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A Legacy To Share

This past week at Grandparents Day I had the privilege to share a story. This story breaks through my tough exterior developed in my years growing up in the tough suburbs of a Detroit. I hope you enjoy it.I am fortunately from a multi-generational Christian family. It wasn’t until well into my adulthood did I appreciate this to its fullest. My family, not unlike every other, had some unsavory folks in its tree. But, overall from the Huguenot’s in France to the church builders of today, a significant amount of my family is involved in ministry. This history is so important. For this and other reasons I am compelled to share this story that I have come to know better.to-roscmn-002Just recently I was copied on a chapter of an upcoming book about a missionary’s life. In this chapter it discussed how paternal and maternal grandparents in addition to two of their friends chartered a church in the expanding urban suburbs of Detroit in its heyday. I learned that they sold their home in the very
upscale island of Grosse Isle and moved to the outer fast growing suburbs to help build a church with the proceeds from the sale. From this church start these grandmothers and grandfathers alongside of their best friend would go visit and welcome sharecroppers and recent arrivals looking for the rare job in 1941 to the community and invite them to come to this fledgling congregation. On one of these evangelistic outreaches the grandmother and her best friend met a young lady who was living in a home with a dirt floor fashioned out of an old chicken coop within a neighborhood that shared an outhouse and had no running water. The situation was tough. The mother was abusive and the father was an abusive alcoholic with much more to come to light later in life.

This girl’s name was Fran. Considering her circumstances, Fran had little prospects but follow in the footsteps of her mother’s poor choices. Without the supernatural changes the Gospel provides, Fran would be another poor lost soul. Fran, by her own account was a crusty, dirty, and very naughty young girl who was more street smart than any 12 year old should be, but for some reason Zaida was determined to reach this young girl. Zaida had her daughter who was the same age as Fran. Zaida would have her bring Fran home from school since they were in the same classroom and lived so close to the school. She fed her, made her shower, and shared the gospel with her. Soon her sister and brother followed suit. The one requirement was that they went to church on Sunday and the youth group of this new church. Zaida and her friends knew that this young girl had value and potential and that perhaps this intervention would not only change her life, but that of her family.IMG_2215

Fran grew to be an amazing young lady who understood that the Gospel changes everything. She felt the calling to be a missionary. She left to go to a mission board and training facility in Missouri, but in those days a single woman could not be a missionary on her own. They would not let her serve where she knew God was calling her. So, she left the missionary organization to forge a path on her own. That strength of determination and feisty-ness she learned as a child would serve her well.

Through a foundation set up in the 1950’s, Fran became a missionary in Mexico. She went to the Universidad de Saltillo, in Saltillo Mexico to learn her trade and secure a nursing degree. While achieving a bachelor’s degree in nursing in Spanish, while not knowing Spanish or anyone in Mexico, she befriended a single woman pediatric doctor who worked and taught at the university hospital. This woman would become a life-long friend, support, ministry partner, and sister.

Together Chalita (/Cha-lee-taa/), the pediatrician, and Fran established clinics in some of the poorest outlying villages all while maintaining their positions in the University health system. Fran rose to be the lead nurse at the hospital, she met dignitaries and had been requested specifically by a few governors.

When Fran and Chalita passed away a year ago this week, Chalita posthumously received an award from the state of Coahuila (/kwa-wee-la/) Mexico for her significant impact on the poor and needy through the decades of service. Fran who was living in Texas for her latter years worked at Rio Grande Bible Institute continuing her work with the poor and needy and incarcerated. Thousands have written, called and given testament to the impact that she has made.

The part of the story that makes me so emotional is that Fran is as much of an aunt to me as my father’s sister. You see, that was my grandmother, Zaida Louise Stanton who knew the gospel changes. I would spend many summers and holidays with Fran. The countless people changed in the villages, suburban Detroit, and in my family is because of the legacy my grandparents, their friends, and others leave. This is because of a grandparent who knew a legacy of a Christian education and charity was essential to the success. This grandparent knew that the Gospel changes everything. It surpasses the squalor of poverty and the socio-economic status label someone holds. It surpasses the hardship of giving up a home that was worked so hard to achieve. It surpasses the fear and anxiety of living in a strange place and seemingly all alone. This gospel changes everything.

This is my legacy of which I am the most pleased to share – How unsavory became delightful because of the Gospel. Thousands of lives impacted because of the commitment to follow the calling of God. Of course, I miss these people greatly, but what brings my emotions to the surface and moves me to tears is that they used their lives for what they were intended. They sacrificed so the Gospel was spread.

I ask that you come alongside of us and help us make an impact. We are a thriving Christian school in a region and a time that sees Christian schools closed or on the precipice of extinction. We need your help. We need you to impact the lives here at SCS.

I ask that you consider financially sacrificing so that we can complete the renovations, continue with our next project to renovate the gymnasium floor, walls, stage upgrades and bleachers so that our students can have the proper and safe equipment needed to flourish. I have a donor who specifically asked me to challenge you to meet their $50,0000 pledge before the year’s end.

Not everyone can afford to donate. However, you can pray for us. You can come in as an aid in the elementary classroom in the mornings, you can help monitor recess or lunch. You can download our school app on your android or apple smartphone. Or, if you have a great idea, then let us know. We want you to be involved and pass on the legacy of the Gospel from generation to generation. Help us develop students who love God with all their minds, bodies, and souls.

Head of School Blog

 

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Kid’s Deserve It

This week I have given a few tours of the school. That in itself is not that unusual. I have the privilege of escorting people around the school often. Many times the parents bring their children with them. This week a family considering moving to the area came in for a tour of the school. Dad, mom, an elementary student and a toddler followed me around the building sharing about who we are and what we do while answering questions that they had.

The elementary student greeted me by hiding behind his dad. That quickly faded to at least 10 questions in regards to clubs. “Do the clubs have a special room for them? Do I have a choir class? Do I have recess? What is for lunch today? What room is used for STEMM? Do I have homework?” Occasionally, an interjection of a statement would come. “I want to work with computers when I grow up! I enjoy art too.” I have to say, it was an interesting tour. Later the dad apologized for so many questions. There was no need to apologize. I loved the questions. I got to see what he was interested in and what he valued. This shy boy at first became an inquisitive and wondering child.

Children deserve to be given the time and respect to acknowledge their concerns and questions. Questions drive the wonder of the universe. Our wonder of how the universe works and what our purpose is, is at the heart of the Gospel. We are designed to ask questions. We are designed to wonder. Kids deserve adults and teachers who understand the miracle of our cognitive design.

The role of children’s questions in their cognitive (the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses) development has been largely overlooked. If questions are a force in cognitive development, the following must be true:

  1. Children must actually ask questions that gather information;
  2. Children must receive informative answers to their questions if they are able to be of use to cognitive development;
  3. Children must be motivated to get the information they request, rather than asking questions for other purposes such as attention;
  4. The questions children ask must be relevant and of potential use to their cognitive development;
  5. We must see evidence that children’s questions help them in some way-that is, that they can ask questions for a purpose, and use the information they receive purposefully to successfully achieve some change of knowledge state.

I know, by the time a parent has heard “why” 1,000 times before breakfast patience is a bit thin. However, it is important to allow them to ask and persevere through the onslaught of questions. Kids deserve to be heard and allowed to question in order to foster their brain’s development. The child’s mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses hinges on the questions they engage.

Sources:

Preface. (1999). Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 64(2), Vii-Ix. doi:10.1111/1540-5834.00016

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Christianity & Liberalism

I have been reading from some writings of John Gresham Machen. I am sure that he is not on most people’s list of authors. But, for me, I find him to be extraordinarily astute. He wrote warnings and essays in the 1920’s that have not only stood the test of times but, they have become even more applicable today than 100 years ago. His insight and wisdom are inspiring to me.

Specifically, I was reading Liberalism & Christianity (Machen, 1923) for a journal article I am writing. He says that there are two lines of criticism against liberalism in respect to the liberal attempt at reconciling science and Christianity. In this case, Machen considers liberalism to be the interpreting of the Bible metaphorically not literally. However, he also discusses the challenges of extending this worldview into all walks of life, which is more like our contemporary view of liberalism as opposed to conservatism. Therefore, He says, ”

Modern liberalism may be criticized:

(1) on the ground that it is un-Christian and

(2) on the ground that it is unscientific.

Machen concerns the reader with it being on the ground of being un-Christian first. I found this to be interesting. This reasoning, thinking, and devoted man chose first to address that it is un-Christian. Is it not true, in a Christian worldview that Christ and his teachings are first? Machen is so bold to say, “modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions”. Can we honestly say that the disregard of Biblical truths is Christian? Like Machen, I contend it cannot be.

The liberal attempt at making Christianity more relevant is false. We are not showing that there is no way of rescuing the relevancy of Christianity at all. On the contrary, the Christianity of the New Testament is not in conflict with science or truth, rather the supposed Christianity of the modern liberal Church. “The real city of God, and that city alone, has defenses which are capable of warding off the assaults of modern unbelief. (Machen, 1923 p. 5).” The immediate concern is with the other side of the problem of demonstrating just how that the liberal attempt at reconciling Christianity with modern science has really relinquished everything distinctive of Christianity. What essentially remains is only that same type of religious aspiration which was in the world before Christianity came upon the scene.” In trying to remove from Christianity everything that could possibly be objected to in the name of science, in trying to bribe off the enemy by those concessions which the enemy most desires, the apologist has really abandoned what he started out to defend. (Machen, 1923 p. 115)” Here, as in many other essentials of life, it appears that the things that are sometimes thought to be hardest to defend are also the things that are most worth defending.

This is why Salem Christian School uses every discipline to point toward the truth. We know that each truth in any discipline supports the Christian faith. We want our students to have the understanding that we should conform to the likeness of Christ, biblical truth, and God’s will rather than the pressures or liberal theology and contrary cultural norms. We should transform ourselves to the likeness of Christ.

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18 (NIV)

References:
Machen, J. G. (1923). Christianity & Liberalism (First ed.). New York , NY: Macmillan.


Head of School Blog

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Single burning white Christmas candle with a red berry wreath around the foot glowing in the darkness with copyspace for your seasonal or spiritual message

Have You Heard The Good News?

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16


The tradition of the Fourth Week of Advent is to focus on the purpose of Christ’s birth. As we are in our final days of preparation before Christmas, we are reminded to ask Christ to forgive us for our sins and, through His grace, to create us anew when He comes. This week of Advent is also a time to recollect, to reflect on our Advent journey we have had over the past four weeks. Every aspect of the biblical story points towards the Good News. The news was foretold by the prophet Isaiah, announced by the Angels, and alive in the flesh of the baby Jesus. This baby in the lowest of entrances in the world to be the Messiah, Savior of the world. Indeed, He gave his life so that we can know eternal life. This is the message of the Christmas holiday. As we celebrate the fourth week of advent, may we remember this purpose and share it with those who do not know the good news.
If you are like me and have let the hustle and bustle of the season get in the way of our spiritual preparations for Christmas, then we have one last chance to refocus. Thus, if you have an advent wreath, light the candles on the Advent wreath that symbolizes our focus, as well as a symbol of the light of Christ. May God’s good news, found in Jesus Christ be the symbol we show to our families, friends, and neighbors.[/caption]

MERRY CHRISTMAS


 

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