Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Seize Those Moments

“Grace has no borders. Love breaks through, and – and as Jesus said of the church – the gates of hell will not prevail against it… seize THOSE moments, the true, the pure, the lovely” (Hansen 43-44).

It’s March 2. School has been in session for over 8 weeks since Christmas Break with very little days off. We may be tired. We may be weary. We may be unenthusiastic. It’s not easy at this point in the school year to allow love to break through. It’s not easy at this point to allow love to protect us from the times we become angry or offended. Yet those moments where love breaks through are evident, if we keep our eyes open. We need to keep our eyes open so that we see grace in action in the lives of our students, our families, our faculty, our staff, and our school. We need to keep our eyes open so that we see grace in action in our own lives. Let go of the moments of anger and offense and seize those moments of grace.

Hansen, Brant. Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2015. Print.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

After #LEA2013, CLS teachers share and collaborate

If you are ever looking for a great way to share and collaborate after a conference, I recommend the set-up that our faculty used today. Each teacher was responsible for a 10-minute presentation for their colleagues about something they learned at the 2013 LEA Convocation. We had 15 teachers who needed to present in 4 sessions. The schedule and registration form can be found HERE, and it will give you an idea of how the time was structured. This was a great way for teachers to really consider how they were going to take some information from the conference and apply it to their instruction and classrooms. Since we had 4 teachers presenting at one time, everyone had a choice in which presentation they wanted to attend. Many of the teachers received enough hard copies or digital copies of the resources that were shared at the conference and then were able to share them with their colleagues here at Central Lutheran School. In addition, our tech coach Amanda Graham, has created a folder in Google Drive for us to archive the resources from the conference. Our hope is that the conference and this sharing time will encourage collaboration to continue.

Teachers' Reflections on #LEA2013

Later this afternoon, the CLS teachers will use their faculty time to present to each other about what they learned, or what they plan to implement, from their time at the LEA Convocation last week. Fifteen teachers attended the conference. We have four sessions that are ten minutes long. Three or four teachers are presenting in their classroom during each session, and all the remaining teachers had to sign up to attend a presentation by another teacher. This is a new method for us and I look forward to seeing how the collaboration and sharing benefits our faculty.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Rise and Shine!

This is a quick blog post to describe what I saw walking into a classroom this morning. We had three days without school last week so our teachers could attend the LEA Convocation in Milwaukee. I was going through as many classrooms as possible first thing in the morning, and I walked into Mr. Wichman's classroom. He was in the middle of telling his students the following:

  1. He started by telling them that by Friday he was missing all of his students.
  2. He talked about how we need to Rise and Shine! We need to live out our faith each and every day as a response to the great gifts we have received.
  3. He also talked about the grace we receive, and how that grace is not cheap. 
This was minutes after this particular 8th grade had walked in for English class and he was immediately sharing his experience from the convocation with them. It was exciting to see the immediate application from a great experience last week. I'm very proud of our teachers at Central Lutheran School, and I look forward to seeing more ways that we can incorporate what we learned last week in our classrooms.

Friday, October 25, 2013

#LEA2013 - Social Educators

Welcome to the 2013 LEA Convocation and the session Social Educators. To get us started, here are a few things that you can do before the session begins.

     FIRST, click HERE to fill out a quick Google form to let us know about you.

   SECOND, click HERE to join the conversation during this session on Today's Meet, a backchannel tool that works great in sessions like this, or even in your classroom.

   FINALLY, observe the Todays Meet feed on your device and the Twitter feed on the projector in front of you.

We look forward to learning together with you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Boulders and Big Pictures

In January, I had the opportunity to climb Camelback Mountain in Arizona. I am not a person who frequently has opportunities to climb mountains, so this was an occasion to try something new. The trail begins with a leisurely walk over smaller rocks and stones. Then you quickly find yourself hiking along narrow paths, sidestepping along steep cliffs, and climbing giant boulders. The hike up the mountain presents some challenges for a novice climber like myself. Therefore, my attention was focused for a majority of time on the landscape immediately in front of and below me. It crossed my mind often that I was missing out on spectacular view of the beautiful surroundings of Phoenix as well as the approaching summit of the mountain. Even though I caught glimpses of the magnificence around me, I was intent on making sure that I did not stumble on the small hurdles in my immediate vicinity.

What is your vision for your ministry? Do you have a clear picture of the direction of your current ministry, or are you disproportionately focused on the stumbling blocks that we encounter on a day-to-day basis? Jesus was always faced with stumbling blocks, yet he demonstrated the importance of keeping focus on the big picture. In Luke 13:33, Jesus says to the Pharisees, “Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” Jesus was responding to the Pharisees who were describing how Herod was a threat to him. Threats and temptations were consistently a part of Jesus days. Yet, he knew the purpose of his ministry. Jesus was determined to fulfill the promise given long ago. Our ministry requires a focus on daily tasks. However, it also requires that we look at the bigger picture. Our ultimate vision for ministry should focus first on the redemptive work of Christ in our lives, which is more beautiful than any summit panorama can offer. In addition, don’t forget to stop and look on the way up the mountain. There will be plenty of stunning opportunities to keep your ministry moving forward.

This article was originally posted on the LCEF blog Leaders to Leaders on March 4, 2013.

Image: Kevin Creutz

Thursday, February 21, 2013


1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

The cross is a very powerful symbol for us as Christians. It is a symbol that is seen in our churches and in our classrooms here at Central Lutheran School. We wear the cross on our jewelry and we decorate our homes with different types of crosses. That very cross however, is not just a symbol. That cross was the very tool, the very instrument in God’s plan to give us salvation. That cross was where Christ took the burden of all the sins of the entire world. Christ suffered. Christ died. Christ was sacrificed upon the cross. God the Father demonstrated his love for us and Jesus demonstrated his love for us by suffering on that cross. We then continue to see God’s power love in the empty cross and the empty tomb. Although Christ died on the cross, he has risen and he has defeated death.

Image: Cross, Wade Rockett, Upladed via Flickr September 30, 2006, Creative Commons LIcense

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Genesis 3:19 - "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

Genesis 3 is one of the most memorable chapters in the Bible for me. In this chapter we see God both making promises, and keeping his promises. The chapter begins with the fall of man. Satan takes the form of a snake and tempts Eve to eat of the tree that God forbid them to eat from. Eve, followed by Adam, falls into temptation and immediately they are separated from God. They feel scared, they feel guilty, and they feel vulnerable. This is where God then makes a promise to them in verse 15. Even though they have failed to listen to what He says, he gives His first promise of a Savior. Shortly after is where he keeps one of his previous promises. Earlier in chapter 2, God tells Adam that if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will die. We see in Genesis 3:19 that God reminds Adam and Eve of his promise, which we are still reminded of today. As we begin this season of Lent, we know that our sinful nature has separated us from God, and that the consequence of our sin is death. We need a savior, and a savior is coming. 

Image: Tree Silhouttes, John-Morgan, Uploaded via Flickr January 10, 2009, Creative Commons License

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lutheran Schools Are Set Apart

It’s no secret that Lutheran schools are different than other schools. There are some similarities between Lutheran schools and other educational institutions. Lutheran schools are similar to all other schools because we teach students to read, write, add, subtract, experiment, and solve problems. These are all very important needs that need to be met for our students. It is very evident that we teach our students very well at Central Lutheran School, as well as other Lutheran schools all over the country. However, these are all earthly needs. 

What sets us apart is that we meet the eternal needs of our students and their families. Our schools and churches are focused on sharing the good news that our salvation was bought for us by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” We did not earn our salvation through good deeds, academic achievements, athletic awards, or any monetary value. It was Christ who was given up for us as a sacrifice, a perfect lamb, without any blemish, spot, or sin.
Education changes so quickly that it is difficult for us to keep up with those changes. Lutheran schools must constantly evolve in order to adapt to the changing landscape in education. Yet we must remember that for decades there have been many things that have not changed, and should not change. Most important, the focus of our ministry has not changed. Lutheran schools are committed to partnering with families in providing an education for our children that is based on the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They must continue to learn that the love we show each other is because of the love first shown to us by our Heavenly Father in sending his Son into the world. What matters is that children know that Jesus loves them, and that is what has eternal value.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Lutheran Schools Are Fun

CLS Kindergarten students Skype with kindergartners
from Holy Trinity Lutheran School in Bowling Green, KY.
As we come to the end of the 2013 National Lutheran Schools Week, we look back on a week of activities, spirit days, service projects, and excitement to realize that one of the great things about Lutheran schools is that we know how to have fun. It was evident that the students here at Central Lutheran School enjoyed letting loose and having a good time the last five days. Our students were able to enjoy a popcorn party, service projects, crazy dress days, and the popular 8th grade vs. teachers volleyball game. Whether it is in the classroom, on the playing field, at a musical event, or any other activity, Lutheran schools are able to provide an environment where students are able to enjoy themselves while learning. 

We also realize that learning is not ALWAYS fun. Sometimes it is challenging, where it pushes us to perform in a manner that we did not know we were capable of. Sometimes learning can be frustrating, and we are tempted to quit or settle for less than our best. In the end though, learning is rewarding, and there is no rule that says that it can't be fun.

We all had a good time this week at Central Lutheran School, but there is one more mission that brings us all together. We are all centered around a common faith in Jesus Christ that calls us to a life of service in response to the love he has shown us. National Lutheran Schools Week is about having fun, but even more, it is about thanking God for using our schools to share the love of Christ with our students, our families, and our community.

Friday, January 25, 2013

This is a big blog post... it's HUGE!

Psalm 90:12 - So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom

Do you ever stop think about how BIG our God is? Take a look at the world around you. The world is a beautiful example of how amazing God’s creation is. Think about the work you do every day at your job and at home. God continually blesses our efforts in whatever vocation you serve. Take a look at the ministries of our churches and our schools. Decades of blessings can be seen in the ministries of our schools that began long before any of us were here, and will continue long after any of us are here.

Our own life is very short and extremely fragile compared to the awesomeness of God. Psalm 90:12 offers up a prayer to God to make us realize how short our days are, and how great of a need that we have for our Father in heaven. While sin separates us from God and has brought death into our lives, we are reminded of God’s continual deliverance, love, forgiveness, and grace.

Image: Earth Full South Pacific, FlyingSinger, added via flickr January 15, 2006, Creative Commons License

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Mark 1:17 - And Jesus said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men."

Immediately after Jesus said, "Follow me," to Simon and Andrew, they left their nets and followed him. We often talk about the great faith that Simon and Andrew had to drop everything and follow Jesus. It is true that it took great faith for them to do that, and we hope that the Holy Spirit works through the Word and Sacraments to bring us to faithful discipleship as well. It also demonstrates to us what kind of man Jesus was. Immediately before this event in Mark, the writer tells us about the Baptism of Jesus, His temptation in the desert, and Jesus proclaiming that his ministry is beginning. This is the Son of God, the long-awaited Messiah who had been promised for generations. He would begin to heal the sick, perform miracles, tell parables, and preach throughout the towns. He is God, yet he humbled himself and came down to earth as a little baby. He came to defeat death and sin, yet he would do it as he was humiliated on a cross. Thank God for the faith demonstrated by Simon and Peter, and may we also be given that same faith. More importantly though, thank God for the love shown to us by sending Jesus to be our Lord and Savior.

Image: Two Saints Fishing, Niall McAuley, uploaded via flickr July 5, 2007, Creative Commons License