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Honoring the Class of 2021

May 27, 2021
By Donald M. Larson, PhD

This has been a tough and different year for all, but it has been more so for our graduating seniors. Students look forward to their senior year as a special year in which they can enjoy extra privileges and celebrations. The response to COVID-19 has put a damper on their senior year, but it has still been a special year for them. It is a year when only a small percentage of schools have been in-person, while our students have had the opportunity to be with their friends and live an almost normal life. They have been allowed to continue growing into mature young men and women. In my meetings with the seniors this year, I have seen a growth and maturity that gives me hope in our future as brothers and sisters in Christ. I am excited for them and pray for them, as they continue onto their next phase of life. May God bless them and keep them and make His face shine upon them as they graduate this Saturday.

Teacher Appreciation

May 13, 2021
By Donald M. Larson, PhD

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. The administration and many parents helped tell our teachers “Thank You!” This has been a tougher year than normal for our teachers with COVID and remote teaching while still teaching in the classroom. While many teachers around the country refused to return to the classroom, our teachers have stepped up to the plate and hit home runs. Last week we posted a link for you to recognize and thank teachers. Please take a moment to post some thank you’s for your student’s teachers. Click on this link: Teacher Appreciation.

Lingo Networks recognized three of our teachers in April and has given them gift cards to a local restaurant. We join Lingo in lifting up three teachers who go above and beyond in their dedication to our students:

High School - Dr. Charles Jackson

Once again, Dr. Jackson has excelled in teaching science to students in an intellectually-challenging and motivating manner, and he continues to make himself available during and beyond school hours to students who need additional academic attention and also for mentoring and encouragement. Additionally, he has volunteered for extra duties that were needed this year to deal with logistical challenges thrust upon us by COVID-19 and has been one of the most flexible teachers in responding to the many changes to plans throughout this school year. 

Middle School - Mrs. Julie Yeomans

Mrs. Yeomans sets the bar high in leadership and instruction. She makes learning math challenging and achievable at the same time. She is a favorite of students because of her dedication and imaginative approach to math. To add to her teaching expertise, she stepped up to fill a huge need as our MS Dean of Students. In this role, she is sensitive and understanding of our Middle School students. She is a bold and forward-thinker who recognizes issues quickly and resolves them before they develop into problems. 

Elementary School - Mrs. Cindy Jones

In her second year of teaching for GCS, Mrs. Jones has already demonstrated dedication to her craft and an outstanding flexibility in meeting students where they are. When asked to teach four subjects to two grades this year, during a COVID year, she not only agreed but exceeded all expectations in the classroom while incorporating students with learning differences. She has challenged her students intellectually and created a thirst for knowledge while teaching a combined classroom with in-class and online students simultaneously. Mrs. Jones is a valuable asset to our community, and we are thrilled to have her.

Hope in the MisInformation Age (Part 2)

May 06, 2021
By Brian Fitzgerald, Discipleship Director

Hope in the MisInformation Age (Part 2)

“Always be prepared,” Peter says, “to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Who’s asking you that question?

In the misinformation age, there’s no shortage of access to information, opinion, and speculation on every subject, issue, and idea in our world. We’re only a few words in a search engine away from knowing something about anything. But where do we turn for hope? Peter assumes that people turn to Jesus’ followers and will inquire about the reason for their hope. He also assumes that Jesus’ followers are living in such a way that their hope is obvious, even if the reason isn’t. I don’t mean to be harsh, but I wonder if the church today might have a different dilemma: we tend to be prepared to give an answer to a question that no one is asking. If no one is asking about the reason for our hope, then perhaps our hope isn’t obvious.

Here’s a challenge from Lesslie Newbigin: “We must live in the kingdom of God in such a way that it provokes questions for which the Gospel is the answer.” What does that look like in our day? 

It looks like lives permeated by joy and peace, irrespective of cultural and political shifts and turmoil. Living lives permeated by joy and peace is a declaration to the world that Jesus is King and that Caesar (in whatever form) is not. If you live out of that reality, you’ll be asked about it, I’m sure.

It looks like being in a community of believers committed to one another in love where each is preferring the other’s needs. Everyone is well-supported and taken care of in a community where each one is looking out for the needs of everyone else because each self-giving individual is being supported and taken care of by any number of other self-giving individuals. You’ll be asked about that.

It looks like living in a quiet trust and confidence in the goodness and faithfulness of God when things in your personal life haven’t gone the way you expected. We mourn over any number of things, but we do so as people of hope. In a world without hope, someone will ask you about that.

What might it look like for you to live in such a way that your life “provokes questions for which the Gospel is the answer”? Ask the Lord what that should look like in your own life, and go confidently forward in those things. But be ready; someone might ask you about it.

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Hope in the MisInformation Age (Part 1)

April 29, 2021
By Brian Fitzgerald, Discipleship Director

Hope in the MisInformation Age (Part 1)

Sometimes you read or hear something that strikes you and then doesn’t leave you. It comes to mind again and again, and it forces you to deal with it rather than just thinking it’s nice. I want to share, what was for me, one such quote. But first, some introduction.

How do you feel after reading the news, watching the news, or talking about the news? Overwhelmed? Discouraged? Infuriated? Betrayed? Do you feel as if things are politicized to the point of hurting relationships? Are you ever struck by the thought that with all the information we have, very few of us can do anything meaningful on a national or global scale? Even if the average person knows and understands all of the cultural and political dynamics of everything that’s going on in our world, what good is that? 

In an often referenced statement from 2 Chronicles 12:32, we’re encouraged to follow in the way of the sons of Issachar who “understood the times.” Understanding the times is certainly important, but that dynamic isn’t the primary thing that the sons of Issachar brought to the table. Yes, they understood the times, but in the not-so-often referenced part of the verse we find out that they had “knowledge of what Israel should do.” Their understanding came with a knowledge of what God’s people should do. That’s wisdom, and that’s something lacking in our information age … or it misinformation age?

Does our accumulation of information come with knowledge and wisdom? Does it lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships? Or does it tend to be a burden that has damaged relationships or discouraged people who should be full of hope? Does the information that we tend to gather help us be people of hope in a world in pain and confusion? Does our light stand out in the darkness?

Here’s the quote that struck me and has stayed with me. This is from New York pastor Jon Tyson:

“One of the challenges for every Christian is that of misinformation: we know everything about that which we can do little about and we know little about everything we can do everything about. Rather than aiming to influence people far and wide, perhaps we should turn our attention to the seemingly mundane around us where we can actually have impact.”

I have come to realize and appreciate that I’m a much more inspired and hopeful person when my eyes are focused on those things that the Lord has called me to, rather than focusing on those things that He hasn’t. In other words, focusing on those things that I can do everything about. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the problems in this world that I can do nothing about and to which the Lord hasn’t equipped me, even if I know everything about those things. But there’s joy and hope in relying on Him to lead me in those areas where He has called and equipped me, and He’s given us His Spirit to make us effective in those areas.

Do I understand the times? I think so. We’re living in a broken world, but it’s the world where Jesus rose from death. It’s also the world in which He is King and is making all things new! All the news headlines fall under that banner. Do I know what God’s people should then do? I think so. We walk with Jesus in such a way that we faithfully live out our calling in the world: reflecting His love, wisdom, and care into the environment and people around us. What kind of world might we live in where Jesus’ followers are all doing that? Maybe we are a force in this world after all.

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