All Posts By

Glen Schultz

Transforming Schools

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized | One Comment

I have been sharing a fresh mission statement that God laid on my heart several weeks ago.  This mission statement provides Kingdom Education Ministries with a focus for what God wants to accomplish through KEM in the future.  The focus of KEM is to:

RESTORE individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM the school through Kingdom Education

This week I want to explain what KEM will strive to accomplish with Christian schools.  First, it is important to understand that when I use the term education, I am not equating it with schooling.  Education is a multi-faceted process that primarily takes place in three institutions, the home, church and school.  This process is future-focused as it strives to prepare children and youth for life and eternity.

In today’s culture, the school plays a significant role in the educational process.  Young people will spend more than 14,000 hours in school during their K-12 years.  This greatly exceeds the number of hours that they will spend at church during these same years.  Therefore, there needs to be an intentional, ongoing effort to make sure the schools our children and youth attend are grounded in kingdom education.

What are some of the specific things that KEM wants to do in its effort to TRANSFORM schools?  When one thinks about the word TRANSFORM, a familiar verse in Scripture comes to mind.

And be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  Romans 12:2 (NKJV)

In the original language, the term TRANSFORM means to “change from one condition to a new form.”  In this verse, it speaks to the need to TRANSFORM one’s mind, the way one thinks.  This is the burden that God has laid on my heart concerning Christian schools.  It is my desire to see a change in how Christian educators think about education.

However, the effort can’t be to change their thinking about education in a lot of different ways.  It must be aimed at “rethinking” education from a biblical perspective.  This is why KEM’s focus is on TRANSFORMING schools through kingdom education.

Why did Paul urge Christians to be transformed by the renewing of their minds?  It was to prove what God’s will was for their lives.  I believe this must be the motivation KEM has in its effort to TRANSFORM schools.  The primary goal is to see schools develop a strong, biblical philosophy of education that determines all that takes place at a school.  It is my desire to equip the next generation of Christian teachers to be able to answer the question, why schooling?, biblically.  I want to see Christian schools know and fulfill God’s will for their existence.

 

It has been exciting to see how many Christian school leaders and teachers have embraced the phrase kingdom education since the release of my book in 1998.  I often read about a school stating that it is a kingdom education school.  Individuals identify themselves as proponents and leaders of kingdom education.  My fear has always been that kingdom education would merely become a buzz word with little thought to its true meaning.  When someone states a commitment to kingdom education, then others will define the phrase for themselves by what they see the individual or the school, making such a claim, is and does.

True kingdom education is not so much about methodology as it is about a specific philosophy.  The foundation of my book is based on the biblical principles that I have found in Scripture that tell Christians why God wants them to educate their children and youth biblically.

If anyone or any school claims to believe in and support kingdom education, that person or school must live out the biblical principles from which the phrase gets its meaning.  Otherwise they are just stating platitudes with no real substance.

KEM’s efforts to TRANSFORM schools is to guide school leaders to change from merely using the term, kingdom education, to embodying the 14 biblical principles in their schools’ DNA.  As we fleshed out this fresh mission, we explained that we strive to TRANSFORM Christian schools by challenging educators to know, understand and embrace kingdom education (14 biblical principles).

It is KEM’s conviction that when this happens, along with RESTORING individuals, EMPOWERING the home, and ENGAGING the church, we will see future generations equipped to create a kingdom culture that views life through the lens of Scripture and, thus, bring glory to God.  I will soon be sharing an exciting event that we are planning where we will launch this effort to rethink education from a biblical perspective.  

The Church

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

Over the past few weeks I have been sharing with you the fresh vision God has given me for Kingdom Education Ministries.  With each passing day I become more convinced that God is calling KEM to:

RESTORE individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM schools through kingdom education.

One of the burdens on my heart is to see pastors and church leaders ENGAGED through kingdom education.  The truth is that the vast majority of pastors have been disengaged when it comes to how God wants His people to educate future generations.  It is time that we must get them ENGAGED.

Webster defines the term engage as to gain; to win and attache; to draw to; to unite.  It is vital that we ENGAGE the church in the battle that is raging for the hearts and the minds of the next generation.  It is my prayer to see pastors drawn to and united in the cause of providing our children and youth with a biblical worldview education.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed parents and educators ignore the church when it comes to Christian education.  The argument has been that since pastors don’t support and promote our Christian school or our efforts to home school, we will just bypass them completely.  We forget that the church is the bride of Christ and it is ordained as God’s institution to take the gospel into a lost and dying world.

When I have encouraged parents and school leaders to try and get pastors ENGAGED in kingdom education, they usually try to “market” their school to the pastors of the area.  Pastors are asked to support a certain school or allow information about a school to be given out to church members.

This puts pastors in a very challenging position because there are church members who teach in secular schools and there are those who home school their children.  The pastor feels like he is in between a rock and a hard place.  If he supports one type of schooling, will he automatically offend everyone else who wants him to support another type of schooling.

This is why we carefully worded this fresh mission statement.  It is my desire to ENGAGE the church through kingdom education.  Allow me to remind you that kingdom education only takes place when God reigns as king in the entire educational process of young people.  It is not merely about where a child goes to school.  This is because education takes place in the home, church and school.  God wants to reign in the entire process whether it takes place at home or church or school.

This is why I believe that there are two ways that the church can be ENGAGED.  The first way is to encourage pastors and church leaders to address the issue of education biblically.  Church leaders need to be ENGAGED in studying God’s Word and see what it has to say about educating children.

Passages like Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78, Psalm 127, Ephesians 6 need to be studied and applied consistently to the entire educational process of leading our children to the Lord and then discipling them in the Lord.  As I have studied Scripture, God has shown me 14 biblical principles that tell parents, church leaders and teachers how He wants them to educate future generations.  You may click HERE to see these principles.

 

The second way that pastors can be ENGAGED through kingdom education is to help them understand that parents have been given a mandate from God to educate their children in the Lord.  However, most parents are not equipped to fulfill their God-mandated assignment.  The church must step up to the plate and help parents understand that God holds them accountable for how their children are educated. Then the church must partner with parents in equipping them for the task.

I am convinced that the biggest obstacle to ENGAGING the church through kingdom education is the fact that so many pastors have developed a dualistic worldview.  They have divided life up into the secular and sacred compartments; most of the time this has taken place subconsciously.

One evidence of this reality is seen by what church leaders would and would not allow taught in their churches to young people.  Most pastors would not allow such things as evolution or gender dysphoria taught in their children and youth programs. However, they are silent about this being taught in the schools these same young people attend.  We must ENGAGE the church to understand that Christianity is a complete worldview that addresses all of life as a whole.  Nancy Pearcey says it this way.

We have to insist on presenting Christianity as a comprehensive, unified worldview that addresses all of life and reality.  It is not just religious truth but total truth.  Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

If we are going to be successful in raising future generations to know God and think and act from a biblical worldview, we must ENGAGE the church.  I will be announcing an effort that God has laid on our hearts here at KEM to do exactly this in the very near future.  Stay tuned!

The Home Is The Key

By | Public Blog

EMPOWER the home

God established the home as the fundamental building block of society.  It is my conviction that parents were intended, by God, to be the primary influencers on a child’s life.  As God gave KEM a fresh mission, it became clear that there must be a greater effort to EMPOWER the home.

Empowerment is a hot topic in today’s world.  You hear about efforts to empower women, employees and/or even the individual.  The dictionary defines the term empower this way.

It is to give power or authority to do something.

If there is one group of people that needs to be empowered today, it is parents.  But who can EMPOWER parents?  The only one that can EMPOWER the home is the One who ordained the home from the beginning of time — God.  God has specifically given parents the authority to do certain things.  The most important task that He has authorized parents to do is to bring them [children] up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).

There are many passages of Scriptures that prove that God has empowered parents for this task.  Some of the most familiar passages are Deuteronomy 6:4-7, Psalm 78:1-7, Psalm 127:3-5.  God has empowered parents for the all-important task of raising their children biblically.

Not only has God given parents the legal and moral authority to raise their children, He also enables them to do this.  God would not merely tell parents that they are the ones who are to raise their children in Lord and then leave it up to parents to figure out how to do it. He also empowers them by telling them how they should do this.  Parents are empowered to fulfill this God-given mandate by knowing and understanding key biblical principles found in the Bible.

God has laid upon my heart the conviction and desire to EMPOWER the home through kingdom education.  KEM will do this by helping parents understand their God-given mandate to provide their children with a biblical worldview education.  Parents must understand that they are primarily responsible for the education of their children.

However, too many parents believe that it is the church’s, school’s or state’s responsibility to educate children.  If that were true, then God would have given children to the church, school or government.  God didn’t do that He gave children to parents.

It is also important that every effort is made to make sure that the home understands the biblical principles that can guide parents in completing this vital task.  I have found 14 biblical principles that tell us how God wants us to educate future generations.  It is critical that every effort is made to make these principles known to parents.

When parents know that God has given them the authority to educate their children and the principles by which they are to do so, then the church and school must be ready to partner with and assist the home in fulfilling this mandate.  Each individual must be RESTORED to think biblically about all of life, especially the education of future generations.   When this occurs, individuals will understand how important it is to EMPOWER  the home.

As parents we must accept our responsibility to educate our children biblically and embrace the biblical principles that will show us how to fulfill this assignment from the Lord.  God wants to EMPOWER the home to educate future generations so that they will become disciples of Jesus Christ.

It Starts With You And Me!

By | Public Blog

Last week I shared with readers a fresh mission and vision that God has laid on my heart related to Kingdom Education Ministries.  This fresh mission is,

God has called Kingdom Education Ministries to RESTORE individuals, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church and TRANSFORM schools through kingdom education.

I believe that education is a multi-faceted process of preparing future generations for life and eternity.  This process is multi-faceted because it takes place in the home, church and school.  The three-legged stool model is a foundational building block in a biblical philosophy of education.

Some may wonder why “individuals” have been included in this fresh mission statement.  There is no doubt that the home, church and school are the three main institutions that shape the hearts and minds of children and youth.  However, you cannot bring change in a home, church or school if you don’t begin by bringing change in individuals’ lives.

This is why there must be an effort to RESTORE individuals if we are going to see homes empowered, churches engaged and schools transformed.  It is my desire to RESTORE individuals by establishing an understanding of kingdom education that will also deepen one’s knowledge of God.

Websters 1828 dictionary includes the following definitions for the word restore.

To return to a person, as a specific thing which he has lost, or which has been taken from him and unjustly detained.

To bring back or recover from lapse, degeneracy, declension or ruin to its former state.

To revive; to resuscitate; to bring back to life.

To return or bring back after absence.

Each of these definitions are applicable to KEM’s mission to RESTORE individuals through kingdom education.  Individual Christians have lost some things and/or had some things taken from them that need to be restored.  It is also true that many Christians need to be brought back to a former state that has degenerated over time.  Thus Christians need to be resuscitated or revived to a former state that is currently absent in their lives.

The above definitions apply to all individuals, whether they are parents, pastors, church leaders, and/or educators.  This is especially true when it comes to understanding God’s plan for educating future generations.  Kingdom education only takes place when God reigns in the entire process of educating one’s children and youth.  He reigns as King only when His Word is obeyed.

God’s Word contains several principles that guide us in knowing how God wants us to educate our children and youth.  Every individual must know and obey these principles if God is to reign in his/her life as King.

The first thing that must be RESTORED in individuals’ lives is that parents have the primary responsibility for the education of children and youth.  Several years ago I read the results of a study that Barna Group did.  In this study, Barna found that 87% of Christian parents believed that they were responsible for the spiritual and moral development of their children.  This appears to be a very positive finding.

However, Barna did not find that the vast majority of parents believed that they were responsible for the “education” of their children.  The fact that Christian parents believed that they were only responsible for the spiritual formation of their children may indicate that they were operating from a dualistic worldview.

Thus, parents can believe that they are to focus on the spiritual aspects of their children’s lives but the “education” or the mental training of their children may not be their responsibility but that of the school.  It is crucial that individuals are RESTORED to the reality that parents are primarily responsible for their children’s education.

Another area where individuals must be RESTORED is the place that Jesus holds in the education of children and youth.  In Colossians, Paul declared that Jesus was the image of God and everything was created by and for Him.  He went on to write that Jesus was the head of the body and the first born from the dead.  Because of who Jesus is and what He did for mankind by dying on the cross, God declares that He, Jesus, must be preeminent in ALL things.

Once again, I believe that most Christians try to keep Christ central in their spiritual lives.  However, is Christ at the center of the education we give our children and youth, especially at the school to which we send them?  Individual Christians must be RESTORED to the reality that Jesus Christ is to be preeminent in all of life.  As Webster defines the term, Jesus is to be superior in rank and dignity.

There is another area of life where individuals need RESTORATION.  This aspect of life deals with how one views the future.  One of the truths about life that has been lost or taken from most of us is the concept of eternity.  Yes, we say we believe in life after death.  However, do we live our everyday lives as if eternity is actually true?

We live in an existential life where most peoples’ main focus is on the temporal.  We live with defective  near sightedness.  This is especially true for parents.  They have pretty clear vision for the first 5, 10 and maybe 20 years of their children’s lives.  However, beyond this their vision for their children is quite blurry or even nonexistent.

In a booklet, 20/20 Vision, that I wrote a few years ago, I ask parents a very challenging question.  Where do you want your child in 10,000 years?  Whenever, I ask this question to parents, I get somewhat of a blank stare.  Then they will hesitantly say, I guess heaven.  I follow up by asking them what are they specifically doing to make sure that their children will be there in 10,000 years?

Here are some questions that each of us must answer.

  1. Is God King of your entire life?
  2. Do we believe and live out the biblical principle that states that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children?
  3. Do we hold Jesus Christ preeminent in every area of our lives?
  4. Are we living everyday life with a conscious focus on eternity?

If we cannot answer each of these questions with a confident YES, then we may be individuals who need to be RESTORED!!

A New Year – A Renewed Vision

By | Public Blog

It is hard to believe that another school year is here.  It is even more difficult to try and comprehend what the year will be like.  There is one thing for certain.  It will be different from any other one we have ever had before.

This past weekend I invited two men to meet and pray with me about what God wants to do through Kingdom Education Ministries in the days ahead.  Luke Bowers and Tim Euler, heads of two different Christian schools, have been long-time friends and are very committed to message of kingdom education.

I had developed a tentative agenda for our two days together.  However, after spending a concentrated time in prayer seeking God’s direction, we went away from the agenda within minutes of starting the meeting.  Several hours later we found ourselves overwhelmed with the direction God took us.

As I reflect back on what took place, all I can think about is that, with the new year, God wanted to renew my vision for the work He had called me to.  There is no question about it.  We must enter this new school year with a greater conviction and determination to instill a biblical worldview in the hearts and minds of the next generation.  As I look to the future, I know that I need a laser focus on what specifically must be done through Kingdom Education Ministries.

The first thing that God showed us, as we sought His wisdom, was a fresh mission statement.  I believe that God has called Kingdom Education Ministries to:

RESTORE the individual, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church, and TRANSFORM the school through kingdom education.

Every work of God throughout history started in the lives of individual believers.  This is where we must begin to shape our hearts and minds if we are going to be successful in giving our children a biblical worldview education.  Then we must bring the home, church and school together as a unified whole that is committed to the principles of kingdom education.
When we tried to envision what the end result might look like, we developed the following vision statement.

We see future generations equipped to create a kingdom culture that views life through the lens of Scripture and, thus, bring glory to God.

As we prayed through what it meant to RESTORE the individual, EMPOWER the home, ENGAGE the church, and TRANSFORM the school, God led us to define each area of the work in the following ways.

RESTORE the individual

Restoring the individual by establishing an understanding of kingdom education and a deepening of one’s knowledge of God.

EMPOWER the home

Empowering parents to fulfill their God-given mandate to provide their children with a biblical worldview education, resulting in them becoming disciples of Jesus Christ.

ENGAGE the church

Engaging church leaders to address the issue of education biblically and equip parents to fulfill their God-given mandate to educate children biblically.

TRANSFORM the school

Transforming Christian schools by challenging educators to know, understand and embrace kingdom education.

I am excited to see what God is going to do during this new school year.  I am equally thrilled to have a fresh focus for Kingdom Education Ministries as we encounter some unprecedented challenges and opportunities.  With God’s presence, strength and wisdom guiding us, I believe we can see individuals restored, homes empowered, churches engaged and schools transformed for His glory.

Please pray for me and Kingdom Education Ministries as we start a new year with a renewed vision!

The Only Solution To Our Problems

By | Public Blog

Over the past several months I have been wrestling with how to address all of the turmoil and hate that is in the world today.  I have attempted to write about this struggle on several occasions but I didn’t have peace about it.  It seemed like anything that I wrote would only stir up more division and strife.

Then I saw a diagram that hit me between the eyes.  It pictured the real problem behind all the insanity that has taken over society.  However, it also pictured the only solution to all of our problems.  This diagram depicted the battle that has been going on throughout human history.  It is the cosmic battle of worldviews that we face each and every day because we live in a fallen world.

There are only two ways that you and I look at and interpret every area of life.  I have written about these two ways before but I never saw it like I did when I studied this diagram.  The two options we have when trying to make sense out of life are:

  • A God-centered worldview/belief system
  • A man-centered worldview/belief system

Autonomous Man

I realized afresh that I can try to make sense out of life by allowing God to interpret or define it or trying to interpret life through man’s thinking.  I am going to present these two options with two diagrams.  First, let’s consider how man tries to interpret and make sense of everything taking place around us.

In a man-centered worldview, human reasoning becomes the answer to all of man’s problems.  Man becomes autonomous and, therefore, determines what is right and wrong.  However, this leads to chaos because there cannot be any absolute moral standards by which one lives his/her life.  Everything is subjective and relative.

Man will decide what is moral.  He, alone, will make laws, interpret history, establish government and even try to define “God.”  This is why we find ourselves in such a mess today.  Even Christians are looking to man for the answers to life’s problems.

Sovereign God

On the other hand, a biblical worldview puts God at the center of everything.  God is the One who, not only created life, but orders it.  This option is depicted by a similar diagram.  Instead of man defining all of life, God does it.  God’s character defines morality.  He determines the role of government and He is the basis for law and justice.

In order for me to understand myself and all of life, I must do so by looking at everything through God.  God not only tells me who man is but He is also the only One who can give me a true perspective of everything taking place in the world around me.

The problem is that Christians too often try to live their lives by attempting to be autonomous and depending on God at the same time.  We do this by adding man’s opinions to what God says about certain areas of life.

This was a problem that Jesus saw with the religious leaders of His day.  In Matthew 15, we find these words.

Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” Matthew 15:1-2 (NKJV)

In response to their question, Jesus turns them on their heads by saying,

Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? Matthew 15:3 (NKJV)

As I read this, I realized that the Pharisees and scribes were interpreting life through human opinion.  Jesus told them that going by human reasoning caused them to go against God’s commandments.  When we live from a man-centered worldview, we also end up going against God’s Word.  In fact, Jesus used some very strong language to get this truth across to these religious leaders.

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.  Matthew 15:6 (NKJV)

One translation puts it this way.  By this you invalidated the Word of God for the sake of your tradition.  It is dangerous and disastrous to try and mix man’s opinions with God’s Word in an effort to interpret any aspect of our lives.  When we do this, we end up teaching as doctrines the commandments of men (Matthew 15:9).

Jesus furthered explained that when this happens, we become hypocrites and end up honoring Him with our lips but not with our hearts.  This is something that I have to continually wrestle with in my own life.

It is also something that I see happing in the church today.  We do this when we think that we need to study what the world is saying about certain things in order to know how we should respond.  I have seen Christian leaders recommend books, messages, etc. that are not based on Scripture in order to know what we should do.  Christian schools can be guilty of this when they think that they have to turn to secular worldview textbooks as their primary sources in their subject areas.

These trends are only leading us into greater confusion and not providing the real solutions to the chaos and division that are tearing us apart.  This may be controversial to say but I am more convicted than ever before that it is time for the body of Christ to cling to the sufficiency of Scripture!

I don’t need to read books such as White Fragility or study Critical Theory or turn to secular textbooks or make researched-based decisions in order to understand what is happening in the world.  What I really need to do is study God’s Word more.  It is only through knowing God by studying His Word will I know how to live a life that glorifies God.

As you study the two diagrams above, which one best defines how you live your life, raise your children, educate your students and address the cultural issues facing you today?  Do you spend more time reading books written by men from a secular worldview or digging deep into God’s Word?  Are you making decisions based on research, news reports, various movements or what God’s Word says?  Do you believe God’s Word to be not only true but totally sufficient?

God’s Word is sufficient to show us the solution to any problem we face in the world today.  I must know His Word in order to find the solution!

Is Your Leaven Good or Bad?

By | Public Blog

You might be asking yourself what does this question mean for my life and ministry?  You might not even think about an individual having leaven.  Recently, in my quiet time I found Jesus warning His disciples in Matthew 16:6 with these words.

Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

The disciples were also confused about Jesus’ warning.  They thought He was talking about actual bread.  In Mark 8:15, Jesus added to this warning by saying,

Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.

Again, the disciples thought that Jesus said this because He knew that they had not brought any bread with them.  Jesus was aware of their thoughts and explained to them that He wasn’t concerned about them not having any bread.  After all, He had just finished feeding 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread.

Jesus was talking about something much more important than having bread to eat.  He made this clear when He explained to His disciples what He meant by the leaven of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herod.

Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and SadduceesMatthew 16:12 (NKJV)

Jesus was warning them of the doctrine or the teaching of these people.  Jesus equated teaching to leaven.  So, when you read the title of this blog, you should read it this way.

Is Your Teaching Good or Bad?

As I pondered Jesus’ warning, several things related to leaven came to my mind.  Today, the most common leavening agent is yeast.  Yeast is put into dough and mixed thoroughly.  Once it is mixed in dough, you cannot separate it out.

Also, yeast or leaven influences all of the dough.  There won’t be one portion of the dough that is not impacted by the yeast.  Yeast changes the entire loaf of bread.

Finally, I realized that you do not see the influence of the yeast or leaven right away.  If you have ever prepared bread with yeast in it, you know that you set the dough aside and let it “proof”.  After a period of time, the “proof” of the yeast is seen because the dough will rise or get larger in volume.

This is what teaching does in a young person’s life.  One’s teaching is a leavening action that will always impact the student’s life.  First, once a young person is taught, the teaching he/she received cannot be removed.  Someone has accurately said, one can never erase the influence of a teacher.

Second, it will influence the entire life of the child or student.  You cannot simply teach to influence the mind without influencing the heart, emotions and will of the person.  One’s teaching will mix through the entire life of the learner.

Finally, the impact of one’s teaching is not seen right away.  Sometimes, the end result is not noticeable until months or even years later in the child’s life.  However, even when the impact is not noticeable, one’s teaching is “proofing” just like the yeast proofs in the dough.  Eventually, the person’s life will rise and reflect the teaching he/she received.

Since Jesus warned His disciples about the teaching of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herod, it meant that some teaching is dangerous or bad.  It also implies that there is also good teaching.  What makes the difference between good and bad teaching?

It is the worldview or the belief system that the teacher has developed in his/her own life.  One’s worldview is really the leavening agent that is in every educational effort.  The Pharisees and Sadducees had developed a religious belief system that was not based on the truth of God’s Word.  The leaven of Herod represents a man-centered worldview that denies the existence of God.  Therefore, these people’s teachings were to be avoided.

As a new school year is beginning all across the country, God still warns His children to beware of bad leaven or false teaching.  Every parent, church leader and educator must make sure that his/her teaching springs from a biblical worldview.  When this is consistently true for all the teaching that takes place in the home, church and school and our children and youth have matured and “proofed”, they will think and act from a biblical worldview.

There is an old saying that goes like this.  The proof is in the pudding.  In the olden days when this statement was first used, pudding referred to a savory meat dish.  One of the main ingredients in “pudding” was sausage.

Since people didn’t have the modern methods of refrigeration we have today, there was always the danger of the meat going bad.  Therefore, it was important to test it to see if it was good.  This is how one “proofed” the dish.  A more accurate way of stating this common saying would be the test of the pudding is in eating it.

This expression means that the best way to find out if something is good or bad is to test it yourself.  We need to test or proof our teaching ourselves before we instill it in our children and youth.  Does our teaching line up with reality and with God’s Word?  If not, what needs to change so our teaching does?

I never want God to tell someone to beware of my leaven!

 

Whom or What Are We Seeking?

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

July was a challenging time for me as I took some time off from writing my weekly blog.  It was a month when I spent a great deal of time alone with the Lord and in His Word.  During my quiet time, I began a study of the Old Testament prophets.  Every day I poured over the books of the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi.  It is challenging to read about what these men of God were called to do and the persecution that they encountered by being obedient to God’s call on their lives.

As I read through each of the these books, I saw several key themes repeated over and over again.

  1. God’s lovingkindness is everlasting.
  2. God is patient and long-suffering, not wanting anyone to perish.
  3. God constantly pursues His children and warns them repeatedly when judgement is coming.

In the writings of the prophets, I saw many parallels to what we are facing in our country today.  I must admit that as I read through this portion of Scripture, I did so with fear and trembling.  The realization that God is immutable and He will judge His people today if they are unfaithful captivated my thinking throughout the month.

Through all of this, God led me to do three things: reflectremember and repent.  During times of reflection, my mind went back to the day when God called me out of secular education into Christian education.  Those were some interesting and challenging days.

Reflecting back on those first days in Christian education, I focused on remembering what God did in my life and how He began to guide me into what would eventually become Kingdom Education Ministries.  I must admit, things were very different in Christian schools then than they are now.

There were two characteristics that were commonly found in Christian schools back then.  One was an excitement to be involved in this ministry and an anticipation of what God was going to do in our lives and the lives of our students.  The second characteristic I remember seeing was a spirit of total dependency on God concerning every aspect of the work we had been called into.

Some of the challenges facing us in the early days of the movement included:

  • poor facilities
  • lack of resources
  • no technology
  • teacher certification and school accreditation programs weren’t in place
  • low wages

Because of these conditions, along with other equally challenging obstacles, we were required to depend daily on God’s presence, provision and power.  There was an every-day awareness that if God didn’t work on our behalf, we would not only fail but, most likely, cease to exist.

One of the first books I read when I went into Christian education was Dr. Roy Zuck’s, Spiritual Power in Your Teaching.  God used that book to remind me that without Him I could do absolutely nothing.  I needed God’s Spirit to guide me when planning a lesson, presenting it to the students and giving the lesson its God-intended meaning.

One of the blessings of being involved in Christian education in those early years was how the entire staff started each day in a time of Bible study and prayer.  Early each morning the staff gathered for devotions.  This time was not one when someone merely shared a passage of Scripture and we prayed and asked God to bless our day.

These were times when we earnestly sought God’s presence.  We knew that we were incapable of fulfilling His calling on our lives if His Spirit didn’t fill us afresh each and every morning.  We didn’t have anything to rely on other than Him.

As I reflected on and remembered these things, God also reminded me of a warning He gave to the Israelites as they were preparing to go in and possess the Promised Land.

So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  Deuteronomy 6:10-12 (NKJV)

As I meditated on these verses, I became burdened for today’s generation of Christian educators.  There is no doubt in my mind that they love the Lord and believe that God has called them into Christian education.  However, I am fearful that they work in modern facilities that they did not build and classrooms that are full of all good things.  They have resources that are from wells they did not dig and they harvest grapes and olives off of plants that they did not plant.

With all that God has given to Christian educators today, have we forgotten Him?  I don’t mean that we don’t think about God but have we lost that sense of dependency that was the driving force in Christian schools back in the early 1970s?  Have we taken for granted all of the blessings that are ours today as we begin the start of a new school year?  Will staffs meet with God every morning and seek Him with all their hearts and souls?  Or are we dependent on our facilities, programs, technology, advanced degrees, certification, accreditation etc. to get us through each day?  Will we enter each day with the realization that without abiding fully in Christ we can and will accomplish absolutely nothing?

Through this season of reflecting and remembering, God has called me to repent.  I have had to turn from my self-sufficiency and confess that I have not depended fully on God to lead me each and every day.

When I see all that is going on in the world today, I am burdened for God’s people to return to Him.  The book of Amos had a particular impact on me as I recently studied it.  In chapter 4, God rehearses the things that He did to wake up His people.  He brought famine, drought, pestilence, fire and the sword to shake His people out of the spiritual lethargy.  However, I found these sad words repeated again and again.

Yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Then, in chapter 5, God makes three statements that I believe are applicable to each of us today.

Seek Me and live (verse 4)

Seek the Lord and live (verse 5)

Seek good and not evil that you may live (verse 14)

Over the past four to five months what have we have sought the most?  Have we sought a cure for COVID?  Have we sought how to do virtual school better?  Have we sought the answer to rioting, murder and destruction?  Have we sought a political answer to the chaos?  How often have we sought God with all of our hearts, souls and minds?

As a new school year is fast approaching, will we seek the Lord so that we will live.  I want to encourage you to take some time, get alone with God and  reflect and remember.  When you do, you may find that, like me, you will need to repent.

Note to Christian School Educators:

I put together a short form to help Christian educators evaluate whom or what they have sought and will seek as a new school year begins. To access this form, simply click HERE.  I hope you will find this helpful.

 

For The Sake Of The Ministry

By | Public Blog

What Is True?

I am deeply burdened over what is taking place in the country today.  I am even more broken of what I see happening in the body of Christ related to the turmoil in society.  Brothers and sisters in Christ are taking sides and criticizing one another on social media platforms on a daily basis.  What is the answer to all of this confusion and hateful rhetoric and actions we are witnessing?

Maybe my take on everything is too simplistic but I actually believe that the only answer to the division, hate, and destruction that is tearing us apart is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  That means that God’s Word, the Bible, is the only place I need to look to in order to know what is true and what I need to do.

I have been asking myself a lot of questions lately.  Questions such as:

  • What is behind all of the division I am seeing all around me?
  • What should my response be to what I am seeing, reading and hearing from all sides?
  • What is the truth behind various slogans/movements such as white, male, etc. privilege, black lives matter, systemic racism and critical theory?

In an attempt to answer these and other questions that are constantly on my mind, I have turned to the Scriptures like never before in my life.  The words of Solomon rang true in my heart when he wrote,

…righteous men, wise men, and their deeds are in the hand of God. Man does not know whether it will be love or hatred; anything awaits him. Ecclesiastes 9:1 (NASB)

God is sovereign over everything, including my life, and I don’t know what He has in store for me.  Therefore, I must hold on to truth if I am going to survive in this sin-filled world.  Even when I write a blog, my heart’s desire is the same as Solomon.

The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. Ecclesiastes 12:10 (NKJV)

There is one thing I know for certain.  This world doesn’t need any more opinions, especially mine.  So, how am I trying to respond to all the noise that is bombarding me on a daily basis?

First, I had to be reminded that God wants His children to be united.  Paul explains how and why this should be the driving force in our lives.

…that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 (NKJV)

Here, I found that the only way for such unity is in Christ because He is the only source of wisdom and knowledge.  The reason why Paul stressed this is because he didn’t want Christians to be deceived.

Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. Colossians 2:4 (NKJV)

Then, Paul gave this strong warning.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)

That word cheat is better translated taken captive.  God does not want you and me to be taken captive by false ideas.  In order to make sure this doesn’t happen today, I need to filter all of the rhetoric, protests, and/or movements, etc. and see if they follow human tradition and the basic principles/beliefs of the world or culture.  Are they in line with Christ and the Word?

God gives us further instruction on how to sort through all the noise in the world today when the Holy Spirit inspired John to write these words.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3 (NKJV)

I have learned that I can’t merely jump on an emotional bandwagon because it sounds good and it seems like everyone else is doing it.  I must test everything to make sure it is in line with Jesus Christ and His Word.  In another one of his epistles, John is even more emphatic about the importance of doing this.

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. 2 John 7-11 (NKJV)

Here God’s Word tells us that if any type of teaching, position or rhetoric is not in line with the doctrine of Christ, we are not even supposed to allow it in our homes. It goes beyond this to commanding us not to give it our approval.  When we do either of these things, we are actually partaking in the evil ourselves.

I have heard some say that it is okay to agree with a statement even when the statement is tied to an evil movement.  Agreeing with the statement doesn’t mean that one is approving the movement that is directly tied to the statement.  Again, I have to turn to the Scriptures for truth as I decide whether this is right or not.

When doing this, one might quickly quote this verse.

Abstain from all appearance of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)

I fully realize that this verse is too often taken out of context and a better translation is “any form of evil.”  However, sometimes the appearance of something can be detrimental.  Maybe a better Scripture reference that we must consider in these situations would be Paul’s exhortation to the church in Corinth.

Beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. I Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed. 2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)

I believe that Jesus’ instruction to His followers in Matthew 17:24-27 also applies to this situation.  We must be very careful that we do not put a stumbling block before others or offend others.  Why? It is for the sake of the ministry that God has given us.

There is one other truth taught in Scripture that I have found is extremely important in guiding my thoughts, words and actions.  It is a very familiar verse that states,

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV)

Paul explains this in more detail earlier in his letter when he wrote,

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19&20 (NKJV)

Now, glorifying God in everything we think, say and/or do, is not just a trite little saying.  It has deep significance.  Dr. Gary Inrig says it best when he writes,

Glorifying God means to live one’s life in such a way that God’s character (attributes) are revealed resulting in His praise being increased.

It is very important that we, as Christians, be careful of our words and actions in tumultuous times as these.  We often forget the influence we have on others. As Christians, we must never forget that every one of our words and deeds are scrutinized by those we have contact with.

Over the years, there have been many times that I was free to say or do certain things that were not wrong.  However, I always had to remember what would be best for the sake of the ministry that God had given me.  This is why I do not post controversial things on social media, nor do I get involved in some activities that are so common right now.

I am not writing this to tell you what you should or should not do related to all that is going on.  I am simply sharing with you what I have studied in God’s Word that I have tried to obey as I respond to the evil all around me.

Father, may my thoughts, words and actions exalt the name of Jesus.  May my life bring glory and honor to You.  As others see any good works in me, may they realize it is not by my effort but by Your Spirit that I can even do them.  I pray that the difference You make in my life, draws others to You. In Jesus name, Amen!

Click Here For Kingdom Nugget #3

We Don’t Need Reform or Do We?

By | Public Blog, Uncategorized

A Demand For Change

There has been a constant cry for reform in just about every area of life for as long as I can remember. Whether it pertains to government, education, or the legal system, people from all walks of life are demanding reform.  Because of the tragic death of George Floyd while in the custody of police, there is now a concerted effort for not only police reform but also the complete defunding and dismantling of police departments across the country.

The fact that people are demanding that reform take place indicates one thing.  Something is broken and not right.  Of course, we, as Christians, know that this brokenness is a result of the Fall when sin entered the world.  However, will reform efforts make a difference?

I admit that there is a very real need for change to take place in many areas of society.  I agree that training and efforts to bring about change are helpful.  Yet, the change that is needed to solve the hurts of living in a sin-filled world will not be accomplished by human reform efforts — no matter how good the intentions are.

I lost count a long time ago of students and parents meeting with me to discuss their child’s poor grades or a discipline situation.  In these meetings, the child would come in saying that he/she was sorry and that they were going to change.

I have had students, who did nothing in a class for 9 weeks and were failing, tell me that they had decided that they were going to get A’s from now on.  Others, who had behaved badly, would tell me that they were sorry and they weren’t going to misbehave again.  Listening to them, one would get the idea that these students had the ability to turn off bad habits and actions and, all of a sudden, be model students.  Unfortunately, their determination and efforts to change, even though well-intentioned, didn’t last long.

These students thought that reforming their behavior would bring about the changes that were needed.  This is the same problem that today’s reform efforts are attempting to accomplish.

We believe that with enough training and effort bad behavior and/or practices can be corrected resulting in a perfect society.  All human efforts at reform are simply man saying that to stop evil one needs only to “turn over a new leaf.”  Unfortunately, the new leaf will turn out to be just as corrupt as the old one and may even be worse.

Reform efforts go all the way back to the garden when man first sinned and disobeyed God.  Adam and Eve knew that they had done wrong and life was broken.  They tried to “fix” it.  Their reform efforts were in the form of fig leaves whereas today’s efforts take the form of training, programs and/or laws and regulations.

I am reminded of some of the reform efforts that were made after the horrific Columbine high school shootings.  Cries for reform in our schools led to several efforts to change students’ lives through instituting various “character education” programs.  One of the most common ones, that is still in effect today, was Character Counts.  Even with all this effort to reform students’ character, violence has continued to escalate in our nation’s schools and school shootings have sadly become commonplace.

Why doesn’t, or even better yet, why can’t reform efforts change things?  One reason why human reform efforts can’t work is that they are based on human reasoning and opinion.  The world’s effort to reform brokenness is based on a false belief that man can improve himself and, therefore, society.  God’s existence is ignored or, even worse, denied.

If one denies the existence of God, then there cannot be any absolute moral values to direct any effort to bring about change.  This is the case with Character Counts.  By denying that God exists, man has to define right character and that is impossible to do.

Another reason why reform efforts can’t work is that they don’t address the real source of the bad behavior or injustice.  Reform is another name for the failed concept of behavior modification.  It is an attempt to change the outward actions of an individual or a group of individuals.  For example, sensitivity and/or diversity training focus on what one thinks and acts about others with the belief that training can transform a person’s life.

I am hearing people say that what is needed to change our current condition is to have open discussion and ask hard questions about the things that are causing division in society today.  We must “understand” each other and, when that happens, we will then get along with each other.  This was the mantra after 911.  I am not opposed to having difficult conversations about real issues people are facing but that will not bring about the change that is necessary.

So, if reform isn’t the answer, what is?  The reason why reform efforts fall short of real change is because the problems we are facing are heart issues – not head  or emotional issues.  Prejudice, hate, anger, injustice, division, envy, etc. all come from within the human heart.  Jesus told the religious leaders of the day that outward reform can’t work because it doesn’t address the cause.

There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man… Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods? And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”  Mark 7:15,18-23  (NKJV)

The prophet Jeremiah also understood the wickedness of the human heart.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart… Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV)

A person’s heart won’t be changed by some form of human effort.  If this were possible, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die a cruel death on the cross.  Only God can change a person’s heart.

The prophet Ezekiel knew that God was the only One who could change a person’s heart.

I [God] will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)

Only God can revive us out of the mess we are in.  Reform tries to bring about change from the outside in.  God brings real change because He does it from the inside out.

So, what is needed is revival not reform.  However, the key to revival doesn’t begin with the lost world.  It begins with me.  For revival to come and change society, it requires brokenness and repentance in my life.  David understood this like few men in history.

Only Revival Brings About Change

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

In order for God to change my heart, I must give Him access to it.  I must humble myself and allow God to do what the Psalmist allowed Him to do in his life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

The evil that we are seeing up close in the world today is not a social issue.  Therefore, it cannot be overcome through reform.  It is a spiritual issue that will only be destroyed by revival.

Father, I ask you to search my heart and point out any sinful thoughts or desires You find.  As you show me my sin, I repent and ask your forgiveness.  Give me new heart that will cause me to see others as you see them – individuals who you have created in Your image.  Please heal our land!  In Jesus name, Amen.