Tag Archives: Christian Education

Satisfied

It was not good enough that he would be a king of Narnia.  He wanted to be the king.  It was not good enough to enjoy the bounty of the forest around him and eat of the generosity of the forest animals, Edmund, a character from CS Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Edmund wanted the White Witches’ Turkish delight.  His choices to fall to the temptation of power and selfishness, led him to betray his brothers and sisters and led to many good animals being turned into stone. And instead of ruling as king of his castle, he became a prisoner in the castle and was left alone, afraid and full of guilt over what he had done.  It was only through the grace showed to him by Aslan was he forgiven and restored back to his family and his throne.

It is hard to believe but it is almost the end of the year.  We have been working through Psalm 1 as the lense that we can put on to see clearly what is happening in the world around us.  Let’s take one more look through the glasses of Psalm 1. Here is the last lesson from Psalm 1.

You and I live in a world that is marching towards destiny

Our world has a beginning and an end, there is an eternity.  Judgment is coming. We will give an account for every word, whether it is good or worthless.  There is a holy, righteous God who is the judge. You see if there is no eternity then the game is get as much pleasure and comfort in the here and now, because that would be all we have, but there is an eternity.  The world around us says that is not true, the Bible is wrong. There is no God who judges. There is nothing after you die. Live for the moment. The world says everything is OK. If you think I am making this up, here is an example.  How many of you saw the movie Zootopia? It is about a cute little bunny that leaves the country to become a cop in a big city. One of the characters in the movie is a pop singer who sings the theme song of the movie. Do you remember what the name of the song is? “Try Everything”. Try, everything? Really? Everything? I won’t know if its good or bad until I try it and decide for myself.  That is a worldview that says, there is no eternity, you are in charge and you can decide what is right for you. Just need to try it and see. Psalm 1 slams the door on that worldview and says

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”  

We obey God’s word because that is the way of the righteous and we want to stand in the day of judgment.  We hear all around us a different message that tells us to try everything, do what you want right now, you are in control, and there are no consequences that really matter.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  

The world offers a “try everything” worldview as its Turkish delight, where you can be king or queen of your kingdom but Psalm 1 says if you follow that path your life will amount to chaff, which the wind will blow away.  You will want more but will never be satisfied. You can’t play enough video games, or eat enough food, or have enough toys, or have enough friends, or watch enough TV or have a long enough summer to fill that void in your heart.  There is only one place where your heart can find delight, find peace and be satisfied.

We were not made to figure out life on our own.  To go around looking for things to satisfy the longings of our heart.  We have been given Psalm 1 because it has the recipe on how to be satisfied.  Has the counsel of this world influenced you? Are you drawn to things on your device, TV, movies that are not honoring to God?  Do you look to relationships-parents, teachers, friends, classmates, for your identity? Is your comfort more important than obeying right away with a happy heart?  Do you honor yourself instead of loving your neighbor? All of this will leave you empty. The call from Psalm 1 is to delight in God’s word and to sink your roots deep in the wisdom of the Bible.

You are not on this earth to serve yourself and do what you think is right.  Here it is,

you were given life and breath to give glory to God.

That should move and motivate you. God knows what is best for you. You were created to depend on Him and His word, not yourself and your own understanding.  He is the only one who can satisfy your heart. As we close the book on Psalm 1, we should stand back and be in awe of the stunning wisdom of the bible. How a Psalm written over 1,000 years ago still applies to every one of us, every day, every minute and every fiber of your life and mine.  My challenge to you starting now and into this summer is to spend the time delighting in God’s Word and then follow it, obey it, and I assure you, God will be glorified in your life and you will be satisfied.

Glory

Have you ever wondered why we love a selfie?  It has become such an obsession that phone camera designers added the ability to turn a camera around by a push of a button.  Instead of pointing the camera outward, you can flip it around and point it at yourself. Why do we love pictures of ourselves? It’s not like we don’t know what we look like?  

The answer to that lies in the very beginning of the Bible when it describes the origin of the universe and cosmos.  You could say the four most important words in the Bible are, in the beginning…you?….No, in the beginning…God.

You see God has a rightful place as king of his kingdom because He created it. And as king, he is glorious. His glory is about God’s greatness, beauty, and perfection of all that He is.  All that He created was for His glory. We were created for His glory. When he put us together, he wired us for glory. We were made to live for the glory of God. It is in our DNA. In a perfect world, we would be happy to give God the glory for everything but we know this isn’t a perfect world. Our sin twists that desire for glory and instead of living for the glory of God, we look to ourselves and want to live for our own glory. It’s like a glory selfie.  

As we honor those that have achieved good grades over the course of the 3rd quarter, I want to make sure that why we want good grades is more than getting a free dress day and some free food. It’s more than wanting to be recognized for being a good student. All of those motivations are shadow glories and will disappear when you chase after them.  No, my challenge to all of you and myself included is to pursue excellence, work hard, and attention to detail, for the glory of God. The 4th quarter has already started and it is a time to finish strong. Not so that you can be recognized but because you realize that God has given you a mind, a body and a soul to be used to its fullest and without God you would be nothing.  

Why does God deserve all the glory? It’s not like what you see on TV when an athlete makes the game-winning shot and wants to start the interview giving a shout out to Jesus but then spends the rest of the interview talking about himself. We don’t do our thing and then make sure we send God a thank you note. We need to humbly realize that you and I would be nothing without God. Every brain cell, every muscle, every gift, talent, and ability comes from God. Can you read well? Does math come easy? Do you get good grades in Latin? Art? Music? PE? Give Him the glory for all you do because He should get it. He deserves it. You find success in those subjects because God gives you that success. You don’t have anything that God did not give you.

On the flip side, when you have the ability to use your mind and body or when you are called to show virtues of hard work, perseverance, and carefulness, and choose not to. You are stealing the glory away from God. If you are not working towards your full potential each and every day, growing in the grace that God gives you, for His glory, then you are moving in the opposite direction and seeking your own glory.  You think you are too important to do what a teacher asks you. You are going to do your own thing, your own way. You are not going to change your attitude because you think you are too righteous and don’t need to be corrected.

You see when glory is not given to God, it is an incredibly dangerous thing. We think more highly of ourselves because we think we deserve the glory.  My challenge to us all for this 4th quarter is to humbly admit there are times and places in each of our lives we live for our own glory. Then in a broken and contrite, humble heart, live our lives for the glory of God. What that will look like at school is doing our best and giving our best each and every day. Being humble in correction.  Working to be obedient with a happy heart.

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31  

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

We don’t have the strength to do that on our own. Our focus needs to be outward and upward. Not turned around on us. No more glory selfies. 

Destiny

“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 Seven Deadly Sins Series with Rev. William “Geoff” Smith

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!”

Meet Joree Jackson

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.

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Make Haste…Slowly

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.  

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Good Tidings of Great Joy for ACA Parents in 2018

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.

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Hope

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.

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Sowing and Reaping

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.

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The Mission of Annapolis: A Grandparent’s Testimony

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.

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