I am a second grade teacher. I have been known as grandma to some, auntie to others and a time or two I have been called mom. I adopt all of my students as my own. I love them, teach them, pray with them and yes, discipline them. I try to learn how they learn best. I can be organized and flexible all at the same time. I strive to pull out their very best and help them to know that they are a child of the King. I want them to leave second grade loving God with their whole heart. Janice Lewis
Clayton is a 2006 MCA graduate and is now DR. Clayton Thomas Mowrer. He graduated from Kansas City University Medical School May 2015. He is doing his Residency here in Kansas City in Med/Peds which is a combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Program. He will be at Children’s Mercy downtown for 50% of his time and split the other 50% between St Luke’s on The Plaza and Truman.
I read a series of blog posts by Glen Schultz about the meaning of excellence. Since we often talk about excellence at MCA, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of the content here. I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Schultz, and often say that our work should be done in a manner worthy of an offering back to the Lord.
God’s character is definitely the standard for excellence but we must never forget that everything God DID was also excellent. When He had completed His work of creating this universe, He declared that this work was “very good”, another way of saying it was excellent. We would agree that Christ’s work on the cross was excellent. After all He gave His life to accomplish the task!
From these examples it is clear that one’s performance is definitely tied to the pursuit of excellence. However, the difference between worldly and godly excellence is found in one’s motivation behind one’s performance. The world says you must be better than the other person to be excellent. God says you perform with excellence out of a desire to bring Him glory.
Solomon tells us that whatever our hands find to do, we must do it with all of our might (Ecc 9:10). Paul encourages the believer to run in an effort to win (1 Cor 9:24). In Colossians he tells us to do everything heartily unto the Lord (3:23). I can go on and on with examples of where the Bible clearly tells us to give our maximum effort in anything we attempt in life.
However, for the Christian, our efforts are not put forth just to be better than the next person. We don’t strive to win by making someone else lose. We dare not go through life putting forth maximum effort just for the sake of being good at something. Our motivation should be to be good for Someone (God).
Gary Inrig defines excellence this way.
Excellence is the maximum exercise of our gifts and abilities within the range of responsibilities given to us by God.
We should be striving for excellence in our performance out of our love for our Savior. Excellence of performance is to be an extension of our excellence of character. When this is the order of our pursuit of excellence, our lives take on an eternal significance with great value.
Does performance matter? Most definitely but only from a divine motivation. A biblical model of excellence as defined by Inrig is conformity to God’s purpose for the individual believer (or school), in character and conduct.
A testimony from our Preschool team:
We pray that this lesson will stick with this boy throughout his life.
After spending a week in pre-k talking and learning about “discernment”, a 4 year old boy came up to me and said, “Ms. Starr, I did it. Last night instead of watching a bad tv show I changed the channel.” Starr Freeman
Psalm 68:3 “But the righteous are glad; they rejoice before God and celebrate with joy.”
There are many verses in the Bible that teach us about joy. One truth that is made evident by this verse and many others is that pursuing righteousness is a source of joy. As we look for ways to demonstrate to the world that we are different and have something that they should desire, we should seek righteousness which leads to joy. The Bible teaches us that sin has momentary pleasures, but sin leads to destruction. You are not going to find a great amount of joy on the road to destruction. However, righteousness leads to life. Now that is the road to be on! Don’t we all want to be on the road to a vivacious, fulfilling life? Let’s turn our backs on the path to destruction and pursue a life of joy.
Last time I wrote about what joy is not. Let’s look at a few points about what joy is.
- Joy is something that is unaffected by circumstances.
- It is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart.
- Joy is deep. It is not a surface emotion.
- It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope.
These points describe a state of being that is wonderfully appealing. In a world of confusion, declining morals, and turbulence, these descriptive points give us a picture of a life that solid, full of hope and so enriched with comfort that it can bring comfort to others. That is a life of a follower of Christ that will be attractive to those watching.
Joy is enriched when shared. These components are the pillars of our joy. When we share these with other believers in the world, we are being the salt and light that God has called us to be.
- Common grace – we have access to Christ because of His grace. We are equal when it comes to grace. No one deserves it more than another.
- Common burden – we are all called to bring Him glory. We may have disagreements about some things, but we must all agree on the path to salvation and the hope of salvation for the individual and our nation.
- Common hope – we are all looking forward to being with Christ.
Joy is confident when based on God. The bedrock of our joy is found only in Him through…
- Salvation – Start of our joy!
- We are completely reliant on Christ’s saving work on the cross and victory over the grave.
- He chose us!
- Sanctification – Source of our joy!
- We are a work in progress. We have the most powerful and most loving being in the universe working in us to make us like Him.
- Glorification – Fulfillment of our joy!
- We cannot be separated from God
- We will inherit eternal life with God
Joy is increasing in a growing Christian
- In our wisdom
- C.S. Lewis: “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- In our character – the more pure you are before God, the greater your joy.
- In our service – very few things bring deeper joy that the lasting knowledge of being a blessing to someone else.
This year I am challenging us to
- Make your understanding of joy real in your life
- Help others find joy
- Be part of a joyful academy
- Find ways to communicate our joy to each other and to our community