This past Monday, Heritage Academy, along with many other public and private schools across America, took the day off to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King Jr. (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist. During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, King became the most visible leader until he was assassinated in 1968. King is remembered as a moving public speaker and an agent for love and not hate. He is quoted as saying "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
On April 3, 1968, the evening before his assassination, King delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop," Address at Bishop Charles Mason Temple (See the full speech here). His speech was directed to the city of Memphis (and the nation) concerning the discrimination and mistreatment of sanitation workers. One of the hallmarks of his speech and his leadership in the civil rights movement was his insistence on non-violence. Below is an except from his speech that evening in Memphis.
"We don't have to argue with anybody. We don't have to curse and go around acting bad with our words. We don't need any bricks and bottles; we don't need any Molotov cocktails. (Yes) We just need to go around to these stores (Yes sir), and to these massive industries in our country (Amen), and say, "God sent us by here (All right) to say to you that you're not treating His children right. (That's right) And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment where God's children are concerned. Now if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."
As Martin Luther King Jr. concluded his speech, he turned to the parable of the Good Samaritan which Jesus told in Luke 10:25-37. Using his imagination, he asked the audience why the Priest or the Levite didn't stop to help the wounded man on the roadside? Could it be that they were busy with important meetings? Is it possible that they didn't stop because they were afraid that they might be robbed as well? In any case, King holds up the good Samaritan as an example because he was willing to ask the question, "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?" rather than the question, "If I do stop to help the wounded man, what will happen to me?"
King's speech and lifelong legacy remind us that loving mercy and justice is a good first step. The next step is most important--the step of doing mercy and justice! In the words of Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O Man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
At Heritage, our theme for the year is spiritual grit based on Galatians 6:9. The parable of the good Samaritan and Martin Luther King Jr.'s life reminds us that it requires spiritual grit to (1) do the right thing, (2) show mercy to others, and (3) work towards justice for our neighbors.
Communication — Taming the Tongue
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” ~ Proverbs 18:21
As God’s children, we have been created with the unique capacity to communicate with words — and with our words we have the power to bless and build up or curse and tear down! The problem we face is the heart—tongue connection. Imagine a conveyor belt connecting the heart and the tongue. Everything that is in your heart eventually comes out your mouth in the things you say. Why? Because the heart and the tongue are connected with a spiritual conveyor belt.
Jesus taught us that a good tree produces good fruit. In Luke 6:45 (NLT), He said, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” The book of James adds, “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:16) So what can we do?
How can I tame my tongue?
My Declaration: As a child of God, I will submit my speech to the Lord seeking to bless others with the words I choose!
Bible story: The High Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26)
Quote: “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ~ George Washington
Summer's over and a new school year has begun. All of Columbia is back on a school schedule which requires families to work together to get to school and get to work. Students are feeling the emotions of getting back on track at school. Some are feeling excited; others are struggling with anxiety. After a long summer, many students are ready to get back to a schedule and begin growing, learning new things and preparing for what's next in life.
At Heritage, we have set our spiritual theme for the year as GRIT. Our theme verse is Galatians 6:9, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Through out the year, we will be looking for ways to integrate true grit into the hearts and minds of our students. Now, GRIT is not a biblical word, but there are many words in the Bible which could be mistaken for GRIT. Words like "perseverance", "long-suffering", or faith, hope, and love.
Hebrews chapter 11, for instance, is dedicated to heroes of faith who kept believing and didn't give up even when they faced great adversity in life. The Old Testament is full of such heroes fo faith. Abraham, Joseph, and Ruth are three such heroes.
Abraham believed the promise of God even though he and Sarah were childless (Genesis 15:6). Jospeh never gave up hope in the dreams which God had given even though he faced adversity after adversity. In the end, he still cringed to God's goodness (Genesis 50:20). Ruth became the hero of Elimelech and Naomi's life story with loyalty and love. Even though she was a Moabite woman, God worked through her loyalty and love to redeem a family and provide a redeemer for the whole world (Ruth 4:22). These heroes have been given to us in scripture to serve as examples for us today.
This school year, we are striving to help our students become successful in life by instilling in them spiritual qualities such as faith, hope, and love. Christian author John Ortberg has said of grit, "Over time, grit is what separates fruitful lives from aimlessness."
Let's work together to encourage our students to choose faith, hope, and love. Together, we can grow GRIT in our lives and the lives of our students as well.
Winter is almost over and spring time is just around the corner. Spring time reminds us that God is a creator who loves to creatively renew, renovate, regenerate, and redeem his creation. Interestingly, the Bible begins with words about God's work in creation (e.g. "In the beginning God created", Genesis 1:1) and ends with words about a new creation in Revelation 21.
What we sometimes miss is the connection that we share with God's creative power. Just as God is a creator, so too do we possess the ability to create, procreate, and recreate--it's a part of the image of God which we all share (Genesis 1:27).
Recently, I have been re-reading a book by Wayne Grudem entitled, Business for the the Glory of God. Grudem promotes the idea that all areas of life including business can be conducted for the glory of God. In other words, it is not just pastors, youth pastors, and missionaries who share in a divine call to give God glory with their life--we all share this call!
Doctors, lawyers, teachers, business women, artists, craftsmen, and coaches are all called to creatively utilize God-given gifts to reflect God's glory and give God glory with their life.
This has profound meaning for our daily lives . . . it means that creativity, innovation, imagination, and productivity glorify God. How will use your gifts and talent? What work will will you produce to reflect God's glory and give God glory?
At Heritage, we want each student to understand their unique value and opportunities to reflect God's glory in their studies and future careers. Perhaps a Heritage student will innovate a new manufacturing process or invent a medical device to save lives. To God be the glory in all things!
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." ~ Colossians 3:23-24
It's that time of year again! During the first and second weeks of April (April 3rd & 5th for Elementary and April 10th & 12th for Secondary), all Heritage students participate in Stanford Achievement Testing provided by BJU. Homeschooling families are also invited to participate. You can gather more information by selecting the Stanford Achievement Testing tab on the web page.
The Stanford Achievement Test ("Stanford 10" or SAT-10) is a nationally recognized standardized test that students have the opportunity to take at Heritage Academy. The Stanford test covers a wide variety of academics in each grade level such as reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, mathematics procedures and problem solving as well as science, social science and listening skills.
Test taking is a skill that students can improve on with practice. Tests are scored by an official service and sent back to the parents. The results show where the student compares with the typical student in the same grade across the nation, as well as whether they are above or below average in each subject.
The Importance of Assessment
Assessment is an important tool in the educational process for students of all ages. Studies show that regular assessment can help students test better and learn better (See The Impact of Formative Assessment and Learning Intentions on Student Achievement, Hanover Research [August 2014]). While academic assessments do not measure intelligence, they do provide helpful feedback for students, parents, and teachers related to specific skills and subject matter.
So encourage your student to relax and then grow to enjoy the experience of taking a test.
If I asked, "What is the most important thing you can do with your child(ren)?" How would you answer? You might say, "Go to church together!" or "Take my kids on a family vacation." Indeed, there are many important activities which enrich children's lives and help them grow into productive citizens. Amazingly, the most important thing is actually quite simple--eat together.
Anne Fishel, a co-founder of The Family Dinner Project, and professor at Harvard Medical School, suggests that studies show that eating dinner together is the most important thing you can do with your child (See her Washington Post article). While that might seem like an oversimplification, the message is clear -- spending time together without distractions creates memories and allows children to dialog with parents about important everyday issues.
If you want to build positive memories and healthy kids, start up the BBQ and spend some time together eating dinner!