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.