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As we have discussed recently with our school community exactly what it means to be a fierce competitor and yet to honor both our opponent and the Lord, the stark contrast of this approach to a great deal of mainstream culture becomes more obvious.
It only takes a few moments viewing any nationally televised sports summary programming to witness the distortion of the real purpose of competitive athletics. The false masculinity of taunt and baiting of the opposition before and during the contest give witness to a failure to appreciate the true intent and nature of sport.
Courage and intensity have nothing to do with outwardly disrespecting an opponent, nor in responding in similar action if we feel victimized by poor behavior of others. As we engage in the competitive arena, we pray our students and our school will compete with dignity and honor, that our supporters will display great energy and enthusiasm in cheering for our teams, and that the conflict will be on the field/court in fiercely contested competition and not in mocking our opponent nor in lording over them when are fortunate enough to win. Composure and humility fit well with courage, intense focus, dignity, and humility and were exemplified by Christ in how He lived and served while on earth. We do well to seek to model that behavior.
“Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12, NIV
An opportunity recently availed itself to remind a gathering of our people of the influence that they have with those with whom they work and train. We are all guilty of failing to realize the power of the influences that we have. I know when I get busy and perhaps even frustrated, the outflow of my heart exposes negative emotion and that largely it is caused by my selfishness when things are not going my way.
The message to the group with whom I spoke recently was along the context that as Christian leaders, our call is to be hope-givers in all circumstances. True hope looks beyond failures, negative circumstances, and into the eyes of each student where we see the gleam of an Image-bearer of the God of Creation.
The smell of evil is the stench of hopelessness. Withholding hope from a circumstance happens when we try to be God.
The fruit of the presence of the Holy Spirit has an ever-present aroma of hope at all times, in all circumstances. It is alive with a refreshing renewal and is a vibrant rebuilder of hope, relationships, purpose, confidence, courage and is an investor of people over things. It is an investor in relationships over results.
Most importantly, what keeps this from being some Pollyanna “feel good” mentality is that if we know our place is to be hope-givers, then we also know the Hope of the Grace of Jesus Christ. Paganism thinks that pain, death, and disappointment are “the real world” and that’s all there is. Believers in the Truth of the Cross know these things are painful distortions and that victory only comes through the Truth-giver. It is through the teachable moments of failures, mistakes, and shortcomings that present to us opportunities to lead others to the hope of Hope in the face of Truth and Justice.
The purpose of our salvation is to live out the life that the Lord has given us within the context of community. We are not created to receive the gift of eternity and then to retreat into obscurity and isolation. As we share life in this world and within the Christian community, we are certain to find heartache and disappointment in others, even though it is easy for us to assume otherwise. In fact, the more we engage people, the more vulnerable we make ourselves to hurt and disappointment; and to expose our own failures and shortcomings.
And it will happen. We WILL disappoint others because we are broken, messed up, and sinful. But, we have the opportunity to bring attention to the King and not try to create a kingdom of our own for our glory. Unquestionably, our school community, under the authority of scripture and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is commanded to act as a part of the body in a fashion that could be classified as a community of grace.
The redemptive role that God has given us includes a mandate that we embrace the community. How well we do that, and not how we measure-up to the worldly definition of achievement, income or possessions, and victories, will in large part define the real victories that are achieved on this earth, many of which won’t be revealed until eternity.
The fall of the year offers great opportunity to welcome guests to the PCS campus to experience the joy of competition and performance in the sharing of the facilities and the competition that we are so privileged to enjoy. Because we serve a perfect savior in Jesus, as we love and embrace the perfection of Christ, it is easy to make the small leap of expectation that His community of believers would have a hint of perfection (even referees?!). But the other team’s fans, coaches, players, and even game officials are just like us in needing Jesus, and a visit to PCS campus for a ball game should be a venture to enjoy the event and the grace of Jesus Christ for all of the community of every participant and spectator.
Let’s view these as kingdom opportunities to share in the riches of not only His perfect grace, but to embrace the community fellowship of competition that seeks to honor Christ in every way.
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147: 10-11, NIV
A Successful Strategy
Through 20 plus years of operation, Providence has operated with a purposeful mission with the goal of helping every student become all that God has called them to be. In that time, the mission was clear and has been championed by hundreds of students and families, committed staff, a supportive school community, the oversight of the First Presbyterian Church, and a prayerful and committed board of directors that have anchored the mission in Biblical truth and wise counsel.
Through the years, God’s favor has allowed the school to experience exponential growth and enabled PCS to speak into the lives of numerous souls through engagement in the classical Christian model and a variety of school-sanctioned events, and co-curricular experiences. The school’s impact has been powerful and the legacy will live on with what has been done here. Yet, we must look forward in how God will use PCS for the next twenty-plus years and the generations to come.
PCS has begun a process of strategic planning and over the course of the next few months every aspect of the school will be reviewed into how we can best serve the Lord through our ministry that seeks:
- To promote principled thinking by helping each student develop a biblical worldview to be consistently applied to every area of life.
- To cultivate in each student a lifelong love of learning and pursuit of academic and moral excellence, for the purpose of bringing glory to God alone.
- To help train and equip each student to be a servant-leader who has an impact on those God puts within his reach, by living a God-honoring life.
Please pray for us in how we might review what we do and seek to align these strategies with our Mission Statement and Core Values in being a school continues to honor God in impacting the Wiregrass for classical Christian education.