever Christians need to “kindle afresh” on a regular basis our relationship with God. As a husband and a father, my family needs to see my relationship with the Lord strong if they are to have that kind of relationship one day. I recently saw the evidence of this in a statistic released by author and research analyst Christian Smith. His research showed that almost 70% of college students who had walked away from the faith after high school said that they were turned off by church because they had never seen it change their parents’ lives.
Our children desperately need to see our passion for God and how that relationship changes our lives and enables us to be better parents and spouses. May God stir each and every one of us up regularly so that we might fulfill the calling that He has on our lives!
I want to update you on some of the improvements we are working on for school year 2014-2015. Our focus each year is to improve our programs, facilities, and curriculum so as to continually enhance student learning and student life.
One area of focus will be enhanced technology integration in the classrooms. We have recently begun outfitting our classrooms with an iPad, an Apple TV, a digital projector, and a document camera thereby in essence creating a “smart board” inside the classroom. We will provide a demonstration to parents in the coming weeks.
In high school, we will introduce e-textbooks in certain courses to further integrate technology. We will also introduce Moodle on certain high school levels next school year to further prepare our students for life in college. Our lower and upper school technology labs will be equipped with iPads in addition to the PC’s that are currently there in an effort to introduce applications that will enhance student learning in science, math, language, and foreign language.
We will also add performing arts electives to our Upper School and continue to add college courses at the high school level to enable our students to graduate with as much as 30 hours of college credit. Facility improvements are on their way as well. I hope that you have seen the work that is going on to create new playgrounds behind the lower school building. These playgrounds should be complete in a few weeks. As we fund raise this spring, we will seek to enhance the remaining playgrounds with new equipment.
We will also raise funds this spring to construct restroom facilities at the Whitson Athletic Complex so that we can move away from portable facilities. Additionally, we will be remodeling certain areas of our building to provide additional classroom space, as well as planning to build more classrooms.
Our staff continues to work on all curriculums to ensure that our students will continue to perform above all national and state levels. Many people have asked about Common Core and our approach towards the national standards. We have not adopted Common Core nor will we adopt the philosophies or methodologies of Common Core. We are aware of the NC standards as we need to be so as to ensure that our students have what they need to be accepted into college. NC standards are the floor for our curriculum and not the ceiling. In other words, we work to exceed NC standards and we have based our scores on nationally recognized tests. However, we cannot adopt many of the philosophies of the state as they do not align with our Biblical integration nor do we accept many of the methodologies of Common Core as they are not common sense education.
I will update you more in the coming weeks!
I am convinced that one of the greatest truths that we Christians need to be reminded of is that we do not have to fear because of Jesus and what He has done. Life brings so many problems and opportunities for discouragement our way that it is easy to slip into a state of being fearful.
There is a great promise in Ephesians 1:18-21 that I want to share with you concerning the issue of fear. The Bible declares here: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. Which He wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.”
These verses are rich with hope and encouragement! Paul is praying that our eyes would be opened to see the hope of being a believer, the inheritance we have in Him as believers, and to see God’s surpassing great power that is available to us in our everyday lives.
I pray that these verses will speak to you today as they have me as I read them. We all need to be reminded of the position that we hold because our relationship with Jesus Christ and the fact that He lives within us. We need to be reminded that we have an inheritance in heaven and that this world is not our home. As well, we need to be reminded that the power that raised Jesus from the grave is a power that not only is above all powers and all names but is also available to us daily. Some of you may be struggling with some fears today and I pray that the truth of Ephesians 1:18-21 will enlighten your heart as Paul prayed. Also, I pray that we all will remember the truth of 1 John 4:4 that states “ greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.”
Finally, this past week we celebrated the accomplishments of many of our alumni through our Hall of Excellence. I am so proud of our alumni and the rich spiritual heritage that God has created at Metrolina. We have been blessed to see 532 students graduate from our school in our young history. It is truly exciting to see how God is using so many of them to impact our world for the Kingdom!
I have never liked making New Year’s resolutions but instead prefer to make commitments and establish goals that I can measure and evaluate my progress. As I think about the year 2014, I want to make sure that I am making commitments and setting goals that will help me to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I so want my life to honor God and to do so will require that I continually allow God to examine my heart and my motives. God’s inspection process is critical for all of us to know where we are in the Lord.
Several years ago, PGA golfer Payne Stewart died in a plane crash caused by the loss of cabin pressure during flight that rendered everyone unconscious. The plane flew quite awhile before crashing with everyone unconscious. If you had been on the ground that day while the plane flew like that, everything would have looked fine from the outside but things were terribly wrong on the inside.
This same thing can happen in our spiritual lives. If we as Christians are not pursuing God, things can look fine on the outside but inside we can be on the road to some serious issues. When we do not give God 100% of our devotion, we have begun to accept a substandard form of Christianity. Jesus addressed this issue in Revelation 3:15-16. In these verses, He declared: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you we were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
As I have pondered these verses, my goal for 2014 is to not allow myself to be content with a half-hearted commitment to God. I do not want to measure my commitment to the Lord based on all that is around me but instead be devoted to Him with a passion.
We get very down on our sports teams when they do not give 100% in their efforts. However, we as Christians regularly do the same in our relationship with God. I know this for one because statistics tell us that 95% of all evangelical Christians never share their faith.
E. M. Bounds once stated that a “lack of spiritual heat creates more infidelity than a lack of faith.” In other words, when we do not have a passion for God it is often replaced by a passion for other things in our life. Would you pray for me this year that I will pursue the Lord in my life as never before? I will be praying for you the very same thing.
Finally, I want to remind you to make sure that you reenroll in January for next school year. Outside demand is at an all time high and I want to ensure that you secure your spots in January and not lose them when we open to the public the first week of February.