Sunday, September 3, 2017

Lectio Divina: Christ The Servant at Work

Today's Scripture: Mark 3:1-30
The Four movements of Lectio Divina...

Lectio (Read): Read attentively and carefully, identify key words

V1 Synagogue: an assembly of persons
V2 Sabbath: day of weekly rest from secular avocations
V4 Lawful: is it right to do good v harm, give life v death?
V6 Pharisees: no verbal answer, but left to immediately plot against Jesus

V12 Silenced unclean spirits: why?

V14 Appointed 12: called to service
V14 Apostles: named to preach as ambassadors, messengers of His message, the gospel
V15 Authority to cast out demons: defeating spiritual forces requires Christ’s authority

V21 Family thought Jesus was out of His mind: out of touch with reality
V22 Scribes thought Jesus’s authority came from Beelzebul: the dung god, a wordplay on Beelzebub, a Chaldean name for Satan
V23 Jesus’ answer: Satan’s kingdom is divided and doomed
V27 Jesus’ answer: Satan is bound by Christ’s authority, that’s why Jesus defeats him so easily
V28 Jesus’ answer: that’s blasphemy (denying, defaming the Holy Spirit’s work) and is unforgiveable

Meditatio (Think): Reflect, ask what is God saying to me?

One way to honor the Sabbath is by doing good, giving life apart from wage-earning, secular work. Christ has reserved God-honoring work for His called, named disciples, not for the unholy or unclean. God-honoring work like preaching, healing, and casting out demons requires and reflects His holy authority. All who deny and defame Christ’s authority suffer the consequences of unforgiven sin.

Oratio (Pray): Respond to God

Thank you Lord for reminding me that one way to show the world that I’ve entered a Sabbath rest and I’m resting in and trusting you is to be preaching your gospel, doing good, and bringing life to others. Thank you for reserving this work for me and for naming me as one of your children, called to imitate You in performing your God-honoring work… “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3). I know others may say I am insane because I don’t think and act like the world, but as I learn to rely on your authority, I pray that Jesus will be revealed in power and many souls will be turned toward my Savior.

Contemplatio (Act): How am I changed by this encounter with God?

I want to live every day as a called and empowered ambassador for Christ!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lectio Divina: Discipleship and Evangelism

From the Rule of Saint Benedict: (Idleness is the enemy of the soul)
Therefore, the daily life of discipleship is labor and sacred reading
Today's Scripture: Matthew 10:1-33
Four movements of Lectio Divina:

Lectio (Read): Read attentively and carefully, identify key words

Disciples: a learner, pupil
Apostles: ambassador, commissioner, delegate, messenger
Heal, resurrect, cleanse: requires power
Acquire nothing: depend on those we are serving, offer peace to the receptive, warning to the rejecting
Persecution is opportunity to witness: The Spirit will speak through us in persecution
Persecution is prompted by Christ-likeness: the more we’re like Christ, the more we’re treated like Him
Endurance leads to salvation: if we acknowledge Christ on earth He will acknowledge us in heaven
Do not fear men: fear only God

Meditatio (Think): Reflect, ask what is God saying to me?

An integral part of discipleship is evangelism, or sharing the gospel. As we are faithful to share the gospel, God promises to empower us, provide for us, and speak through us. He also promises that our success will provoke persecution that may test our faith, but staying focused on our Father in heaven will encourage endurance that will produce a stronger witness and increase our assurance of salvation.

Oratio (Pray): Respond to God
Lord, please help me to be sensitive and responsive to the opportunities you provide for me to share the gospel. Increase my faith in your empowering and providing hand and fill me with your anointed words that I might look, live, and love more like Jesus Christ each day. Please keep me focused on You, fearful of no one or nothing of earth, that I might endure persecution with a testimony that exalts Christ here on earth and anticipates His blessed acknowledgement in heaven.

Contemplatio (Act): How am I changed by this encounter with God?

Today, I am reminded of the inseparable link between discipleship and evangelism. With God’s grace, may this reminder make me more sensitive and responsive to gospel-sharing opportunities every day.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina means Sacred Reading. It is a method of reading the Scriptures devotionally that was developed by Saint Benedict and incorporated into his rule for his monasteries. Benedict created and developed monasteries during the time of the collapsing Roman culture for the purpose of preserving the Christian faith and passing it on to a generation that he hoped would rebuild Christian culture. He instructed his leaders in the priority of the scriptures for maturing disciples with these words... 

"Idleness is the enemy of the soul, therefore, the daily life of discipleship is labor and sacred reading".

Because the goals of classical and Christian schools are also preserving and passing on the faith to a Biblically-reasoning generation of culture-shaping disciples, our students might benefit from the practice of Lectio Divina. The logic stage of learning is an ideal time to introduce students to the practice in order to help them learn and develop a life-long habit of hearing from and responding to God's Word.

The four movements of Lectio Divina are:
Lectio (Read): Read attentively and carefully, identifying key words.
Meditatio (Think): Reflect, ask what is God saying to me?
Oratio (Pray): Prayerfully respond to God, acknowledge the challenge and ask for grace to obey.
Contemplatio (Act): Practically respond to God, ask how am I changed by this encounter with God?

Watch here for samples of Lectio Divina from our faculty and our students!

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Humility that Confirmed Christ's Royalty

Classical and Christian schools integrate Theology and History to help growing disciples discover the transformational power of humility...

Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:32-38).
Today we gaze upon a most precious and provoking sight, the humility and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we see a clear example of a virtue worthy of imitation by true disciples. As we journey through this temporal and trying world on our way to our true home in heaven, we will encounter in various ways the same kind of rejection Christ endured for us. He took on himself all manner of reproach for our sake. He was reviled from the lowest to the highest. No one pitied him, no one had compassion on him, no one comforted him. Instead, egged on by the Jewish rulers, the crowd raged against him cruelly and without mercy. Yet his goodness was not overcome by their malice. Nothing could hold him back from the work of our salvation which he had begun. I fact, every mockery and taunting merely confirmed His rightful office. His humility in the face of the cruel words and evil attacks at Golgotha served to confirm that Jesus is the Christ of God… “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11). As we journey through a hostile world and mature in the faith we are challenged to follow in His footsteps and imitate the humility that confirmed Christ’s Royalty.
He was settled as chief among criminals. The rulers sought to denigrate Christ as the leader of thieves and murderers, but it was God’s sovereignty that placed the Son of Man at the center of the collapsing worlds of two desperate sinners. True disciples are called to live among and love the desperate and lost souls of our generation so they might be prompted to ask us about the reason for the hope that marks us… “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:13-15). Trust Christ to be right there with you in those tough relationships with those who are not yet saved.
He was stripped of His earthly clothing. The soldiers sought to disgrace Christ by stripping Him naked, but God was preparing Him to be clothed with royal, heavenly raiment. What a beautiful picture of the transformation that awaits every enduring disciple… “For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:2-4). Learn to look past the infirmities and weaknesses of today and keep focused on the glory that approaches in eternity.
He was saluted as the King of the Jews. The rulers and soldiers sought to dishonor Christ with a sign that identified Him as the King of the Jews, but God incited them to proclaim the eternal truth that Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be the King of all kings… “which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). Let the sign on the cross remind you that Jesus Christ is sovereign over whatever trial you are facing today.
The Humility that Confirmed Christ’s Royalty.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Cross that Incites Us

By helping students discover Biblical truth across all subject areas, classical Christian schools partner with parents and the local church to challenge young disciples to take up "The Cross that Incites Us"...

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Luke 23:26-31).
After Pilate declared Him innocent of any guilt worthy of death, he turned Jesus over to the Jews who immediately led Him away to be crucified. They could not dispose of this troublemaker fast enough. He was abused and beaten so badly that the procession toward Golgotha was slowed by His weakness and inability to carry His own cross. A Gentile visitor was seized and forced to carry the cross for Him. Because the Holy Spirit inspired all of the Gospel authors to record the vivid details of the journey of Christ and His cross toward Calvary, we too are part of the crowd, and we get a compelling view of the same cross that provoked anger, confusion, and mourning in the hearts of the diverse crowd that followed Him. We remember Christ’s call to take up His cross… “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). How true that there have been many crucifixions throughout history, but this one cross still stands out as the cross that incites us.
The cross irritated the reason of the Jews. Taking up the cross will disturb our old way of thinking. We are to be renewed in our minds… “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2). We do not see shame and humiliation in the cross. We see victory and the consummation of God’s plan of salvation… “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). As born again disciples we are incited by the cross to exchange our unrighteousness for the righteousness of Christ.
The cross interrupted the life of Simon. Taking up the cross will disrupt our life plan. We will have to refocus our priorities… “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). We will have to discard our temporal life plan and replace it with God’s perfect, eternal life plan… “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). As maturing disciples, we are incited by the cross to follow the example of Simon, and exchange our impure priorities and plans for the perfect purpose and will of God every day.
The cross inspires the heart of true disciples. Jesus taught that taking up His cross will demand our whole heart, to the point of self-denial… “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39). To make such an exchange, we have to let God circumcise our heart… “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). The Spirit inspired Paul to share how the grace of God had enabled him to be crucified with Christ, counting the old selfish nature dead in Christ and living a new life in and through Him…. ”I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). As diligent disciples, like Paul, we are incited by the cross to exchange our old life for new life in Christ every day.
As we grow up into Christ, we learn to imitate Him by abandoning the world and taking up…
The Cross that Incites Us.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Grace that Empowers Us

The common mission to make disciples links the church, family, and classical Christian school together in helping children discover His amazing grace!

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. (Luke 23:6-12).
Jesus’ steady march toward Calvary’s cross took a brief but poignant detour through the court of the tetrarch Herod. This is the puppet ruler who, in a drunken stupor, cruelly and unjustly beheaded John the Baptist to please his party guests… (see Matthew 14:1-12). Luke notes here that Herod… “had long desired to see him because he had heard about him”. We might imagine that Jesus wanted this meeting even more. What a grand opportunity to avenge the death of His cousin and faithful servant John! But Jesus left vengeance to God, who would deal justly with Herod. He was accused by a nephew of conspiracy against the Roman emperor Caligula and ended his days in exile in Gaul. Jesus quietly and submissively trusted God’s grace to use these conspirators and events to propel Him toward the cross… “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20). Diligent disciples, living for and sharing Christ in a sinful world, will find encouragement here to trust the grace that empowers us.
God’s grace responds to cruelty with compassion. Herod’s cruelty prompted the compassion of Christ as instead of judging the foolish adulterer and murderer for beheading His cousin John, Jesus proceeded steadily toward Calvary’s cross. Our Teacher, the Holy Spirit, exhorts us to keep our focus on Jesus as we encounter the cruelty of the unbelieving world around us… “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we imitate the compassion of Christ, God’s grace empowers us to become a clearer reflection of His mercy to our hurting world.
God’s grace answers contempt with confirmation. Herod and his soldiers’ contempt produced a confirmation of Christ as sovereign over this and every other moment that led Him to Calvary’s cross. Christ’s quiet confidence before His accusers reminds us of the attitude of Daniel’s friends in a similar confrontation… “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king’” (Daniel 3:16-17). When we imitate the quiet confidence of Christ before our enemies, God’s grace confirms His sovereignty over our lives because we are His children.
God’s grace turns conspiracy into cooperation. Herod’s conspiracy with Pilate unwittingly promoted their cooperation with Christ as the Lord turned their unholy alliance into a stepping stone toward Calvary’s cross. The Spirit inspired David to declare that the corrupt hearts of unholy rulers will always conspire against the coming rule of Christ… “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us’” (Psalm 2:2-3). When we imitate the meekness of Christ when confronted by the power of the world, God’s grace grants us a victory that gives glory to Christ, the King of kings.
The Grace that Empowers Us.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Great Summer Reading for Parents

Classically trained students learn early that it's NOT all about me...

This is a great 30 minute summertime read that will remind you about the blessings of classical Christian education that are preparing your children to impact their world for Christ!