Monthly Archives: November 2015

A Better Hallelujah

You have probably heard the story, and have most definitely seen the result.  As the story goes, in 1743 King George II was attending the London premier of Handel’s “Messiah”, and when he heard the “Hallelujah” chorus he was so moved that he stood – and the rest of the audience stood as well, because when the king stands, everyone stands.

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While it is not clear if this account is historically true, it is clear that it has become customary for audiences to stand for the performance of the “Hallelujah” chorus.  Whether they feel moved to do so by inspiration, tradition or peer pressure, every time I have seen the “Hallelujah” chorus performed, everyone in attendance stands.  What at some point began (most likely) out of a desire to honor God, has become a custom that may or may not be done to honor the Messiah.

It seems like we often approach our Christian lives the same way.  We do things because, well, everyone else is doing them or they have become customary for us.  It is easy for us to begin to do things “just because,” with no real meaning to what we are doing.  We do not do them to honor the Messiah, but rather to please others, from force of habit, or because we think it is our religious duty.

How can we change this?  I believe one of the key things we need to do is to learn to be gospel-centered in all that we do – that is, to focus on God and what He has done for us and not what we ourselves should do.  I recently heard a speaker say that we need to get the order right when we read the Bible.  Often we look at the Bible as a religious instruction manual and so we want to find in its pages what we need to do – and end up focusing on ourselves.  When we do this we begin doing things as religious duty or custom.  Instead, as we read the Bible, we need to start by looking at what the passage says about who God is.  Then see that from God’s character flows what He has done for us. Out of what He has done for us comes who we are in Him.  And finally, who we are in Jesus leads to what we do.

For example, the Bible says that we should love our enemies.  If we try to do that, it will feel impossible – and, in fact, is impossible.  But if we focus on how much we are loved, and that out of this love God sent the Messiah to die for us even while we were His enemies, His love will change us into loving people who will then love others – even our enemies.  As the speaker I was listening to said, “if you are having trouble loving others, you have probably forgotten how much you are loved.  If you are having trouble forgiving others, it is because you have forgotten how much you have been forgiven.”  If we focus our attention on who God is and what He has done for us, then we will be transformed from the inside out, and right actions will flow from who we are.

This Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah, may we remember to get the order right and think first about who God is and what He has done for us.  Then we can be free to stand (or sit!) – and live, really live – out of a grateful response to our Heavenly Father.

In Him,

Scott Winslow

Chief Operating Officer

 

Choosing the Right School for Your Child

Toy shopping with your children…fun, right? Wrong? I can only imagine how many of you are torn because you want to say it’s fun, but the feast of possibilities for your kiddos can turn the experience into one giant aversion of a meltdown. Take my boys for example. Isaac (7) and Ezra (5) each had $20 to spend. It would make an awesome real life math problem to figure out how many different combinations of things they could purchase with their money. When they finally did choose, they had a hard time being fully excited for what they bought because they were thinking about all the things they couldn’t buy.

I think that as people get older, we don’t really grow out of that. We job jump, house jump, spouse jump, school jump. We fill our houses back up with junk that we purchased with the money we just got from the junk we sold at our last garage sale. We’re always looking for new things to connect us to our present with hopes that it will last in the future. But it rarely does. And why? I propose that it is because people fail to truly connect with the two things that Jesus connected with: mission and people.

Take a moment and think about these two words: mission and people. Let’s break them down.

Mission – a strongly felt aim, ambition, or calling. The mission of a school matters, but only if it is what drives the decisions and the work of the school. Imagine that hotel with proudly posted banners touting their amazing customer service, only to find that the concierge ignores you and expects a tip for any piece of information that he provides. Customer service?

On the other hand, I recently visited a STEM school in Chattanooga whose mission emphasizes innovation, critical thinking, and collaboration. I had been in the school for four whole hours and I can attest that the student work and experiences were directly tied to their mission as a school.

But mission is only part of the puzzle.

People – human beings in general or considered collectively. People can very easily be confused with person. It is really easy to be frustrated with a person. But when you can see the forest instead of the trees (i.e. the people instead of the person), you should find that those people enhance the mission that the school is promoting.

If you are a parent of children in primary or secondary school, I truly believe that the two keys to choosing the right school for your child rest in both the mission of the school and the people you connect with.

I’ve been living back in Indiana now for over five years and I’ve been at the same church for the entire five years. An acquaintance of mine recently emailed to ask the following question: “What are some reasons that keep your family at your church?” My response was as follows:

“For the Allens, we commit to [our church] because of the mission and the people. Any mission can be loved on paper, but we see it in action.   The people couldn’t have been known until we got involved. And once we did, we just found more people who believed in the mission of reaching people far from God in order to help them experience Jesus. We see it as the way Jesus operated in his time on earth as well – mission and people. Once those two things were clear for us, it was no question that [this church] would be our church home.”

If you can say without a doubt that you see a mission that you are passionate about being played out by the people of the school, you’ve found it. You’ve found your school. Being connected to the mission and the people makes for a full experience, one that allows you to know others and be known by others. It makes the celebrations more personal. It helps frame the frustrations with a more healthy perspective. But most of all, it is purposeful. Education and experience are active choices, not passive. So educate yourself! Tour schools. Talk to the “people.” Ask the tough questions. And then move forward with confidence that the mission and the people will carry everything forward.

In Service,

Allen sig

Michael W. Allen
Head of School
Evansville Christian School
@mikeallen333

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here

My experience as an ECS parent is almost 4 ½ years, and my experience as part of the administrative team is nearing my one year anniversary. As an ECS parent, I always knew that the Gospel message, Bible class, prayer, and biblical integration into academics were all experienced by my daughters every single day. In fact, those are the top reasons why my husband and I chose ECS. However over the past year of working here and spending my days inside the same building as my daughters, I have been truly blessed to experience for myself what I had known to be true about ECS – the Holy Spirit is alive and moving in our school.

In my position as Director of Admissions & Marketing, one of my favorite responsibilities is meeting new families and giving them a tour to show them the “ECS difference”. Without a doubt, one of the top things that parents notice about the environment of our school is that is caring and peaceful.

My prayer for visitors to our school isn’t that they are impressed with our challenging academics and A-Rating. It isn’t that they come to our school so our enrollment can continue growing. It isn’t that see that state-of-the-art technology is available in every single one of our classrooms. Yes, all of those are very important in the success and progress ECS has made over the past 40 years, and I love to share these aspects with families.

My prayer for every visitor to our school is that everyone who enters our doors will feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. I love the lyrics of Kari Jobe’s song, “Holy Spirit”, especially this part of the chorus –

“Holy Spirit, you are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, God, is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by your presence, Lord.”

Our teachers follow Christ’s calling and open their hearts – and their classrooms – to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit every single day. Just in the month of October alone, four teachers shared the following ways that the Holy Spirit moved inside the hearts of our student during the school day…and these just the few divine appointments that I know of! There are so many more that happen every day in every classroom.

Natalie Adams, Second Grade Teacher:
October 1 – “What a GREAT day it has already been!! 3 of my kiddos asked Jesus into their hearts this morning! Praise the Lord”

Jessica Hill, First Grade Teacher
October 20 – “8 students from my class just made decisions to follow Jesus during our Bible lesson time!”

Megan Meny, Third Grade Teacher
October 27 – “The sweet, precious moments with a student make it all worth it. This morning during our morning routine, one of my students asked if I would pray with her when I have time. When a sweet third grader asks me to pray with them, nothing else seemed more important, so I stopped everything and pulled her out into the hall. She told me about what was upsetting her, and we prayed. It makes me so happy that she felt comfortable enough with me to ask me to pray for her. I am also so proud of her for turning to God in prayer, when she is facing something that is difficult for her. Today was definitely a good day!”

Oct 21 – Katie Janis, Fourth Grade Teacher, took this awesome photo that captured a sweet moment when Lonny Chapman, Fourth Grade Teacher, was praying with students on the playground.

Prayer, Bible class, and devotions are not just a part of the daily schedule at ECS that teachers “check off” and move onto the next thing. Our teachers and staff would share that the most important aspects of their job are to share the Gospel message with our students to lead them into a relationship with Christ and to equip students with a biblical worldview to confidently engage the culture and impact the world for Christ.

“We only have so much time to prepare our children in life. Where and how we allow our children to spend their time is one of the most important responsibilities we have.” -Dr. James Dobson

This quote by Dr. Dobson wonderfully conveys why my husband and I choose to send our daughters to ECS where the Holy Spirit is welcomed, experienced, and celebrated every day.

Blessings,

Krista Decker
Director of Admissions & Marketing