Monthly Archives: November 2014

Who Knew Snow Could Be So Deep?

IMG_4918Aaaaaaaand here it is.  The first snow day of the year.  How could any of us have been mentally prepared for a snow day on November 17th!  But let’s be honest…snow is unbelievably gorgeous.  As I sit here this morning sipping on my coffee and looking out the window, I see a beautiful covering over EVERYTHING.  It is one of my favorite, peaceful experiences to drink awesome coffee and look at awesome stuff.

The world, though, is nothing more than a continual telling of the story of Jesus.  Here are three ways to rest in the Gospel of Grace this morning.

  1. Snow is a representation of God’s cleansing of sin in our lives.  Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.  Yesterday, there were all these different colors out my window, but today it is just one even white.  Not shades of white, but clean white.  The snow literally covered all of the differences and imperfections to give a new look.  And so it is and can be for us.  Jesus is the great equalizer, no matter what Denzel says.  The ground is level at the foot of the cross.  Sin is sin, no matter how “big” or “small.”  And Jesus cleans it all.
  2. The fact that snow is a covering agent means that there is something the world needs to hide.  There is no faking it, people – sin is in the world and there is nothing we humans can do about it.  No peace treaty, handshake, apology, or gift can change the fact that sin is and will be present in this world until Jesus returns to put it in its place.  The beautiful snow is out there, but what lies beneath is out there too. 1 John 1:8-10 says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”  No matter who denies that it exists, sin exists.  But the true Hope is in the Word of Jesus Christ, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full,” John 10:10.  Only Jesus can destroy what is underneath forever.  The snow will melt away, but never will the love of Christ.
  3. Snow demands that you think differently, more cautiously.  People don’t operate in the snow the same way that they operate when it’s 80 degrees outside.  They are more cautious, more aware.  They can’t just get in the car and drive somewhere.  They have to prepare their vehicle by warming it up.  When they’re driving, they drive slower, look around more intentionally, and watch for the “other guy.”  They walk more carefully, being mindful of what ice may be awaiting the next step.  When we choose to follow Jesus, it should have a similar effect on us.  We should seek to be more aware, more cautious.  We should welcome patience and preparation.  We should no longer act, then think.  The Bible says in Ephesians 5:15-17, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”  Be aware.

As you smell the brisk air this morning and experience the beauty that we are all waking up to today, be in communion with the Creator of it all.  God is telling a story everywhere you look.  Let’s not miss it today!

In Service,

Mike Allen
Lead Administrator and 5-8 Principal
Evansville Christian School

 

 

Is Sportsmanship Dead?

I was recently reading an article that talked about the myth of American sportsmanship.  In it the author stated: “Sports today are conducted in a context that makes true sportsmanship — which is nothing more and nothing less than recognizing that your opponent is basically the same common clay deserving of the same respect as you are, not because of talent, but simply because he or she is another human being — almost impossible. Sports today, at almost every level, have arranged themselves in such a way that the athlete is made a commodity.” (Pierce, Charles P.  2014, November 5.  “Angles and Angels:  Lauren Hill, Mountain Ridge High, and the American Myth of Sportsmanship.”)

Contrast that with this text from the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s guidelines to sports officials:  “One of the goals of interscholastic competition is to teach values while enriching the educational experience of the young men and women who participate. Good sportsmanship is certainly one of the important values, and as a result, promoting good sportsmanship is clearly one of our highest priorities.”

sportsmanship_01

So which is it?  Is sportsmanship a myth and almost impossible or is it a value that should be promoted?  I would like to suggest to you that it is both almost impossible in today’s sports culture and a value that should be promoted.

In today’s sports culture, it is becoming more and more difficult for sportsmanship to thrive.  With 24/7 coverage of all kinds of sports, with the kind of money that is at stake, sportsmanship has indeed taken a back seat to commerce in America.  At the professional level it is easy to see.  Greed is what drives professional sports in America.  From ESPN, to billionaires who own teams, to millionaires who play a game for a living, money is driving everything about sports.  And we as consumers feed the beast.  As Americans we clearly value being entertained more than anything else because it is entertainers who make the most money in our society.  This leads athletes to promote themselves above all else and to try to create a “brand” for themselves.  It leads to people who care more about themselves than their team – or the example that they are setting for children.  It leads to players injuring themselves celebrating an individual play when their team is getting crushed by the other team (Bears player injures himself celebrating sack in 51-24 loss).

In this kind of environment, it is almost impossible to suggest that the greatest value of sports is the life lessons that they teach.  Yet that is what we believe at ECS.  We want our students to excel, to give their best efforts, but to do so for the right reasons.  Winning is not everything – it’s certainly not the only thing, no matter what Vince Lombardi said.  In a sports culture where greed drives everything, we have an opportunity to stand out from the crowd and be a light in our community.  Our hope is that we will compete with excellence while playing with sportsmanship and treating others with the dignity they deserve as fellow image-bearers of God.

Feedback

ACSI Logo CMYK R                             logo advanced

 

feed·back /ˈfēdˌbak/ noun: information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement

Recently I’ve been thinking about feedback. One definition states “feedback is not to make people feel better; it’s to help them do better”. ECS is accredited by the state of Indiana, the Association of Christian Schools (ACSI), and AdvancED. The accreditation guidelines and self-study requirements provide beneficial feedback to our school stakeholders. On November 9-12, a team of nine educators representing ACSI and AdvancED will visit ECS to provide feedback to help us continue to serve our students and families better.

The purpose of the External Review Team visit from ACSI/AdvancED is to confirm that the perceived strengths and challenges set forth in the school’s self-study are true and can be validated by the on-site external review team; to determine if school policies, procedures, and programs are in accordance with the school’s purpose, mission, vision, core values, and expected outcomes; and, to confirm quality Christian education in light of the stated goals and objectives. You can access information provided to the external review team at http://tinyurl.com/2014Accreditation

For the past several years, ECS teachers and staff have addressed the AdvancED standards and ACSI criteria for accreditation in the areas of purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, and using results for continuous improvement. We have surveyed parents, students, and staff. Our school improvement plan, also submitted to the Indiana Department of Education, addresses school goals, student achievement goals, and professional development of teachers and staff.

During the External Review, the accreditation team will meet with faculty, staff, board members, parents and students. After the team leaves, ECS will receive a report highlighting “Powerful Practices”, what we are doing well, and “Opportunities for Improvement”, giving an objective appraisal upon which future goals can be set by the school leadership, faculty, staff, and school board. We look forward to collaborating with this visiting team, receiving their valuable feedback, and their recommendation for our continued accreditation.

Sincerely,
Susie Masterson
PK-4th Principal