Covenant Christian School Blog
According to Luke's gospel, two thousand years ago the angel Gabriel appeared to a virgin named Mary and told her that she was highly favored by God. In addition, the angel told her that she would conceive and bear a child who would be the long awaited Messiah and Savior. The account relates that Mary was understandably troubled by this announcement and questioned how such a thing could be possible. After Gabriel reminded her that nothing is impossible with God, her reply is quite remarkable, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." After seeing an angel and then being told some amazing news, she responded by saying as God's servant she wanted His will for her life.
While many aspects of this story impress me, I am most struck by the fact that Mary looked beyond her personal circumstances and accepted God's calling. She obviously knew she would face difficult questions from her family. She also surely understood that this news could possibly end her engagement to Joseph. Her culture would most certainly shun her. And yet, because of a strong faith in God, she embraced the future set before her by Jehovah. This incident says much about Mary's heart, obedience, and faith. Often overlooked, however, is the fact that despite everything, Mary possessed the quality of being available.
Availability. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? The Lord Jesus Christ left a perfect existence and chose to live among filthy humans. With a love that none of us can comprehend, he gave himself to serve mankind. He decided to demean himself into human form. He was willing to teach those who often lacked understanding. He lived in poverty and freely associated with the most lowly and despised of society. And, most paramount, he was available to be tortured and die a slow, painful death and take upon himself the sins of the world.
The most distinct aspect of "being available" is that it is voluntary. Think of how many people in scripture did amazing things for God because they were willing to be available regardless of the consequences. Noah built a massive ship for years. Abraham left his comfortable home. Isaac laid upon an altar staring up at his father who was about to sacrifice him. David faced ferocious and terrifying giant. When God asked who would be available to preach judgement to His people, the prophet Isaiah said, "Here I am, send me."
Contemplating Christmas and the mid-point of our school year, I am exceedingly grateful for so many examples of availability around me. I appreciate the availability of our school board, who make hard decisions and selflessly give so much time to CCS. I think of our teachers, staff, and coaches who daily serve CCS students when they could easily be elsewhere. This past fall, the auction committee, the PTF, and the Booster club willingly put in untold hours for the sake of our school. In early January, some of our seniors will go to Haiti. Eighth graders will to South Texas Children's Home. I am so proud of these students who are putting aside their fears and comforts to be available to help those in poverty by going on our annual mission trips.
As a follower of Christ, how available are you? What are your thoughts focused upon this Christmas? Are you willing to be there for those in your family, church, or even in your community? Is there a willingness to be there for those with whom you are uncomfortable or may even despise? What example are setting for your children about availability?
Can I confess something? God often convicts me that I'm not as available as I should be to just even listen and give my time to others.
Perhaps the holidays are very stressful for you, but are you at least available for others in their various areas of need? Some would say they don't have time or they are afraid or they don't know how to be available to friends, family, or even strangers. My answer to them comes from a mentor of mine who once said to me, God isn't nearly interested in your ability as He is your availability.
This Christmas, what does God expect of us? He doesn't expect perfection, nor great skill. He just expects to follow the example of Mary. Remember what she said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."
Just BE AVAILABLE. You might be surprised how will use you in the life of a needy someone.
Let conclude with my favorite Christmas story from in the Bible. It isn't found in any of the Gospels, but rather in Philippians, chapter 2:
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
All of us here at Covenant Christian School want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. You and your family are such a blessing to us each and every day. We love you!
Dr. Glenn Slater, Head Administrator
Spelling is an individual competition. Its single-elimination, every-man-for-himself style demands discipline, focus, determination, sacrifice, and not only composure, but perfection under pressure. With only one winner and so much at stake with each word, spelling can seem to be a cold and unforgiving activity at times. It certainly can be, but this means you’re doing it all wrong. Through my journey as a speller and as a spelling coach alike, I’ve found immense value in the relationships I have built in the crucible of this demanding competition.
Spelling doesn’t have to be an individual competition. This was my epiphany a month after placing 2nd in the 2015 ACSI national spelling bee, my final competition. My dreams of claiming the title of national champion went unfulfilled, and I was restless; Even though I was ineligible for any more competitions, I wasn’t ready to move on. I felt like my spelling career wasn’t over yet. One day, an idea came to me: what if I mentored an aspiring speller? Being a spelling coach would keep me involved in the community, and would put all the resources I had compiled over my 5 years of competition to good use. I remembered a certain younger speller that I had competed with for the past two years at regionals and nationals that showed potential - Rohan Rajeev, a seventh grader from Edmond, Oklahoma. I began coaching him in June 2015, and embarked on a journey that would change me forever.
Rohan and I called over FaceTime for an hour on average almost every night, and we quickly became close friends as we studied together. We shared with each other our spelling experiences and memories, study methods and spelling strategies. Rohan’s desire to learn and improve incited a desire in me to help in any way I could. Teaching and mentoring him was the most fulfilling thing I have ever done. In 2016, Rohan placed first in all of his local ACSI bees, ascending the ladder to the ACSI national bee for the third year in a row. That May, he claimed the title of ACSI national champion with the winning word “apothem.” My dream of national championship was vicariously fulfilled, and Rohan was ecstatic. While sitting in a coffee shop after the bee, Rohan decided to take on the Scripps bee the next year. My mother discovered several other bees for him to participate in, like the South Asian Spelling Bee and the North South Foundation bee. Rohan’s ACSI victory launched us into new chapter of our spelling journey, and it demanded much more discipline.
Rohan competed at South Asian Spelling Bee nationals in the summer of 2016, where he and I both realized that we would have to step up our studying. We continued to call regularly, delving into books and lists. I compiled lists of words for Rohan and formulated tests to build his vocabulary, a skill that is necessary to advance to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. His discipline in his studies was steadfast as ever, and his performance in the 2017 bees reflected his dedication. He placed first in all his local Scripps bees, qualifying for the National finals in Washington, D.C.. The week of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, called “Bee Week,” was an extraordinary experience for me and Rohan alike; kids from all across the nation came together in a fellowship unlike any I’ve ever seen. I was connected with other former spellers and spelling coaches, and Rohan found a group of fellow spellers to share his Scripps experience with. After three days of intense competition, Rohan emerged the national runner up. His performance in the national bee was exemplary; he spelled words like durchkomponiert, mollienisia, and cheiropompholyx, and made it look easy. All his hard work had paid off. He praised God over and over for his victory.
I believe that Rohan helped me just as much as I helped him along our spelling journey. We kept each other accountable, we spurred each other on in our studies, and we encouraged each other in our walks with the Lord. In acting as a mentor, I, too, was mentored. The friendship Rohan and I developed saw us through grueling study sessions and searing defeats; we always rose and pushed forward. Rohan’s outstanding placement at the Scripps bee and in subsequent minor league also boosted my notoriety as a coach. Now, I am coaching several other young spellers in hopes of placing high in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The partnership between Rohan and I was a gift from God unlike any other. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” Proverbs 21:17, one of my maxims as a spelling coach, states. People were designed to have relationships and to build each other up. Mentoring and guiding young spellers to grow and succeed is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done, and I intend to pursue creating relationships that foster accountability and edification.
In Acts 13 a story about the church in Antioch is related. It says in verses 2 and 3, "While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, when they had fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away."
Several months ago, we felt that the seniors and 8th graders had been "set apart" for a work that God was calling them to do. The senior class will depart for Haiti on Saturday and the 8th grade will head down to Galveston on Monday. It is so exciting to be sending our students out to the mission field to serve and minister.
So, today we had the privilege of having a brief commissioning service for these students. Every elementary class is supporting some of our missionary students through prayer in the next few days. This morning we all met in the gym and each senior and 8th grader was surrounded by elementary and upper grade students "and they prayed, and laid hands on them and sent them away."
I truly wish all of you could have been there to witness the entire CCS student body gathered in small groups all over the gym and praying for our missionary students. Many would tell you that all felt the spirit of the Lord. As parents you would have been so proud of your children who were earnestly lifting their fellow students up to God as they go beyond our campus to spread the love of Christ.
Covenant Christian School is indeed a school with an academic purpose. But on days like this when you see pre-schoolers praying with seniors, you realize that our mission is truly higher and focused on eternal goals. My heart is full with gratitude for what God is doing at CCS.
I hope you will join with me in faithfully praying for these students next week. May God bless them and use them mightily in the days ahead.
The older I get the more my convictions grow about Christian education. I started as a teacher in the 1980s thinking that Christian schools were a nice alternative for families. Over the past 3 decades, our world and nation have changed drastically. We are living in a post-modern culture that sees truth as relative, defines the family as fluid, sees religion as a matter of private choice that must remain silent in the public arena, believes in a hedonistic lifestyle saturated by sex, and views children as dispensable inconveniences that can be aborted. Education has become a matter of state control guided by mutable societal norms.
So, now this old administrator has come to see that Christian education is no longer a nice alternative but rather an absolute necessity. We are sending our children out to world that mocks our faith and is openly hostile to Jesus Christ. We are sending our children off to a cultural war someday. How well prepared do you want them to be? Is there any price tag that can be placed on embedding the truths of God's word on their hearts? Our children will be spending almost 10X more time at school each week than they do at church. As they get older, they will spend more time at school with their teachers and peers than they do with their parents. Who will be influencing them and what will be their philosophy?
Well, why Covenant? With the changing of our mission statement this year, CCS has made the bold decision to raise a distinctive generation committed to the preeminence of Christ in all aspects of life and culture. Will our academics strive toward excellence and college prep? Absolutely. Will we seek to have a stimulating extra-curricular program that works toward developing a love for sports and the fine arts? Unquestionably.
Most importantly, Covenant Christian School wants to seek the preeminence of Christ in all these things! Yes, we want to produce young men and women who are well educated and well rounded. most of all, we want to produce students who love Jesus Christ, have an intimate relationship with Him, and possess a mentality and worldview that will impact this world and their eternal destiny.
We appreciate so much the sacrifices you make to send your children to Covenant and consider it an honor to partner with you.
Is there any sacrifice more important than one for the hearts and minds of the children God has entrusted to us?
We hope you will join us in 2017-2018 - there are exciting days ahead for Covenant Christian School!!