Principal’s Pen: Action & Reaction

pen_8416c“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In Science, students learn Newton’s Third Law of Motion. It states that when two separate forces act on two corresponding objects, the size of the force on the first object equals the size of the force on the second.3rd law of motion

Soon after God created humans, the Bible relates what is perhaps the saddest chapter in history: the fall into sin. Adam and Eve had perfection. Without sin, there was no aging, pain, or death. Their relationship with God was perfect. They wanted what God wanted because they were holy. But, that would soon change.

The serpent tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Against God’s clear command not to eat it, Eve succumbed and Adam did the same.

Now, the perfect world plunged headlong into sin. Perfection disappeared. Evil infected every human thought. Yes, holiness was gone as evidenced by Adam and Eve immediately blaming others, vainly attempting to salvage their own sinful pride.

thorns_17324cAt this point, God could have destroyed creation and his creatures. Yet, he did the unthinkable. While cursing the serpent, he announced grace and mercy to Adam and Eve. He said, “And I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he (the Savior) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). God showed unimaginable love by promising One who would remove sin’s curse. Years later, in his proclamation from the cross, “It is finished,” (John 19:30), Christ, the serpent crusher, fulfilled this very promise.

Newton’s law explains the traits of objects and motion well. But, when considering the unfathomable grace of God, words can’t explain it. Adapting Newtonian verbiage, one might well say, “For sin’s every action, God’s grace and love respond with an immeasurable reaction.”

Lord, lead us daily to appreciate your great love for humankind as seen in the life, death, and resurrection of your Son, our Savior. Amen.

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

Principal’s Pen: Rich at Christmas

rectorc“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich”
(2 Corinthians 8:9).

By nature, humans are not giving. Often, we keep for ourselves what we have. The first words of many children—“no” and “mine”—easily fly out especially during fits of self-centeredness.

Each year, the media reports on Christmas spending. For 2018, the average American supposedly spent $1,000 for Christmas gifts, decorations, food, and related non-gift items. Perhaps these reports amaze us—considering that we are not, by nature, giving.

At Christmas, however, we all would do well to ponder Paul’s words to the Corinthians, noting Christ’s giving nature and his reason for it.

Paul reminds us of Jesus’ grace, God’s unconditional gift. It is “unasked, unforced, unearned” (Where Shepherds Lately Knelt, stanza 4). “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” is God’s gift to all sinners.

B15year31ecPaul then illustrates grace. “That though [Christ] was rich, yet for your sake he became poor” (2 Corinthians 8:9) Christ set aside heaven’s glories to become human. Although he is true God, Jesus took “the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” [Philippians 2:7]. He experienced pain, sorrow, and temptation firsthand. Yet, through it all, “he committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” [1 Peter 2:22].

His reason for doing this was “so that you through his poverty might become rich.” Jesus lived to save sinners. Earlier in Corinthians, Paul states how Christ bore the world’s sin on the cross “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Unlike anyone else could, Christ humbled himself to offer forgiveness, peace, and eternal life—the most precious Christmas gifts of all.

There is nothing wrong with giving Christmas gifts. It is great to see Christmas decorations. Celebrating Christmas with family and friends can be joyful. But, for us, these simply point to the One who surrendered his riches “so that [we] through his poverty might become rich.”

God bless your Advent meditations and your joyous Christmas celebration.
May he also bless your New Year.

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

Principal’s Pen: Warrior=Witness


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth. [Psalm 19:1-4]


As many reflect on summer travels, they may recall thundering waterfalls, rushing pen_8416crivers, picturesque lakes, towering mountains, and wildlife. Without realizing it, they have witnessed something far greater.

In Romans, Paul explains the “natural knowledge of God.” He states how creation clearly testifies of God’s presence and power. He writes, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen” [1:20]. Nature testifies that there is a God with power to create and regulate all things. Everyone can see this. However, few acknowledge it.

Paul continues, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became … darkened” [v. 21]. In spite of the evidence, most choose to ignore God. In short, they “become fools” [v. 22]. They seek God where he is not—in themselves and in ways they devise.

We have a formidable task. We must tell the world Scripture’s message of our God and his great love for humankind. His love is so profound that he sacrificed his only and only Son for everyone’s sin. “For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its [S]avior” [John 3:16 Good News].

Lakeside’s biennial theme is Witness. In chapel, devotions, and in all classes, students A17year46pcwill be encouraged to witness—encouraged to witness to one another to remain strong in the faith and encouraged to witness to those who see God’s signs in nature, yet do not know his complete message as revealed in his Word.

Indeed,
“the heavens declare the glory of God.”

Lord, give us a desire to witness so that others may know you and trust in your Son as their Savior.

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

Principal’s Pen: Time to Shine

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens” [Daniel 12:2-3].

Among the final words in the book of Daniel is his statement of faith in the resurrection. His words are a comfort to all who believe in the One who gave his life to give life to all.

Daniel lived in a pagan society. The Babylonians and Persians believed the physical world was inferior. The concept of a physical resurrection was foreign to them.

Among the world’s religions, there is notable disagreement on what happens after death. Christians know and believe that Christ will literally raise us from the dead. We will be physical beings, not clouds or spirits. This makes Christianity distinct.

Our world fights against Christ’s teaching of a physical resurrection. Many non-Christians believe that resurrection from the dead is either ridiculous or unneeded. Recently, one state passed a law allowing “human composition” as a means for disposing of human remains. This method considers the lifeless body to be “soil” that is placed back into the ground. On the surface, this appears harmless. However, behind it is the belief that we are “accidents,” the product of evolution. As such, many see death as nothing more than a natural end. By dying, the human body eternally returns to nature.

Genesis 3 tells us that death is the unnatural consequence of sin. However, Christians also know and believe that Christ destroyed sin and death. Some day, he will raise our bodies without sin and its effects.

There is nothing wrong with traditional ways of handling human remains after death. What matters is what we believe. Even in death, we glorify God. The ground may temporarily hold our remains. But Jesus will return to call us once more to take on flesh and rise to eternal life.

God preserve us all in the one true faith so that one day we will “shine like the brightness of the heavens.

Principal’s Pen: Don’t miss an opportunity

principals-message-1There are many stories of missed opportunity.

In 2012, a man wished to invest $10,000. He researched many options and found a company whose story interested him. It was in the relatively new and rapidly expanding field of social media.

As he waited, the company’s stock dipped to $20 a share. Knowing his limit, he instructed his broker to buy 550 shares when the price reached $18. As the price further declined, he assumed that his broker made the purchase. He didn’t check.

However, the lowest price the stock reached was $18.06. For $.06 per share, his order was never executed and this investor missed out on a big opportunity—Facebook. His $10,000 investment in 2012 would be worth $90,000 today!

There are many stories of missed opportunity.

Early on the first morning of the week, the women went to Jesus’ tomb. They expected to prepare his body for burial. But, they did not find a lifeless body. They found two “men” in brilliant clothing. Even before they spoke, one man declared, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? [Jesus] is not here; he has risen!” [Luke 24:5-6].

The women “hurried away from the tomb … and ran to tell his disciples” [Matthew 28:8]. They didn’t want to miss the opportunity to share the message of the Savior’s resurrection.

easter_18558c

For many, Easter is a missed opportunity. To them, it’s a spectator event and they miss the opportunity to make its joy their own. Moreover, they miss the opportunity to share God’s message of life and hope through Jesus.

This year, may God guide every believer to seize the opportunity and be like the women who joyfully received the news of Jesus’ resurrection. Furthermore, may he lead us to share our joy so that others may hear and also believe, “[Jesus] is not here; he has risen!

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

Principal’s Pen: Living Prayers

Nearly everyone knows the Lord’s Prayer. It is the model on what to pray.

However, in the verses preceding the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us how to pray.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8).

Our Savior makes two points. First, prayer does not have to be lengthy and ornate. The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 is just 53 words in four sentences. Not only is it simple and to-the-point, but it comes directly from Jesus.

pray2Secondly, Jesus teaches that prayer is not an if, but a when – as in, “And when you pray.” God rescued us from our sinfulness when we did everything possible to fight him. We did nothing to deserve his grace and mercy. Yet, he bought us back from sin, death, and Satan with his holy life. As his redeemed children, we now have the freedom to pray to him. God knows us and he knows our needs. He loves us and he continues to do so even when we fail. He even encourages us to address him “our Father” (Matthew 6:9).

Prayer is not dry and sterile. It is living and enriching. Through it, we speak with him “who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope
(2 Thessalonians 2:16).

God, give us lives of active and meaningful prayer.

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

Principal’s Pen: Stop squirming

“Stop squirming!” How many times have you said that, witnessed someone saying it, or wished someone would say it—perhaps to a restless child or two? Some may even recall hearing those words directed at them.

sky_12239cGod also says, “Stop squirming!” The psalmist writes, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Although our circumstances may differ from those of a fidgeting child, the message has a similar intent.

Life often distracts us from our true purpose to “love the Lord [our] God with all [our] heart and with all [our] soul and with all [our] strength and with all [our] mind” (Luke 10:27). We frequently live life, not considering the consequences of our actions. When we focus only on the here-and-now, it is only a matter of time before we begin “squirming” after the world’s allurements. Soon we find ourselves completely drawn away from our true purpose, only to follow an ungodly course.

At these times, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” His power, his wisdom, his goodness, and his righteousness are all we need. Furthermore, he makes them ours by grace through faith in Christ. When we are tempted to focus more on the present than on the hereafter, God’s voice calls us back to the reality of making him our highest treasure.

“Stop squirming!” God gives us all we need for this life and the life to come.

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

Principal’s Pen: But first…LOVE

When items are listed, often the chief one is first. This may well be true even in Scripture.
In Galatians 5, the Holy Spirit moved Paul to enumerate the fruit of the Spirit. He writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” [v. 22-23a].
Did you notice which one led the list? Love!
Why is love important? Isn’t joy from forgiveness, forbearance to withstand provocation, or goodness to avoid temptation as important? While these—along with peace, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—are part of Christian living, love encompasses them all.
heart_11119c
Earlier in the chapter, Paul writes, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [v. 14]. This quote from Deuteronomy places love front-and-center in Christian living. A corollary command—“Love one another”—appears 12 times in the New Testament, three of them spoken by Jesus himself.
However, we would miss Paul’s point if we did not first recognize that love is not in our nature. By nature, we are unlovable. Sin also leads us not to love others. It is “Christ’s love [that] compels us” to love because “he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him” [2 Corinthians 5:14-15].
Love heads the fruit of the Spirit for a reason. It is Christ’s primary command as demonstrated by his boundless love for sinners.
God, give us loving hearts like our Savior’s that reflect his selfless love.

 

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

Principal’s Pen: Ascension matters

Jesus’ Ascension truly matters.

Other church festivals seem to overshadow Ascension. However, Jesus’ ascension is a major event in his life and work.

When Jesus ascended, he sat at his heavenly Father’s right hand, a place of honor, trust, and position. By this, God the Father verified that Christ had made the final payment for sin by the “one sacrifice [that] has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” [Hebrews 10:13-14].

18-05FedConWhen Jesus ascended, his intercessory work began. Through him, all believers have “an advocate with the Father” [1 John 2:1]. Daily, he pleads for us at his Father’s throne.

When Jesus ascended, his eternal reign began. In heaven, he reigns “with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him” (1 Peter 3:22). No one and nothing can equal him or challenge him.

Lastly, when Jesus ascended, the Church was energized and strengthened for its mission. “And God placed all things under [Jesus’] feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” [Ephesians 1:22- 23]. As the Church’s head, all things are done through Christ.

Years ago, Ascension was a highly regarded festival. For that matter, it still is.

Jesus’ Ascension truly matters!

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

Principal’s Pen: Are you sure?

Do we know — for sure?

Job may well be one of the oldest Bible books. It raises an age-old question:
Do we know — for sure?

Throughout Job, he made pointed statements. “But a man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more.” [Job 14:10]. He also asked tough questions. “If a man die, shall he live again?” [Job 14:14].

redeemer_16912cHis thoughts came from a heart that suffered great personal loss. Yet, by faith, he also exclaimed, “I know that my redeemer lives” [Job 19:25]. Job knew this — for sure. With these words, he stood on solid ground. In spite of his troubles, the Holy Spirit led him to speak comfort and assurance to all believers.

Job begins, “I know.” He pointed with certainty to a central truth of Scripture: his “redeemer lives.” Christ is true God. He controls everything. He lives and has conquered death. Paul echoed the same thought: Christ “was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ [is] our Lord” [Romans 1:4].

Like Job, we, too, may know and believe that our Redeemer lives in spite of our troubles and doubts. This is God’s plan for us. This is why the Bible was written. The Apostle John agrees. “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” [1 John 5:13].

Through God’s Word, we know — for sure!

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