Saturday, September 03, 2005

The lilting ladies of liturgy prepare a special song for tomorrow's service. They sound great!

Friday, September 02, 2005


For once, I don't know where to start with a posting. I've been closely following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. I've read the articles, I've seen the pictures, I've watched the footage while experiencing an overwhelming sense of grief. 9/11 shook me to the core. The tsunami that struck Asia captured my attention. The bombings in London were very real to me (we were in London exactly five weeks before the explosions). However, there has never been an event not directly impacting my life that has ever sent me on an emotional roller-coaster like the natural disaster on our Southern borders.

I've watched in horror the footage of the flooded streets of New Orleans. I've been moved to tears while experiencing the plight of the refugees in the Super Dome, in the Astrodome, and the various other shelters across the South. I've felt anger as I watched the looting that is taking place all across the city. This has been a disaster like no other.

I have listened with disgust to the different politicians (Democrat and Republican) as they have pointed fingers and tried to put the blame of the hurricane relief fiasco at the doorstep of each other. I've read the offensive articles by newspaper columnists trying to portray what's going on as a racially discriminatory evacuation process. I have been disappointed by the inability of our government to quickly curb the chas and anarchy.

However, there have been so many stories of hope, of love, and of charity as Americans across the South have opened their homes, churches, and pocketbooks. They've given freely of their time and effort to help meet the needs of this crisis. The inspiring interviews with community leaders, volunteers, and those who are having their needs met are often overshadowed by the negative reports of the realities of death, destruction, and mayhem.

I'm glad to see that many of the churches of the South are helping the victims by giving (Houston churches alone have raised $9,000,000), volunteering, and providing meals and housing. I heard Franklin Graham propose yesterday that each church in the South adopt 10 families for the next month or two and help minister to their particular needs. From the reports I've heard today, many are following up on his suggestion.

I'm wondering, what are your churches doing to meet the need? I have grown up in and still consider myself to be part of the CHM (conservative holiness movement). We trace our theological and sociological roots back to John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Wesley believed strongly that Christians had a social responsibility to the world. He was a man who gave of himself to the poor, the destitute, those that couldn't be recognized by the Church of England. His famous statement "Make all you can, save all you can, give all you can" was a motto that he exemplified in word and action.

However, I've noticed that often in times of national/world disaster the CHM churches are nowhere to be found. We have become so obsessed with the piety aspect of religion (also advocated by Wesley) and it's moral codes (many of which are man-made) that we've lost sight of the other aspect of Wesley's teachings, which are gleaned directly from God's Word. We have evolved into a subculture of religion that is focused on doing, not living. And there is a difference. We can all be clones in our appearance, but if we don't have a sense of social concern we have NOTHING! Don't get me wrong, we have to live holy lives. We must obey God's commands and honor biblical principles. Meeting the needs of society while completely ignoring God's Word is just as unbalanced as the other. However, we most often tend to err on the side of withdrawing into our little CHM bubbles. That's wrong.

Listen to what James says in James 2:14-18 (NLT):
14Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. 15Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, 16and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well"--but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all--it is dead and useless.
18Now someone may argue, "Some people have faith; others have good deeds." I say, "I can't see your faith if you don't have good deeds, but I will show you my faith through my good deeds."

Faith in action. I reek of hypocrisy, I know, writing these words. I'm sitting in an air-conditioned office in Idaho, far from the chaos of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I don't have the money to fly to Texas to help the volunteers. With the price-gouging that's going on (that's a whole other post), I sure don't have the money to drive down. I've been convicted this week, though, because I don't know if I've really cared before. Sadly to say, I've never been part of a congregation or movement that taught or focused on the need for social action or actively participated in bettering their community. It's no excuse. As a Christian, I should have been aware before now. There's always been something missing, I'm now seeing. Sure, we preach and teach holiness. It's needed. We have the message of hope, of that I'm convinced. We run our bus routes. We have our Sunday School classes. Sometimes we stand in front of Planned Parenthood. We might even occasionally work with inner-city teens or occasionally feed the homeless. That's all good and commendable. It should be done. But do we care? Is it just a way to promote ourselves or convince others that our particular brand of theology is the right one? Do we truly love others in need?

It's funny, because the catalyst in this conviction didn't come from a sermon or even from witnessing this week's tragedies. It happened as I listened to a speaker representing the Black Congressional Caucus, a group that I usually differ with philosophically. I disagree with their idea of justice and equality and proposed solutions. However, the speaker read a verse from Scripture, one that I've heard many times and thought that I understood. It's found in Matthew 25:34-45 (NIV). Jesus is talking about His return and Judgement Day. You know it and can probably quote it:
34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

With this being an example of a conversation at the Judgement, the seriousness is plain to see. Please understand in writing this, I am in no way trying to unjustly criticize anyone, who like me, considers themselves part of the CHM family. Trust me, I've been just as insensitive to the social ills around me as anyone. No, a blog is just the posting of my personal thoughts. This happens to be something that God is showing me right now. I just want to make sure that I don't lose my sense of responsibility to a world who not only needs our message, but also needs my love, compassion, and assistance. I want to be aware of the full spectrum of Christian responsibility: to love God, and to love my neighbor as myself. I end this rambling post with another quote from John Wesley: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.

Ya gotta love 'em

OK, I know I post a lot of pictures of Trey and Kassady on here, but c'mon...they're great-looking kids. I'm sure they get it from the Mom!

Musical Heritage

For all of you out there who purchased and listened to the critically acclaimed and best selling album "The Waggoners Sing Your Favorites" subtitled " with Keithie and Bobby" (that never made much sense to me; Bobby and I thought we were Waggoners too) will be pleased to know that in the legacy of the vocalists before them, Kassady and Trey will be producing an album of their own.

Entitled TreyKast, the album will feature urban mixes of your favorite Sunday School songs. Here the two members pose for the cover shot. Order your copy soon. If they sell like the aforementioned Waggoner album, you will only be able to find them in a Goodwill store near you (except for the 40 dozen boxes out in the garage).

Trey enjoying life, seconds before Kassady tees off on his noggin. Kassady has the potential to be an outstanding softball player or violent anarchist/mugger (we're still working on that part).

Need a ride?

Trey and Emme, shortly before heading out on their first date. No, seriously, they love getting in Marc and Talisha's SUV after the Grace Teens service on Wednesday night and acting like they're cruising the streets of Nampa. I thought it was a cute picture.

Worship Orders for 9.4.05

In case you're curious, here's what we will be singing (Lord willing) at Grace on Sunday:

Sunday AM
*He Is Exalted
*I Exalt Thee
*The Solid Rock
*Learning to Lean
*God Will Make a Way
*Take My Life (a great prayer of aspiration/commitment, by the way, for those who might not be familiar with it; click link for lyrics

Sunday PM
*It’s Just Like His Great Love
*Isn’t He Wonderful?
*Altogether Lovely (this classic Haldor Lillenas song is left out of Sing to the Lord; what's wrong Lillenas Music?)

At some point in the future I will post my philosophical position on worship leading in today's culture. Stay tuned.


Ray is starting to worry me just a little bit. While everything is going well for me in the classroom, Ray has developed some odd quirks over the past few days. One of those oddities is collecting cardboard boxes. Here you see Ray leaving his stash of boxes and looking frantically around his office for more cardboard. Except for this, and the occasional shopping cart being pushed into class, we're doing OK.

One week under my belt...

Well, here it is Friday, the school day is over, and I've just made it through my first week of teaching at GCA. I'm hear to tell you that all is well.

I'm actually enjoying it. Here are the subjects (covering grades 10-12) that Ray and I are teaching:

Business Math
Consumer Math
Algebra II
English 10, English 11, and English 12
Bible (Jesus and His Followers)
Spanish 1
American Government
U.S. History
World History

Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the A beka DVD curriculum, here's how it works: Each class has a Master Teacher (teachers who are qualified with minimum of Master's degree in the subject they are teaching) who oversees the class. A teacher's video manual accompanies each subject. This allows Ray and I to follow along with each class. Most of the time, there are 3 classes going on at once. Due to our limited space, we have 3 "pods" in each room, separated by those 6" walls you often see in office buildings. Each pod has it's own 32" TV, DVD player, and headphone station. The students use their headphones to listen to the lectures.

Ray and I assign the homework, collect the homework, grade the homework, and (fun, fun) help the students with their work. Each class has 7-10 minutes (usually) at the end of the video lecture which allows us to check for comprehension and address any perceived problems. Our students also have a study hall at the end of the day and this gives us time to help them with concepts they don't understand.

Ray and I have our areas of expertise/enjoyment, so we split up the work. It seems like the two subjects that the students struggle with the most are Math and English. I enjoy working with the students in the Math class, and Ray likes helping out with English. Everything else is addressed as a problem arises.

It's worked out pretty well. Our students are doing a good job this week. So far, so good!

I do have a new respect for teachers. I now believe that they their salaries should be doubled. It's amazing what they do! God bless our teachers! Especially the ones who know what they're doing.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Kassady's First Birthday

As promised, below you will find pictures from Kassady's birthday party. We had a small party last Saturday and invited Ray, Lenea, Tosha, Darnelle, and Marissa over. A great time was had by all.

Ray sure can eat a lot.

The Birthday Meal

Here is Lenea getting ready to gorge herself upon the feast provided at the birthday party. Listen to this menu:
Hamburgers and hotdogs
Hot wings (whoo-hoo! the best wings outside of BW3 are found at Costco in frozen foods)
Potato Salad
Lays Hickory Barbeque chips (best on the market)
2 kinds of ice cream (vanilla and oreo cookie)

We ate sumptously. Lenea went back several times for more. I was kind of worried about her. I can say this because she never visits my blog. If you don't visit my blog, you're fair game for sarcasm.

I don't know if Kassady enjoyed the food, but we sure did.

Kassady is a huge VeggieTales fan! She won't watch any other type of video. For some reason she's fascinated by talking vegetables (aren't we all). So, when we found this cake design at Wal-Mart, we knew it was for Kass. She was very intrigued with the decor. She kept trying to figure out why Larry and Bob were sitting on her table.

...and this is Kassady, stuffing cake in her face. Why is it that females do this at their first birthday and then at their wedding? Just curious.

Ray, Lenea, and the girls bought Kassady a toy tea set. Kassady is trying to figure out why there isn't any water in the cup. She spent the entire evening sucking on the rim, vainly searching for the liquid.

This is Kassady with her favorite birthday present, the Elmo cell-phone. Why is it that kids love the loudest, most obnoxious-sounding toys available? I mean, now, having kids, I can't imagine what my parents were thinking when they bought me my drumset. That's my girl!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

FCA All-Stars

OK, here they are, drumroll please (dtdtdtdtdtdtdtdttdtd....): the FCA All-Stars! Give them a hand ladies and gentlemen. (Cue music; can't be too rocky, though) Theme music plays loudly, the cassette warbling occasionally during the Cathedral Quartet's version of "Masterbuilder" (that's the jazziest version we're allowed to play).

All-Stars come skipping out onto the Green Street Park field dressed in their uniforms (remember, this is A.C.E., children; only red, white, or blue shirts, oxford style preferred, sleeves must be below the elbow; please make sure that pants and skirts are constructed of sturdy blue material that disintegrates only after 20 or more scrapes on the blacktop). Unfortunately, Keith has three patches on his pants. My mom wanted to make sure those pants lasted all year.

The All-Stars take their place behind the rickety fence separating the dugout (which consists only of a 4 foot slab on concrete resting upon two pieces of wood) while the crowd cheers wildly. One by one, they run out on the field as their name is called:

At pitcher, Carrie Glass! (remember those big glasses?)
Our catcher is, Susan Bailey (she always played catcher)
At first base, Jonathan Bailey (he lopes off toward the base, shouting insults at Matt Sullivan)
At second base, David Fry (carrying the long knife that we almost got caught with during the Wesleyan Youth Camp in Frankfort)
Short stop, Keithie Waggoner (he runs out to his position, his hair poof waving in the wind)
Third base, Tracy Griffin (probably the best girl to every play softball in the world)
In right field we have, Matt Sullivan (makes his way out to the field while shouting back at Jonathan)
Right center field, Jeremy Glass (he runs out chanting, "Beanie-weenies are nutritious, Beanie-weenies are delicious" in a high soprano voice)
Our left center fielder is Chris Arndt (he sprints to his position, headphone jangling on his head, while he listens to a black market cassette copy of New Kids on the Block which he and his cousin are selling for $1.00 to other kids who will later have their copies taken and destroyed by parents who are convinced that NKOTB are the Beatles of our generation)
And last, but certainly, not least in right field, Bobby Waggoner (yelling insults to generally everyone except David Fry)

Your Frankfort Covenant Academy All Stars are brought to you by Caterpillar and Kirby Risk, who at this time employ pretty much all of the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church.

I hope you enjoy the game as much as I did.

"I'm sorry to hear you died", he said gravely

This is a great example of mistaken identity:,5744,16454742^29677,00.html

If you get word of a friend's death, be sure to call before traveling more than two hours.


I have discovered a fantastic Mexican fast food restaurant in town. Taco Time has the best beef burritos I have ever tasted (see picture above). Deep-fried and crispy, these burritos, with super-hot sauce on top, will make you slap your mother-in-law. Today, Marc and I feasted at this locally-reknowned food joint. In addition to the beef burrito, I also chowed down on two of their hard-shell tacos. Great stuff! I highly recommend it!

Visit for more information on the restaurant. For those of you, back east, tell them they need to expand.

A new blogger

Check out my cousin's blog:

Her postings probably have a little more depth than mine.

Myles, a student in my Spanish 1 Class had a great quote yesterday. The students were going over their first lesson and were awkwardly trying to pronounce the words. After about 3 minutes of this type of Spanglish, Myles said "Just because you say it real slow doesn't mean your speaking in Spanish."

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Grilling with Keith

Ok, this is my latest luxury. When we lived in Cincinnati, Dave (my brother-in-law) and I bought a grill together. After an entire weekend of actually assembling the grill (Dave and I are awful at working together on assembly projects, eg. the basketball goal and Lori's engagement present; the two aren't related), we enjoyed its use for a year and a half. When we moved to Idaho, I bequeathed it entirely to Dave, trusting him with its care. It has since been junked and replaced. Anyway, Lori and I wanted a new grill when we moved. So, we had a yard sale and put the money made at the sale towards a new grill.

After shopping around for a little over a week, I found what I wanted at Lowe's. If you need to buy a grill, be sure to price there. A similar model sold for $200 more at Home Depot and Costco.

That night I decided to put the grill together. Here's how it works when I assemble stuff: Lori reads the instructions and I do the work. When I read the instructions, invariably something gets put on upside down. Now, for those who know me well, you know that I have the mechanical dexterity of an elephant wearing mittens. I'm always one mistake away from a complete meltdown.

I first separated the parts out, putting some inside the house and some outside where I was working. We had assembled nearly half the grill without mishap, when Lori read Step 7. Step 7 included parts laying on the kitchen table inside the house. I'm working on our patio, just outside the kitchen, so when she calls out the part, I whirl around to go into the house, not realizing that Lori shut the screen door.

Have you ever been driving and had bugs smash against the windshield? I now know what they go through just before death. My glasses slipped sideways on my face, and my arms went out to the side at extremely awkward angles. My knee, which apparently was traveling faster than the rest of my body, went through the screen door. The entire frame buckled and then popped out, falling on top of me.

I would love to say that I handled this quite calmly, gently setting the door aside while gaily commenting on how funny it probably appeared. Remember, meltdown's just a few blood pressure points away. Lori yelled, "Keith, don't throw it!" Fortunately, her words cut through my intense emotional state. I softly tossed it (OK, maybe it was more of a hard shove) and stomped into the kitchen, leaving my wife shaking with barely-controlled mirth.

This would be a funny story in and of itself, except for the fact that I did it one more time. By this time it was evening, and Lori had taken Trey and Kassady inside. Obviously, she doesn't want mosquitos in the house, so she shut the glass sliding door. Within 4 minutes, I had slammed face first into the door knocking my glasses off and bruising my already sensitive ego.

It took about 2 days for me to get to the point of actually laughing at what happened. Hey, alls well that ends well, though. I have a great grill.

This particular picture caught me grilling the hamburgers (using the special Waggoner seasoning mix/sauce) for Kassady's Birthday party.


As a price-conscious, quality-aware consumer I'm always looking for items that are useful and cheap. If you are a digital photographer or a parent whose children own obnoxious noice-making toys powered by AA or AAA batteries , the above item is a must. Energize's charger and batteries live up to their promise ( 15 minutes and they're charged. I bought this item at Wal-Mart for about $27.00 Trust me, it pays off in the long run.

Monday, August 29, 2005

For all you parents out there!

For all you parents out there!

(This includes all "wanna-be"and "could-have-been-but-chose-not-to-be parents".)

Repeat after me:

I will never complain about MY kids again .........
I will never complain about MY kids again ..........
I will never complain about MY kids again .
I will never complain about MY kids again .

I thought this was pretty nasty looking! enjoy

First home run

I just heard from a good friend today and it reminded me of a first in my life. For all you out there who have never hit a ball out of the ballpark, the significance of my accomplishment will be lost in your ignorance.

We were playing softball for our weekly P.E. class at Frankfort Covenant Academy (shouldn't you have P.E. more than once a week?) and things were going well. Any of my friends from the Frankfort days probably remember my competitive streak. I always wanted to win, whatever the cost. I always tried to finangle the best team possible. Somehow, my best friend Jonathan and I got on the same team, which rarely happened. Our principal, Mr. Campbell, usually made us captains.

Whatever the case, I was playing shortstop and Jonathan was at first base and defensively we were clicking. But that glorious moment happened when I stepped to the plate in the first inning. When we were able to be on the same team Jonathan normally batted third, while I batted fourth. For some reason we switched numbers that day, so I was batting in the 3 spot.

Stacy Griffin was on the mound for the opposing team. She was one of those sporadic pitchers. If she was on, it was always over the plate. If she was off, you never knew where the ball was going to end up.

This day she was on. The first pitch was a ball, but the second pitch was perfect. Is there any better feeling in the world than the slight vibration caused by hitting the ball with the fat part of the bat? I knew as soon as I hit the softball that this one was different. It took off like a rocket. I'm a right-handed pull hitter. Normally, I'm going to hit to left or centerfield. Well, this day the ball rose loftily (is that a word?) into the air toward right-center field at Green Street Park Lions Club Field. Matt Sullivan was playing right field that day and I remember watching him (as I churned towards first) run to the fence, stop, and gaze as the ball landed on the other side.

The euphoric feeling erupting on the inside can't be explained. I had done it! I was officially now part of the Bash Brothers club.

The next batter, Jonathan, cranked it out of the park, his first ever home run. I ended up hitting one more home run before the game was over.

Jon and I were riding on cloud 9 the rest of the day. It didn't matter that Stacy got mad and screamed at us as we rounded the bases. We had done it! We were men!

Thwarting the spammers

I hate spam, like I said previously, and am going to try something suggested by my good friend Jon (visit his blog at which hopefully will keep spammers from filling up my comments box.

When you comment, you will have to retype a random word generated by my blogging software. What this does is to prevent automated systems from adding comments to my blog, since it takes a human being to read the word and pass this step.

Please leave your comments, though. I love hearing from you. Talk at you later!

First day, done!!

You know, once I take my next dose of Prozac, I think I'll be able to objectively report on day 1 of teaching. As you may have noticed I went ahead and pulled out the rest of my hair. There's nothing left, except for six hairs left on the top of my head. It kind of reminds me of an acoustic guitar.

Architects of tomorrow, building today

We had a fun, but challenging, team activity that involved the cooperation, input, and creativity of each team member.

The point of the game was to construct a tower out of spaghetti noodles, marshmallows, and masking tape. Each team had a limit of $1000 to spend on supplies. Spaghetti noodles were $10 each, marshmallows were $5 each, and each strip of masking tape cost the team $20.

The structure was judged on it's height (100 points per inch) and it's structural durability. If the structure could hold the weight of a Ping-Pong ball the team would receive an additional 750 points.

The two teams of architects had 10 minutes to design and budget for their creation. When we said "Go" they had to withdraw their money from the bank (Keith) and purchase their supplies from the warehouse (Ray).

We gave the two teams approximately 30 minutes to finish construction. It turned out to be a blast for both teams!

The winning team of the competition built a tower that stood 3' 8" high. It also was constructed strong enough to withstand the weight of the Ping-Pong ball. Congrats!

Unfortunately, this team's structure crashed and burned (well, at least the marshmallows melted). They decided to go ahead and eat their creation.

Roseanne was the only sane person in the classroom today. Thank God for good assistants. She was the Rose with the two Thorns (pun very much intended).

I post this picture just to prove that our students did get some work done. This was during the journaling exercise.

Ray, trying to look as teacherly as possible while previewing teaching material. This picture was taken while he was enjoying his only chance at solitude. The rest of the day featured Ray romping through the school, wild-eyed, a to-do list in one hand, an inhaler in the other.


We made it! Oh yeah, we cruised through day number one. OK, maybe the word cruise is a little bit over the top, but still, we came through in one piece. Ray and I had the schedule all planned out. This was going to be our orientation day. No actual schoolwork would be done, it more of a demo day. We had everything timed out perfectly. It was going to be a full day. RIIIIGGGHHT!!!

About 9:05 AM, Ray leans over to me and whispers "I'm thinking we don't have enough stuff to get us through the day." Being the eternal optimist I whispered back, "Ah, man, we're going to be OK. If this stuff runs out we'll think of something."

(okay, you teachers that are reading this can stop your chortling)

By noon, we had exhausted all of our elaborate plans for the day. Ray's blood pressure was rising and I was experiencing brain freeze. We had done orientation, a journaling exercise, a team-building activity, an icebreaker or two (not to mention a couple of breaks in between) and we were flat out of ideas.

So Roseanne, our organized, only-one-who-has-it-together assistant suggested after lunch that we actually do a class. Imagine that, actually have class! Ray and I, having our creative ducts dried up, jumped at the idea. The only problem was that some of the technology associated with the video classes was messed up.

Ray and I were scurrying around like little water beetles, trying feverishly to troubleshoot the various problems. Fortunately, Rose stayed calm, cool, and collected and got us through the whole ordeal.

Finally, class began, smooth as silk. Everything went well from that time forward and we made it. Tomorrow, yeah, tomorrow will be much easier. I hope...

Pictures coming soon

I hope to soon post pictures from Kassady's first birthday party (with commentary) as well as pictures of Ray and I on the job (with more commentary). Call me Matthew Henry.

First Day

All right, guys. Here we go! I'm less than an hour away from my first day as a teacher at GCA. PRAY! Have a great day!


If you see any deleted comments on the blog, they were unsolicited advertisements from spammers. I truly believe there is a section of the bad place reserved for such people (along with telemarketers who, despite the DO NOT CALL list, call you during supper). I have strong feelings about this, as you might be able to tell, and promise that I will do my best to keep this blog spam-free.

However, if there is a post from any anonymous user with a link for more information, please do not click it. I want to keep your computer free from viruses and the deluge of weird e-mails that will undoubtedly follow.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A testament to God's faithfulness

All jokes aside, I am really looking forward to school beginning tomorrow morning. This has been a miraculous summer. Grace Christian Academy finished the 2004-2005 school year with 57 students, seven of whom graduated. As many of you know, May was a tumultuous month at Grace Bible Church. Ray McCrary, our pastor, felt led to resign (while agreeing with the board to stay on until the middle of June 2006) as did our school administrator, Jeff Allen. We also had several teachers who either retired or transferred to a different school.

While I understand the call of God to be paramount to all else, it was difficult to be optimistic when looking ahead to the fall. Not having an administrator is an overwhelming burden for a school and church board to bear. But we not only were lacking an administrator, we were also missing all but one teacher. Scary! Understandably, many of the parents made the decision to transfer their children to other schools. As late as the middle of July we barely had 20 students committed to coming to GCA this fall.

However, God's people began to pray. I know of one group that met several mornings a week to specifically pray for the need. Obviously, the church and school boards were earnestly seeking God's direction for the future of the school. "Should we keep it open? Does God want this ministry to continue? God, we need to know."

Lori felt led to work part-time (more full-time than part-time) as a temporary administrator, just to get us through the summer. In the meantime, several of our congregation began to feel God leading them to volunteer to help out in the academy. However, the nagging problem remained: no administrator and no teachers.

If I remember correctly, it was on the third Sunday evening in June that we had an incredible service. God's presence swept over our congregation, the altars were filled, the walls that had been between certain individuals in our church were brought down, it was just one of those times when God takes over.

It had started with a time of singing and testimonies. Several testified about the difficulties that they were struggling with and how God was helping them. A gentleman who had attended our church for the first time that Sunday morning stood up that evening, not knowing anything about us or what we were going through. He began by saying "I've never done anything like this before, but I feel as though God wants me to say something. I don't know you and you don't know me. I don't know if I'll ever see you guys again. But, I believe God is telling me that the problems that some of you have mentioned have something to do with the school you have here." Well, when he said that everybody's jaw dropped (including mine, as I stood before the people). He went on to say that he believed strongly in Christian education, that it was not only important but necessary. He told us that he was sensing that God was telling him to share with us that we shouldn't close the school. He said this all quietly, no fanfare, no wild gestures. He said it and sat down. People sat dumbfounded for quite a while. Ray said a few words and told the congregation that he needed to pray. He asked if there was anyone who wanted to join him?People surged to the altars. God's presence settled on the church and He began a healing process that is continuing even now.

Since that time, after nearly a month of prayer, God led the school board to offer the administrator's position to the quiet man who listened to God's voice, Milo Wittkopf. God has also sent us teachers and assistants for every class except high school (and just hold on, that's going to happen, too) and provided volunteers for nearly every program at the academy. Our enrollment is now at 65 students with more calling to set up appointments. God is doing something great at Grace Christian Academy.

Many times, when faced with difficult situations we try in our human strength to solve the problem. However, that's not what God wants us to do. I Peter 5:7 says that we're to "cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us." Philippians 4:19: "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

We talk big about faith in God when things are going easy, but I'm telling you, God truly proves His faithfulness when we are dealing with the impossible. This year of GCA is going to be a testament to His faithfulness.

I had to share the story.