by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
As I was resting inside this past weekend after completing some outdoor projects, I found myself wishing that football season had arrived. In the fall, I enjoy budgeting a small amount of time watching football over the weekend. My current memories of this past football season include lackluster performances by my OSU Beavers, and a frustrating loss by the Seattle Seahawks as the season came to an end. Those who watched Super Bowl XLIX will remember how Seattle nearly completed a game-winning drive at the end of the game, only to have a questionable play-call result in an interception. Winning the Super Bowl the previous year does little to soften the blow, as the desire to win is never satisfied.
Students and teachers have focused on the following nine character traits this school year: dependability, thoroughness, determination, stewardship, availability, deference, persuasiveness, compassion, and wisdom. These traits have provided practical opportunities to identify the fallen nature of humans and the contrary daily choices that more clearly reflect God's character. As the school desires to motivate students to follow Jesus with their entire heart, understanding His character and choosing to reflect it is part of the process.
It is important for parents and students alike to understand that we will ultimately fail in our ability to reflect His character consistently. Character is never permanently developed, as each day requires a new level of conviction and demonstration. We wish that failure were not an option, but it is a frequent reality. But this reality should motivate a crucial response. As C.S. Lewis writes, “All this trying leads up to the vital moment at which you turn to God and say, ‘You must do this. I can’t.’” God has created His children in His image and intends for us to relate to Him in many ways. But in those times that we fail of our own effort, that is when faith can be grown.
Whether it is athletics, sibling rivalry, or a speech meet, competition has the benefit of motivating and often bringing out the best in somebody. The desire to win a Super Bowl trophy often motivates NFL teams and players to achieve their best. But even at or near our best, we can’t always win. And no matter how hard we try, our own personal character will often miss the mark of God’s true character. Once again, this realization can bear much fruit. C.S. Lewis continues, “... the change from being confident about our own efforts to the state in which we despair of doing anything for ourselves and leave it to God.”
The apostle Paul was the first to understand and apply this paradox. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12b-13). Since we are a new creation in Christ, we should make every attempt to act like it. And in our shortcomings, we should increase our trust and dependency on Him. This summer will no doubt provide ample opportunity to instill Godly character in our children. I pray we also guide them to the image of perfect character. A life fully surrendered to Christ is the only way to always guarantee victory.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
Over the past five years Jesus and I have endured in transforming my mind to appreciate an obscenely early wake-up time. I am not generally high-maintenance, but require undisturbed peace in my morning to achieve balance in my day, and a measure of success in my Christian walk. I start with a little “grumpy time”, because grace does not yet abound in me until a sufficient amount of coffee has been consumed. Once caffeinated, I am able to give my best to the most crucial part of the morning, my daily study and quiet time with God. Lately, this precious time has been under a relentless series of attacks!
The blame for this daily and hostile assault belongs solely to my daughter’s adorable kitten, Kian. I am quick to remind him that God will not bless his naughtiness, yet he persists in being a stumbling block. He incessantly plops himself on top of my bible, continually swats the pen out of my hand while I’m writing, and literally pounces on me while in prayer. I have resorted to sneaking around like a thief in the night, trying to avoid waking the pint-sized “disturber of the peace”. He’s just lucky he’s cute!
Now that my morning quiet time has been invaded, I realize how much I rely on it, and am desperately selfish for it! The thought crossed my mind to concede and move my quiet time to the evening, yet I gained a fresh resolve after reading a quote by C.H. Spurgeon that "If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere." It would be disastrous to attempt my day without first seeking God. I am useless to Him without spending time in His presence, allowing Him to direct and delight me.
The Bible recounts the tradition of God’s people rising early in the morning to seek Him. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Daniel, and countless others all “arose early in the morning”. David wrote “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5:3). Before the cares of this life set in and the noisy rush of the day hit like a ton of bricks, we need to meet with God. He alone knows what we will face throughout our day and eagerly waits to love on us and equip us for the good works He has planned.
The practice of intentional and focused time early in the morning for communion with God was Jesus’ first priority. If we are true disciples, we will follow His divine example, and teach our children to follow as well. Our quiet time with God is essential for healthy spiritual growth, maturity, and well-being. We may have to sacrifice or fight for it, but He is faithful to deliver us a victory when we determine to make meaningful fellowship with Him our first priority. Be encouraged: if Jesus can transform my outlook on early morning to one of expectant joy, there is hope for anyone! As for my little “force of disruption”, he is also being transformed - by a spray bottle of “Discipleship water”.
May God bless our devotion to “Seek first his kingdom…” (Matt. 6:33)
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal