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An all-out call to my students and fellow teachers

July 18, 2018
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I remember sitting in the high school stadium bleachers, panting and mopping my face with a towel after completing a five mile run around the track.  I was exhausted and thirsty and pouring sweat.  In fact,  the sweat had so freely cascaded down me that my socks and shoes were soaked; I made an odd squishing sound when I climbed the steps and plopped myself down heavily on the aluminum bleachers.

I looked out at the field crowded with our varsity football players running obstacle courses, sprinting from yard marker to yard marker, and smashing into each other.   This was the practice period that most gridiron athletes hate the most: the one-two punch of daily hours-long practice times known universally as “two-a-days”.  Some were tilting their heads back, open-mouthed and panting.  A few fellows had their hands on their hips and were breathing so deeply that I could see their chests heaving from my far-off seat.  Others were leaning over, their hands on their knees, heads bowed in exhaustion.  Each one, I noticed, would take a furtive glance over at the bench and tables that were graced with large orange casks and stacks of cups.

When the whistle blew, they fairly flew to the sidelines.  That was my private signal as well.  I trotted down the steps and found a water hose near the end zone and turned on the spigot.  I drank as long as I was able.

We were all crazy for water, those students and I.  We were desperately thirsty.

As I approach the school campus this year, at the heels of this dreadfully hot and humid Tennessee summer, I wonder how many of us will have the same thirst, not for physical water but for something so much deeper.

This Jesus.

Why in the world have we come up with the idea that we Christians don’t need to go to the Well and drink?  We found it at salvation, didn’t we?  The Savior Himself emphasized the spiritual and eternal quenching only He can give.   In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John He boldly told the woman at the well that “The water that I give you is eternal or living water.  Drink of this water, and you will never thirst again.”

He shocked the crowds – including the religious leaders – at the water ceremony at the end of the national Feast of Booths celebration. As the high priest dipped a golden pitcher and took water from the Pool of Siloam and carried it to an altar, the thousands sang praises to God for the delivery of water during the desert wanderings of generations back.  During a pause in the singing, someone shouted:

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come and drink.  Let him come to me.” 

The heads turned.  It was Jesus.

He was offering the answer to the thirst of the soul.  He interrupted the ceremony ritual for a truth encounter.  That’s shocking, yes.  But it’s only half of the story.

Would the crowd come to Him for their eternal relief?  How would they respond?  John writes of the reaction.  Some burst out “This is the Prophet!  This is the Messiah!”

Others argued with them:  “Oh, yeah, do you honestly think our spiritual leader will come out of the miserable hillbilly Galilee region?”

However, even the temple guards faced discipline when they refused to arrest Jesus at the order of the religious leaders.   “In all honesty, no man has ever spoken like this man,” they responded.

Everybody had to make a decision on what to do in response.

It reminds us of the question Pilate put before the crowd, and one that we need to answer today – whether we are student or teacher – as school starts:

Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”

Nobody in that crowd would find spiritual satisfaction or eternal reward by nodding ascent of the Christ and then continuing in their way.  Nobody would continue in their self-centered way and expect to get salvation.  Not one person like this would have any right to expect Jesus’ power to come to them.

Neither should we.

If we’re a campus that puts the name of Christ in the very center of our title then should we also put Christ in the very center of our campus, including activities, studies and daily life?

This is the year to make that happen.  This is the school year that defines who we really are.

It’s time we establish what is the very core of our academic existence here at Grace Christian Academy.  We must make a very, very serious decision  as to our being a deeply Christ-centered campus or a very nice private school that has a spiritual label.

What will we do with Jesus who is called Christ?

The Bible says He must be front and center.

All else is secondary.

“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these other things will be added to you.”

I repeat:  everything else is secondary.

That includes sports.

That includes theater arts.

That includes scholarships and academic achievement.

Don’t get upset;  I didn’t say they were bothersome.  I didn’t say they were unnecessary.  I said they needed to be secondary.

God’s pleasure and His glory will begin to shine on our school once again.

In the words of Henry Varley to D.L. Moody:  “The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.”  That resonates here, with us at GCA both now and in the coming weeks and months.   Full consecration means that God the Father gets first place in our decisions,
our attitudes,
our studies,
our conversations,
our leisure time…

Everything.

In the heat of this sweltering summer, let’s be reminded of the satisfying Source of the most important Water we can ever get.  Let’s go to Him and start seeing a wave of revival over our school.

Are we ready?  Then let us go.

Let’s run to the Well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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