“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
It is our natural tendency as parents most times to do all we can to keep our kids from experiencing failure or setbacks. We love them and desperately want them to succeed in all they do. The real question for us to consider is whether this approach is always the best for us or our children.
James 1:2-4 tells us that we should not attempt to cut short the trouble or avoid the failure because it is a great opportunity for us to grow, learn, and develop into who the Lord would have us to be. That same truth should be applied when it comes to our children. These verses tell us that if we allow these seasons of trouble or failure we will have an opportunity for great joy as well as a couple of great learning opportunities for the future. Practically speaking, what does all this mean?
First, I do not believe that he is telling us that we will have great joy when a trouble or failure comes upon us. Instead, he is teaching us that if we allow these troubles or failures to run their course while fully trusting in God, then we will experience something great on the other end of the failure. We will learn that God can be trusted to carry us through any difficulty of life.
Next, James is teaching us that allowing these trials to run their course in our lives will help us to grow in our endurance for whatever this life may hold for us in the future. For our children, these lessons will help them develop the stamina and courage for the difficulties of life that lie ahead for them as they become adults. I love that James even goes on to tell us that if we follow this plan then we will be complete lacking nothing.
It is important for our kids to learn that not everyone always makes the team or plays first string. Also, it is essential to learn that many times we fail because we did not plan to succeed or do all we are supposed to. I have always wanted my children to learn from their mistakes, find their calling, and be prepared to face whatever the future may hold one day when I may not be around to help them through.
More than anything else, I want my children to learn to trust God through both the good and bad times of life. All of this is the essence of what James means by the statement that we will be complete lacking nothing.
As parents, I believe we must daily ask God for the wisdom to help and teach our kids through these seasons of life. Every situation is different depending on the child and the age of the child but the principle of teaching them to accept responsibility remains the same. I have learned over the years with my children not to keep them from failure or enable them to blame someone or something else but to be there to help teach them to get up and rise above when they fall.
I love the quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that states: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” May God grant us great wisdom as we lead our children!
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19-20
I have invested for years in the 403b plan offered through the church that I work for. The volatility of the stock market these last several years has made the experience of watching my account akin to a roller coaster ride. The only certainty of the market has been its constant uncertainty.
I am so happy today that my future is not wrapped up in a 403b plan or my bank statement. My hope and certainty is in the person of Jesus Christ. The troubles of this world could easily eat away all the money that we have worked so hard to save but nothing can take away the eternity and future that Jesus gave me when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I am glad today that nothing can take me out of His hand.
He promised in John 14 that He would prepare a place for me in Heaven. In fact, He promised in that passage that He would prepare a mansion for me. Matthew 6:20 tells us that this is a retirement that cannot be taken away or lost. I pray that each of us will seek to “lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.”
The real treasures of our lives have nothing to do with money. The treasures that I will have in Heaven will be the people who I helped lead to Jesus and those who are in the faith that God used me to encourage and help grow. I want to continue to hunt heavenly treasure as long as I live. I want to be able daily to experience the power of God on my life and not be concerned with material things.
In reality, I do not ever want to retire from serving the Lord. I am motivated to be used of God to impact people for His Kingdom. The greatest joys that I have had in this lifetime have been seeing other people experience the power of God on their lives. I regularly tell people that leading a large Christian school is very rewarding. However, what gets me up in the morning has never been Algebra or Chemistry. What gets me up in the morning and off to work is the possibility of seeing a young person give their life to Jesus Christ.
What gets you up in the morning? What motivates you? What are you working towards? Is it some retirement goal or is it the possibility of Heavenly treasure? I love how the great evangelist Billy Graham puts this dilemma in perspective when he says:
“The great question of our time is, ‘Will we be motivated by materialistic philosophy or by spiritual power?’”
“Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” Proverbs 24:27
As we prepare to turn the page for 2015 and look forward to the year 2016, I wanted to provide you with a small update as to the planning process for the future of Metrolina Christian Academy. Our administrative team has begun the planning process which will culminate in a new four year plan for our school that will lead us to the year 2020. We are calling this plan Vision 2020.
Vision 2020 will be a comprehensive plan that will address all of the key components of our program such as spiritual growth, academic enhancements, community focus, security enhancements, and facility improvements. Below, I have provided you with a small glimpse of some of what we are planning for the future of MCA.
· We will continue to strengthen the spiritual foundations of our school
· We will continue to strengthen our chapel program
· We will continue to strengthen our Bible courses
· We will embed leadership training in Bible courses at each HS grade level
· We will continue to grow student leadership training through Warrior Leadership Program
· We will enroll High School students in Student Leadership University in the summer of 2016
· We will continue to strengthen our Worldview Intensive to students that will prepare them to defend their faith
· We will continue to strengthen our annual missions program
· We will develop a new three year technology plan that focuses on blended learning and technology integration
· We will increase concurrent and dual enrollment college credit opportunities for high school
· We will continue to expand foreign language opportunities
· We will continue to expand choral music program
· We will introduce more vocational training programs in high school
· We will continue to improve all curriculum guides and instructional methods to enhance student performance
· We will complete Phase 1 of the Limitless Building Campaign fall 2015 debt free
· We will raise funds and prepare for the development of Phase 2 of the Limitless Building Campaign in spring of 2016, which will be a new Fine Arts Building
· We will complete the new outdoor physical education space in early spring 2016
· We will continue to enhance playground spaces on campus
· We will begin planning for the addition of tennis courts and an outdoor track
· We will begin planning for Phases Three and Four of our Limitless Building Campaign
Vision 2020 will be all about continuing to reshape our campus, enhance our programs, and expand our community. I have never been more excited about the future of our school and I will share more with you in the days ahead.