Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life Long Friends

One of our awesome sixth graders had a cool article for the blog that I thought I'd pass along to all of you.  Thanks, Adam!

When I moved to Chapel Hill Christian School I expected the first day would be hard, not knowing any of my peers. What I didn’t expect was that after that day, I was accepted by others with a kind word here and there.  Friendships started to grow both in and out of the classroom.

Having moved to and from many different schools, I expected the normal difficulties in building friendships.  I was concerned about being an outsider and not being accepted.  However, I was surprised that the other kids befriended me right away.

As I entered my second year, I challenged myself to be kind to the new students just like others had been kind to me the year before.  I knew how the new kids felt, and I didn’t want to just forget about them just because my friends were already set up.   They hadn’t abandoned me; and of course, I was reminded of the Scripture text from Luke 6:31, which says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Following through on building relationships, whether or not I really wanted to, has changed my life.  I now have friends that I will carry with me into the future.  But I’ve also learned that when God calls me out of my comfort zone into service in the lives of others, it allows Him to work in my life in special ways. 

The memories that these friends have created together through the past two years will be remembered far into the future.  As we move on to graduation from sixth grade and prepare for middle school, the things we’ve learned together, the conversations we’ve had and the experiences we’ve shared, like Michigan Trip, Medieval Fair and our service projects, will give us life-long companions.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teachers Got Da Joy

One of our awesome fifth graders at Chapel Hill Christian School has been talkin' with me about teaching.  Aaron is his name.  He has very high goals already set for his education and career.

One of his goals is to study Electrical Engineering and teach and serve through business in that area.  Wow! What fantastic goals Aaron!

So we started talkin' about what makes a good teacher.  Here's what we've decided:

  • A good teacher knows his stuff.  Teachers should know and love their topic.
  • A good teacher is humble about how he shares what he knows.
  • A good teacher instructs with an "uprising hope" which allows his students to enjoy the learning.
  • A good teacher is always patient; he takes time to make sure his students "get it" and doesn't become annoyed with them when they struggle.
  • A good teacher has joy - God's JOY - and shares it with his students.
So these ideas got us to thinkin' about Jesus talkin' with His disciples right before He went to be with His Father in Heaven.  You know the verses, right?  They are there in John chapter 15.  

Here's what it says: I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.  Who's joy? Jesus'!  What kind of joy? Perfect or complete joy!  Wow!

But what had Jesus told them that would bring this kind of joy?  Living in Him like a branch keeps living in a tree and obeying what He says gives us perfect JOY!

Super job, Aaron!  I think you're gonna be a great teacher!

Let's have a good prayer...

Dear Father in Heaven, we pray for our teachers at the end of this school year; give them joy.  And teach us all to have this wonderful fruit of Your Holy Spirit - JOY - as we serve you in the lives of others.  In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More Business

Woops, forgot to publish this one from back in September 2012!

Today after running with some of our teachers, parents and friends in the Akron Marathon, I decided I'd cut the grass.  Yep, I was already sweaty and a bit dirty, so I figured, "Pretty good timing."

You remember from last year that I introduced you to my awesome Red Toro push mower with the big back tires and to Hoss my super big black dog.   Hoss came up, you remember, because when I cut the grass, I learned to pick up Hoss's very large "business" before I mow; so I don't shoot it all over the place with the Toro.

Well, today I tried to get the yard ultra clean before I mowed, and I was feeling pretty good about it.

By the way, I usually don't pick up the "business" in the winter, so this spring it took me quite a while.  In fact. it took so long I thought I'd work a math problem.  If Hoss does his business twice a day, and I hadn't picked up in November through April; then the first week of May I picked up a record of about 360 "businesses!"  Now that's a lot of business!

But let's get back on track.  Today I began mowing after doing "business pick up", and I noticed something strange - MORE "BUSINESS."  YES, that's right, hiding in the tall grass was as much business as I had already picked up.  And yes, right again, I had to pick up again!  I kept having to stop my Red Toro, get my plastic bag and go back to work.

And of course, it got me to thinkin'.  Do you remember the saying:  "God is not finished with me yet?"  Well, it's true.  He will continue to clean up our lives until we see Him face to face in Heaven.  

He wants all the "business", the stuff that creates more messes, out of my life, so that when I see Him I can stand before Him without blame and guilt.  The super cool thing is that He is gracious about how he removes this messy business.  He does it as He knows you and I can receive His cleansing.

Could you pray with me today and give God permission to continue to make you clean?

Lord Jesus, thank you for the truth that when we confess our sins, that you are faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  And thank you for doing that "pick up" right on time.  We give you permissions to continue the job!  In Your name and nature we pray, Amen.

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson 

Steppin' Down

The first graders were practicing for their upcoming musical and Robbie was ready and standing high on the risers.  Enter Robbie’s little sister, Mia, a pre-kindergartner.  She had come to chapel and was greeting her big brother from the floor of the gym.  Would Robbie look away; would he give her a little nod from high atop the first grade risers?  Would he grant as much as a wave?

Nope!  Robbie stepped down.  He stepped off the risers and ran to Mia to greet her with a big hug.  The impact of that hit me like a ton of bricks.  Would I have stepped down for someone that I considered smaller (in whatever way)?  Would you?

This, of course, got me to thinkin'.  How far did Jesus step down when He took on human flesh?  Certainly, when He exhibited this degree of self-sacrifice the very glory of God shook heaven and earth.  

The Bible says, "And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. And we have seen His glory..."  Why did Robbie's step off the risers hit me hard?  I got a glimpse of the glory...the very presence of God.

Each time we selflessly reach out in Christ, we create a crack for God's glory to shine into whatever circumstance we find ourselves.  Ya know what? Without these cracks for God's glory things might look pretty dark and hopeless sometimes.

Hey Robbie, thanks for steppin' down!  You reminded me that God is real and that He's right here. Let's pray that we all might "step down" somehow today.

Lord Jesus, thank you for stepping out of the glory of Heaven to save me.  Help me, help each of us who know You today, to step into the lives of those You bring to us with kindness, love and forgiveness. We want to see Your glory, Lord, we really do!  In Your name we pray, Amen.

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stuck or Soaring

One of our awesome South Campus sixth graders took a couple of amazing risks I want to talk to you about.  Victoria (or Tori as we call her) went on a two day retreat with her classmates to Beulah Beach in Vermillion, Ohio at the beginning of this school year.

One of the first activities was to put on rubber boots and walk through the lagoon.  Our leader pointed out all the cool things that grow and live in a lagoon, as we pushed through high grass, cattails and all kinds of colorful undergrowth.

One problem: mud.  Just as we thought we were coming to the end of our journey on the nice dry path, we encountered calf-high mud for about 400 yards.  Tori put her foot down; and when she pulled it back up, her boot was nowhere to be found.  Yep, we were stuck in the mud.

Fortunately, Mr. Lamm and I located her boot by digging with our hands beneath the mirky water of the lagoon for a few minutes.   Tori steadied herself by leaning on us, while she was trying to keep her balance on one foot.  Boot back in place, we began moving step by step until we were finally back on dry land.  There was a while, however, when we didn't know if we'd make it or not! Whew!

Another of the cool activities on our retreat was called "zip line."  It was sort of the opposite of the lagoon walk.  It started by climbing a very tall ladder so that from that high perch, we were looking over the lagoon which was 100 feet below.  Strapped to a cable, we were supposed jump off the ladder, free fall for a couple seconds and then sail through the open air over the lagoon.  If everything works, we were supposed to land 100 yards away on the Lake Erie Beach.

Tori looked up at her friends free falling off the ladder and said, "I don't think so."  I found out that Mrs. Crocker is pretty good at talking people into things though; because the next thing I knew, Tori had a helmet on and was on top of the ladder getting ready to jump!  She thought about it a while and then suddenly leaped into mid air, soared over the lagoon and in seconds was caught by Mr. Barrett 100 yards away on the beach.  Awesome!

Tori's two big risks got me to thinkin'.  Sometimes in your friendship to Jesus you may feel like you are "stuck in the mud."  Yes, you may be going to church and Christian school.  You might even be memorizing your verses for class and your mid-week AWANA or Kid's Club program, but you don't seem to be getting anywhere fast.  It seems like the same old stuff over and over again.  When you feel this way, keep taking the next step, God will teach you amazing things when you keep moving ahead with Him by being faithful.

The next thing you know you'll be able to see the meaning of that time "in the mud."  God will let you understand it, as He gives you His thoughts about it.  Isaiah 55:9 says, "For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts."  That's God talking!  He sees things from high on "His ladder"; He looks down on the "lagoons" of our life and can direct us through them and teach us what they mean.

Just like Tori took the risk to keep moving in the mud, you and I can ask God to teach us when we feel stuck.  Our school verse says, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles... (Isaiah 40:31)."  And Isaiah finishes his great song in Isaiah 55 by saying, "You will live in joy and peace.  The mountains will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!  These events will bring great honor to the Lord's name; they will be an everlasting sign of His power and love."

Let's pray that back to Him, Okay?  Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the times of soaring high and the times of feeling stuck.  We know that You can use both these kinds of times to bring honor to Yourself through our lives.   Help us to understand Your thoughts, so we can look down on the "lagoons and eventually soar over them" with Your "joy and peace."  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson     

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"In to Win"

Wow!  It's been a while since we've been here together.  I am returning with the goal of you and I visiting at least once a week about one of the remarkable things happening in the hallways, classrooms, chapels and athletic venues of Chapel Hill Christian School.

I am reminded this morning of a story I wanted to tell you way back in the spring of last year.  It's all about The Big Green Machine.  That's right - our South Campus Green Volleyball Team.  As I recall they "ran the table" last year.  That means they did not lose a game throughout the entire season.  No losses in the regular season - no losses in the tournament.

And yes, they were The Big Green Machine because their jerseys were green, their coaches wore green sweaters and bright green beads for bling, and the players painted their hair and faces green.  At the end of every game they victoriously slid on their knee pads like a wave of green under net to shake hands with their opponents.

But why were they so successful?  Why couldn't they be beaten? It was because they served the ball in bounds.  It seems so simple, but it's definitely the way to win volleyball games in our league.

Gabe served a bullet.  Chris served a knuckleball.  Aliah and Maddie served beautiful rainbows.  But then there was Robert.  Robert served a left-handed curveball that just when you thought it was coming to you, and you closed your eyes and braced yourself to dig it; it hit the player next to you right in the face.  They all "served it in."

It all got me to thinkin'!  When we stay within the lines of God's commands through His Word and by His Holy Spirit, there is God's protection, God's blessing and God's fruitfulness.  When we ignore Him we are setting the course of lives toward going out-of-bounds.

Psalm 1 talks about this: "his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on His Law he meditates day and night.  He will be like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers."

That's what I want my life to look like - how about you?  A tree that is flowering and bearing fruit because I am planted by God and the instructions in His Word. 

When we live within these guidelines, it's just like "serving it in!"  And when we "serve it in", it's kinda like The Big Green Machine, we'll see victory after victory in our lives with the Lord!

Let's pray about that, OK?  Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Word.  It gives us such good boundaries on how to live our lives.  Help everyone of us to live inside the safety and guidance of Your instructions.  We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson      

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blues Got The Joy

We've made it through another intramural volleyball season!

The Big Green Machine from our South Campus reigned victorious this year, and I will write to you about them shortly.

In the meanwhile, I'd like to tell you something I saw that has to do with the Blue Team.  The Blues had the JOY!

Now that's pretty interesting given that the Blues won a grand total of zero matches over the course of the season.  We're talkin' egg (Get it? An egg is sort of round and looks like a zero)!

How come they're happy, or even more, how'd they get the JOY?

It was the coaches.

Mr. Hank, Mr. Eric and Miss Mary knew that when the season started that they had very few players that could get a serve over the net.  They knew that only a couple of their team had much interest in the win-loss records of our intramural volleyball teams.  They knew that things more important than volleyball would have to become primary in order for their team to be successful.

They began to inject joy.  During one of their practices, I heard a loud commotion in the gym.  I got up to check it out.  What I found was coaches and kids laughing and playing hysterically together.  The coaches were shouting joy; they were assigning nicknames; and they were doing weird drills.  The kids were having a blast.  The players were bonding to these coaches, and the players were bonding to one another.

At their final match they came O SO CLOSE to winning!  But even in a close defeat in which they almost tasted numerical victory, they could look over at their coaches and receive "the joy." I call that a WIN!

Stuff like this always gets me to thinkin'.  I am reminded of John 15, you remember, the one about the Vine and the branches.  As long as the branches (that's us) remain in the Vine (that's Jesus), we will bear much fruit.  Apart from the Vine (that's Jesus) the branches (that's us) can do nothing.

As long as the Blues had the mindset and affirmation of those three coaches, they had the JOY.  

Jesus said, "If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father's commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

I call that downright awesome!  Let's pray about it!  Dear Lord, thank You for providing Your complete joy and unconditional affirmation to us at all times.  And even when things are not going how we would like, we are so grateful that if we remain in You, we can show the fruit of Your Spirit to everyone who 's watching.  In Jesus' name, Amen

Proud of you,
Pastor Wilson