Sunday, April 19, 2015

In Every School


A note slipped to me by a 6th grade boy


In every school that I visit, I find the same dilemma - a fear to be identified as Christian. How has that happened? Over decades of misinformation, Christians in the public schools have been told that prayer is a violation of  the separation of church and state. That one phrase has been used over and over again without real understanding. Separation of church and state is not even in the Constitution, but in a letter from Thomas Jefferson. What was passed by the Supreme Court in 1962 was to disallow prayer sanctioned by the "state." In other words, teachers could not lead prayer nor could a time of organized prayer by the school be held. 

Is it any wonder that there is confusion? Truth be told, students of all faiths are free to pray alone or in groups during the school day, as long as they don't disrupt or interfere with instructional time. Teachers are allowed to pray with each other and for the students BEFORE or AFTER their contract times. Yet, so many of us have believed that separation of church and state is part of the Bill of Rights when in fact you cannot even find that phrase in the Constitution at all. What the First Amendment says is: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereofor abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. Prayer is free speech and as Americans, we do not leave their 1st Amendment rights at the school house door.

No matter where you find yourself on this matter, the reality is that most of the public school community is misinformed or overzealous or over concerned. As long as there are standardized tests in schools, there will be prayer in school! Because I have the unique opportunity to visit scores of schools each year, I purposely seek out the Christians on campus to encourage, equip and empower them in their Godly walk. At times, it is very easy to identify a Christian, but at other times, I will find that when I finally find one, it slowly leads to many more. Being in Christian fellowship with your colleagues, in a gracious, open-ending way is not only a blessing personally, but a blessing for the schools. Educators who walk their walk, will love the unlovable, provide for the needs of the less fortunate and see the children and their colleagues as fearfully and wonderfully made.

If you are a Christian in the public schools, seek out a colleague that you can pray with before or after school. Ask God for the specific needs of your campus and begin to serve as an ambassador. There are thousands of Christians in the public schools who feel unsure of what they can and cannot do and therefore fall into the misinformed arena. Here are a few things you can do right away:
  • Understand your legal parameters. Read the first entry of this blog.
  • Research what tools are available to you on the Christian Educators' website - www.ceai.org
  • Read the post "Be Jesus"
  • Pray each school day at 1:16PM. www.one16pray.com
  • Read/listen to the Word of God each school day in unity with your brothers and sisters in the public schools. www.aw180days.com
  • Visit, "like" and add comments to our Facebook pages (there's one for Christian Educator, 1:16PM and Around the Word in 180 Days)
You are not alone. You have thousands of like-minded Christians in the public school who, like you, are wondering what they can and cannot do. The most important thing is to frame everything you do around "What Would Jesus Do?" There is really no need to use words, but instead just "Be Jesus."

As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,

K



PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 10 of 10



St. Augustine, FL

We have reached the end of the Esther study and praise God for how he is active in the little things and the big things of life.  This last Chapter is the shortest in the whole book and makes a classic summary statement in the last verse, “Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Xerxes, preeminent among Jews, and held in high esteem by his many fellow Jews, because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews.” I want to be Mordecai when I grow up! I would love to have it said about me that I worked for the good of Christian educators everywhere and that I spoke up for welfare of all teachers.  I love how it is put in the English Standard Version (ESV). “For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people.”

Put your name and your passion or mission in those verses.  "________ sought the welfare of ________ and spoke peace to all people, or  _______ worked for the good of all ________ and spoke up for the welfare of all ________."  Who are you working for?  Who do you get up each morning and seek to be a blessing to?  Is it your family, your spouse, your children, your parents, your students, your colleagues, your administration? It doesn’t matter who it is, but try to fill in those blanks each day and you will live your life more purpose driven, mission focused and spirit-filled.  As we take our eyes off our problems and focus on how we can be a blessing to others, we represent Him on earth. It’s not easy, but it is rewarding.

I have been so grateful for your patience with my through this study. I believe that the book of Esther is one of the most important and inspirational studies “for such a time as this.”  


As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,

K



PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 


Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 9 of 10



Miami, FL

What goes around, comes around.  I love the way it is put in Chapter 9 of the Book of Esther - “On this day the enemies of the Jews had hoped to overpower them, but now the tables were turned and the Jews got the upper hand over those who hated them.” God is sovereign over all. Casting our cares upon the Lord is not just a pithy statement.  Allowing Him to carry our burdens is the priceless gift of being his child.  The problem is that we cast our cares upon Him and then take them back.  Why do we do that?  The beginning of the school year is a most unique time.  As we begin to establish relationships, routines and procedures with our students, there are times when our students don’t always see eye-to-eye with us.  At times, our lessons don’t come off as we hoped or we just can’t get it all done.  All these added together can be a sleepless night or more.  If you ever find yourself in the position of worry, or if you have students who seem to be the enemy, it’s time to cast your burden upon Him.  Do you think for one minute that anyone in Xeres’s kingdom ever thought that an edict to kill all the Jews could be turned around to a victory celebration for the Jews?  He is sovereign in the affairs of men, both great and small.  If He can completely change a kingdom, how hard could it be to change a classroom environment?  We must believe that He really is the God of our classrooms, our schools, our communities and our world. 

The next time you walk in your classroom, particularly if you have students who are giving you trouble, ask God to take over.  I personally witnessed an intervention of the Holy Spirit this year when one of my students came in all fired up about something totally unrelated to our class and then proceeded to be a disruption.  I stood behind him and ask God to intervene because this was going to be too big for me.  I ask Him to give this young man a touch on his spirit from the Spirit to give him a sense of calm and compliance.  I walked away to start class, basically forgot about my request and about half way through the class I realized that the young man was peaceful, working and basically on task.  That’s victory.  I could have used my own devices and it probably would have resulted in referral of some type.  God is good.  He has fearfully and wonderfully created each of those students in your class and has a vested interest in each one of them.  Let the Lord fight your battles for you.  He is so much more able than we.


Please read Chapter 10 for next time! Don’t be shy. You can enrich this study with your own voice in the comment section. You are loved.

As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,

K



PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 8 of 10



St. Cloud, FL

If I find favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty….” Can you imagine if anyone spoke like that in the school setting? What if we were truly concerned with authority, we would be open to addressing our superiors in a like manner and teaching our students respect.  In Chapter 7, Esther’s very life is at stake, so her motivation is much higher to address the king, but I believe she had confidence to know that he would protect her once he knew her petition.  When Esther explained to the king that she and her people were sold for destruction, slaughter and annihilation, the king was outraged and demanded to know who the perpetrator was.  Haman was exposed and disposed. What relief it must have been for Esther to experience the protection and covering of her king.


Our Protector and King is far more powerful and wonderful than any earthly king.  We can go to Him for protection and provision for all our needs with the absolute confidence that He will avenge our enemies and provide a way of escape for us.  Like Esther, I would like to propose that any time we have an idea, conflict, or even a proposal for our administrators, why not approach them like Esther?  Perhaps, opening the conversation with, “If it pleases you or I find favor with you,” may sound a little old fashion, there is no doubt that it will focus our administrator on our true heart.  If we have gone before our true King first and sought permission to make the request, then it would be wisdom to use the model He has prepared for us to petition our superiors. 


An example may be a field trip for your students that would be of great value, but most field trips have been disallowed. (unless, of course, all field trips are not permitted).  Seek God for the words to write up your proposal.  Do your homework and research the details. Present it in written format (perhaps a brochure to be unique) in order that you may leave your idea with your administrator for further thought.  Arrange for an appointment for his/her undivided attention and pray before the meeting for wisdom and the words that would communicate the vision.  When you begin the meeting, use Esther’s words, “If I have favor with you and it pleases you - would you allow me the opportunity to propose a field trip for my students?”  After a brief discussion, leave your written proposal and ask that your administrator take a deeper look at it when he/she has time to read it through.  Thank them for their time and leave it in God’s Hands.   Please understand that you are not trying to get your way through God’s approval, but that you are seeking to do only those things in your classroom that are pleasing to Him , your administrator, your students and their parents.  The beauty of asking God’s provision for even field trips is that we cannot always see through our own selfish desires and the Holy Spirit, the great Convictor, can guide and correct us.  It is my prayer that all Christian educators become prayerfully dependent up Him for all their needs and are gracious in word and deed to all on our individual campuses.


Please read Chapter 8 for next time! Don’t be shy. You can enrich this study with your own voice in the comment section.

As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,

K



PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 



Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 7 of 10



Cape May, NJ

One night the king could not sleep. He asked his attendants to read from the chronicles of record to lull him to sleep. Instead, he heard about Mordecai uncovering a plot to assassinate the king.  He inquired about what had been done to honor Mordecai, only to find out that nothing had been done. He immediately sought out that which would be the best way to give thanks to Mordecai and found Haman outside his chambers.  When asked what  one would like if they were being honored by the king, Haman conceitedly thought the king was about to honor Haman, himself and laid out an elaborate plan of display through the city streets for all to see.  Haman had the shock of his life when the king commanded him to bestow all that he dreamed upon his enemy Mordecai!

I love the way God works. He is the one who will make things right.   We are always so ready to work things out our way. Have you really considered casting your cares upon the Lord? He has promised throughout the Word that He will avenge our enemies, fight our battles, and satisfy our needs.  In the school arena, we constantly come into conflict with students, parents, administrators and fellow colleagues.  What are we to do as Christian educators?   Our reaction is going to be different if we truly believe that God is our Protector and can solve all problems.  The hard part is trusting God’s handling of the situation in the big picture when we don’t see the result we want immediately.

What would happen if every Christian educator prayed before a parent conference and sought God’s help with the wording of the meeting?  What would happen if every Christian educator sought God’s intervention before each faculty meeting?  What would happen if every Christian educator prayed for their students before they entered the classroom every single day of the year? What would happen if we found ourselves in a conflict with an administrator, parent, colleague or even a student and we humbled ourselves and prayed instead of worrying about our rights or how we look in the situation?

Like Haman, we need to be careful what we ask for.  It is my prayer that Christian educators everywhere step up to the prayer plate and take the high road, particularly in those difficult situations at school.  Be an ambassador for Christ in all that you say and do.  The students will remember us for what who we were and not what we taught.


Please read Chapter 7 for next time! 

K


PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 6 of 10



Deerfield Beach, FL

Esther was a huge risk taker.  Did you know that most people cannot imagine how we walk into classrooms everyday?  Many would consider it just too much of a risk. However, as a Christian Educator, you walk into the classroom empowered by the Truth, the Life and the Way.  Like Esther, once you really understand that you have been purposed “for such a time as this.” the risk does not go away, it becomes purpose. In Chapter 5, Esther risks her life to go before the king and he grants her favor.  He was delighted to see her and was willing to grant her anything she wanted - up to half his kingdom.  Now that’s favor!  What really impresses me is how Esther begins her request to the king (even though she knew he would give her just about anything).  Esther said, “If it pleases the king…..”  She asked if the king would consider granting her request at a dinner that she had prepared. The king quickly called Haman and they went to the dinner with Esther.  The king again asked her how he could grant her request and she asked if they could attend a dinner that she would prepare the next day. How clever.  She had his compete attention and his desire to give her anything and yet she delayed gratification and bought some time.  What did she do during this time? It is never said, but since we know that she and the Jews prayed and fasted before she went into the king, I am imagining that she prayed for wisdom and the right way to approach the king about Haman.  He walked away all puffed up and continued his devious plans to get rid of Mordecai and the Jews.  Esther was able to win the king’s favor and probably peaked his curiosity.  This is quite an example in our classrooms.

Very often we are called to present ideas, purpose change or to mediate peace on our campuses.  As Christian Educators, it is very important that we have a biblical worldview when we enter the presence of the king.  In our environments, it is most likely the principal to whom we will address our requests and concerns.  Have you ever thought about beginning the conversation with, “If it pleases you, I would like to…….” or “If it pleases you, would you consider…….” Esther’s approach to the king is an amazing model for important requests to authorities over us.  It would also be an excellent idea to delay the request a bit also.  Like Esther, it would lay the groundwork, give you some time to pray about the matter as you petition God for wisdom and favor in the “kings” eyes.  My husband always reminds me to “keep them wanting more.”  What better way is there to request an future audience in order to have the full attention of the one from whom you are making the request.  This diffuses any emotions and gives dignity to the conversation.  Depending on the importance of the request, consider a dinner.  There are very few times that I ever invited an administrator out to dinner, but one time in particular, I had a request of my principal and over a quiet dinner, we shared many family, school and success stories and then I made my request.  Later, she told me that she was so relieved that it wasn’t something more serious that she was so happy to grant my petition. Special time with special people can only be a benefit.  Guard those opportunities to represent our Lord, particularly with those who are in authority over you and try beginning your requests in the manner of Esther, “If it pleases you…..”

Please read Chapter 6 for next time! Don’t be shy. You can enrich this study with your own voice in the comment section.

As always, I am
Prayerfully yours,


K




PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Book of Esther - Part 5 of 10



Santa Rosa County, FL

When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" Wow! These are some of the most powerful words in the Bible.  Who can’t see the riveting power of this message as it tears at Esther’s soul?  Everything that happens to us, happens with purpose.  We may never be in such a position as Esther, but as educators, we impact students everyday.  That’s huge.

Have you even found yourself in a situation in school when you had to “stick to your guns” for something you strongly held up as priority one. Having integrity as a Christian Educators is priority one.  We must always say what we mean and mean what we say.  We cannot just talk our talk, we must always walk our walk.  Consistency and honesty in the classroom will go much further than the newest trend in education to get the students’ attention.  You have their undivided attention when it comes to character issues.  They are always checking us out.  We may as well be entering the king’s court each day. In fact, it would be wise to view entrance to each classroom and each lesson as a privilege and honor.  We would be more likely to guard our words and teach with integrity. As Christian educators, it is important to recognize our calling.  When you realize that you work for the Lord and not just men, it is easier to see that you truly have “come to this position, for such a time as this.”  You may be the only teacher that particular child has ever had that showed them compassion.  You may be the only teacher that child ever had that told them they were destined for greatness.  You may be the only teacher that child ever had who encouraged them to think beyond the lesson.  Who knows, but that you may be the only teacher who showed that you loved Jesus by the way you wore His skin in your classroom?  Kids notice. Kids remember and kids will tell about what they have seen and heard in your classroom.

What a blessing to be a teacher! It is important to stand back from the difficulties of parent conferences, papers to grade, students who are hard to handle and administrators that you do not see eye-to-eye with and thank God that He purposed you to make an impact on the next generation.  Teaching is the one profession that affects all other professions.  We must take our calling seriously and with great purpose “for such a time as this.”


Please read Chapter 5 for next time. You can enrich this study with your own voice in the comment section.


As always, I am

Prayerfully yours,


K





PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement and Around the Word in 180 Days:
      Go to www.one16pray.com  and www.aw180days.com for more information.
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page and the Around the World in 180 days Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray


May God bless you with success His way this 2014-2015 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry by clicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school.