Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gifts and Offerings...

The school year is over.  It went by fast, and the next one seems like it is closer than the time available to prepare for it.  Graduation parties are in full swing.  The building construction, installation of new lights and ceilings, is virtually complete and the difference is remarkable.  New students are admitted and new applications are received on almost a daily basis.  Summer is just around the corner. 

It was a good school year, from many different perspectives.  Our senior class earned as many honors and accomplishments for their academic work as any recent class at PCS.  They have continued the recent strong showing of SAT and ACT scores in mathematics.  Their post-high school plans reflect a diversity that is unique among recent PCS classes, among the usual college admissions are students who are attending a technical or trade school, entering military service, entering a business apprenticeship, or taking a gap year.  Their college choices also reflected a diversity, including Cedarville University as the most popular choice, along with some new names, including Covenant College, The Citadel, and Taylor University. 

We celebrated many athletic accomplishments this season.  Boys varsity and junior high girls SWCAC basketball titles, with varsity soccer, volleyball and junior high boys basketball teams in championship games. The girls varsity basketball team earned a fourth place at the NCSAA tournament in Ohio, and the boys varsity brought home their second title in a row. Archery with top placements in preliminary tournaments, at state, and at nationals.  It was all good.  The athletic program provides a way for students to get a well-rounded education, learn how to manage their time between school and personal interests.  I'd say that enjoying the level of success that we did this part year was a blessing, and a gift from God as well.  Athletic success contributes to a positive atmosphere in the school community. 

Our fine arts program also had a great year.  Starting with a light comedy, ending with a wonderful musical performance highlighting a lot of vocal talent, we saw the growth of our instrumental music program during their Christmas and end of the year concerts.  As always, the elementary performances were delightful blessings, even leading us to worship at times. 

Of course, there are as many different perspectives of a school year as there are students, teachers and parents who are involved in it.  Not all of our students are involved in extra-curricular activities, and so the success that is experienced there might not have any affect on them.  Some students struggle with school, for a number of reasons, and so the experience of getting up to come here each day is not always pleasant.  Wondering, at the end of each grading period, and then again at the end of the year, whether your grades are going to be acceptable or not, does have an affect on how you perceive the school year.  But regardless of how the year is perceived, or a student's athletic ability, singing or acting talent, or aptitude and ability to perform well in class, our mission and purpose starts with the words "to glorify God...." 

All of these things that are mentioned here are gifts, given by God, to enhance and bless those who are a part of the ministry of this Christian school.  And regardless of any individual perspective, these are gifts which God uses to bless us.  They affirm us, strengthen our faith and trust in God, and in and among them are the answers to many prayers.  

Our response should be to give all of these things to the Lord as an offering, specifically for the purpose of glorifying the name of Jesus. 

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1, NIV

So as we wrap up this school year, and look forward to another one, we pause, and give all of the blessings we received back to the Lord, as an offering, to his glory.  This is part of the abundant life that comes to us through our trust in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  We are able to take pleasure in, and enjoy blessings that God gives to us, responding to him with gratitude.