Grace Christian School

A Generation in Crisis

April 13, 2018
By John Morrison

I often struggle with my blog topics because I feel they tend to focus on so many of the negatives in our culture.  And I really don’t want to be perceived as a negative person!

On the other hand, it is so important that we stay informed on issues relevant to us as Christian parents and educators.  Frankly, I have far more that I would like to address than is possible in these weekly communications.

So, at the risk of being “negative,” I want to pass along a piece about teen culture shared with me recently.  This is not just for parents of teens, but in many ways is especially relevant to parents of younger children.  I urge my readers to absorb this piece, because I find that many of us as adults still seem to not fully “get it!”

Parenting today takes a special courage and moral backbone that is often missing in our larger parenting culture.  I would emphasize especially to parents of younger children, the sooner you draw a line in the sand in terms of your family standards, the better prepared you will be to resist many of the pervasive influences that are attempting to hijack our youth as they grow older.  And while perhaps you won’t be popular with your kids as you set clearly defined limits, God never suggested that parenting is about popularity. Going against the mainstream is not easy, especially when we find ourselves doing things in a radically different way from many!

So, call  me a “negative Nellie” if you think I am dwelling too much on such things!  But, please, let’s not be naive about what is going on in our culture and its influence upon our kids.  Read this piece linked below, and let’s be praying for one another to have wisdom and courage in standing against this rapidly rising flood of ungodliness!

Click here to read this important article.

PS.  Please especially note #7.  And parents of younger children, please carefully consider the “So How Can We Help?” section.  The growing medical research concerning the impact of “the screen” in stunting and permanently damaging neurological development is quite sobering!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Easter, Perspective, and the Christian

March 28, 2018
By John Morrison

In many of my blogs, I focus upon social issues impacting our children and families.  In this context, there can be a tendency to dwell upon all the "gloom and doom" scenarios as our culture rapidly moves away from our Judeo/Christian roots.  

But in the larger, historical continuum, Christians have typically lived in societies where they find themselves swimming against the predominant pagan, secularist mainstream.  Believers are in the world, but when living for Christ, not of the world.  

Why would Christians, if they are serious about following Christ, be willing to pay the personal cost of walking to "the beat of a different drummer?"   

One way we could answer this question is ... "because of our Easter perspective." Easter is not merely a "spring holiday," as our larger culture increasingly views it. Rather, it is our celebration and acknowledgement of the central event in human history, represented by Jesus Christ freely going to the cross on our behalf.  Put simply, in the apostle Paul's words, our Lord "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (I Timothy 1:10)! These are some of the most stunning words in all the Bible!  If they do not impact us dramatically in all aspects of our mindset and lifestyle, then we must question the depth of our faith.

No matter the degree to which our culture darkens, we must remain focused upon this fundamental of our belief.  If we allow our gaze to shift to all the negatives we see gathering force around us, we may become a very gloomy, despondent folk.

But when we remain concentrated upon this central  message of the Gospel -- that Jesus Christ has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light" --  then no matter how rotten the world becomes, nor how difficult our personal circumstances, we may still live with great joy and anticipation for what God has promised us.  It is, after all, a matter of perspective!  This, indeed, is how Christians through the centuries have lived "in" the world without being "of" the world.  May God help us, in our own times, to be counted among their number!

I pray we all may be renewed in this gloriously good news over this Easter weekend as we celebrate Christ and His resurrection.  He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

Children and Youth as Salt and Light in State Schools?

March 23, 2018
By John Morrison

In recent weeks, I have featured blogs by Dr. Christian Overman in my own blogspace. His video Not Far Away, featured last week, has been getting lots of response. Indeed, I believe what is stated in that piece is quite profound in its identification of one of the root issues facing the contemporary American church and Christian parents.

Again, this week, I am featuring a blog from Dr. Overman’s Worldview Matters website. In view of where we find ourselves as a culture, I believe it is a quite relevant read for us all!  Thank you, Dr. Overman, for your stimulating thoughts!

JM

Click here to read Dr. Overman’s piece entitled “Have We Lost the Culture War?

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

More Challenging Words for Such a Time as This!

March 14, 2018
By John Morrison

This week's blog features a seven minute, animated video produced by Worldview Matters that is a concise treatment of the power of education in forming a child's fundamental worldview.  While this is a recurring theme in my blogs, I cannot overemphasize the importance for all who are concerned for the next generation and our larger culture in understanding the basic thesis of this presentation.  Please take a few moments to ponder this piece.

This video will potentially step on the toes of some of the approximately 90% of Christian parents, as well as some Christian leaders and public educators, who view state education as "the norm" for how we should educate our children.  While we certainly can celebrate and be thankful for Christians who believe they are called by God to serve in public schools as "salt and light," we must not confuse their dedicated service with the overarching philosophy of state education that advocates "religious neutrality" along with the exclusion of the Christian worldview from academics.

We also can acknowledge and be thankful that there are some exceptional students who are uniquely able to "stand for Christ" in our public schools.  But this video makes quite clear that the damage being done to the next generation, including students from Christian families, is far more profound than many realize.  It is my prayer that this production will help awaken many to the powerful influence of secularizing education upon our youth and our essential need to ground them in our Christian worldview.  Education does not, in itself, “make” Christians. But when we as parents and the Church ground our children in the truth claims of our faith, we can trust the Holy Spirit, in His time, to convict and convert them into a vital relationship with Christ!

I welcome your feedback on this piece.  Also, feel free to pass it along to others whom you believe would benefit from its message.

Please access the video by clicking here.  

Thanks, again, to the video's author and producer, Dr. Christian Overman, for his groundbreaking work in equipping Christian educators to more effectively impact our children through Christian worldview education.  To learn more about his important work through Worldview Matters, click here.  

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

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Headmaster's Blog

GCS Core Values

November 21, 2017
By John Morrison
Happy Thanksgiving!
“O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting!
Psalm 106:1

I trust all my readers will enjoy this very special Thanksgiving holiday!  Indeed,  we have much for which we can be thankful, no matter our circumstances,  because of the redeeming grace of God poured upon us through Christ!  May this be a special season for thankfully remembering His gracious blessings lavished upon us!

                                           ***********************

As part of our accreditation self-study, we carefully review our school documents, especially those dealing with our fundamental mission and vision.  No document spells out our sense of “core values” better than, well,  our “GCS Core Values” statement.  As recently updated by our Board of Trustees, these four basic values define what we trust are those ideals that make GCS distinct as a Christian school.  In this and the next three blogs, I would like to share with you each of these core values.  With God’s help, we seek to be the best school we can possibly be, and our being reminded of these fundamental values helps us avoid “mission drift” by staying  focused upon these essential goals.  

None of these four values is any more important than the very first, stated as  follows:

Spiritual

All elements of the ministry [of GCS] must continually be evaluated in the context of the simple question, “Does this aspect of the program and/or curriculum directly or indirectly encourage and instruct our students in their need for a personal relationship with Christ and to walk in obedience to His will?”  Administrative leadership must continually use this simple question in evaluating all aspects of the program.  As the Board, we emphasize this priority as the essential value for which Grace Christian School stands.

Furthermore, this value must be deliberately applied not only to Bible classes and chapels, but to all aspects of the School’s programs.  It is vital that administration continually train teachers and staff in how to integrate the Christian worldview into all educational curricula, as well as into all extra-curricular activities.  This must be done purposefully and thoughtfully as one of leadership’s continual, highest priorities.

My last two blogs featuring a kindergarten and a high school finance class are examples of how seriously we take this challenge of purposefully integrating the Christian worldview in all aspects and levels of our instructional program.  Can any educational priority be of greater importance than this first core value?  We think not, and we expend a great deal of time and energy to this end as demonstrated by our engagement with the outstanding Worldview Matters Biblical integration program.  Our students must understand not only the content of our faith as truth, but also the why and how that makes it relevant to all walks of life

In my next several blogs, I will focus on three additional core values that we believe make GCS a very special and unique Christian school.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you would like to respond to my blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

An Outstanding Class!

November 15, 2017
By John Morrison
GCS Personal Finance Class (from left to right): Josh Lockwood, Cheyenne Hareford, Tyler Johnson, Karson Wright, Byron Forsyth, Clayton Duke and instructor, Chad Brown.


God has enabled us to provide our high school students with a well-rounded education via a healthy offering of high school courses.  One of my favorites (and best kept secrets!) is Mr. Chad Brown’s personal finance course.  In a day when many  students know little about practical finance,  Mr. Brown’s class teaches essential management and stewardship skills vital for maintaining a stable financial ship.  Enjoy this following excerpt from one of Mr. Brown’s emails to his students’ parents outlining a sample of the kinds of excellent lessons he is passing along to his students.

The last couple of weeks we've been looking at purchasing reliable and affordable transportation, and some important things to consider in that process. I had the students work in the computer lab where each picked three cars to present to their classmates.  Their job was to "sell" their choice to the class. The general restrictions included the following characteristics: economical, reliable, within 200 mile radius (to allow a test drive), no more than 12 years old, 156,000 max mileage (based on average of 13,000 miles per year), affordability payment wise, within their income.

There were some interesting picks, to say the least, including a 2003 Cadillac CTS roadster, a 2004 Infinity G35, a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 truck, a 2005 VW Jetta, etc.

After their presentations, I had them work in two groups, where each would pick his or her top three vehicles, scrutinizing whether or not they fit the general guidelines.  Then, we narrowed it further to the top three picks for the class, relating each potential vehicle back to the general restrictions above. Their final choice was a 2003 Honda Accord (14 years old) with 133,000 miles (9,500 miles per year, which is less than average annual mileage) for $2,950, which was a great deal.  Although it was slightly outside the general age guidelines, it was, in my view, a very wise choice.

Also during  the process, I had Chris Jones, a great Christian friend who has been in the automotive industry for thirty years, and who is the current Commercial Sales Manager for Charlie Obaugh, come and give his perspective on how to purchase a used vehicle.  He has been helping me with this aspect of the course for six years.  Chris brings an excellent checklist for a prospective buyer to use when test driving a car.  I always pick up new  insights from his presentation, and in fact used this checklist when considering the last car I bought.  Graciously, he gives them his business card and cell phone number and invites them at any point to call him if they ever have a question.

After their final choice, we went back to the lab to check the NADA and Kelley Blue Book values for a couple of the cars, including their 2003 Honda.  Although they got a good deal on the Honda, we looked at a couple of other vehicles that were priced well above retail value for their car.  This let the students know how not to just arbitrarily pay someone their asking price without doing their homework.

All-in-all, I think this has been a very good process for them.  In the near future, we will be looking at maintenance on this car, purchasing insurance, and making monthly payments (with the goal of paying it off early).

Yes, Mr. Brown, most certainly this has been a very excellent experience for our students!  Thank you for all of your time and effort in equipping our young people with these most practical and important life skills!

If you would like to respond to my blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

The Joy of Learning: Going Beyond Mere Rote

November 08, 2017
By John Morrison
Kindergarten teacher, Kristi Pananas and student, Max Banta


We are certainly all about teaching the fundamental content of our Christian faith and academic subjects to our students.  But a Christian education is simply deficient if it does not go beyond focusing on mere content in influencing the formation of the child’s basic assumptions about truth.  Thus, we talk a great deal at GCS about teaching biblical worldview integration and critical thinking skills that help each child examine his or her basic assumptions about reality.

Following, in the words of Kristi Pananas, one of our kindergarten teachers, is an example of how this can work in the classroom.  

Recently, during a kindergarten math lesson, I introduced patterns: red, yellow, red, yellow; smiley face, star, smiley face, star; ABAB, etc.  We practiced a few different examples. And then, the neat stuff happened.

A little girl raised her hand and asked “What does God think of patterns and does he like them?”. Wow!

I put my worksheet aside, sat down and knew that this discussion was more important               than the “math” lesson.  I asked the question back to the class…..

           And the following were some of the answers:

The first little boy said , “We know God likes order so he must like patterns because patterns are in order.”  We had previously talked about how God is a God of order, not chaos.   I thought, “They are getting it, they remember, this is important to them!!!”

Hands were flying and everyone wanted to be part of the discussion.

Another student added, “God ordered the days, he made all things….”  We had talked about creation, and how our calendar was in order and what God thought of that.

And another remembered, “God made animals with patterns.” Patterns were related to camouflage and a way of protecting animals and God did that.

We discussed how God made people with patterns: 2 eyes, 2 arms, boys/girls. How God doesn’t make mistakes when he creates anything. How we are all created perfectly and in a special way and are made in His image (patterned after God).

       Mrs. Pananas and student, Ella Parker

To answer the question about “does God like patterns?“ everyone agreed that he does!  He made rainbows, and they are patterns.  He likes pretty things.  He wants to enjoy patterns; they thought that God wanted us to like patterns, too. We talked about how God is creative and thinks of everything.

A 20-minute math lesson turned into a 45 minute worldview lesson initiated by a child with a heart wondering about God. We were late for lunch...and no one cared, and kindergarteners always care about snack and lunch (and recess)!

I was amazed and proud.  We had been in school less than a month and the kiddos were using the questioning that they hear at school…”what does God think/feel about...?” These kiddos are 5 and 6 years old!  I can only imagine what the rest of the year will be like. God is at work in the hearts and minds of these kindergarten students.

The above is an example of taking  learning from the level of rote (which is important) to the level of critical thinking with an emphasis on biblical worldview integration and experiencing learning as one of life’s greatest joys.  Indeed, this is our goal for our students at GCS: to stimulate their curiosity in investigating and discovering the beauty and wonder of God’s creation and how it all ties together in one unified whole.  And the stimulation of critical thinking is something, as demonstrated by these little ones, that can be cultivated from the earliest years all the way through high school!  This is (or should be) one of the core dynamics of a truly Christian education!

Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Pananas!  

And what she has shared is but one example of what is taking place daily throughout GCS!

If you would like to respond to this blog, please email me at grace@gcswarriors.org.

 

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