Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The New Chapter

I truly hope you've visited our site on the Mexico Mission's trip. What a blessing! God used that trip in my life in many countless ways. Yeah, ok, so I know it's sort of a cheap, rip-off to blog through use of video camera, but that's the way it had to go. Hopefully I can snag some spare time this week and actually write some thoughts about the trip.

This morning I woke bright and early at 4:30 am. Sounds terrible, I know, but in Eastern standard time it was actually 7:30. I'm kind of hoping not to slip into Pacific time. I'd love to be in bed every night by ten and up by 5 or 5:30 at the latest. Perhaps that's a bit of wishful thinking, but so be it.

The main event of today and the next four days is Teacher's Inservice at Santa Clarita Christian School. A new school. New rules to follow. New staff to work with. New students and families to meet. New curriculum to teach. New place to live. New . . . new . . . new . . . To say I don't have a few butterflies in my stomach would be a lie.

God has been so good. I type this on a covered patio behind my sister's new apartment. When I walked out here the stars glistened above, crickets chirped from the lawn, and a crisp chill still hung in the air. I flicked on the Chinese lanterns hanging above, set down my textbooks and laptop, then flipped open my Bible to the book of Psalms. Here's what I read.

Classroom Level:
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions. - Psalm 45:7

This made me think of the classroom I'll be leading next Monday morning. Love righteousness and hate wickedness. Isn't that one of the basic elements of Christian school classrooms. Praise students who love, honor, obey, respect. Discipline those students who hurt, mock, disobey or rebel. What's the result when we teach like this? Gladness and joy in the classroom. Students know that you'll defend and help them, punish wrongdoers, and stand for what is right.

Life Level:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble . . . Psalms 46:1

It's been a crazy last three weeks. I've shot two weddings, led a mission trip to Mexico, left the home of my last seven years, preached in different churches, said Goodbye to countless friends and family, and step into a new chapter of my life. All through that time I've been battling anxiety. No, I'm not one to fret over every little thing, but I want to do things right and I want to do them well. I want to fulfill my commitments to the best of my ability. What a blessed assurance to read this passage this morning. God! God is our refuge and strength. I could write for days on that! A very present help - not distant help, not even merely an existent help - a very present help. He's here with me this morning. He's helping me, protecting me, guiding me. Oh praise his name!

Universe Level:
Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

Be still . . . yeah . . . that's a little convicting right now. Action has animated my entire being for the last three weeks. Thankfully each morning in Mexico I found time for a blessed stillness. Blessed quietness, holy quietness, what assurance in my soul . . .

God will be exalted among the nations and across the earth. He will. There is no doubt or question in that thought. He will be exalted! How does that affect me? Will I exalt him in my life now or wait until I'm forced? I try to make the right decision to that question everyday, but now I face a new question? How will I help my students exalt the Savior of this world? What can I do? How can I serve? How will I teach them?

Lord, let me be faithful to exalt righteousness and discipline wickedness in my class. May I know the blessing of your presence whether I "feel" it or not. Help me, Lord. Help me to help my students exalt you with their life.

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