Mr. C's Blog

I will let you in on a secret about me. One of my fears as a leader is that I will let the people I serve down. I fear that I will not be the leader that I need to be for the students and this ministry. I want to be a blessing to the Metrolina family and this ministry. That is why I will always work to keep growing professionally and more importantly spiritually.

As I thought about learning and growth, a question came to mind. Can a person be very knowledgeable yet very unchanged by that knowledge? I think we would all answer yes to that question. In fact, all of us know certain things that need to be done, yet we fail to do them at times.

Knowledge can be useless if we ignore that knowledge. We know we should eat right yet many times we ignore that knowledge. We know we should not spend too much money, but many times we still do. We know we should spend time in God’s Word, but many times we miss the mark.

Philippians 4:9 says:

“What you have learned and received and seen in me-practice these things.”

 James 1:22 tells us as well:

“But don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

So, what causes this disconnect from knowledge to application? I believe that too often we place our focus on gaining knowledge, tactics, and techniques to do better. I am also convinced that this focus will lead to failure. Knowledge must have its basis in character and relationship to really work. Jeremiah 9:24 reinforces this when it declares:

“But those wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord.” 

Not just a head knowledge of the Lord but a heart knowledge based in relationship. A character that does not boast in itself or in acquired knowledge but only in really knowing the Lord. I believe that professional development is essential for us as a staff but not to make us knowledgeable alone.

Instead, it would be a knowledge gained to bring glory to God, draw others to Him, grow our relationship with God, and grow our character to be His image bearer! I greatly desire to grow professionally and spiritually. I want the kind of knowledge that Jeremiah 9:24 talks about. He must be the preeminent relationship of our lives.

Knowing God in this personal way is something Jeremiah says we can brag about. Not in an arrogant sense but in a sense where we have truly experienced God and we are no longer the same.

My prayer is that others would know that we “truly know the Lord” and use this knowledge to bring Him glory!

I was asked not long ago by a well-meaning person what should we be praying for in these days in which we live. I thought wow what a question. There is so much going on in our culture. People getting married is at an all-time low and divorce is at an all-time high. Church attendance is in decline.

The Barna Research Group reports that only about 8-9% of all people in America have a Biblical worldview. The Millennial generation and Generation Z struggle with church and Christianity. Our country is mired in the most divisive political culture that I have ever witnessed. This is just to name a few things.

We are in such huge need of a prayer movement but how to narrow it down is difficult. However, one verse began to hit me as I pondered that question. 2 Timothy 3:5 is a verse that I believe best describes the culture we live in. That verse says:

“They will act religious, but they will reject the power that will make them Godly.”

The issue the verse describes is that we live in a time where people can act religious but there is no real evidence of Godly power operating or governing their daily lives. I believe that this issue is one of the biggest ones that we face today in Christendom. We have more Christian books, music, tv programs, movies, and churches yet most Christians do not possess a Biblical worldview, attend church, or share their faith. The King James translation of 2 Timothy 3:5 says:

“Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof.”

That is the issue that has stuck in mind as something we should be praying about. I believe we should be praying for revival and that it may begin in our hearts first! I do not want my life to “have a form of Godliness”, instead I want the real thing for my life. I want our students to see the reality of Jesus in my life and the difference that He makes every day!

I want us as a school to be a place where godliness prevails. One of the greatest hindrances to young people following Christ completely, according to author Christian Smith, is that they have not seen the reality of the difference Christ makes in their parents or adults. We as the adults must be seeking God daily and allowing Him to direct our lives so that these students might see the difference that living for Jesus makes.

I have been privileged to watch so many students have a hunger for God over the years. My heart’s desire is that we will see that hunger for God explode all over our campus and into the hearts of everyone in our school family!

I would like to ask you to begin praying Amos 5:24 with me. That verse says:

“Instead I want to see a mighty flood of justice and an endless river of righteous living.” 

May God bring us an “endless river of righteous living." God send revival, and may it begin with me!

“Hope is in the name of God, the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hope is when you compare your suffering to the infinite, immeasurable love and grace of God.”- Nick Vujicic

I am sometimes around people who like to drop the names of famous people they have met. It can be very interesting and cool to listen to some of their stories about famous people. What I have learned over the years is that even though certain names can become household names not a one of them has had the impact on the world nor the staying power of one name that is above every other name. The name of Jesus.

One of my favorite songs these days is “Build My Life” by Housefires. The lyrics of that song have reminded me of the majestic and magnificent name of Jesus. The lyrics also remind me who I should live for and why I should live for Him.

“Jesus, the Name above every other name Jesus,
the only One who could ever save
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for You Oh, we live for You.”

Jesus is the only One who could ever save! He is the One who paid the price for our sins to be forgiven and gain us Heaven. Jesus also is the only One who gives us life and wants to give us life beyond anything that we could have ever imagined. Philippians 2:9-11 speaks of that name above every name!

“Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

There is just something about that name as the old hymn says. With that name and all that He has done for us, what should our response be? 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 gives us that answer.

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live, and you will be honored along with him. This is all made possible because of the grace of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

I pray that we would live a life worthy of His calling. I pray that we would give our lives to Him completely and live worthy of that name above every name!

I believe that one of the most critical choices any parent will ever make is to raise their kids using the Bible as the foundation of truth. I am convinced that you will never see the right values, beliefs, and attitudes flow from a foundation built from the overflow of our culture. If we establish a foundation based on God’s Word, I believe Godly values, beliefs, and attitudes will follow. Otherwise, you will spend your days as a parent trying to parent reactively rather than proactively.

By that, I mean all your energy will be focused on fixing behavior that is the product of a poorly constructed foundation. As parents, we must answer a fundamental question about our parenting style. That question is:

How and with what authority do you want your children’s behavior, attitude, and actions shaped?

Research tells us that many young people are walking away from the faith after leaving home. The cause I maintain, is that the foundation of their faith was not strong. First, research tells us that kids abandoning the faith never saw a difference that faith made in their parents’ lives. The overflow of that problem was that their parents never developed the right foundation of truth in their kids lives.

With almost 80% of kids walking away from the faith after college, I am afraid far too many folks are not anchoring their lives firmly on the foundation of God’s Word. We live in a generation that does not believe in absolute truth and are being “tossed about with every wind of doctrine” that Paul talked about in Ephesians 4:14.

As followers and believers in Christ, we should be challenging ourselves to live Biblically. We cannot hope to raise Godly kids without being a Biblically distinctive family. We must study God’s Word, commit our lives to it, and use it as the dividing line for all the decisions that we make. It truly should be the foundation upon which everything in our lives rest.

In Psalm 63, David declared: “O God you are my God; early will I seek you; my soul is thirsty for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” That verse tells me that God should be the focus of our daily lives, not our desires and pursuits. I do not want to grow complacent in my Christian life, therefore, I must continually seek Him and what He would have for me each day.

A.W. Tozer once said: “Complacency is a deadly foe. The desire daily for God must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He wants to be wanted by His people.” As I read that quote, I began to think about how important it is for me to keep Christ the focus of my life.

When you think about the challenges we have in raising our children, it is critical for us to realize that we can become complacent. We should be reminded as Tozer says that it could be devastating to our kids if we grow complacent in our approach to truth and our desire for an intimate relationship with God.

We should be determined more than ever that we do not want our lives in Christ to be something that we endure. We should want to live our lives in a way that pleases and honors God. I am afraid that so many people view God as part of their lives and not as the primary pursuit of their life.

I want more than ever to make a difference in the lives of my children. My desire is that we would always be distinctly Biblical in all that we do.

I pray that you will build upon the rock of God’s Word. It is the only foundation that will endure the storms of life. Remember the old hymn that says “on Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.

 

 

“In all that he did in the service of the Temple of God and in his efforts to follow God’s laws and commands, Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly. As a result, he was very successful.” 2 Chronicles 31:21

I am an avid sports fan and I love to see a team play hard regardless of talent level. I get frustrated when I watch a team that is not giving an all-out effort in a contest. Similarly, I believe that God expects us to give our best in our daily walk with Him. God desires that we be committed to Him and make Him the top priority relationship of our lives. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 31:21 that Hezekiah “sought God with all his heart and as a result he was very successful.” God has used that verse in my life as a powerful example of what faithfulness should look like.

There are two key phrases in that verse that speak tremendous life lessons to me. First, it says “in all that he did.” In other words, there was a consistent approach to obedience in Hezekiah’s life. I think sometimes we are tempted to think that there are areas of life that do not require us to be as devoted as others. In those areas, we may not always give our best.

Unfortunately for Christians, people are watching us closely to see if we live up to whom we say we are. When we are not giving our all in serving God and obeying Him, we present a poor testimony to those around us. I am afraid this happens all too often for Christians. It is no wonder then that many who are without Christ bemoan the fact that there are too many hypocrites in church. We need to give our all to serving and obeying God.

Second, “Hezekiah sought his God wholeheartedly.” Hezekiah had an undivided heart towards God. God was indeed the priority relationship of his life. What about us? Is there a consistent approach in our lives towards obedience to God and His Word? Are we seeking Him wholeheartedly? Is there anything in our lives that is crowding out God from being the top priority of our lives? Charles Spurgeon, a great preacher of times past, once said: “That God does not give great harvests to idle men.”

I do not know about you, but I do not want to live my Christian life in a mediocre fashion. I desire to see fruit in my Christian life. I would never want anyone to look at me and say that I am no different than any other Christian who does not live up to the faith. I know that I am not perfect and that I have not arrived, but my desire is to “know Him and to make Him known.”

We started this year with a theme of “All In” and I want us to close the year out with that same idea. There is no greater joy than to serve God with all our heart, soul, and mind and then pass that onto our children. I want to be “All In” when it comes to my relationship with God. I want my life to be one in which God can give a great harvest to.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

During my work career, I have always wanted to know exactly what I was responsible for doing and who my boss was and their expectations. I like to know upfront who is responsible for what. Unfortunately, many times people confuse those roles. Conflict and stress are inevitable when someone tries to do things that are not their responsibility. The same thing can happen to us in our spiritual lives. We begin to get the idea that we are responsible for doing great things for the Kingdom on our own. John 15:5 makes it clear that this was never God’s plan for us.

In that verse, Jesus tells us that that He is the Vine and we are the branches. It is interesting that He uses this analogy of a plant or tree. The vine is part of the tree that provides the nutrients and ingredients necessary to produce fruit. The branches simply bear the fruit.

What Jesus is telling us here is that He alone produces the fruit in our lives. As much as we try, we cannot produce fruit like love, joy, and peace in our lives that will last apart from Him. What then are we responsible for? We are responsible for staying in close relationship to Him.

With John 15:5 in mind, our responsibility is to abide in Jesus. What exactly does that mean? The idea of the vine here is that we must be connected to Him to receive the things necessary for us to produce fruit in our lives. Not only must we maintain the connection, we are also dependent on the vine for our direction, our hope, and our path forward. Also, we must continue to abide in Him for us to stay fruitful for the Kingdom.

All of this is reminding us who is responsible for what. We are not responsible for producing fruit. We are responsible for abiding in Jesus. This means that we are to no longer pursue our agenda for our lives but instead commit the control of our lives to Him. To do this, we must daily cultivate our relationship with Him through prayer and study of His Word.

I love how Frances Chan described this idea when he said: “There are periods that we forget that in the pursuit of fruit, that if we just abide in Him, then fruitfulness is a guarantee.”  May we all find comfort in knowing that Jesus will do in our lives what only He can do if we remain in Him. Because “apart from Him we can do nothing.”

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 

Sometimes we Southerners use expressions that people outside the South do not understand. One of those phrases we use sometimes is the phrase “I am fixing to.” Translated it means that we are getting ready or prepared to do something.

In this crazy world we live in, I want to do all I can to be ready spiritually for all the issues of life that will come my way. I am convinced that if we are not ready spiritually we will miss out on the peace we all so desperately seek for our lives. I want to be focused and fixated on Him daily.

Isaiah 26:3 above gives us an incredible prescription for finding peace for our lives. In this passage, Isaiah tells us that God will keep “in perfect peace” all those who trust in Him and who are focused or fixated on Him.

As I thought about this idea of placing our trust in God, that is what we as Christians did when we received Christ as Savior and Lord. At that time, He secured our eternal destiny. This is the first step of gaining peace with God as the verse above says. We are secure in Him for eternity. Hebrews 9:12 describes this: “With His own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.

We are secure in Him and that should bring us peace. The second part of gaining that peace is in being fixated or focused on Him.  I researched the definition of fixed. Webster defines it as “securely placed or fastened.” Once we are saved and in relationship with God, we are to daily place our hope and trust in Him for all the issues of life. He is our anchor that will hold our lives calm and steady regardless of whatever the storms of life may bring us.

 Hebrews 6:18-19 confirms this when it declares: “Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” Hebrews 6:18-19 

He is the only hope that can truly bring us peace. The primary thing we should be “fixing to do”, as the Southern expression says, is to allow our thoughts, our lives, and our hopes to be fixed on God!

“Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7

Growing up, I heard my mom say many times “you do not understand what is going on now, but someday you will.” That statement never made sense to me as a child. I wanted to know now why something was happening. Even today, I think we all struggle with why certain things happen to us or people we know. Life does not make sense many times, whether it be in trying to find a career path or trying to understand why a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

In John 13:7, Jesus tells us that even though “you don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” What a great truth and reminder! In Isaiah 55:8, God reminds us “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”

These verses teach us that God is at work in our lives many times behind the scenes and in a way that is far superior to anything we could think of. I am living proof that God’s plan is a lot better than mine. When I was fresh out of college, I really believed that my career path would solely be about finding the right business career.

It was not long that I was miserable in those business jobs. I began to pray and ask God, “Why do you have me here?” Answers did not come right away, and it appeared I was trapped in something I hated. When I look back on those times, I see now that it was as if God was telling me to hang on and learn all I could where He had me and that someday soon He would reveal to me His plan.

That was exactly what He did. He used the business experience in my life to help prepare me for the role to lead Metrolina. I did not have to wait to long for the Lord to give me that “someday.” He planted me in a role that I went back to school for and used those earlier tools in business to make a difference in ministry. I did not know then, but all these years later I gained an understanding of what God was up to.

What about you? Maybe you are in a place today that you don’t why something is happening in your life. I would remind you that God has His best planned for you if you will trust Him. Especially if you will trust Him to deliver you in His own unique way. I want to leave you with some verses that I pray will give you hope that someday you will understand.

“The Lord your God walks in the midst of your camp, to deliver you.” Deuteronomy 23:14

“The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” Psalm 34:19 

“Then call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me glory.” Psalm 50:15

 “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”  1 Peter 3:10-11

Everyone remembers the key phrase from the Declaration of Independence which says:“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” We are blessed to be Americans and live in this great country. I especially love the statement the “pursuit of happiness.” We are free to pursue happiness. In fact, I believe most if not all people long for happiness and to enjoy life.

1 Peter 3:10-11 gives us incredible insight into what enjoying life may look like. That passage tells us if we want to enjoy life and many happy days then we must do a few things. First, we must learn to control our tongue. How do we do that?

I believe that we must stay close to God through the reading of His Word and spending time with Him in prayer. I am convinced that if we make Him the focus of our lives we will be different. His Word will change our focus, or speech, and our conduct. How do I know His Word will change our speech? Look at Hebrews 4:12 and Isaiah 55:11 below.

“For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” 

“It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” 

Spending time in His Word will keep us from speaking evil and will instead enable us to uplift others with our speech.  1 Peter 3:10-11 also reminds us that we should seek peace with others and “work to maintain it.” Romans 12:18 also instructs us to: “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” 

From this passage, we are taught that to enjoy lie and see many happy days then we are to control our tongue and seek peace with others. As I think about this truth, I see the wisdom in what God could truly do for my life by submitting to this. Most of the problems I encounter are when I do not control my tongue and seek to live in peace. More importantly, this reminds me that finding real joy and happiness begins with me committing my life to God and following His Word. God will honor that kind of lifestyle. 1 Peter 3:12 confirms this when it declares: “The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and His ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns His face against those who do evil.”

Rev. Rick Calloway
MCA Head of School

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