Superintendent's Thoughts



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  • The Beginning or the End?


    This week I had the privilege once again to be a part of our High School graduation ceremony. It never fails to inspire me to see these young men and women poised and ready to move on to God’s calling for the reminder of their lives. This is often a huge step in their quest for independence. From this time forward their relationship with their parents changes. It is an important juncture where the past and the future separate in ways that other than when someone is getting married seldom occur in one’s life journey. If future plans include further study, more graduations are also possible but those are often more about launching a career than experiencing separation from your roots. I do not want this to sound like a bad thing; it is a normal part of the rhythm of life when young folks are ready to spread their wings and try to solo just a bit more. Clearly the ties to friends and family from their schooling years remain connected and important, but the boundaries extend a bit further and the familiar is n

  • Another Lesson Learned


    Another Lesson Learned After quite a few years of living and learning I have discovered that life lessons can be gleaned from both unusual and unexpected situations. For that reason, in every moment that God gives us breath we must open eyes, ears, minds and hearts to recognize when and where God is leading us through the people and happenings that he brings into our lives. In the winter months I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles and I am constantly on the lookout for challenging ones. I don’t just look for puzzles with a lot of pieces but also those that have but some unique characteristic that set it apart from others – maybe fewer colors or repeated patterns or blended scenes. These puzzles help me relax my mind from the stress of the day yet challenge me to stay more focused than reading, especially when I am tired. In addition, I can work for a period of time and can actually measure if I have accomplished something, which is not always true with my work at school. Recently I found a puzzle that was 2

  • Repair, Rebuild, and Return


    When a new year begins, especially this year at the beginning of a new decade, we always grow a bit nostalgic. As we look back and reflect we also look forward. I am sure by this time you have heard and read enough about the woes of the past decade, referred to by some as the most difficult decade in the U.S. since the Great Depression. Agree or not, this certainly has been a decade of change, with wide swings in the economy as well as governmental policies. Someone shared an editorial with me from the Wall Street Journal written by Peggy Noonan. I know very little about Ms. Noonan, but I found her insights to be important. It is her premise that institutions that were designed and purposed to “hold us together” as a nation, the glue of commerce and living, have struggled, floundered and even failed this past decade because they had forgotten their mission. According to the article government, banks, Wall Street, even churches and schools have lost their way. They have forgotten or abandoned their missio

  • Corrective Vision


    Corrective Vision We hear a lot about “vision” today. People will frequently have a Vision Statement regarding their own future and calling, churches have a vision how they desire to do ministry in the community, and businesses have a vision how to grow their market share or their customer base. Vision in these arenas has to do with planning for the future and goal setting. When we hear the term “casting a vision” we might even have a mental picture of someone throwing out a net to capture a snapshot of the future. Vision can also refer to sight. This has recently taken on additional meaning for me since I just went through surgeries to have cataracts removed from both eyes. This is quite a simple procedure today that can profoundly impact your vision. I did not realize how poor my vision was until I was blessed with new “lenses.” My sight has never been this good! Things are better defined; they have edges and are crisp and colorful. Your vision is a gift more appreciated when you realize it can be los

  • Gratitude: Full-Time or Part-Time?


    As the leaves fall and the air cools, we just feel the changes that surround us. It is more evident every day that a new season is approaching and another season is closing down. As we look at our calendars and plan our coming weeks, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner! Thanksgiving is an interesting time; we set aside a day and time to be especially thankful. We recognize and celebrate God’s blessings in our lives, our families, our relationships, and in our work and play. Without question it is a good thing for each of us to do as individuals and as collective groups. Maybe our class, our church, our youth group, our family, or our school could and should actively find ways to express and demonstrate gratitude to God. Saying “thank you” is an important habit, often embedded into our vocabulary and our conversations at a very early age. All of us know immediately what the answer is to the question expressed by an adult to a child when they ask, “What do you say?” We have discovered even

  • Cleaning Up!


    Cleaning Up A colleague of mine shared an interesting and insightful acronym regarding relationships, particularly regarding responding to the relationships in your life that have become, for lack of a better term, messy.I love people, I love to be with people, but involvement in any relationship means that we must make ourselves more vulnerable, and when that occurs we are at risk of being hurt.Sometimes we get hurt by our own actions and sometimes we get hurt through the actions of others.When that occurs, relationships become messy and they require our attention to make the necessary repairs if we expect the relationship to have a chance to be restored.The acronym that my friend used was CLEAN UP.It’s a good reminder about how to both restore broken relationships and avoid messiness in the relationships that fill our life. C – is for Communication Most relationships: friendships, partnerships, etc. break down because of a lack of communication.True feelings get suppressed or

  • Slow Down!!


    I remember well my mother telling me frequently as an active young boy to “slow down.”I was quite convinced that slowing down was a type of punishment and a ploy to hamper my idea of fun.Now a few years later, I am starting to better understand her words of wisdom.Slowing down is not necessarily a bad thing; it is just hard to do for most of us.The pace of life generated by contemporary culture has certainly not moved us in that direction.As a matter of fact, we do not dare slow down because we are fearful we will be left out, left behind, or miss something critical that could bring us success. Recently our pastor quoted from a book entitled In Praise of Slowness.I ordered the book and of course I am now trying to find the time to read it.Ironic isn’t it?My mother’s advice is still right on target. In a very unfortunate way, the present economic environment has brought us as a society and as individuals to a slower pace as the need to prioritize and choose what we can and should be doing becomes

  • T- Shirts and Bumper Stickers


    I am sure that you have, as I have, chuckled, marveled, been groused about, offended, or even inspired by some of the clever sayings, thoughts, and slogans that we find today on t-shirts and bumper stickers. For those expressions that are worthy of our consideration it is a real skill to reduce a complex thought to a few words. When we see a few well chosen words it can conjure up a much deeper and more complete image or idea, both for good and for ill. These condensed slogans can be insightful and informative or they can be rude and offensive. Occasionally two viewers might consider the same statement in two very different ways. However, with our ever-increasing pace of life we think less is always better when it comes to words and thoughts, and so these slogans become the norm and the replacement for complete sentences and ideas. It is in this zeal for brevity that important ideas can dissolve and be translated into pithy phrases. The advantage to this approach is that these phrases are more m

  • A Bug and a Wish


    As the world seems to be spinning faster and faster and our lives are turning right with it, face-to-face conversations are a dying art.It seems strange that now that we have more tools for communication than we have ever had at our disposal we have more breakdowns in communication than we have ever had.Some how in the world of cell phones, voice mails, emails, and text messages we have less meaningful communication than when none of those things were available.When you really think about it, our communication with one another is so accessible and immediate that we can “talk” for hours about very little more than surface connections.In the areas of business and commerce, these communication tools have made us much more efficient, effective, and aware; but that has not translated well into our personal lives.Instead of talking to someone face to face, it is more efficient to send an email even if they are across the room, down the hall, or even down the street from us.In addition, we often write things

  • Abiding and Abounding - Feb. 2009


    Recently I was blessed by a devotional given by a friend of mine to a group of educators.  As he shared I was struck with two words he used which seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear in these uncertain times.  Abiding and abounding – words probably translated in other versions of the Bible as remaining and overflowing – but I think and maybe it is just me, but abiding and abounding seem to have a greater richness and depth in meaning that the other words do not. In John 15, Christ speaks the powerful words about the relationship between the vine and branches.  It begins with, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.”  And continues, “Abide in me, and I will abide in you, no branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in me.”  A few verses later it goes on with the same theme, “If you abide in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” Remarkable isn’t it?   The promises we have avai

  • New Year's Resolutions


    New Year’s Resolutions The changing of the calendar to a new year, in this case 2009, usually leads us to think about changes that we are going to make for the new year.  A fresh start and a new resolve give us the courage to think that things are going to be different this time.  At one time such changes might have been unique to our lives but that is certainly not the case any more.  We live in an environment that thrives on change.  The rate of change that we must deal with is almost out of control.  To make a New Year’s resolution to change hardly seems necessary.  I would like to suggest we consider for this year to make resolutions about what needs to stay the same in our lives.  What do we need to keep?  Really this is an upside down way to get at what is really most important in our lives.  This is a very good thing to rediscover more frequently than we do.  What do we value?  That is not to say we might not resolve to do some things better or with more passion and purpose, but what is it

  • Does the Christmas Season Feel Different to You This Year?


    The headlines are filled with economic woe. We are surrounded by uncertainty. Many are experiencing layoffs and reductions in income. We are told almost instantaneously whether Black Friday or Cyber Monday was successful or above or below projections.  Bad news seems to travel even faster than good news.  Any conversation that lasts more than five minutes usually will pass through the waters of these troubled times we are presently experiencing. So I ask you, does the Christmas season feel different to you this year? Does it seem that we are almost hesitant to celebrate in this time of difficulty? Maybe we are disappointed that we cannot purchase the number of gifts that we have previously, or they might not have the pizzazz they once had.  I know I felt that way; however, as I thought about it more I was struck by the fact that if I do feel that way I have really bought into the commercialization of Christmas.  In spite of my words and my beliefs Christmas has moved to something different than

  • Dedicated to God's Service!


    I want to take this opportunity to invite you to attend the Open House and the Dedication of our newly renovated High School.  The date is Thursday, November 13, with the Open House from 5 to 8 PM and the dedication at 7 PM.   The question really is what does it mean to dedicate a building and why is this important? The Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament is filled with stories of how God’s people dedicated their work, their land, their crops, their buildings, their children, and themselves to God’s service.  We too feel it is important to recognize that we want this building and the learning that takes place in it, as well as every person that walks its hallways to be used by God to build His kingdom.  We do not think that God literally requires a building in order to do His work; but rather this school building is to be used by us – staff, parents, and students - to carry on God’s work, to allow us to carry out our calling of teaching and learning in a manner that will equip

  • What is going on at Holland Christian?


    I am sure that was the question asked by many folks that frequently or even occasionally traveled 40th street or Ottawa Ave this summer.  One could not miss the volume and the scope of the construction project this summer – sometimes seeing huge portions of the high school no longer in place and then to watch it return with a very different shape and look.  It was quite a mess from one end of the campus to the other for sometime and then it started around the first of August to come together – first in new spaces that become better defined and then with magnificent landscaping and parking lots and finishing touches that seemed to appear out of nowhere – early on it seemed to change by the week – then by the day and near the end it was changing by the hour. But the question is a good one – What is going on at Holland Christian, since we are about a lot more than buildings and glass and steel and bricks and trees and fields and courts and flowers and parking lots.   What is going on is that a good por