by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
After winning by considerable margins the first three games of the season, the CCS middle school girls basketball team I am coaching faced a more formidable opponent last week. It was obvious during the pregame warmup that our foe had spent considerably more time in the gym than we had. But we were hopeful; we were undefeated after all. By the end of the first quarter though, it was apparent we were not going to have a chance to win the game. The other team was in a different league (literally). The girls kept looking at me to fix the situation. Wasn’t there a certain play or substitution plan that could counter the opponents much more refined skills and abilities? No such luck.
I knew at the end of the game that I had an opportunity for important worldview formation in these young girls’ lives. Much of today’s culture encourages the process of making excuses, blaming others, and/or not taking personal responsibility; pretending to live in a world void of cause and effect. So I asked the girls what lessons they had learned from that particular game. I was pleased with the answers discussed: “There may always be a team better than us.” “Now we know what it feels like to lose by a lot, so when we win we should win graciously.” “If we want to play like that team, we need to practice a lot more!” What important lessons! Instead of blaming the refs, or the coaching, or looking for a quick fix to bail them out, they were processing the world around them from a healthy worldview. Success isn’t the result of simply showing up, but results are a function of our own personal choices.
God loves us so much, He gave us choice. The choice to love willingly. That ability to choose allowed sin to enter the world through a poor choice by Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden known as “The Fall”. We see the effects of this sin in our fallen world both around us and inside of us. Yet God, in His love, provided us eternal reconciliation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. All of those sins are atoned for.
In the game of basketball, each action has an effect. Running with the ball results in a travel. Pushing the opponent results in a foul. Paul writes in Colossians 3:15, “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” That word “rule” is the same word used to “officiate” the Olympic games. In the game of life, each action has an effect. Being diligent in schoolwork results in learning and success. Trusting in God results in peace and joy. Pursuing healthy friendships results in relationships that provide love and support. Each of these actions require daily decisions. Just as officials help guide the actions on the basketball court, the peace of God can guide our actions in our lives. When we choose to surrender our lives to His forgiveness and Lordship, the effect is a redeemed heart and the presence of God’s peace.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
Last summer I had the genius idea of tackling a large home improvement project. I determined it was time to paint my living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, stairways, and the front entry. Still under some grand delusion I added all of the trim, moulding, doors, and paneling to the list. I confidently mapped out the project, providing myself with a generous timeline, researched the perfect color, and invested in the proper equipment.
The first few days were lovely and productive. The kids were out of town, my husband was at work, and I was blissfully streaming a rotation of worship music, podcasts, and sermons at full blast. However, at the conclusion of day seven I was running out of time, paint and patience. My prayer for Jesus to multiply my trim paint so I could get that last door finished was not part of His agenda. The cat and I were both covered from hair to paw in spatters of “Dorian Gray” and “Bright White” (likely enough to have covered that last door).
That week one of my favorite speakers shared “God doesn’t see what’s wrong with us; He sees what’s missing in us”. I laughed and proclaimed that at the moment I was clearly missing patience, because I was continually losing mine with the variety of mishaps and setbacks vexing my perfectly planned project. After allowing that statement to settle in my brain I remembered my recent struggle with the verse, ”Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4 MSG).
When God chooses the “gifting” of tests and challenges to reveal what is missing in our lives and that of our children, it will require a great deal of patience (especially if patience is what we’re missing). The more patience we develop, the more we will accomplish. We will be better equipped to partner with the Holy Spirit to learn from the discipleship opportunities in our relationships, finances, health, parenting, careers, with endurance and perseverance. God never wastes an opportunity to grow us, but we can be resistant (the opposite of patience) and miss His promise, provision, and blessing.
God is continually working to renovate our hearts and minds, upgrading our faith to the next level. It may get messy at times, but after His perfectly planned project is at its completion, and before the next begins, we would be wise to take a moment to appreciate the loving and skillful work of His hand. Trust the process, the timing, and the means by which God is building Christ-like character into our lives. He is faithful!
May we allow God to patch the holes and fill the cracks in our hearts.
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
I have mixed feelings about this month’s character trait of patience. I am excited about the powerful truths that can transform the lives of families, but am also convicted of how much growth remains in my own life! There are so many valuable truths surrounding patience, I want to highlight each of the five “I will” statements that students will focus on this month as they practice “accepting difficult situations for as long as it takes.”
1. Make the most of my spare time
Whether it is a trip to Les Schwab, a child’s doctor's appointment, or commuting to work, many of us have pockets of spare time throughout our weeks. A ten minute pocket of spare time each day totals a full work week and a half of our lives. It is valuable to be deliberate with our spare time and not just let it slip away with what is convenient. I try to keep good non-fiction books and professional podcasts easily accessible throughout my day.
2. Keep trying until I succeed
Consider the high school volleyball team. The seniors started four years ago with a record of 1-15. That experience is generally described with the word failure. Yet success is almost always the result of many failures. In this culture of immediate self-gratification, if the players or coaches allowed discouragement to creep in, they may have decreased the intensity of their commitment, or even stopped trying altogether. But with tremendous patience and determination, years of commitment have now resulted in tremendous success as they compete this weekend in the OSAA State Championship Tournament.
3. Not interrupt
This is a hard one for me. I love to hear myself talk. But I already know what I know (and I’m really not that interesting). Rather than being consumed by our own thoughts and what we want to say next in a conversation, it is so valuable to focus our listening skills on the speaker. Considering what questions to ask is an excellent practice to limit disrespectful interruptions while also being a good friend.
4. Not complain if I don’t get my way
What a difficult challenge! We all want our way. Yet obedient service, whether to God or each other, is not just defined by our actions, but also by our attitudes. Choosing to not obey or to simply complete a request begrudgingly is a lose-lose situation. It breeds selfishness and destroys relationships. It is helpful to first admit that “my way” may not always be the best way, anyway! Then wake up each morning with a desire to serve others selflessly.
5. Change the things I can change and accept the things I can’t
This is the heart of our salvation. After surrendering our will to God, we simply allow Him to transform our lives and be used as agents of redemption in this world. Paul writes, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” I am not envious of most of Paul’s situations as they were oftentimes very discouraging. I am glad others are patient with me and my shortcomings and I hope to practice the same, while also working hard to fulfill God’s will for me each day.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent