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!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Learning HIS-Story Classically

Students in classical Christian schools learn how different Biblical and historical events fit together to reveal HIS-Story!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Discipline that Keeps Us Holy

We must teach young disciples by word and example that staying holy in an increasingly unholy world requires rigorous spiritual discipline...
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him (Luke 21:34-38).
Jesus continued preparing His disciples for life in the last days. We’ve learned that the last days began with His ascension and will end with His return… “And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven’” (Acts 1:10-11). Our lord gave much revelation about the conditions and signs of the last days, promising that with increasing intensity the unbelieving world would become more perplexed while we, His disciples should become more prepared for His return. He also gave us a set of spiritual exercises to keep us set apart for kingdom building work through to the end of these last days and today we are challenged to engage wholeheartedly in the discipline that keeps us holy.
Maturing disciples must strengthen ourselves. A true disciple is always growing. Like healthy physical growth, healthy spiritual growth and vitality requires a proper diet. The right nourishment for growing disciples is the truth found in God’s Word… “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Jesus acknowledged this truth (see Luke 4:4), and the Holy Spirit affirmed it through the letter to the Hebrews… “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12). To stay strong in the faith, make sure you’re feeding your hungry spirit the faith building truth of God’s Word every day!
Diligent disciples must stay awake. A true disciple has increasing discernment. One primary characteristic of the last days will be a proliferation of false teachers… “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). In today’s text Jesus reveals a connection between strong spiritual discernment and prayer. He affirmed this relationship in a warning to His disciples… “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). To grow strong in the spirit, spend quality time with Jesus Christ in prayer every day.
Faithful disciples must stand up for Christ. A true disciple will provoke opposition. We are living according to a never-changing truth in an ever-changing world and as we are abiding and immersed in the truth of God’s word our increasingly holy lives will convict and stir up the rebellion and wickedness that enslaves the hearts of unbelievers… “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19). The Spirit affirms this truth through Paul’s letter to Timothy… “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus knows how lonely we sometimes feel as family, friends, and others find it easier to abandon us than to hang out with us to get to know the Christ who has captured our hearts and lives within us. That’s why He promises us that we will never be alone if we live for Him… “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). He also revealed that when we stand up for Him in this unrighteous world we will be blessed just as the prophets who stood up for God in every generation… “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12). Don’t miss the prophetic blessings of standing up for Jesus today!
As we grow up into Christ, we become more available and prepared disciples as we follow…

The Discipline that Keeps Us Holy.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Seven Liberal Arts

The liberal arts (Latin: artes liberales) are those subjects or skills that are considered essential to preparing a person to think critically, and therefore to be liberated or freed to take an active part in civic life. For Ancient Greece, this kind of freedom encouraged participating in public debate, defending oneself in court, serving on juries, engaging in an occupation of choice, and most importantly, military service. Grammar, logic, and rhetoric were the core liberal arts, while arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music, and astronomy also played a part in education. The liberal arts are defined as:
The Trivium: The place where three roads meet
Grammar: Teaches the mechanics of language to the student. This is the step where the student "comes to terms", i.e. defining the objects and information perceived by the five senses. Hence, the Law of Identity: a tree is a tree, and not a cat.
Logic (also dialectic): Teaches the mechanics of thought and of analysis; the process of identifying fallacious arguments and statements, and so systematically removing contradictions, thereby producing factual knowledge that can be trusted.
Rhetoric: Teaches the application of language in order to instruct and to persuade the listener and the reader. It is the knowledge (grammar) now understood (logic) being transmitted outwards, as wisdom (rhetoric).
The Trivium: In summary
Grammar is concerned with the thing as it is symbolized. Logic is concerned with the thing as it is known. Rhetoric is concerned with the thing as it is communicated.
The Quadrivium: The place where four roads meet
Arithmetic: number (pure)
Geometry: number in space (stationary)
Music: number in time (moving)
Astronomy: number in space and time (applied)
The Quadrivium: In summary
The quadrivium was considered preparatory work for the serious study of philosophy (sometimes called the "liberal art par excellence") and theology.
You can see why we believe that alongside of the discovery and application of revealed Biblical truth, the classical method of learning in the liberal arts tradition sets young hearts and minds free to reason Biblically and empowers them to shape the culture of the next generation.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Trivium of Homework

“Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
The golden thread that links the family, the local church, and the Christian school together is the primary ministry of discipleship. Part of the classical Christian school’s responsibility as part of this disciple-making team is to encourage a balance of the time and energy demands of all three of these partners on caring parents. Here is a brief summary of the classical Christian view of homework in the learning process.
Please note the overlap in grades below is because we should begin to transition students into the next stage at age-appropriate times.
In the Grammar stage (Grades K4-6), homework serves to reinforce the mastery of important facts and information that students will begin to work with in later stages of learning. There is much repetition and memorization in Grammar stage homework. Most Grammar stage homework should be completed in class, leaving more time for study and test preparation with the encouragement of parents at home.
In the Logic stage of learning (Grades 5-8), homework introduces students to the relationship between facts as they explore and discover God’s perspective and sovereignty over His creation. There is more student responsibility for organization, time management, reading, research, and reporting in Logic stage homework. Logic stage students are expected to begin doing a little more homework at home in order to begin to develop self-directed study habits.
In the Rhetoric stage of learning (Grades 8-12), homework challenges students to begin developing communicative skills through working with the facts. Creativity, productivity, speech, writing, debate, and more are the essence of homework in the Rhetoric stage. Rhetoric stage students are preparing for university and beyond, where most learning actually takes place outside of the classroom and is increasingly more self-directed.
Grammar stage homework and study time should take 30-60 minutes each evening.
Logic stage homework and study time should take 60-90 minutes each evening.
Rhetoric stage homework and study time should take 90-120 minutes each evening.
It should be the classical Christian teacher’s common practice to:
Communicate clearly with parents regarding homework assignments and expectations, and to listen closely and responsively to parent concerns regarding homework.
Use class time to make sure students understand and know how to complete the homework assigned. In addition to homework, daily classwork not completed in class will be sent home to be completed and returned the next school day. This enables teachers to observe and guide students in the work they might have to complete at home under the supervision of parents.
Respond promptly and individually to students who may be having difficulty completing assignments or taking too much time to complete homework.

Learning is the primary vocation of your child at this special stage of their life. While your child’s learning happens at many times and in many places, the primary arena of their learning is the home and the school. This is where homework can be a valuable tool in preparing them for learning success in thirteenth grade (college or career) and beyond!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Trivium and Technology

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

Computers are everywhere. Technology is rapidly evolving and we are quickly becoming immersed in and dependent upon an increasingly complex and vulnerable computer driven culture. Most of us have several computers. We depend on laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets. Then there are the special-purpose computers we rely on to give us directions, monitor and respond to phone and text messages. Computers run our refrigerators, vehicles, televisions and more. The question is not whether or not we should show our children how to use computers, but will we teach them the Biblical Trivium (knowledge, understanding, and wisdom) of computers and related technology? In other words, aren’t parents and the teachers employed by them responsible to teach our children God’s truth about computers so they will understand how they work and become skilled in using them for holy purposes? Effective classical and Christian teaching in the area of technology should result in graduates who are less vulnerable to cyber control and are better prepared to lead the way in impacting an increasingly technological culture for Christ in thirteenth grade and beyond!

There is a grammar (knowledge) of computers. Before they begin to use computers, students should learn the basics of how computers work. In this stage of learning, students discover and begin to master keyboarding and computer language skills.

There is a logic (understanding) of computers. After mastering the basics and learning how computers work, students can be introduced to why we use computers and the right and wrong ways we can make computers work for us. In this stage of learning, students discover and begin to master the tools that make computers work, like word processing, data management, and other applications.

There is a rhetoric (wisdom) of computers. After mastering the basics and learning how computers work, students are ready to discover and master new ways to put computers to work effectively. In this stage of learning, students begin to design new computers and applications, to write new computer programs, and to use computers to impact their world for Christ.

Students that learn the science of computers God’s way will be less vulnerable to dependence upon and manipulation by an increasingly technological culture, but instead will be more effective culture shaping Christian witnesses to their generation.