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Today almost 500 students will participate in the Lutheran Schools Music Festival here on campus. Hosting this event again has been a huge undertaking for leaders on campus and for volunteers like Mrs. Denise Bates.
And it would be appropriate to ask why we would volunteer for this and put people through such stressful and time consuming work?
For many of you, the “brand” of our school is not terribly meaningful. You may not have enrolled because the word Lutheran is on our logo. In fact, perhaps you had to overcome the fear of the unknown and enroll in spite of knowing little about our denomination and our schools.
But we are part of a system of over 800 elementary schools nationwide. And while we are geographically distant from many of them (lots of Lutheran schools in the Midwest!), we are still connected by our common mission.
And even though there is no top down leadership like our Catholic brothers and sisters experience, we still choose to do things together. And since there is no one to tell schools “You must host this event” we do it voluntarily.
We do it to give opportunities to our students and to students from as far away as Peachtree City, GA and Boca Raton, FL. We love being part of this system of Christ-centered, Biblically-based, church operated schools and want to see our school and all Lutheran schools flourish. We want the choice of our unique schools to be available to as many children and families as possible. And so we proudly and excitedly serve the schools of the Florida-Georgia District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd
I remember being a young boy and cringing at on screen kisses in movies and TV shows. Was I the only one? Oh, come on. I can’t be the only one! Anyone?!?!
Well, anyway, I think as Valentine’s Day approaches, we are reminded of the confusing messages we send and receive about love. It is such a broad and multi-faceted term. And we and our kids miss much of the depth of love when there is just one word we use.
Have you had the pleasure of being around someone who has the gift of encouragement? It is an amazing thing. Whether it comes naturally or is a habit developed through intentional practice, these people make everyone’s life better.
And the Lord tells us in Romans 12 that encouragement is a gift of the Spirit. One who encourages or exhorts can also be seen as giving joy, comforting and urging on.
When we do cooperative learning activities on campus, one of the things we look for in students is sharing positive feedback and exhorting one another to keep going and to do one’s best.
Elsewhere in scripture Jesus says directly that the two great commandments are to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. And the above quote from John says in essence that those two are not separate steps but one and the same.
As we started discussing the Fruits of the Spirit this month at SPLS we addressed how the fruit of love is at the foundation of building one another up. And love does not depend on being loved. In fact, the truest test of love is loving someone who does not love us (or doesn’t treat us nicely).
God’s calling to us is to love the unlovable. And if we are making excuses as to why it is OK to reject this person or speak ill of that person we are not loving. And we are confessing that our love for God is pretty weak as well.
I do not jump on scary bandwagons, warning about the dangers of any number of new fads very easily.
But I have been watching the Fortnite video game impact for quite a while and have been talking with kids and listening to them. And that tells me it is time to say something.
Parents, please first consider that not every parent wants there kids exposed o this contet. If you choose to let your child participate, please tell them to leave the conversations about it at home.
Good kids. Good families. And yet, hurtful words and actions still happen.
And I wonder, why is it that people do things that intentionally or predictably hurt others?
Why are kids willing to look at a peer and exclude him or her from a seat at lunch or a spot in a recess game?
Why do students, at times, make a conscious choice to make teaching and learning harder for everyone around them?
Why do words of criticism, or anger, or disrespect so easily flow from the mouths of some?
Why do taunting nicknames or slurs get repeated even after the damage they do is obvious?
Biblically, we are fallen people. But many of these kids have faith in Jesus and recognize their sinful nature, the need for repentance, for receiving grace, and God’s call to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
How often to do you verbalize to your child that they can have a fresh start?
A core message of our faith is the truth that God’s grace gives us a fresh start. We are made clean. God separates our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. We confess this truth. But do we allow our children to experience it in real time?
I greet kids daily as they arrive at school. On occasion I ask a student how his or her older sibling is doing in high school or college. Almost always I get this strange look. To me, it says, “Why would I know anything about my sibling?”
I have always felt it was sad that kids could live in the same house day after day and know absolutely zero about what is going on in the other’s life.
Have you ever overheard a parent saying, “God does not like it when you do that. He is mad at you. You had better watch out!” I have. And it drives me crazy. The Bible is never meant to be just a tool that strikes fear into the heart of people to change their behavior. It is never meant to be a tool to manipulate, or intimidate.