The annual theme at WCA this year is serving others and is based on Christ’s teaching found in Mark 10:43-45. While it is human nature to define greatness as being “King of the hill”, Christ’s lesson and life remind us that in order to be great in God’s Kingdom, one must become the servant of all. This theme is integrated into lessons and programs, and students and faculty alike are recognized regularly for their example of serving others to the glory of Christ.
The recent passing of Rev. Billy Graham provides another opportunity to reflect on this principle of Kingdom Living. Rev. Graham is characterized as one who believed in Jesus Christ, sought to live his life in obedience to God’s Word, and proclaimed to all nations the Good News that Jesus Christ is the Savior. Many tributes and articles about Billy’s life and testimony have been posted recently by those who have been impacted by his faithful ministry and servant’s heart. A few years ago, a group of musicians collaborated to create a song to honor Rev. Graham. May you be encouraged by this moving tribute to become great in God’s Kingdom by faithfully serving others. Thank you, Billy Graham!
I have always been the type of person who saves money, and who has to do serious thinking sometimes to spend money. At times in our marriage, my husband has had to talk me into spending money. I have always been a saver.
On that topic, here are a few words of advice that I have come across over the years in order to save a few bucks here and there. I hope someone can benefit from this.
· Sign up for reward programs and/or online coupons at your favorite stores (Meijer, Kroger, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Kohls, etc.) and then stay loyal to them in order to maximize your savings.
· The state of Michigan has millions of dollars in lost or forgotten funds from dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, forgotten safety deposit boxes, etc. Search for “unclaimed property” on the www.michigan.gov website to find the search page. You can also look for funds from other states on www.missingmoney.com. You could be a good candidate if you have moved in the past several years.
· When you return pop cans, put that money into a kitty for vacation fund, Christmas fund, college fund, car fund, mad money fund…
· Instead of buying snacks, pop or water from the vending machine at work, bring your own.
· Buy from the Nu2u resale shop. I have bought like-new and new clothing items that still have the price tags on them.
· Download free music, books and magazines (no subscription required) from your local library’s website.
· While you are at it, grab a good book or two from the library.
· Check out the TRIP discounted gift card program at WCA. Details can be found on the school website.
· Does your credit card offer a rewards program? Check out several at the following link: http://time.com/money/4037389/best-credit-cards-2015/
· Are you paying for a subscription that you don’t use any longer? Onstar? XM Sirius radio? Gym membership? AAA? Magazines? Do you still need or use it?
· Look at your monthly credit card bills – are there any recurring expenses that you can eliminate?
· Do you have items lying around the house that you don’t use any longer? Donate them to Nu2u for a tax deduction. Or sell gold jewelry that you don’t wear any longer and aren’t emotionally attached to.
· Preventative maintenance always costs you less in the long run. So get your oil changed, rotate those tires and schedule that annual doctor visit.
· Make your own cleaning supplies. I’ve recently seen this on the internet, and while I haven’t tried it, it looks really good.
My final but most important tip to meet your financial goals is to follow God’s directive in Malachi 3:10. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. 'Test me in this,' says the Lord God Almighty, 'and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.'”
You can never out give God. I will close with a brief illustration. In 1990, our pastor gave a sermon in which he challenged the congregation to tithe. He took the challenge a bit farther and stated that if we did, and God didn’t bless us, that the church would refund our money. (At least that’s how I remember it. I don’t know if anyone actually took him up on it.) So I committed to God to faithfully tithe the 10%. Just 2 weeks later, the company I worked for laid off 40% of the workforce, but I was able to keep my job, and they gave me a 20% raise to stay. Praise God for His faithfulness!
Hi Everybody! Thanks for tuning in and taking a minute to read my blog. Over the next several months, I will be periodically discussing several topics related to safety, ranging from home and family, to internet use, and everyday awareness while you are out and about.
With more than 23 years of law enforcement under my belt, I don’t plan to reinvent the wheel or claim to be an expert. But I do hope that some of things that I write about may cause you to look at things or do things a little differently, which may make your life safer and ultimately more peaceful.
I must start by commenting that we all must remember that sometimes bad things happen to good God loving people. I can’t explain why, nor can many trained theological leaders. Either way, I just hope that what I have to say will make you go “Hmmmmm” and possibly make your life a little safer.
So, let’s start at home. Whether we live in a multi-story single family home or a basement apartment, we all want to feel safe in our castle. We work hard for what we own and want to know that when we return home, it will be there. The first thing we need to understand is no matter what we do to secure our home and make it safe, “Joe Bag of Donuts” (what we will call our bad guy) will find his way into our lives. So let’s cover a few things that just might make him go look somewhere else. “Sorry, unprepared neighbor.”
Let’s start at the road. How does your house look? Does it look like a target? Is it dark, secluded or appear that there is nothing to stop “Joe” from making an unexpected shopping spree? Are all the lights off or is it covered with vegetation? We all love the wooded lot, but this is just an invitation for “Joe.” If you do have a house off the road or a house hidden by vegetation, then you may want to consider some trimming or adding some lights. These can either be motion sensing or low voltage that extend down the drive and light up all sides of your home. Even if you live in a treeless subdivision, lights are the best defense. During the night time hours, having some lights on around your house can make a huge difference. “Joe” doesn’t like to be seen while he is trying to break into your house. Studies show that after adding more light to an area, crime decreases in that area by 21%. http://www.campbellcollaboration.org/news_/improved_street_lighting_reduce_crime.php
Just a few low voltage lights around your house can lower your chances of becoming a victim. What I find funny is that even though we might spend many hours picking out the perfect lights for our home, sometimes we might never turn them on because we want to save money on our electric bill. If you don’t use the lights, they will not serve the purpose that they are intended for. Here’s an additional thought. Lights aren’t just there to make your home secure, they are there for our safety while walking to the front door after an evening at the school for a family event. They light up our front door when the pizza man comes, or, God forbid, when emergency First Responders need to find your address.
So hopefully, we are now inspired to use those lights to discourage “Joe” from approaching our house. But if that didn't work, let’s take a look at what we can do to keep him out. We have to remember that “Joe bag of Donuts” and his fellow criminals are lazy. They would much rather walk through a door than climb through a window. First comes the door. We have solid steel doors on the garage and a full length double wide glass door around back. That sure does seem kind of crazy, doesn’t it? The door most commonly seen from the street by that patrolling officer is solid steel and the hardest to breach, while the door that is most easily penetrated is hidden around back, inside of a fenced yard or surrounded by mature trees and shrubs. From a professional point of view, that door will be an easy target. The lock and handle is the easiest thing to breach on a door. It can be easily “jimmied” or pried open. Some of the older model doors can be easily lifted and taken right off of their tracks. Fortunately, there are a few quick and easy things that you can do that will help secure your door. The first is a jam that is used to keep that sliding portion in place. This can simply be a cut piece of wood or an old broom handle. Or you can purchase and install one of the many locking mechanisms sold at your local hardware or big box store. Once your solution is in place, you have to use it. It won’t do you any good if the stick is leaning in the corner and the lock is left unlocked.
Now, let’s take a look at those swinging front doors. Make sure that you have a good lock and deadbolt combination. The glass, if any, should be tempered and as strong as possible to deter being broken. Most often a burglar will break this glass and easily reach in and unlock the door and then “Joe” is picking through your belongings. This brings us to that age old discussion about the deadbolt. Today’s building code recommends, and in some places requires, a thumb throw on the interior. The debate is that once the window is broken, all Joe has to do is reach in and unlock the door. With a key dead bolt, “Joe” has to break the window and try to climb through, risking injury or detections. The fix to this is to not use the deadbolt when home and only when away. If you do have an interior key model, use it at night, and leave a key in the lock for easy exit during emergencies.
So if this deters “Joe bag of donuts,” he will then turn to a window. So here are a few things to think about when it comes to windows. All windows are easily defeated with a rock, even if they are the most expensive windows out there. Unfortunately, there is no way we can prevent a window from being broken. What we can do is lock the ground-level windows when we leave. If we want to leave them cracked open for some of that fresh spring air, then use some type of “jam” to keep them from being opened fully. Just like the large glass door, these can be homemade or store bought.
So there are my thoughts for this blog. There will be much more to come in the future on home safety and things I’ve learned from 23 years in the business. Keep safe and keep your eyes on God!
From the Heart of a Mom, Wife, Psychologist and Counselor………
By Dr. Michele White
Cultivating a Child’s Affections
PROVERBS 22:6—Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
What images are conjured in your mind when you think of a crisp fall morning? For our family, that answer is quite easy. We think of soccer. Our fourth child, Avery, is an avid soccer player. He loves all things soccer. Our goal is to help cultivate this love, while balancing it with the right priorities.
The definition of the word “cultivate” means to try to acquire or develop. What does that look like from the worldview lens? From a worldview lens, sometimes we see overstimulation as a way to cultivate a talent or a love for a child. We see the following terms; “helicopter parent,” “tiger mom,” or “stage mom.” All of these depict a parent that has taken a love or a talent to the extreme. Instead of helping to truly cultivate something that would be positive, some parents will turn that process into a negative experience. This can cause a child to dislike being a part of an organized sport or an activity.
When I think of the word “cultivate,” I am reminded that we are called to cultivate a relationship with Christ above all other relationships. It is imperative that our children develop a relationship with Christ separate from our relationship with Him. Many times, I hear young people say that they know that they’re saved based on the fact that their parents were saved or their grandparents went to church. The truth is, they’re not saved based on those facts. Each individual, whether it’s an adult or a child, has an individual relationship with Christ that needs to be cultivated.
Allow me to share an analogy. Using analogies is one of my favorite teaching modalities. I think about how Jesus used parables to bring forth truth in a way that is digestible by all. I think of analogies in the same way.
If you think of being in a grocery store and there is a lost child running wild in the store; the child is running wild because they are fearful that they have lost their parent, so they begin to scream, “Mom! Mom! Mom!” Despite the number of children that are running around that store, a mother can hear the voice of her child no matter all other external noises. Their voice may be faint, but a mother can hone in on the intricate details and nuances of her child’s voice unlike any other. In fact, there could be a hundred other mothers that go by the name of “Mom,” but a mother knows her child's voice.
The same is exactly true with a relationship with Jesus Christ. When you make a profession of faith to become part of a parent-child relationship unlike any other, God, being your Father, hears your voice. He hears the nuances and intricacies of your voice unlike any other child; as you run aimlessly around the world He hears your unique voice. What a joy to be able to share with your child this concept of cultivating.
Much like the relationship that you teach your child within your home about cultivating a relationship with Jesus Christ, you must understand that you as a parent must cultivate a relationship with your child. Many times we err on the side of trying to put activities in place of the relationship. We think that if we take them to a thousand soccer practices or a thousand violin lessons or a million piano lessons, that this will bring joy and it will cause that child to see us as a super parent.
Out of every single gift that my parents have ever bestowed upon me as a child, the one that I remember most is the gift of time. I remember times of mowing the grass with my father. I remember times of driving to school with my mother and the conversations that we would have during my senior year of high school. Of course I remember a few of the gifts that were given to me for birthdays and Christmas, but they pale in comparison to the gift of time.
We fill our time, unfortunately, with items as opposed to relationships. I implore you to sit down with your child and cultivate a close relationship with them that is not based on activity, but is based on you understanding who they are. I don’t want to give the wrong impression, that events and items of interest to your child are not important; however, there has to be a proper balance.
We are very structured in our time with extracurricular activities. Our children understand that although soccer, basketball, gymnastics, baking, crocheting, etc. may be a priority in their life, it is not the sole priority in our family structure, or in God’s kingdom. We also implore upon our children that God will use their talents in whatever area to first and foremost bring glory to Himself. As you help to cultivate relationships for your children in these areas, you are helping to prioritize their “loves.” Children should understand that their love for God is first and no one or no activity takes that place.
In the book of Matthew, God encourages us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” If we teach our children to seek God first, then God, according to His word, will order everything else in proper succession.
Having five children, they each have a different personality and each have a different bent. God has given them each a unique gift and a unique talent that will be utilized in God’s kingdom. Ultimately, God will have us give an account of how we best used our gifts and talents. We understand, with one of our children loving soccer that it is a gift and desire bestowed upon one of our sons. Soccer will be used at some point for our son to spread God’s Word. He is able to do that while on the soccer field by showing Christ-like love when there’s an injury, showing compassion for a teammate. He’s able to show Christ-like love when there are decisions that are made that he may not agree with by speaking to the referee with respect. He is able to continue to edify God by saying no to a game that may interfere with church or family activities.
Children understand that the world does not dictate and run their home, but rather, God does. Christ must be the center of everything. If Christ is truly the anchor that holds everything down, our children will be able to handle the extracurricular activities in a manner that will be pleasing to God our Father, to our family, and to the entity in which they belong.
Today, I want to encourage you to do 2 things this week with your child:
1. Sit down with your child for a parent-child date night. I would encourage you to schedule on your calendar a time every two weeks that you can spend uninterrupted time with your child. This does not have to be a time where you go out, but just a time to talk with them and cultivate your relationship.
2. It is imperative that you begin with prayer with your child and have a fervent prayer life with them to hear their heart. It is also imperative that you know what their likes and what their desires are and what their fears are. Have a conversation about school. Have a conversation about social relationships. As you begin to cultivate a relationship with your child, you will be amazed at the fruit that God allows to grow.
As we recently celebrated Dr. Seuss Day (his birthday is March 2nd) at WCA, I was reminded of Horton, the kind elephant who seeks to help others. In the book, Horton Hatches the Egg, the kindhearted pachyderm offers to sit on an egg while the momma bird, Mayzie, takes a short break. The temporary hiatus turns into a permanent relocation when the lazy, irresponsible bird settles in Palm Beach! Meanwhile, Horton devotedly stays with the egg (51 weeks!) in spite of facing many obstacles, such as being exposed to the elements, laughed at by his jungle friends, captured by hunters, forced to endure a terrible sea voyage, and finally placed in a traveling circus. Horton repeatedly reminds the reader of his motivation, "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent!" Horton is a trustworthy, faithful friend.
Likewise, God has faithfully blessed Washtenaw Christian Academy, “one hundred percent”. For 40 years Washtenaw County families have trusted WCA to provide a Christ-centered and academically challenging education. With a vision to prepare and equip servant leaders to positively impact a world in need of Christ, God has faithfully “hatched the egg” by providing the material, financial and human resources that are necessary to achieve our goal. And that bounteous blessing continues through the talented, loving staff as well as supportive, engaged parents. Selected from the parents is the leadership team that sets the vision and guides the mission…the WCA School Board. This group of humble, god-fearing parents has been gifted by God with wisdom and insights that have been gained as they relied on God’s faithful provision for their own successes in the particular vocations to which He called each of them. Their expertise extends across many facets of professional business and community service, and WCA benefits greatly by their servant leadership.
This collective group has insights in areas such as parenting, marketing, public safety, computers, financial planning, personal hobbies and medical care. With such a wealth of knowledge and expertise at our disposal, we felt a bit selfish keeping it all to ourselves. To rectify this situation, the board members have offered to share their respective knowledge through the school blog. This venue is a wonderful tool to provide helpful insights for WCA families as well as families in the surrounding Washtenaw County at large. Through this enterprise WCA will become known not only as a great school for educating children, but also a respected, reputable resource for guidance in the essential areas of life.
And this pursuit is a vital distinctive of a vibrant Christian school. It is not just a place to send children to learn, but it is a community of learners. When parents, staff, and students are engaged in learning together, they are fulfilling the Apostle Paul’s instruction in his letter to the Ephesians to “bring [their children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” As Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke University, has said, “Saints cannot exist without a community, as they require, like all of us, nurturance by a people who, while often unfaithful, preserve the habits necessary to learn the story of God.” In a Christian learning community we share the story of God’s faithfulness, and…we learn to imitate His example. Then it might be said, and it might be meant, “A Wildcat’s faithful, one hundred percent!”