My name is Diane Carter. I’m a teacher here in the upper schools as a science and Bible teacher and have been for most of the years since the doors opened over 20 years ago. I’m also a parent here–my four children having passed through the halls of Annapolis with my last one sitting here today, a junior. I’m also a grandparent with a grandson here in kindergarten. I’ve been asked to address you this morning to share my heart as to why I have such a deep and long participation as a teacher in Classical and Christian education. I also hope to communicate with you why my husband and I have made such a long-term investment in Annapolis as our choice to help us educate our own children and why our children are now choosing Annapolis for the grandchildren.
According to the Texas Education Agency’s latest published data for average SAT scores in South Texas, Annapolis students rank number one in the region, outscoring every public high school by triple digits including top ranked London by 141 points! Here’s the data:
Thomas Aquinas defines pride as an “inordinate desire for preeminence.” What this means is that an individual assesses themselves as beyond the need for improvement or desires to be more honored than appropriate for the good which they possess. Examples of this include a student wishing to be over-complimented for good grades, a teacher wishing to be honored as though he were a king or a despot, or somebody who thinks they have nothing to learn. The opposite of pride is humility, which is an appropriate level of self-esteem based on true knowledge of oneself and the world. Jesus makes clear that such humility is a pre-requisite for entry into his kingdom:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)
- First, remember that we are dust (Genesis 2:7). Anything could kill us. Any change in nature could affect us. Our hunger changes our attitude, our sleep changes our emotions, our exercises changes our thoughts, and our memories change our actions. We’re truly of the earth. To remember this helps us to see how much we need God.
- Second, we should remember that all our highest aspects come from God (also Genesis 2:7). Our consciousness, aspirations, capacity to choose right or wrong, and change our environment for better or worse come from God. To remember this shows us how much good, by God’s grace, and help the human being is capable of, while still reminding us of how much we need God’s help to not devolve into chaos and evil.
- Finally, we have the example of Christ, who humbled himself, taking the form of a man (Phil 2:5-11). Not only does Christ’s death atone for our sins, which we desperately need, but it also functions as the example of humility. Christ did not consider himself above service to others, even if they were sinful or undeserving.
“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous.”
Let’s be honest, it is very hard to live a righteous life. To truly obey God and his commands day in and day out. It is hard to obey right away all the way with a happy heart. To not complain and grumble. To say no to other people doing the wrong thing. There are so many people and things out there that are so attractive but wrong. People who look like they are having so much fun. Laughing and having a great time. They look like they have a lot of money and success. They are on TV. They have friends. Sometimes saying no to temptation and bad things is, well, boring. Lonely.
Here is what King David wrote, the Lord knows the way of the righteous. When God says He knows someone, He knows it like a potter or woodworker knows the item that they made. Each detail they have created and gone over with such attention. God created us and knows our every thought, word, and deed. Now at first, to be honest, that scares me. I know I have thought, said and done things over and over on a daily basis that are sinful. But here is the amazing truth of this passage. If we are God’s children, which means we have been given the faith to admit our rebellion against God and believe that our only comfort and hope in this world and the next is Jesus. If that’s true, Jesus takes off our filthy, dirty rags of rebellion and hatred towards God, and places the royal robe of His righteousness over us and when God now looks at us, it is as if we never sinned. All He sees is the perfect righteousness of Christ. Amazing.
But sometimes God seems so far away. In the day to day moments here at school and at home, the temptations come out of nowhere. They pop up in your face. It seems like when you do the right thing, you lose friends. It is confusing to know what is the right thing to do sometimes.
There was the youngest brother of a large family. His older brothers hated him. They hated him so much that when he went out to the field where they were to check on them, they wanted to kill him. Instead, they settled for throwing him into a deep well. Eventually, they sold him as a slave. Can you believe it, their own brother! Now a slave in Egypt, Joseph, works hard, is diligent, attends to details, and does the right thing day in and day out. He gets noticed and promoted because God blesses Him. As He does his work as unto the Lord, he is all of sudden faced with the wife of his master who is lustfully tempting him to indulge in momentary pleasure. Here is Joseph’s response,
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
His righteous stand eventually leads him to be falsely accused and thrown into prison for years. Again, He is diligent. Works hard. Does not complain. He gets promoted and is blessed by God. He interprets Pharaoh’s’ dream and becomes a ruler of the greatest country of that time. A great famine comes over the land. There is no food. Only Egypt has food, thanks to Joseph’s planning. Guess who shows up in Egypt? Joseph’s brothers. The ones who wanted to kill him and sold him into slavery. When Joseph finally reveals himself to them, this is amazing, he says,
“Please come near to me.” (He doesn’t cast them away looking for revenge) Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not, therefore, be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. God sent me before you to preserve a future generation for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.”
Here is the point. Joseph refused to trade momentary pleasure, anger, revenge or feeling sorry for himself for the righteousness that God requires. You see you cannot have it both ways. You are either moving your life in the direction of things that last only a moment and serve our own wants, needs, and desires or you are doing things that make the desire of your heart want to know God and His word more. There is no in between. Every moment of your life and mine is moving us somewhere and in some direction. All those moments are marching towards a destiny. You don’t think this moment matters? You don’t think that resisting a temptation really doesn’t matter? It does. It matters for your destiny. Joseph knew that he could not compromise. He put His trust in the Lord. God was with him the whole time. In the dark well, through the desert, in the prison, and on the throne. God was with him and knew him and strengthened him to live a righteous life despite any temptations.
Don’t miss this point. Your life is made up of millions of moments that are all marching towards your destiny. If you trust God with your heart, he knows you. He has made you righteous so that your destiny is with Him forever. You can stand up to friends who are making bad choices. You can say no to temptation. You can stand alone because you really are never alone. You can do your work as unto the Lord. All of this pleases the one who has done everything you need to live a life that glorifies God. Hold on to the righteousness of Christ and do not compromise it. When it’s hard, scary, confusing or lonely. He is the great Jehovah who will guide you, every step of the way towards a destiny that glorifies God.
The Bible says that a man who controls his temper is better than a man who can overthrow a city. Jesus himself says that anger can start a process in which an individual and the communities of which he is a part can devolve into the fires of hell. Paul says that unchecked anger gives a foothold to Satan. If anger is so dangerous and so difficult to overcome, what can we do about this powerful passion that dwells within us?
The Bible and the Christian tradition through the ages offer several solutions. We’ll start with tradition and end with Scripture. Thomas Aquinas makes the point that
one must distinguish between just and unjust anger.
Just anger is anger which desires to correct sin (whether personal or in others). Unjust anger is anger which wishes to harm others or get even. Knowing these distinctions can be very helpful, as we can ask, if we’re angry, “Do I wish to harm another or to correct sin? If I wish to harm, I should shut my mouth and not act right now. If I wish to correct a sin, I should measure my words to do exactly that and nothing more.” Another strategy, which Jesus recommends, is to take extreme ownership over your community, team, or family and if you are about to worship then remember that if you have wronged another, go reconcile immediately.
In other words, the Christian is a part of a kingdom whose citizens all take 100% ownership of their actions and therefore try to right whatever wrongs they have done.
A final strategy is one offered by Paul the Apostle. In Philippians 4:8-9, he recommends thinking of the best in others so that we might experience the peace of God in the midst of interpersonal conflict.
Coming up this week at SoLaR Chapel…”Pride!”
Dear Annapolis Friends and Families (even those who rooted for the Patriots to win the Super Bowl),
It is my distinct pleasure to introduce you to one of Annapolis Christian Academy’s finest students and all around amazing person: Michelle Gregory. Michelle was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas and is one of a handful of students graduating this year who has attended Annapolis Christian Academy since kindergarten. In addition to her incredible legacy of scholastic achievement (Michelle will graduate in the top tier of her class), Michelle has also been an active participant and leader in every area of our school community from service club to varsity volleyball to stage manager in ACA’s burgeoning theatre department. Quiet and kind but with an incredible strength of character, Michelle is a true Annapolis Warrior and we are proud of the woman she has become!
Today we are going to talk about something that we don’t talk about a lot. We certainly don’t talk about it enough and that is eternity. Forever. We use these words often in our daily living but we have reduced this amazing truth down to mean things it really doesn’t. We may think chapel feels like an eternity. A school weeks lasts forever. Trust me. Those things aren’t even close to forever.
Meet Joree Jackson. Joree has been at ACA since preschool and is poised to graduate from ACA in the spring of 2018. For the past fourteen years, Joree has worked hard to distinguish herself as one of ACA’s best and brightest young leaders, embodying the highest ideals of Annapolis’ mission and vision to graduate students who are:
- Servant-hearted imitators of Jesus
- Wise, virtuous, and eloquent lovers of truth, goodness, and beauty
- Passionate about learning and prepared for life
- Leaders who are broad-minded, well-rounded, and socially graceful
We are extremely proud of Joree’s many achievements as a student of Annapolis, but we are most proud of the person that she has become. We think you’ll agree.
Today we recognize the academic achievement of students from the second quarter. We are now halfway through the school year. I am guessing some of you are quite pleased with your grades so far this year. Some, I would guess, are a little disappointed and would like to do better.
Dear Annapolis friends and family (including Dufflepuds, Marshwiggles, Fauns, and other friendly Narnians),
The fog of Christmas holiday cheer has receded and a new year has finally dawned. Gone are the holiday parties, late nights, sleeping in, and marathon Netflix binge watching! A new era of dieting, exercise, and self-improvement resolutions has arrived. My own personal resolution involves growing my beard to James Harden proportions! While the end of 2017 might not be the end of the world as we know it, I still feel fine. Here’s why: 2018 is shaping up to be one of best years ever for ACA families.
One of the most important parts of any plant is its roots. The roots are where a plant finds its stability. As the roots grow deeper and wider, the plant is able to grow taller and be able to withstand the wind because it has such a solid base. A plants roots also draw in the nutrients and energy that the plant needs to grow. The better and more nutritious the soil, the better the nutrients that the roots can draw up to the plant itself.
I know not everybody grew up on a farm so I will give you a quick lesson on farming. When you eat an apple, that apple was not born at the local grocery store. It was grown on a tree. That tree didn’t just show up either. That tree grew from a seed. An apple seed to be more precise. It took years and years for it to go from a seed to a sapling, to a full grown tree. If I gave an apple to you and you ate it down to its core and you gave me the seeds and I planted them and something started growing from that seed, you would not come up to me and say, your grapefruit tree is growing. Right? Why not? Because there is a law of nature. You don’t plant a peach pit and get strawberries. There is a consistency between what is planted, what is grown and what is harvested. An apple seed will grow an apple tree from which you will be able to harvest apples from.