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Run Toward Christ

April 17, 2021
By Paul Williams

I want to thank all of our TPCS school community for praying for me during this chemotherapy treatment time for my cancer. The love and compassion expressed by our faculty, staff, and school families have been overwhelming. The Scripture says, “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). So, I know that the prayers of this school community were heard by God and answered in mighty ways. I have completed my chemo treatments, and now I am focused on recovery from the chemotherapy effects. I will have a CT scan on May 24th to see how effective the treatments have been and set a plan for my ongoing care.

I’m confident that I’m not the only one going through health struggles or challenges at this time. Many of our school families struggle with their health, marriage relationships, finances, social and emotional health, relationship with your children, and many more issues. I often hear people say during those challenging times that God seems to be far away and distant. And it’s interesting how we measure our relationship with God and how closely we associate our happiness with God‘s blessings. We should measure our happiness with the closeness of our relationship with God.

The reality is that God says in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So he’s with us all the time. I’m also reminded of the passage in James 4:8 where it says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” When we feel alone or abandoned, God promises that if we draw close to him, he’ll draw close to us. I can’t tell you how much that’s been evident in my health challenges over these last several months. God has shown himself faithful to this promise. The more time I spent in prayer and the more time I spent in Bible study, the closer I felt to God. So when you’re feeling distant from God, run toward Christ, and he will be faithful to draw near onto you. 

Standing on the Shoulders of …

March 19, 2021
By Paul Williams

Each day I walk under the banner that reminds us that we walk “By Faith”. It points us to Hebrews 11 and reminds us of all the great men and women of God who were obedient to Him in their walk. These demonstrations of faith describe many situations when worldly knowledge would cause the average person to shrink back, but by faith these great men and women were motivated to move forward and do incredible things.

One example mentioned in this chapter is Noah who in the face of “things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family.” Heb 11:7 NIV He trusted God to do what had never been done before (build an ark to survive the flood). Later in the verse, we are told that by his obedience, he became an heir of the righteousness which was a precursor to our position when we put our faith in Christ.

So where are these great men and women today? They can be seen all around us. Forty plus years ago the Elders of Traders Point Christian Church had a vision to provide Christian education to students in the Northwest Indianapolis area. Great men like Howard Brammer and JK Stevens were charged and obediently followed God’s calling to lay a foundation and get the school off the ground. Besides having full time responsibilities at the church, they invested their time and effort as well as involving others. Several church leaders stepped forward to become the school’s first board members and contributed their time, talent and treasure to launch the school.

As the school has grown, the church provided room and resources for this new school to become more independent, and they brought in other community leaders from local churches and the Christian education community. The current leadership of the church continues to provided support and encouragement for our growth including the land that our school facilities are located along with generous financial gifts. As the relationship has matured similar to that of the emancipation of an adult child, the love and support from the church remain while school grows in size and programs.

We have also seen tremendous support from other members of our school family including investment of experience, advice and financial support. Each of you in some way support our school and help us to grow by your decision to bring your children to the school, help students to be successful, volunteer at the school, make additional gifts to the school, or simply support the activities of the school. In all these ways, you are all helping in Training Scholars, Making Disciples, Graduating Leaders.

Yes, we are certainly standing on the shoulders of many great men and women who have come before us or are ministering to the school now. Without their efforts and example, we would not be as successful as we are today. They have also given us a foundation from which to build and enhance the Christian education we offer. Thanks to those who came before us and to those who are laboring today.

Is Easter for You or Me?

March 12, 2021
By Paul Williams

As we approach Easter, I have been thinking about what God did for humanity through Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. We know that in the Old Testament times, God chose Abraham and, therefore, the children of Israel as his chosen people. Deuteronomy 14:2, "For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth."

God did not stop by sharing his love only with the Jews. He also extended it to the Gentiles. The gentiles are any people who are not Jewish. The word stems from the Hebrew term goy, which means a "nation," and was applied to the Hebrews and any other nation. The plural, goyim, "the nations," meant nations of the world that were not Hebrew.

God had a plan for reaching all humanity through Jesus Christ, and it began first with the Jews. Jesus did have a deep conviction of a special mission to the Jewish nation, who were God's treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). He expressed this so strongly that some have concluded that He envisioned no mission beyond Israel. But careful consideration of all His words and actions reveals that it was a question of strategy: As Paul later expressed it, His mission was "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16; 2:10, KJV).

God's second strategy was to reach the Gentiles. Most of the public ministry of Jesus was conducted in Jewish territory. Under the circumstances, the number of personal contacts with Gentiles recorded in the Gospels is surprising. He healed a Gadarene (Gentile) demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34). Another time, among ten lepers healed, one was a Samaritan (a mixed-race, half-Jew), and Jesus remarked upon the fact that only the foreigner returned to thank Him (Luke 17:12-19).

As we think about this Easter season, God, in his love for humanity, sent Jesus to die for ALL mankind. Jews and Gentiles. That means you and me—no matter what ethnicity or nationality the "you" or "me"are. As we look across our school community, let's see the oneness that God sees and not the diversity that man sees.

I Want to Be Like Daniel

March 05, 2021
By Paul Williams

While we most often remember Daniel as the one in the lions' den, there was a lot more to his life. Throughout the first six chapters of Daniel, we learn about how to remain faithful in all circumstances. He ran into several trying situations that may have caused him to lose faith or bend from his beliefs, but Daniel stayed strong. How he managed those trials set the stage for how God would look at Daniel in the future.

Daniel 9 (NLT) gives us a unique window into how influential Daniel was. In verse 23, it says that when Daniel started to pray, a command was given. The angel that was speaking to Daniel told him that "you are very precious to God." WOW! Wouldn't that be an inscription for a tombstone? 20 I went on praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, pleading with the Lord my God for Jerusalem, his holy mountain. 21 As I was praying, Gabriel, whom I had seen in the earlier vision, came swiftly to me at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He explained to me, "Daniel, I have come here to give you insight and understanding. 23 The moment you began praying, a command was given. And now I am here to tell you what it was, for you are very precious to God. Listen carefully so that you can understand the meaning of your vision.

So what got Daniel the reputation of being precious to God? It was his faithfulness to God's commands. There are risks, reasons, and rewards for remaining undefiled by the world.

Daniel 1 - Holy people are potent tools in the hands of God. As they stand firm in the face of trials, they bear witness to the reality of their Lord and Savior. They inspire and challenge us to also stand strong for God's truth and righteousness. Daniel lived out this kind of genuine holiness. At the significant risk of losing his life, he chose to remain undefiled by pagan Babylon.

Daniel's Response in the Face of Suffering

Daniel 2 - What do you do when the bottom falls out of your career, your family's security, your health? What do you do when things go horribly wrong? Though we don't like to think about it, we all know the unthinkable can happen. Believers are not insulated from life crises. We live in a fallen world and, like everyone else, may face crippling disappointment and disaster. In Daniel's response to the collapse of his circumstances, we will learn what faithfulness to God looks like when the bottom does fall out.

Genuine faith remains strong amid dire circumstances and uncertain outcomes.

Daniel 3 - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not operate on the popular notion that faith is about having confidence in expected or desired outcomes. By their words and actions, they proclaim a genuinely biblical faith: trust in a sovereign God regardless of the results.

Looking up to heaven

Daniel 4 - Nebuchadnezzar needed a reminder about the limits of his greatness and glory. God gave him that reminder through a dream that terrified the king, and he again called for Daniel to interpret the vision. The meaning was as simple as it was scary. Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar that he was going to have a great fall. And that he did! When

Nebuchadnezzar ultimately regained his mind and rule, he plainly stated what "the peoples, nations, and men of every language who live in all the world" needed to learn due to his demise.

The judgment of grace

Daniel 5 - Chapter five of Daniel is the flipside of chapter four. In chapter four, Daniel used King Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to affirm that the repentant reap the rewards of grace, however bleak their pasts. In this chapter, Daniel uses King Belshazzar's sacrilege to declare that the rebellious reap the wrath's consequences yet secure their present. Two equally evil kings demonstrated two equally strong messages: God's complete pardon for the humble and God's sure judgment for the proud.

Daniel's Call to Trust and Live

Daniel 6 - Sunday school pictures of a ruddy-faced lad in a lion’s den have a scant resemblance to the actual situation described in this sixth and last chapter of Daniel's life story. Daniel was more than 90 years old when these events unfolded. You might think he had earned a little rest and relaxation for those retirement years, but God still was using the faithful prophet. Age is no barrier to spiritual usefulness. In Daniel's case, glorious gospel truths built through the chapters describing his life in Babylon reach their climax. So let's try to be faithful like Daniel.

Identity Crisis

February 26, 2021
By Paul Williams

Today’s children and maybe adults are experiencing an identity crisis to a level that previous generations did not have to face. All humanity has struggled with an identity crisis beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Satan tempted Eve with the thought that she could be something different than what she was. Genesis 3:4-5 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Satan tempted Eve to think that she could be like God and convinced her that was a good thing. The reality is God did not create us to be Him but to worship and glorify Him.

 

Today our world, especially social media, tells our children and us that they need to be like ____________, you fill in the blank. So we lose the identity that God uniquely created us to be in a trade for what the culture wants us to be. God has given each of us who believe in Him a solid foundation for our identity. One that does not change with fashions, fads, or any external pressures.

 

Listed below is a selection of just a few of the terms given to our identity in Christ as image-bearers. These can have their own narrative built around them, but I won’t take that time in this article. I hope you will sit with your children and help them understand their identity is already firmly founded in the way God created them.

 

“Blessed of the father,” “fellow-heirs,” “dear children,” “redeemed of the lord,” “people near unto

God,” “lights of the world,” “heirs of salvation,” “salt of the earth,” “obedient children,” “the just,”

“heirs of the grace of life,” “children of the living God,” “servants of righteousness,” “joint-heirs with Christ,” “faithful of the land,” “kingdom of priests,” “chosen generation,” “witnesses for God,” “royal priesthood,” “holy priesthood,” “trees of righteousness,” “vessels of mercy,” “living stones,” “beloved of God,” “children of the highest,” “heirs of the kingdom,” and “chosen vessels.”

 

I don’t know what this list does for you, but it is reassuring and encouraging for me.

A Stormy Ride

February 20, 2021
By Paul Williams

This past Sunday night, my son, who lives in Atlanta, was going to help his girlfriend move to Warsaw, Indiana, where she will be starting a new job next week. No big deal, it's just a U-Haul truck followed by she and her brother in her car. But as you might recall, Sunday night was the start of our big snowstorm. So contemplating the drive, it had many possibilities for turbulence or even potential disaster. When faced with the decision, do we go or do we wait until later in the week to go, they decided to forge ahead.

Leaving Sunday night around 11:30 PM driving through the night trying to beat the storm to Indiana, they encountered a few problems. Malfunctioning windshield wipers, a headlight going out, heavy fog, snow-covered roads, and a 12+ Hour Drive. The trip would test their capacity or ability to drive a box truck in windy, snowy conditions. It was going to try their persistence and resilience when faced with a challenging trip.

A simple story, but it is a microcosm of what we have all faced over the last 12 months. The turbulence from the storm that we've gone through has been multifaceted and complex. The storm that my son faced didn't have to defeat him. Neither does the turbulence that we have faced over the last 12 months.

It's been so encouraging to watch our students go through the storm. At various times, most of them have shown some of the wear and tear from the storm in their countenance and in their spirit. Still, they've never quit. They've learned to be adaptable, persistent, resilient, and each day they are learning about the capacity that God built into them. Students and parents, you are designed to be tougher than you think. You are built for big things.  God is allowing these trials and storms to help us see the potential and capacity that we have when we trust in him and move forward by faith.

Oh, and by the way, they made it to Warsaw safe and sound by mid-afternoon on Monday, and there were no U-Haul trucks damaged in the relocation efforts.

Parenting Generation Z (Gen Z)

January 29, 2021
By Paul Williams

Do you ever feel that your child thinks you don't love them? I am sure this happens regularly.

I have been in Christian education for over 30 years now. In that time, I have seen a significant shift in how parents interact with their kids.  Many factors challenge parents today, ranging from single-parent family structures to overcommitted families who don't have adequate time for their kids. But maybe one of the most challenging things is a displaced focus on kids.  As a young father, I remember reading about Abraham in the Old Testament and praying that God would look on me in the same way. Genesis 18:19 (NIV) 19 "For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." This passage helped me focus on my role as the father in the home. My part was active or directive, not passive.

Frequently parents find themselves in a position where they do not direct their children but often discover themselves servants of their children. John Piper posted a Tweet that brought some critical feedback based on today's parenting culture. John Piper – "You must bear the burden of responsibility that your children BE loved, but you dare not bear the burden of guaranteeing that they FEEL loved. In that case, you would replace God's objective command with their subjective response and make a human the arbiter of obligation." His statement can seem harsh, but you can see that parents have a responsibility to love their children when you read it carefully. Piper was trying to communicate that just like we are not the ones to judge whether God loves us based on our circumstances, children are not the ones to judge whether their parents love them based on their circumstances. Unfortunately, in today's hyper-social media culture, your child is trained to measure your love based on the criteria set by their peers, social media, and pop culture.

If you love your child following Biblical guidelines, they will feel loved. I can't imagine being held responsible by my child to an everchanging, ego-centric, pop-cultural criteria for love. Let's parent biblically, and our children will be loved!

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.

Ephesians 6:4 ESV Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Happy Trials (not trails)

January 22, 2021
By Paul Williams

When I think about this generation of young people (Gen Z) I am very optimistic about their futures. I believe they have a personally brighter outlook for their future than I did at their age. I never had to go through what they have gone through this year. I never had to learn persistence or adaptability through trials as they have. One of my favorite books in the Bible is the book of James. James chapter 1 talks about trials and wisdom and doing the Word.

You say, how can you be optimistic about this generation's future when they are having such a rough time now. James 1:2-4 says 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That word steadfastness can also read persistence, dedication, resoluteness, or commitment. We are to let that steadfastness have its full effect. Let’s help our kids through this while not taking away the many great lessons they will learn.

The challenges related to COVID that our kids have faced over these last eleven months have been significant. These challenges are like physical exercises aimed at the body's core. Their character, perseverance, and adaptability have been tried. For many, their emotional strength has been strained. Their faith has been tested. Their patience, tolerance, and flexibility have been stretched to new limits.

So how do we take the events of the last eleven months and help make them positive for our kids? I believe this chapter in James has an answer. In verses 5-6 it says 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. The answers are not within us but come from God. So let's turn to Him and point our kids to Him for guidance in both prayer and Scripture reading.

As we make this journey with our kids let’s do it in a godly manner. Let’s get into the Scripture and let it guide the path for us and our kids. James gives some advice on this in verses 19-25 19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will beblessed in his doing.

Our kids have a bright future ahead of them if they are steadfast in asking God for wisdom and if they are doers of the word actively living out their faith.

What Have We Lost?

January 15, 2021
By Paul Williams

I was speaking with a group of high school students this week and we were discussing how we can make something positive out of this semester. My heart breaks for the huge loss and change in culture that our kids are experiencing over the last 11 months. My mind says that there are kids all over the world that have it much worse than our students at this very moment, but it is not the degree of challenge that I empathize with for our kids, it is the magnitude of change from what they saw as normal.

When I am drawn back to focus on God, we have lost nothing that we need because His Word tells us in 2 Peter 1:2-4 that grace and peace are ours in abundance through the knowledge of God and Jesus, and that His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life!

2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

It also says that through His great and precious promises, we may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

When everything in this world seems to be out of control, I run to the one who is in control. God is in control of all I just need to find my purpose and place in what I see as chaos.

Our students will be ok. They are resilient and they are learning to be adaptable. They are accepting that life has challenges (lemons) and they are figuring out how to make lemonade out of those lemons.

Praise God! This gives me hope! Indeed, though the world may appear to be sinking all around us, we serve a risen Christ. And we serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, we can lose nothing that is found in Him, and in Him we have everything!

 

Statement on Political Unrest

Traders Point Christian School along with the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) condemns the actions of a few extremists in the recent capitol riots. Satan is the author of confusion and division. The actions of these few do not align with the truths of God’s word as found in Romans 12:16-18 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 

An Attitude of Thankfulness

January 08, 2021
By Joe Gaafar

In the past month, we have seen so much. Another Christmas has passed where we celebrate the birth of our Savior which reminds us of how blessed we are. We have been challenged by the pandemic with the fear of a deadly disease and the sorrow for lives lost. We changed our traditional holiday celebrations and have limited our gatherings, adjusted travel and limited contacts in order to protect those around us from the virus. And this week we saw the events unfold in our nation’s capital that many did not think we would ever see.

However, in all of this, we find so much to be thankful. Scripture tells us to: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

From my viewpoint, I see these instructions lived out daily. To see the rejoicing, all you have to do is walk down the halls of the school. The students are excited and bubbly. It’s great to see them talking excitedly and smiling. Another example of rejoicing was seen in a meeting with teachers earlier this week. The spirit of rejoicing was demonstrated in their enthusiasm and many compliments shared with each other and blessings expressed from their lives.

Although I’m not proud to admit it, the pandemic has caused me to spend more time in prayer than is typical. It is easy to pray during the extremes when things are really good or really bad, but we are called to pray continually. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18 (NIV) One of the great things about Christian education is the abundance of prayer we experience. Classes, meetings and events all begin with prayer. It is so inspiring to hear prayer initiated by so many people at our school and provides the focus we need.

Finally, we are thankful for so much at our school. First, for the students and the families that make the preparations to get them here. It is easy to take for granted our students and their willingness and interest in learning. The old adage about leading a horse to water is certainly true with education, so we can be thankful that our students and families choose to be at TPCS and come ready to learn and grow. We do not take this for granted.

We are thankful for the resources that God has placed in our hands. From the buildings, equipment and physical resources that enable the work we do to the financial resources that come from all our constituents and donors to fund our mission and vision and for the human resources which allow us to love on our students face to face and be the hands and feet of Christ.

We are also so thankful for our teachers and staff. Their passion for our mission and vision is demonstrated on a daily basis. Many have sacrificed so much to be here just so they can educate our children in a Christian environment. I am inspired and humbled to work alongside these people. Whether it is a teacher who spends so many hours at school or one of the receptionists at our buildings who greet us with a smile and kind word, our nurses who monitor all the protocols of this pandemic or our facility directors and janitors who keep our school clean and in good repair, we are blessed to have so many wonderful people.

We certainly have good reason to rejoice, pray and be thankful. I thank God for allowing me to serve Traders Point Christian School.

Joe Gaafar

Interim Head of School and CFO

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Traders Point Christian Schools admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.