In the scriptures, the wilderness is a place for intense experiences—of stark need for food and water (manna and quails), of isolation (Elijah and the still small voice), of danger and divine deliverance (Hagar and Ishmael), of renewal, of encounters with God (Moses, the burning bush, the revelation of the divine name, Mount Sinai).
The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness after their exile from Egypt. During this time, God fed them and provided for them.
The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Led by the Holy Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating and being tempted by Satan.
Maybe this COVID season has been your wilderness. Many have lost loved ones, been ill, been quarantined, lost jobs, and wealth during this time. If we think about what God was doing with those in the wilderness, we would see that He was working in their lives. God was preparing them for something better. He was using that time to show himself and draw His children closer to himself. Especially for Moses and Jesus, God was preparing them for a time when their faith, perseverance, resolve, compassion, humility, and grace will be tested.
So, what is God preparing you for in this wilderness season? I know for me, this season has brought a greater understanding of humanity’s struggles. On the flip side, this season has strengthened my faith in the power of God in so many ways. Since we are created “in His image,” we have many of the attributes of God. The sheer creativity and understanding of the human body by doctors and researchers has been amazing. Man’s ability to understand a virus and develop a vaccine in a short time period is impressive. I have seen the compassion of God modeled and demonstrated by so many people in so many different situations. People are reaching out to other people, whether with food and clothing or with merely a listening ear. The resilience and perseverance shown by so many remind me of the strength and determination Jesus modeled while he was in the wilderness.
I want to encourage you with the thought that after Moses and Jesus came out of the wilderness, they did their most significant works. I believe that the TPCS community will be more compassionate, stronger, more resolved, with more remarkable perseverance, and accomplish more on the other side of this wilderness.
Whether or not I ever thought we would get to the point where the government tries to control what goes on in our homes or not, I have to admit this makes me chuckle.
I have a rhetorical question for you. How will you demonstrate thankfulness and gratitude this Thanksgiving during a time of stress, unrest, virtual learning, health concerns, business closures, the strain on hospitals, and much more? Where do you go to find hope and peace during this time? Where do you go when man doesn't have the answer? What do you find to be thankful for?
During times like these, I often think back to songs we sang in church when I was a child (I know that was a long time ago). My mind is drawn back to the hymn My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less by Edward Mote (1834). The song is constructed from the Parable of the Wise and the Foolish Builders and builds around the metaphor of Christ as a rock with a firm basis in Scripture (1 Corinthians 10:4). I anchor my foundation during storms in hymn and Scripture passages like these below.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
When darkness veils his lovely face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
His oath, his covenant, his blood
Supports me in the 'whelming flood
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay
On Christ the solid rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
Colossians 3:15 "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful."
John 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
When our family sits around the Thanksgiving table next week, we will have a bountiful list of things to be thankful for. At the top of my list is the saving grace of Jesus Christ, followed by the gift of the Bible, my family, my friends, and so much more. We are profoundly thankful for our TPCS family. We love the work that God has called us to and are so grateful for our friends at TPCS!
I pray that you can find much to be thankful for not only next week but each day. We wish you a very
Our theme for this year continues to ring true in our everyday circumstances. With COVID numbers rising, with the political landscape changing, our need to live by faith is even more necessary today with so much uncertainty in our world.
The more we learn about God, the more our eyes are opened to how He is working in our lives and strengthening our faith. Our faith continues to grow as we grow in our understanding of God and study His character. As a Christian, Faith means assurance that God loves us and deeply cares about our thoughts and needs.
God desires for our faith to grow, and we are instructed through the Scriptures on how to develop a faith that conquers fears. Romans 10:17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ." Studying the Word of God is paramount in building strong faith. To know Him and rely on His direction in our lives, we must seek to understand Scripture.
Time with God in prayer and quiet worship also builds a relationship with God and opens our hearts to Him. David experienced fear and wrote to God in response, "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you" (Psalm 56:3). The Psalms are a great instruction to those who wish to learn how to cast out their fear with faith. Psalm 119 has excellent examples of how David communicated with God and valued His Word: "With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!" (v. 10); "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you" (v. 11); "I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways" (v. 15); "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (v. 105). Today, we can also meditate on these words to build our faith.
Without trials, faith does not mature or strengthen. God understands our weaknesses and fears, but He also commands us to use trials as opportunities to grow our faith. In Scripture, we see many examples of people who experience adversity and lean on God. Each of us will experience fearful situations that God can walk through with us (John 16:33; Romans 8:31–39). We can learn to allow God's Word to saturate our thoughts and use trials as stepping-stones to building greater faith that God is good and will take care of us.
Fear is our human reaction to the trials that we will face in this life, but God promises us that we can experience peace in every situation.
Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
It seems as though these last ten days have been full of trying times for our country, our school, and our families. This week I have gotten word of a school family receiving notification of malignancy from a biopsy. We have an unfinished presidential race. We have several kids and adults with COVID19. We are in a virtual learning model for another week. Our football team had to withdraw from the sectional championship because we had to go virtual. Our basketball teams cannot begin practices until we return to in-school learning. We had to postpone our long-awaited ACSI accreditation visit until December. Our cheerleaders did not get to complete their fall season, and then they get word that they will have limited participation during basketball. Many of our students are struggling with the virtual learning model. There are real social and emotional challenges for our students during a virtual learning time. Our teachers are taxed with making virtual learning rigorous but not overwhelming. Our dual credit and AP teachers are working on externally imposed progress rates. Our EC is challenged with staffing since so many of the EC staff have Lower School students at home. All of our families are trying to navigate the challenges of being the teacher at home, trying to continue your jobs, and finding childcare to meet your responsibilities. The list could continue, but I will pause.
As I think of this list, I am reminded of the Children of Isreal and the many times that they whined and complained about their circumstances. When those circumstances involved God leading them out of captivity and slavery into the promised land and their freedom, they were still complaining. So how do we navigate these trying times?
- Let’s turn our eyes to the one who can calm the storm. - Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God.
- Let’s remember the lyrics of the old hymn “Count Your Blessings” - “Count Your Blessings” is a hymn about gratitude—it’s a call to rise above discouragement, doubt, envy, and self-pity to reach a new appreciation for the blessings which the Lord has poured upon each of us.
- Let’s trust in the Lord - Proverbs 3:5-6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
- If you feel our governmental leader is a Nebuchadnezzar, then be like Daniel. Pray regularly and obey God fearlessly.
- If you believe that your circumstances are challenging, find someone in worse shape than you and pour into their lives. I don’t think you will have to look very far.
So in times of trouble, let’s follow the admonition of Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Opportunity may not be the first word that comes to mind in a conversation about cancer. Wednesday of last week, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. The diagnosis was not a surprise due to recent health issues, but still a hard pill to swallow.
We often talk about how good God is and how He is good all the time. That is still very true! God is good in our sickness and our health. God’s sovereign plan for my life right now is to walk through this with grace and faith. Our theme this year is “By Faith.” I saw how that theme would be pertinent organizationally in this season of COVID, but I did not realize how true it would be to me personally.
At this time, I think of so many passages of Scripture that speak to God’s role in my physical life. In Jeremiah 1, God said he knew Jeremiah before he was formed. Psalm 100:3 points out that I am God’s to do as he wishes, Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. Ultimately, I want to bring glory to God in all aspects of my life. Philippians 1:20 As it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.
So what happens now? I am sure I will miss a few days of work, but we have a great team of people around me to carry on the work at TPCS. I will have a CAT scan and MRI in early November to determine the next course of action. The doctors may be able to treat this with a simple surgery. The results of the scans will dictate if there will be any radiation or chemotherapy.
Phyllis and I covet your prayers, and we are anxious to see how God is to be glorified through this opportunity.
Psalm 4:8 I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
MOVING FORWARD BY FAITH
In a day when stress and anxiety are at a level never seen before, where culture is clashing violently, and what has been normal is now a “new normal”, it is good to have a place where, by faith, we can learn character for the present and find direction for our future. Traders Point is that kind of place. A place where the foundation is set on the rock of Scripture, where traditional values are held, where kids and families can find respite and safety. A place where living by faith does not hold us back but gives us momentum, guidance, and direction to move forward for the future.
As a result of COVID 19, we have seen a substantial increase in expenses and a decrease in enrollment revenue totaling over $700,000. We have made as many adjustments as possible to our staff and operating expenses to manage this decline in revenue. Our TPCS families and their generosity continue to help us move forward. Thank you for the many gifts and resources you continually provide our students and faculty and for all of the opportunities that are made possible by YOUR generosity.
Luke 12:34 (ESV) 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We know that you treasure your child and that is natural. So, will you allow your treasure to follow them to TPCS in a special way next week? Tuesday, October 27 is our Day of Giving, and we want to make this year’s giving reflective of the great spirit God has brought to our campus and the hope for our future. Designate your gift to our Annual Fund to support school operations and programs.
By faith, let’s make the future bright for TPCS!
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.” – John Maxwell
In our Statement of Faith found on our website, TPCS states that “We believe in the equality of races because there is no distinction in God’s treatment of people (Romans 2:11, Ephesians 5:18).” That belief is foundational to who we are and how we should behave. To ensure that we live our statement of faith, all employees at TPCS will be undergoing Diversity Training over the next several months. We believe that this training will help us develop the strongest relationships possible to carry out our credo (Training scholars. Making disciples. Graduating leaders.) effectively.
For our diversity training, the school will be partnering with a group called Mosaix. This training will begin with a preassessment of all employees. Once the preassessment is completed, Mosaix will compile an organizational profile. That profile will inform the live training that will follow. We plan to have our first 3-hour training session on November 30. This is the Monday that we return from Thanksgiving break. The 30th was originally a scheduled school day, but we will not have school that day and instead will make this a dedicated staff professional development day. This training date will be followed by a second 3-hour session on our already planned professional development day, January 4, 2021.
We are looking forward to this training and expanding our capacity for providing a robust relational kingdom education at TPCS.
See You at the Pole™, the global day of student prayer began in 1990 as a grassroots movement with ten students praying at their school. Twenty years later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September.
See You at the Pole™ is simply a prayer rally where students meet at the school flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. It is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event. However, parents, churches, and families are encouraged to participate. To learn more and to get involved, visit www.syatp.com.
The See You at the Pole Story
A small group of teenagers in Burleson, Texas, came together for a DiscipleNow weekend in early 1990. They came seeking God, and little did they know how powerfully He was about to move. On Saturday night, their hearts were penetrated like never before when they became broken before God and burdened for their friends. Compelled to pray, they drove to three different schools that night. Not knowing exactly what to do, they went to the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools, and leaders. Those students had no idea how God would use their obedience.
God used what He did among those teenagers and others who were holding similar prayer meetings at their schools to birth a vision in the hearts of youth leaders across Texas. The vision was that students throughout Texas would follow these examples and meet at their school flagpoles to pray simultaneously. The challenge was named See You at the Pole™ at a brainstorming session during a meeting of key youth leaders. The vision was shared with 20,000 students in June 1990 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.
Only God had envisioned how many students would step up to the challenge. At 7:00 a.m. on September 12, 1990, more than 45,000 teenagers met at school flagpoles in four different states to pray before the start of school.
A few months later, a group of youth ministers from all over the country gathered together for a national conference in Colorado. Many of them reported that their students had heard about the prayer movement in Texas and were equally burdened for their schools. No other events had been planned, but it was clear that students across the country would be creating their own national day of student prayer. There was no stopping them.
On September 11, 1991, at 7:00 a.m., an estimated one million students gathered at school flagpoles all over the country. From Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, from North Dakota to the tip of Texas, students came together to pray. Some sang, some read Scripture, but most importantly, they prayed. Like those first students, they prayed for their schools, for their friends, for their leaders, and for their country.
As in all great movements of prayer, See You at the Pole™ did not begin in the hearts of people. It began in the heart of God. God used the obedience of a small group of teenagers to ignite what has become an international movement of prayer among young people.
Since 1991, See You at the Pole™ has grown to God-sized proportions. Within the first few years, the movement began to spread to other nations through missionaries from the U.S. Now each year, more than 3 million students from all the world participate in See You at the Pole™. Students in more than 20 countries take part. In places like Canada, Korea, Japan, Turkey, and the Ivory Coast, students are responding to God and taking the challenge seriously to pray.
God is continuing to call His people to repentance and prayer. We invite all TPCS Knights to join us at the flagpole this Wednesday at 7:30 am for 9th-12th at the High School flagpole and 7:55 am K-8 at the academy flagpole to pray for our school community. See you there.
As we navigate these murky waters of the management of the CoVID19 virus, we regularly use the terms asymptomatic and symptomatic. I don’t want to get into a discussion about this related to CoVID19, but I want to use it as an analogy. Are we an asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious person in all aspects of our lives?
As one who proclaims to be a Christian, am I asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious? Does my life reflect what the Scripture tells us to be in Matthew 15? Matthew 15:13-16 13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men. 14You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. If you are a believer, would your symptoms show?
I also think about this as an organizational leader, am I asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious leader? I challenged our Upper School teachers with this same thought this week. Are we asymptomatic or symptomatic infectious teachers? I challenge you as parents, are you asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious in your parenting?
We cannot control whether or not we become infected with the CoVID19 virus. Still, we can control our attitudes, which is the most significant contributing factor to whether or not we are asymptomatic or symptomatic contagious. Be symptomatic contagious today for Christ.
It’s invisible to the naked eye but powerful enough to stop a nation. It is highly contagious and knows no boundaries. It impacts all people, ages, genders, and races differently. I’m sure you know what I am talking about, or do you? You see what I am referring to could be CoVID19, racism, political unrest, or disunity within the body of Christ. No matter which one you choose the end result is destruction.
Each of these diseases are very destructive in and of themselves. We as a society and a body of believers allow them to permeate our hearts and our minds. If you have not noticed it, we are living in a time of enhanced tensions, and anxiety, like I have never seen before. We fear the virus, we are appalled and tired of racism, we are divided by the political unrest and the associated activities of each side. We let these things captivate our minds and hearts and divide us as a body of believers. We allow the tensions and anxiety to take our eyes off of our purpose as believers on earth. Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Here’s how you can pursue unity with other believers:
- Make no distinctions among believers (racism). Remember that, in God’s eyes, there are no distinctions between His children who are in Christ.
- Surrender your agenda to God’s agenda (political). Instead of letting your personal agenda guide you, make a habit of seeking God’s will and fulfilling His purposes as you face decisions each day.
- Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Invite God to speak to you through the Bible, which will transform your thoughts and help you see other believers from His perspective.
- Forgive. Don’t allow bitterness, over ways other believers have hurt you, to poison your soul and block your intimacy with God.
- Overcome evil with good. Don’t be afraid to confront evil when you encounter it. Pray for the Holy Spirit to help you discern what’s going on spiritually in any situation and stand firm against evil. Be aware that Satan wants to divide and distance believers from each other; resist this danger and overcome it with God’s love.
- Pray for each other. Intercede regularly for other believers.
- Control your thoughts and words. Be proactive about choosing not to think negative thoughts or speak harsh words, which can bring great destruction in your relationships with other believers.
- Oh yeah, wear your mask.
So, the challenge of the disease is the choice we make. Let’s take what Satan has meant for evil and allow God to use to turn that into good.