Principal’s Pen: God uses government

pray74This month, we celebrate the births of two acclaimed presidents: Washington and Lincoln. As such, we should briefly consider the necessity and blessing of government, and how God uses it to advance his plan.

Throughout history, government has not always been highly respected. The Church father Augustine stated, “Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?” The philosopher Thomas Paine concurred. “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil.” Even Thomas Jefferson said, “The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so [it] will not become a legalized version of the first.” Today, many echo similar sentiments, perhaps more colorfully.

In light of such attitudes about government, what should Christians think?
First, we know that God establishes all governments—even corrupt ones. “No authority exists except by God” [Romans 13:1]. As such, we owe our government respect and allegiance because “the one who rebels against the authority is opposing God’s institution” [v. 2].

At the same time, government can be a blessing. It provides peace and stability to society. It is God’s “agent…to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” and his “servant for our benefit” [v. 4] to ensure that freedoms—including worship—are maintained.
It is sad that today Church and state are no longer on the same field as they once were. Long ago, both understood that they answered to God. However, society has separated them, and today government acts as if it were answerable to no one—not even God!
Christians must remember that God establishes government. He causes nations and leaders to rise for his purpose, and then he allows them to fall.

In spite of the boasts of rulers and the sometimes reckless actions of government, take comfort that “the One enthroned in heaven laughs” [Psalm 2:4]. He controls everything and “works for the good of those who love him” [Romans 8:28].

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran High School.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

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Principal’s Pen: Never, never, never alone

The New Year often brings a mixed bag of emotions and memories.

For some, 2017 was their best year ever. They look forward to an even greater 2018.

Others experienced one struggle after another last year. For them, 2018 brings hope that things will improve.

Whether you have just had the greatest year of your life or you are incredibly glad to see 2017 pass, the truth remains: you are not alone — ever! Our God is “with us” and he is “for us.”

alphaomega_1772cChristmas is the season of God with us. Our Savior — Immanuel — is literally “God with us.” Though this world continually changes, God does not. He comforts us in his Word by proclaiming, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (NIV 11, Revelation 22:12). He has always been with us, is always with us, and will always be with us.

Not only is our God with us at all times, but he is for us. Christ is our brother who redeemed us from sin’s curse. His holy life, innocent suffering and death, and glorious resurrection confirm Paul’s assertion, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV 11, Romans 8:31).

Begin 2018 trusting that God knows what is best. After all, he is with you and he is for you. “[Christ] said to me, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ He also said, ‘Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (EHV, Revelation 21:5).

God bless your New Year!

Jim Grasby is Principal of Lakeside Lutheran High School.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: I’ve had it.

By now, you may have had it!

Soon after school begins, Christmas decorations appear in stores. Then, sales start. Finally, it —Christmas music with messages of family, good times, presents, and Santa—commences. Although many love the season, just as many find it overwhelming or depressing.

christmas_12425CIn a world that does not know the true reason for Christmas, Christians must continually remind themselves, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

By nature, we are not upright and godly. Sin so corrupts our nature that the psalmist’s words fit everyone perfectly: “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (14:3). In short, we have no hope.

In his grace and mercy, God sent One to pay sin’s price. His Son became human, lived spotlessly, died innocently, and rose victoriously to pay humankind’s debt for sin. No human effort, man-made strategy, or mortal plan could accomplish our salvation. It is full and free divine grace to all who hold the Savior by faith.

The angel’s proclamation that first Christmas was “music” to the shepherds’ ears. Imagine their joy when the angels announced, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Their joy compelled them to find him. It led them to “[glorify and praise] God for all the things they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). The shepherd’s jubilation may well be called the world’s first Christmas “song.”

Don’t despair. Soon, the Christmas decorations will be stored. The unsold merchandise will disappear. The sappy, commercialized music will end.

But, our joy and hope in the Savior will not. It lives because Jesus truly is “the Messiah, the Lord.” God bless your Christmas celebration!

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Attitude Adjustment

“He really has an attitude!”

Attitude is often descriptive of negative or disagreeable people. “Attitude” exists for different reasons. It may be teenage rebellion. It might be passive-aggressive behavior in the workplace. It could even be someone’s despondency in life.

Regardless of cause, this type of attitude counters that of our Savior’s. Paul wrote, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” [Philippians 2:5]. (Some Bible translations use attitude for mindset.)

Christ’s attitude is perfect. He thought it nothing to be “in very nature God.” [2:6]  Yet, he set aside his godliness to be “made in human likeness” [2:7]. Then, he “humbled himself…to death…on a cross” [2:8]. Christ’s attitude is more than a goal for Christians. It should be our lifestyle! When we emulate Christ’s attitude in word, thought, and action, we do so joyfully thanking the One who gave himself as “the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and…also for the sins of the whole world” [1 John 2:2].

servant-attitudeChristians should have an attitude. First, it should be a confident attitude believing that our Savior won full and free forgiveness for us sinners. Secondly, it should be a trusting attitude knowing of Jesus’ personal love for us. Finally, it should be a responding attitude seeking ways to serve God and others in Christlike humility.

When seen this way, it’s not wrong for Christians to have an “attitude.”

Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Not just an option

“I’m checking out the options.”

Every parochial school administrator has likely heard these words. Parents sometimes become dissatisfied with their child’s current school. When this happens, they explore the options.

However, Christian education is not just an option. It is true education. God gives us two reasons for this.

First, God commands parents to train their children in his Word. He says, “Impress [my commands and promises] on your children” (Deuteronomy 6:7). The psalmist adds, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,…which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children…and they in turn would tell their children” (Psalm 78:4-6). Christian education is God’s directive to parents. In addition to what they teach in their homes, many parents use Christian schools to reinforce the message. It is their joy to provide this opportunity for their children.

Psalm 119:105Secondly, God promises to bless his Word. Christian schools employ the Word of God in every possible situation. Students in Christian schools are immersed in Scripture from “bell to bell.” They are continuously exposed to the blessings of God’s Word in school. Isaiah writes, “[My Word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Our Savior also attests that his Word is “full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63).

Most education trains only the mind and body. Christian education also does this by first reaching the heart. God’s Word has the power to effect true change in all learners for now and eternity.

Christian education is not just an option. It is true education.

Mr. Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran.
Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: Comfort Amid Discord

Principal's MessageToday, America is disunited. The uncooperative spirit among our people has cultivated national dysfunctionality and strife.

God warns that in the final days “people will be lovers of themselves….boastful, proud…ungrateful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:2). Our Savior also alerts us, “There will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21).

It’s unsettling, but it’s the reality of life.

In the midst of discord and disunity come God’s comforting assurances. His writers warn us of the worst. But, they also encourage us to trust his promises.

2 Peter 3:18First, God encourages us to live holy lives. “Be on your guard so that you may not be carried away….Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18). By faith, we serve God and our fellowmen. We glorify him when we demonstrate Christlike love for others.

Secondly, he encourages us to grow spiritually stronger. Good works are not a Means of Grace. Rather, they come from saving faith. They are spiritual exercise to strengthen us. Just as weightlifters train their muscles, exercising our faith through godly living trains us to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2).

It is unlikely that our nation will easily overcome its current societal disarray.

Thank God for his comforting Word that guides us in these trying times. By faith, we serve him and others following Christ’s example of humility, love, and service.

Mr. Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran. Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org

Principal’s Pen: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Although this adage was used for years, it was popularized in the 1970s. In context, the speaker referred to government trying to fix things that were not broken, while ignoring things that needed fixing.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

As Christians, we may wonder at this time of year,
“If Christmas ain’t broke, then why does the world keep trying to fix it?”

The answer is that the world views Christmas very differently.

It sees Christmas as an occasion for lavish gift giving, disregarding God’s greatest gift— his Son, the world’s Savior. “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

The world sees Christmas as family time, losing sight of God’s promise, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith” (Galatians 3:26).

The world sees Christmas as a party time, ignoring the true reason for celebration, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you” (Zechariah 9:9).
baby_14775cIn short, the world has lost Christmas’ true meaning: the celebration of God becoming man to perfectly fulfill the law and pay for mankind’s sins.

From the Christian perspective, Christmas works just fine!

God bless your Christmas celebration. May he also give you a joyous New Year.

Mr. Jim Grasby is principal of Lakeside Lutheran. Reach him at 920.648.2321 x2204 or jgrasby@llhs.org This post is the meditation from the December 2016 edition of the LLHS Federation Connection. Read the rest of the newsletter here.