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Here’s the first step in a school campus revolution

July 25, 2018
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Last year’s school year did not start off well for me.  I was rushing out of the house that morning, ready for my first day of teaching but running behind time.  I roared my little ancient Jeep Grand Cherokee 14 miles through the highways and back roads to get to the school.  As I whipped into my parking spot and grabbed my jacket, I reached for my satchel and gasped.

It wasn’t there.  I forgot my laptop.  My “brain” was back at the house in the utility room next to the clothes dryer.  All of my notes, calendars, and communication were sitting next to the laundry basket.

I was prepared to undergo a full day’s worth of instruction and yet I forgot a very important part of my work.

It got me to thinking of what we may have forgotten on our campus last year. Let me explain, please.

First, may I say that I am truly amazed at the huge response to my earlier blogs about our need to see the Heavenly Father take over our campus.  Many of you responded through my Facebook page or in private emails, and frankly I am excited at the prospect of what God can do to so many willing Believers.   Your questions were, “What do we concentrate on?  What should we pray for?  What should we prepare to teach within our classroom?”

The first step is for us to introduce an attribute of God that each person – Christian and non-Believer – needs to see.

We are familiar with God’s omnipotence.

We are familiar with God’s omnipresence.

We are familiar with God’s omniscience.

We, however, have been way too late in teaching and expressing the beauty of God.

Years ago I recall sitting in the South Dakota double-wide trailer of a country pastor and his wife who both served faithfully for decades in their little church in Hot Springs.  As we sat at the breakfast table and looked out over the Black Hills while sipping coffee in the early dawn, I couldn’t get over the deep, deep love this couple had for God. The pastor and his wife would bring up the beauty of God Himself many times that morning.  What an experience for me.

God is beautiful.  When is the last time we expressed that?

Psalm 27:4, the Psalmist asserts, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord.

Oh, I know we can quickly say that we have talked about the beauty of what God has made, but the Bible scholar Jonathan Edwards said that is “secondary beauty,” the beauty of created things.  We have neglected to  teach the “primary beauty,” that of God Himself.

The building contractor who was nearly killed in a tunnel collapse related not anecdotes about himself but about the glory of God in his life.

The painfully hunchbacked elderly man who sang a quiet song not of himself but of God’s beautiful glory to a weeping audience.

The deli employee who greeted me each morning not with his own experiences but with a cheery recounting of God’s daily beauty while he shuffled hams and bologna around a chopping block.

God is beautiful.  All that is complete and fulfilling and satisfying is there in that one word.  Stop right now and meditate on that.  God is beautiful.  It’s pretty powerful stuff, isn’t it?  As I shared this earlier in the week, one adult said, “I’m trying to wrap my mind around this.  This is new to me.”

I asked what she considered the definition of beautiful to be.

“Something that is pleasing to the eyes, like a sunset, or a gentle grandmother with a child.  Something that is wonderful to hear, like a symphony.  Or a tasteful thing, like a five star meal… you know, pleasing the senses.”

I urged her to go on.

“What about the time you came to Christ?” I asked.  “Wasn’t that a beautiful experience to your soul?  Or that time you told us when you went to that Bible conference and the speaker shared the story of the mercy and grace of God as shown through the example of David to Melchizedek?”

The light went on in her head.  “Yes,” she responded.  “Yes.  I can’t explain it fully, but yes, that was a beautiful experience deep inside me, in my soul.”

Oh, dear Lord, You are beautiful.  Your works are gorgeous enough, but You, Lord are indeed beautiful.

The Bible is loaded with this emphasis;  I will note just a few.   Psalm 145:5 tells us that the writer will meditate “on the glorious splendor” of God’s majesty.

1 Chronicles 16:29: “Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!”

Whether we are Bible teachers or instructors of science, languages, math, art or athletics, are we able to share with our students the beauty of God in His holiness and His majesty?

The prophet Isaiah told a day when God will be “a crown of glory and a diadem of beauty” to His people (Isaiah 28:5).  Could we start that as a reality on our campus here in East Tennessee?

Every square inch of our campus at Grace Christian Academy should first and foremost  promote this God who is clothed with glory (Psalm 104:1), and whose works are full of His glory (Ps 111:3).  Think of it – when the students understand the glorious God as the One we enjoy, then the explanation of a disciplined Christian life (including in-class obedience and maturity) will be more easily understood. We are not just teaching behavioral patterns – we are teaching a closeness to this beautiful God who made us.   Chapels will be more than rote and ritual.

We can open up our class with personal reflection of His day-to-day glory (Ps 19:1-2) and let each of our students see our hearts as we share the beauty of His redemptive activity (have you ever told your students how you came to Christ?).  If His glory in salvation is to be shouted throughout all the earth (Psalm 96:3), why not start it in the classrooms at Grace Christian Academy?  If one day “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord” (Habakkuk 2:14), why don’t we teachers get a head start?

Think of it – we read in the First Testament the account of the work of artists through divine inspiration using their craftsmanship to make artwork for the glory and beauty of God.  They crafted the framework and objects of the tabernacle as well as designing the priestly robes.   Didn’t the talent of those varied people proclaim a message of God’s beauty?

Well then, why can’t we teachers, no matter what our subjects?  There are numerous passages and ways to do so, but I want to finish by giving you one clear thought…

How can we GCA teachers best teach that God is beautiful?

I was searching for a way to explain this and I ran across a term that a Bible scholar used and I love it:  we want to be like Christ by becoming living mirrors.  That’s right; living mirrors.  We reflect the glory of Christ.

Here’s our challenge:  We should be preparing ourselves to reflect the beauty of God.  “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3–4).

Here’s the first part of our ministry for this school year:  Let’s open our eyes to the beauty of God and then let’s lift our voices and shine our lives across campus so that others may hear, see and understand…

… that God is beautiful.

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2 Comments
  1. I have been considering a verse or idea to use as my theme for the school year. I think you may have helped me to find it. Your thoughts resonated with me, and you have helped me to find the focus I needed. Thank you.

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