4th Wall Blog

O Christmas Tree

December 12, 2017
By Jody, McNatt, Perimeter School mom

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, How Lovely Are Your Branches?

Be honest, are you an ornament re-arranger, like me? I’ve denied it for years, but the truth is, when the little ones leave the room I practically trip over myself making a beeline for the tree. My eager decorator-fingers itch to break up that bundle of 22 ornaments which the children have so carefully arranged on one single evergreen bough.

I tell myself I do it for the tree. I mean, Jesus cared for the sparrows, right? I am caring for the Christmas trees of this world — one tree at a time. Seems almost spiritual. Seems like something Jesus would do … or so I tell myself.

We’ve been doing Christmas trees with kids for over 20 years in our house. Multiply the years and the five kids and that’s a lot of tree decorating. It’s also a lot of ornaments. Let me be more specific: A lot of handmade ornaments: A lot of droopy tinfoil-halos and glitter-crumbling stars and paper-plate angels and faded red stockings.

And each Christmas our tree grows heavier and heavier with all of this stuff. Years ago, we even started adding a second tree. But even with two trees, our branches were easily becoming more laden than lovely.

It’s easy to fill it up. It’s easy always to add more. It’s what we do.

Because in life, like in tree-decorating, we typically don’t see it as too much until we begin to bend and break.

And sometimes, even when we are telling ourselves that it all looks well-balanced and perfectly shiny, we find out that it isn’t.

A few years ago, we purchased the biggest tree in the history of our family. On the way home from the lot, the kids enthusiastically dubbed him “Fat Sam.” He was 14 feet of glorious greenery and, that evening, we decorated him to the very hilt. I’m pretty sure there was no ornament in our attic left behind. By the time we deemed him complete, there was hardly a trace of green to be seen behind all of those ornaments. He was covered. Consumed. The children were ecstatic. Rick and I were exhausted. Our work here was done.

But that night, about 3 am, I woke to my young, almost-teenage son shaking me. “Mom, Mom, MOM. Wake up. The Christmas tree has fallen over. And it’s bad.”

In my middle-of-the-night stupor, we raced down the stairs and found that, yes, indeed, our beast of a tree, our beloved Fat Sam, had collapsed across the entire family room. The coffee table and part of one sofa had all but disappeared, and it was, indeed, very bad. Shattered glass and water everywhere. Did I mention it was 3 am? It was a Christmas tree catastrophe. A holiday gone wrong. An evergreen Armageddon.

No one likes to have their Christmas tree come crashing down in the middle of the night … (or ever, for that matter). But, what did we expect? We could have decorated an entire Noble Fir forest with the amount of ornaments we had piled on good old Fat Sam. As capable and stalwart as he seemed, it was simply too much.

That year, we learned our lesson with Christmas trees. But have we learned this same lesson with our lives?

It makes me consider how we fill our time, our days, and our families. We are blessed with so many special, sparkly and shiny fun things — but even all of that goodness can cause us to lose sight of the life behind it all. Our fine intentions in making something wonderful come crashing down under the weight of all we are doing.

In the past few years, as the kids have gotten older, we have learned to put less on our trees. We are making choices and leaving more things in the boxes. Partly because of our experience with our friend, Fat Sam, and partly because we realize it was just too much anyway.

Dear families, this Christmas season, the opportunities to fill your days might be many and merry. But — from a woman who has lived to tell the story of Fat Sam (Christmas and otherwise) — let me encourage you to treasure the beauty of less and enjoy the gift of keeping things simple.

"It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Power of the One Thing

December 05, 2017
By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal

In today's culture we are choosing between a deluge of options and opportunities. We live in a fast-paced world that is fast paced in part because the quality choices that present themselves are so numerous. Yet we are keenly aware that we are not satisfied – not entirely happy. We hear the ache inside that tells us there is room for more in our lives.

Why are we not full in a world that provides so many good things? A nice meal with those we love is a treat that seem as if it should satisfy. The idea of shopping for, giving, and receiving gifts seems exciting. Being invited to be a part of something bigger than ourselves makes us feel important and wanted. However, even with all of these things, the emptiness still remains; and so the search continues.

The choice between the power of options or the power of singularity presents a quandary that can certainly lead us into great satisfaction or great despair. We approach our lives truly trying to make the best choices. We weigh out the options and then choose the one that offers the best solution to the perceived problem, need, or want. But often all those available options, however good they may be, won’t fill our deepest needs. A new outfit will not make us into a better friend, and a new car will not make us more successful. Our choices, like a slice of pizza, will only satisfy us for a moment.

It is as if we are asked to choose whether we will live our lives equipped with a thimble or a strainer. If we buy into the idea that we must experience all the world tries to sell us, then we will by nature pick the strainer approach. We will pour all of life through it, seeking to find something to bring life and joy. We are really good at persistently chasing after life and sifting through the options left in our strainer. Yet soon we will be empty once again.

The problem is that we are searching for the elusive treasure floating in the water. What if it isn’t the treasure that is most valuable, but actually the water itself? If the water is most valuable, then the strainer is perfectly designed for failure. What is most valuable slips away while we are distracted by what is left behind. Would it not be better to have a thimble-full of what is truly satisfying than a large strainer full of all the trash and rubbish that was caught up in the water?

Once you find the one thing that is truly worth dying for, then you have also found the one thing worth living for. This singular thing will inform and clarify every choice. This one thing will provide direction, energy, and real hope. While pursuing it may necessitate saying no to other things, this one thing – if it is really the true one thing – will provide a purposeful, satisfying, secure life. It will do so because it will connect us to Christ and, thereby, to real life. This is the power of singularity to simplify the real world and satisfy our souls.

Contentment: What's the Secret?

November 28, 2017
By Jana Mock, Assistant Principal, Middle School

 

“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content.”
Philippians 4:11
 
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4: 13
 
Contentment: a state of happiness and satisfaction; freedom from worry or restlessness; a peaceful state of mind.
 
Are you content? Do you consistently live in a state of satisfaction, free from worry? Do you enjoy a peaceful state of mind on most days? I confess that I struggle with contentment. I’m often discontent with God’s provision, my life circumstances, and the state of some of my relationships with people I care about and love. Let’s be honest, I am not the only one struggling with contentment. We live in a culture of mass discontentment where we count on pills, people, purchases, and pleasures to numb our restless hearts. We’ve all tried at least some of these things in our search for contentment, and we’ve learned that they won't give us the peace and satisfaction we desire. So, what is the secret to lasting, authentic contentment? Is contentment even possible on this side of heaven?
 
The apostle Paul had every right to be discontent, depressed, and despairing, but from a dark and dirty prison cell he said, "I have learned in whatever situation I am in to be content." He learned the secret -- this means that I wasn’t born knowing how. The natural state of my heart is to be discontent, so I must learn to be content. And learning requires work and discipline. Paul implies that I must learn from and lean on the Master Teacher, Jesus. He says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So, the secret is Jesus. Isn’t He the answer for everything? It’s so easy for me to forget this and struggle in my own strength. John Piper says that the “secret to being content is hidden in plain sight all through scripture." Consider these passages: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Proverbs 3:5). I must learn to trust Jesus – his promises, his ways, his provision. “And my God will supply every need” (Philippians 4:19). I must also learn to be thankful for his provision and the circumstances he brings into my life each day because “...for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28).
 
But it’s more than that. In the very same chapter Paul shares that he has learned the secret of contentment. He writes, “...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). So, my thoughts and the power of Christ produce contentment in me.
 
What about you? Are you struggling with discontentment and its first cousin, depression? Are you struggling to trust the Lord and be thankful for his provision and the circumstances in your life? Romans 12:2 says,  “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” One of the most powerful and life-transforming books I ever read is Telling Yourself the Truth by Backus and Chapian. Though I read it many years ago, it still sits by my bed when I need a tune up to reshape distorted thinking. The authors share that what you are thinking about right now can change your biochemistry and the glandular, muscular, and neural behavior of your entire body. Wow! Evidence-based research has led some doctors to believe that up to 98% of all diseases, both physical and emotional, originate in our thoughts. For example, studies show that stress, anger, anxiety, and depression can cause inflammation that leads to heart disease. (Psychology Today, May 6, 2014) Our thoughts determine a significant portion of our emotions, our words, our behavior, and the overall state of our minds and bodies. But, of course, wise King Solomon knew this thousands of years ago when he wrote, “For as a man has thoughts in his soul, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
 
What are you thinking about? Could your thoughts be the source of your discontentment or other physical and emotional illnesses with which you struggle? There is a discipline required in thinking on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, excellent, and worthy of praise. Part of the discipline in learning to be content is having an awareness of negative thoughts. I’ve learned to bounce them and turn them into prayers of gratitude for what God has done for me:
 
“I hate my old couch – I want a new one!” to “Lord, thank you for your abundant provision and a warm and safe home."
 
“When will the persistent pain in my foot go away?” to “Lord, thank you for my healthy body that allows me to walk and work.”
 
“My college kids never call me. I work so hard for them. Do they even care?” to “Lord, thank you that my children are becoming independent and responsible adults.”
 
And so it goes in my mind all day long, and like Paul I am learning through the power of Christ to be content. I’m learning that I can’t control many of my life circumstances, but I can control how I think about them. Of course, I’m still working on my PhD in contentment – joy in all circumstances!
 
So, here we are. The Christmas season is upon us and the world will shout in every way possible, “If you want to be happy, buy more stuff! Do more Instagram and Pinterest worthy things!” Oh my, the lies we believe! Stuff isn’t bad and experiences shared with family and friends are good; but let’s tell ourselves the truth this Christmas. Things and people will never be the source our contentment. Only loving and trusting Jesus, God’s perfect Christmas gift of grace for us, will grant our hearts the peace and contentment we long for this Christmas and throughout the new year. Only as we live for His glory, think on and share the truth of the Gospel, live generously, and give thanks in all circumstances will we, like Paul, truly discover the secret of being content in all circumstances
 
“Thanks be to God who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing!”
Ephesians 1:3

A Model School

November 14, 2017
By Bobby Scott, Headmaster

Occasionally we hear a comment made in regard to our school that we either are or need to be a model of some type of education. The comments vary:

  • A model of covenant school education
  • A model of parental support
  • A model of Charlotte Mason philosophy
  • A model of compassion and support for hurting families
  • A model of serving the community
  • A model of lay ministry through the policy board (SMT)
  • A model of sharing education between parents and teachers
  • A model of genuine faculty focused on the heart as well as the head

Whoa! Those are lofty statements - certainly humbling if true in any way and convicting because we fall so short of being a true model of any of these.

At our Investigating Perimeter School seminars, it is typical for folks to want to observe what we do by visiting classrooms to see if what I have described is being modeled in our classrooms on a daily basis. I always cringe a bit even while encouraging them to come, wondering if my idealism will be embarrassingly exposed. But then I remember - the best thing that Perimeter School actually models is covenant family living.

What does that mean? First off, it is nothing about which we should be embarrassed. In fact we should rejoice in what God has given us. Our model is usually gladly embraced or strongly rejected. We try to model quality and superior education, but the qualities that make it so are vastly different from the values of current contemporary and classical education. We want students who not only know things, but can discern which things are true and which are not. We want families who are passionate about the growth and nurture of their neighbor’s children, as well as their own. We want teachers who see students, not only in terms of how they perform on assessments, but also in how their minds and hearts and behaviors are engaged in probing, questioning, and discerning the truth.

This kind of approach is messy. It is not a squeaky clean approach to life. At times people get mad, are misunderstood, have to seek forgiveness, and have to rebuke their brothers and sisters. It is a model that is hard to market because it is not measured in test scores, gold stars, or character awards. In some cases it is not even appreciated until the fruit is harvested years later.

So whether we are a model school really is irrelevant. Our focus must be: are we continually learning to serve Christ better by serving each other? As Paul said, “. . . not that I have obtained it yet, I press on towards the upward call. . .” May God help us to be mostly a model of joy, repentance, compassion, and a messy pursuit of truth. By His grace, let’s covenant together to model Jesus to our students, our families, and our community.

Pruning Our Words

November 07, 2017
By Rebecca Little, Lower Elemetary Principal

In studying Ephesians for my Bible study this week, I found a verse highlighted that I often use when disciplining students: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

This verse is sandwiched in with other verses that Paul is teaching the Gentiles about “putting off” the old self and “putting on” the new self. When I am talking with a student about this verse, it is usually to help them see that the words he or she spoke toward another student were unkind and did not build up the friend. It is a great time to teach them about how words and tone do hurt others and how God wants us to show love and encouragement to our neighbors.

Just like when I explain to a student the meaning of this verse, I was once again convicted as Ephesians 4:29 marinated on my heart. Today we live in such a negative society, and it is very easy to fall into the contagious trap of complaining, grumbling, gossiping, and giving bad reports. This corrosive conduct not only wounds others but it grieves the Holy Spirit because He lives in us.

Instead of going down the road of negativity and unwholesome talk, Paul tells us that we are to “put on” the speech of building up others and benefiting those who listen. We are to be imitators of Christ, a fragrant aroma of His love because of his sacrifice for us.

As a covenant family, let us confess our unwholesome talk and ask God to grant us the discipline and strength to “put on” words that build up the body of Christ and unite, not tear it down. Let us look to find the positives in life and focus on what glorifies our Father in heaven.

Finding Perspective on Our Purpose

October 31, 2017
By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal

 

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be one of my disciples.”
John 15:8

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that I am driven by many things, and most of them serve to distract me from what is most important. I have wondered many times how to identify those things that operate within the deeper recesses of my soul, the drive behind the drive, the whisper within. I am going to spend a few weeks digging through different drivers that operate within our souls and where the Gospel meets us to bring freedom and joy.

In John 14:6 Jesus claimed to be the way. What did he mean by that? The word “way” in the Greek (ὁδός) means a path, a road, a means to arrive somewhere. Just prior to verse 6 Jesus was telling his disciples that he was going to prepare a place for them so that they could join him where he was going. He then told them they knew the way. At this point Thomas spoke up. I view Thomas as the practical, detailed one. I have a great respect for him. He basically said, "We don't even know where you are going, so how do we know the way to get there?" I can sense his astonishment. I would have been trying to figure out what I missed in the conversation. Thomas was most concerned with making sure he could join Jesus where he was going.

We fill our time with the way to achieve our purposes – the means to reach our desired end. For many of us as full-time parents a job or education either inside or outside the home is “a way.” Neither of these are an end in and of themselves. An education is, at the least, a means for growing and developing as a person, and a job is, at a minimum, a means to provide for your family. We look at education and a job as a means to arrive somewhere or achieve something. They are a means to an end. The problem is that we have broken ideas of what is a meaningful and worthy end. And sometimes we become fixated on the way, losing sight of the purpose altogether. I was asked once who was to be pitied most, the one who gave his whole life to attain something but never attained it or the one who gave his life to attain something only to realize it was not worth attaining.

We are often driven by many different purposes. Some are driven by a cause that means something to them while others are driven by a sense of accomplishment. Some are driven simply to surround themselves with pleasure, beauty, and ease. The scary thing is that the enemy can take a very good purpose and separate it from faith, and then it becomes sinful and broken. Romans 14:23 reminds us that anything that does not proceed from faith is sin.

God, reveal to us our hearts’ actual driving purpose. Show us your calling, promises, and yourself, so that we can redefine our purposes based on your will and faith in your promises. God, do this so that we may abide in you, walking with you and doing the work we see you doing, and so find the joy that is overflowing in your presence.

 

All Hands on Deck

October 24, 2017
By Jay Varner, 8th Grade Bible Teacher

Every November Uncle Sam drafts our little school into service. Many of you have attended one or more of our Veterans Day programs and have seen the hard work and preparation, but few know how many soldiers are involved. In the same way it takes a population the size of a small city to operate an aircraft carrier; it takes a sizable population to make our program what it is. Each grade level is mustered into service to ensure smooth sailing and make our VIPs feel welcomed and appreciated. Our school is pressed into service in the following ways:

  • The Siegfried Line — First & second graders preform joint operations welcoming our guests at all entry ways into Camp Perimeter.
  • Support from the Home Front — Third graders write personal letters of thanks and encouragement to veterans for their past service. Fourth & fifth graders often have to be drafted into service for this mission since guests outnumber our third-grade personnel 4 to 1.
  • The Marine Corp Choir — All fourth grade plebes spend two months in Sargent Langston’s boot camp preparing to sing the Armed Service Medley like they mean it!
  • CyOps — Fifth grade special operations are involved in covert activity specifically designed to undermine and expose enemy activity — also known as praying. Months of preparation are constantly being presented to the Commander-in-Chief for His blessing on our mission.
  • Base Camp — Our program is a lot for an old soldier to take in, so a little R&R is in order (Refreshments & Reminiscing with old comrades). This vital task is assigned to the sixth-grade cadets. They can be seen performing a number of duties: decorating the mess hall, distributing c-rations (cookies), and providing a comfortable place to rest one's boots. This task may seem menial, but sixth-grade cadets are in training for greater roles in later years.
  • Medal of Honor Ceremony — Some of our guests have gone beyond the call of duty, which requires special recognition. The seventh-grade corps oversee this task. They target veterans of noteworthy service for VIP treatment following the main program. These receptions are exciting for both veterans and civilians alike and often extend late into the day’s activities, living up to the Marine motto: “first in and last out.”
  • USO — What would service in the military be like without a little entertainment? This task is assigned to our eighth-grade, soon-to-be “West Point” graduates. We have invested a lot of money in these cadets and want to see them in action before the caissons go rolling out. Assignments range from playing instruments, singing songs, preforming skits, providing artwork, and ushering.
  • Baby Seals — All pre-first and kindergarten class platoons attend the program each year. They are too young to perform any duties, but all good seals in training start with mental preparation and vision in order to stoke them for future service.

Every military operation has an objective, and our's is no different. Our mission has three:

  1. Honor — to make our guest veterans feel appreciated for their service. The Scriptures say, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, especially when you have the power to act” (Proverbs 3:27).
  2. Outreach — to bring glory to God’s name and make Him known among the lost. Although this is a Veterans Day celebration, we want to make the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:16) and be vessels for the Good News.
  3. Legacy — Raising the next generation requires teaching our children the traditions of honor and duty toward God and country (Matthew 28:20).

So this November when Uncle Sam calls your little soldier into service, remind them of these things.

In His Service,

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Truth About Half-Day School

October 17, 2017
By Bobby Scott, Headmaster

Is It the Charlotte Mason Way?

A Bit of School History

In 1986, Valerie and I left our K4-12 school in Virginia to come to Atlanta and be a part of the covenant school at Perimeter. The school had been established in 1983 with one teacher and 6 students. From the beginning, the structure was designed to give the students only the necessary academic hours at school because the parents were eager to be involved in their child’s education as much as possible. The trust of the critical morning hours to a qualified teacher was appealing, as was time at home in the afternoon. We have continued to offer this unique and precious gift to families with only slight adjustments over the 34 years of Perimeter School.

The Emergence of Charlotte Mason

In 1984, a year after the school began, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay published her book, For the Children’s Sake, which in effect introduced the philosophy of Charlotte Mason to the U.S. It is still the initial “bible” of the philosophy. In it Mason is quoted as saying that the education of children up until age nine should focus on the morning hours as the critical ones for a school or home education. Independently both the SMT at that time and I read Susan’s book. This belief of Mason’s served to validate what the school had begun in 1983, in light of the question that had begun to emerge: “Can a school really educate young children in three hours a day?”

Over the next 7 years, we began to adopt many critical components of the educational philosophy of Mason, though some were already a part of the school’s curriculum and practice. For example, the focus on “the child is a person” was already demonstrated in the school’s passion for the student to see himself or herself as an image-bearer of Christ. The emphasis on the best of literature was already in practice at our school, though we did adopt the terminology of Living Books. We had already begun our focus on the great artists' works in each grade, though in the early days we did not call them Picture Studies. Today we have embraced much, but not all, of Mason's practices as we have deemed appropriate for our covenant school. Just due to the history, we are not really a Charlotte Mason school, as those schools existed only in Great Britain and were called PNEU (Parents National Education Union) schools. No schools are remaining under that name today.

What Is a ChildLight School?

In the early 1990’s, after helping establish 4 other covenant schools in the Atlanta area, we began the Perimeter School Association (PSA) for mutual growth and training of teachers. We kept our covenant school identity as our main foundation, but over time we grew in our knowledge of Mason principles in the areas of curriculum and methodology. Other schools sought us out, and in 1993 we began the ChildLight School Association, taking the title with permission from Susan Macaulay. Keeping our original five schools, we also added 10 additional ones throughout the Southeast. All are Christian, some are covenant, and each is committed to the ChildLight philosophy of education adapted from the principles of Charlotte Mason.

So What About Our K-2 Half-Day School?

We expect always to be committed to providing a half-day option for K - 2, and we are likewise committed to the practice of devoting morning hours to academics. With the cultural and economic changes that present the need for full day school to some families, we will continue to offer an afternoon Adventure program of play, fun, and creativity to students that does not contain academic pursuits (though we know that children learn great skills by playing). Though some may misunderstand, the half-day option with afternoon activities is not a violation of Mason philosophy. In fact, all her PNEU schools were full school days with afternoon play activities. We are excited to be able to offer options that honor our history and still meet the needs of families and what is best for children.

 

The Work of Childhood

October 03, 2017
By Rebecca Little, Lower Elementary Principal

"Play is the work of childhood."  - Mr. Rogers

Last week I had the privilege of working alongside fellow educators from our school to present to Moms Connect, a group of young moms with children up to age five. Our topic was setting a strong foundation in the developmental years. We began the presentation by teaching these young moms the importance of a strong developmental foundation for their children, which will then lead to a more well-built academic house. It was invigorating to teach these moms that cultivating auditory, visual, motor, and language skills is easily done in everyday life with everyday items in their home. If we just helped a handful of moms by introducing them to play-based learning, we accomplished much and invested our time well.

As Cheryl Kaywood, Wendy Williams, Karen Dills, and I prepared for the presentation, I was reminded of a few things that set us apart as a school:

  • Perimeter School is blessed with a faculty that possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience. I was inspired by listening to these three educators share their passion and expertise in the area of early childhood education.
  • Perimeter School gives our students in lower elementary a wonderful gift of half-day school, which even includes recess. Because of our half days, our kindergarten through second graders have the opportunity to spend much of the afternoon learning through playing. Of course, the type of playing that I am referring to is imaginative, outside, or unorganized play. To this day I do not regret giving my sons these few years of extra afternoon play. The value of those days is immeasurable.
  • All of us at Perimeter School need to share and explain openly what we know to be best for the child with others who are searching for education for their children. If they are thinking about preschools, encourage them to look for ones that are focused on developmental play rather than driven by academics. Perimeter School believes that there is much more to learning than paper, pencils, and text books -- especially in the early years.

What I shared with these young moms, I would like to share with you. God has created each of us in His image, and we are created persons. Children are not blank slates, but persons who yearn to be taught spiritually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. This teaching all begins when the child is born, and God equips us for the task. As parents we will make mistakes, and we will not do it perfectly. However, by calling on the Holy Spirit daily to give us wisdom, guidance, and creativity, we can do our best and encourage others on the same journey.

Learning to Serve

September 26, 2017
By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal

"In all that he does, he prospers." Psalm 1:3

What is the aim of my reach? I often feel that I am running and doing, yet I see much that I am not accomplishing. . .

We want our children to learn to serve others, but how do they do this -- for that matter, how do we? This is a question that parents have asked through the generations. There are certainly some things we can do to provide opportunities. We set aside time so the children can experience acts of service. We talk about the needs of others. However, the heart of service is not developed in a single day, but rather over time with constant reminders and focus.

Our country has faced a great deal of hardship in recent days. We see images of people in homes surrounded by water. We see neighborhoods leveled and homes scattered across the land. What do we do with this reality as Christian families and as a Christian school? Last week Kirk Stephens wrote an astonishing article on developing roots called "Storms." The roots we develop are the foundation for serving.

Believing that we are called to serve others, we can easily fall in to the trap of becoming focused solely on meeting their needs. However, we must consider how we serve. If a friend has a need, we meet the need. Yet, we don't stop there. We bring them love and encouragement as well, thus ministering to the whole person. Shouldn't we seek to serve others as we would serve our friends? 

We are so busy. How can we minister to so many needs so deeply? Are we not stretched too thin? I often feel that I am withering in the face of so many needs. I seldom feel like a great tree. What am I to do?

If we look at Psalm 1, we see the picture of a tree planted by streams of water. It yields fruit, and its leaf does not wither. Verse 3 states, "In all that he does, he prospers." We love that last verse, but we do not examine why he prospers. Consider Matthew 13:31-32. Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed. It is not a large seed like the Oak or the great California Redwoods, yet, it was the seed he chose to to use in his comparison. Jesus illustrates that the tiniest of seeds grows into a tree so large that birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. In Daniel 4 God compares the king to a great tree that provides shelter to the beasts of the field and fruit to all around.

How do we root deeply so that we can provide for others as God has called us to do? If our roots are placed in this world, we will be bound to the things of the world. We will wither in the face of the momentous task of serving others. If our roots are found in God, his Word, and the souls of people, then we will find great freedom to serve others. If we abide in Jesus, our roots will receive nourishment to grow strong branches that can provide shelter for others. We will have more to give, will be sensitive to the times He is calling us to serve, and will see others through the eyes of Christ, helping us to sift through things that don't matter in light of eternity and focus on those things that have eternal value. If our children grow roots in Christ, then they will find their hearts less withered as they seek to serve others deeply.

Let's not wait until the end of our lives to discover that this world is empty and that a life planted in this world will lead to withered hearts and fruitlessness for our children. Set your hearts on things above. Be captivated by God's opinion of you rather than those around you. Life is not found in the abundance of one's possessions but only in the presence of God.

Come with me, and let us reach with our roots so that He may reach others through our branches. Prospering occurs below the surface. Thank you, Kirk Stephens, for challenging me to reach with my roots.

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Recent Posts

12/12/17 - By Jody, McNatt, Perimeter School mom
12/5/17 - By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal
11/28/17 - By Jana Mock, Assistant Principal, Middle School
11/14/17 - By Bobby Scott, Headmaster
11/7/17 - By Rebecca Little, Lower Elemetary Principal
10/31/17 - By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal
10/24/17 - By Jay Varner, 8th Grade Bible Teacher
10/17/17 - By Bobby Scott, Headmaster
10/3/17 - By Rebecca Little, Lower Elementary Principal
9/26/17 - By Clint Fisher, Upper Elementary Principal

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