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: 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: A model for thanksgiving

He is mentioned in only one chapter of the Bible. Even then, he is overshadowed by the Christchild.

Luke reports, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” [Luke 2:25-26].

Simeon is described as “righteous and devout.” As such, he knew Scripture. He knew God’s anointed would be David’s descendent [2 Samuel 7], yet even greater than David [Psalm 110]. He knew the Chosen One would born of a virgin [Isaiah 7:14] in Bethlehem [Micah 5:2]. He knew a forerunner would precede God’s Promised One [Isaiah 40] and that the Savior himself would be a prophet like Moses [Deuteronomy 18]. He knew the Messiah would be forsaken and pierced [Psalm 22] and then rise from death [Psalm 16].

Simeon knew all this about his Savior.

nunc-dimittusImagine Simeon’s joy as he held Jesus and exclaimed, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation” [Luke 2:29-30]. His joy was complete. He offered thanks to God that the
age-old promise of a Savior was fulfilled.

Simeon’s thanksgiving to God can also be our model for thanksgiving. He waited his entire life for the fulfillment of the promise of a Savior from sin. We share that same faith—only we don’t wait and wonder when it will happen. It has! God sent his Son to be our Savior so that all believers may have joy and thanksgiving.

At Thanksgiving, we tend to focus on God’s physical blessings. That’s good because God richly blesses us. Yet, we should also include his spiritual blessings in our Thanksgiving because they will last forever.

Like Simeon, may God “dismiss [us] in peace” knowing that his greatest blessing—a Savior—is ours every day by faith.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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

Principal’s Pen: A Christian’s greatest treasure

What is your greatest treasure? Perhaps it’s an heirloom? Maybe, it’s something you purchased, hoping its value would appreciate. Possibly, it’s a drawing or card from your child or grandchild. Everyone has a personal treasure. They treat it specially because it is important to them.

You and I have such a treasure—God’s Word. Our Savior, Jesus, uses a parable to explain its value to all believers.

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44). Jesus does not discuss the ethics of whose treasure this was. Rather, he uses the man’s reaction to discovering the treasure to illustrate a truth: the gospel is a Christian’s greatest treasure. Unlike the parable where the man sold everything to buy the field, the gospel costs nothing. It is the simple proclamation of sins forgiven through Jesus. It can be shared by anyone. In fact, the least worthy vessels—sinful humans—share it daily.

God’s Word is a treasure. After all, it is God’s Word. The Holy Spirit—through Peter—emphasizes its value by saying, “There is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It contains Jesus’ words and works, and it points to him as the only source of salvation.

God’s Word is important because it makes us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). The law exposes our sin and reveals our hopelessness. Then, the gospel comforts us with the good news (literally, the meaning of gospel) that Jesus is our Savior. He lived, died, and rose so that all believers may live forever in heaven with him.

luther-sealThis month, we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. We thank God for Luther and others who uncovered the precious Word of God. God bless our celebration. May he lead us to always value his Word as our greatest treasure!

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

P.S. Remember that we have a special occasion to worship our Savior God with thousands of like-minded Lutherans at the 500th anniversary Area Reformation service at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, WI at 4 PM on Sunday, October 29, 2017.

ACT exam results among highest in state 

ACT Research Services of Iowa City, Iowa, recently released the ACT scores for the Lakeside Lutheran High School class of 2017.

Of the 93 members of the  2017 class, 87, or 94%, wrote the exam. Based on a 36-point scale, the composite score of these students was 23.9, above the state composite of 20.5 for almost 100% of students writing the exam statewide. This composite score keeps Lakeside Lutheran among the top 2% of over 460 high schools in the state, as reported by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction.

2017_ACT_Composite_Scores

According to ACT Inc., the test is not an aptitude or IQ test, but directly related to what students have learned in high school courses. They use the results to predict college readiness. For that, 52% of Lakeside Lutheran test-takers met all four standards for college readiness in English Composition, Algebra, Social Science, and Biology. That is more than twice the state average of 25%. According to ACT research, students who meet these benchmarks are more likely to succeed in college and earn a degree than those who don’t. “It is the rigor of coursework—rather than simply the number of core courses—that has the greatest impact on ACT performance and college readiness,” the non-profit organization states.

“In addition to having higher average ACT scores than many local schools, the College Board stated that our composite percentage of students who are ‘college ready’ in four core subjects is more than double the state’s composite,” says Principal James Grasby. “This means that a majority of Lakeside graduates are very likely to earn a “B” or above in English Composition, Algebra, the Social Sciences, and Biology in college-level courses. This is a great testimony to God’s blessing on our students’ work.”

2017_ACT_College-ready_Percentages

The ACT is a national college admission and placement examination that is used by more colleges than any other examination. Begun in 1959, more than 1.8 million students wrote the ACT last school year, including almost 67,000 students in Wisconsin. The ACT is a standard assessment for all 11th-graders in Wisconsin public high schools.

Lakeside Lutheran High School in Lake Mills is a ministry operated by a federation of 31 Lutheran congregations who are affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod or the Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The school holds accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), a division of AdvancED. For more information, contact Principal James Grasby at (920) 648-2321.

Lakeside Lutheran receives grant

Lakeside Lutheran High School is the recipient of a grant from the Meemic Foundation after being nominated by English teacher Jodie Schommer for the 2017-18 school year. The school received a $1,000 Back-to-School Grant, to be used for school supplies at Office Depot/Office Max, in partnership with the Meemic Foundation.

“Lakeside certainly appreciates the generosity of the Meemic Foundation in awarding schools like ours Back-to-School grants,” says Principal James Grasby. “We also appreciate the initiative of teachers like Jodie who strive for excellence in the classroom and work for the good of the entire school family.”

The Meemic Foundation for the Future of Education (MeemicFoundation.com) was created by Meemic Insurance Company in 1992. As a non-profit organization, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing the future of education by offering financial assistance to schools and educators.

Meemic grant to LLHS
Lakeside Lutheran recently received a $1,000 Back-to-School Grant from Meemic Foundation through the Maynard Agency Group out of Madison. Pictured are: Meemic Maynard Agency partner Lynn Egeland; Lakeside Lutheran English teacher, Jodie Schommer, who nominated the school for the grant; Principal James Grasby; and Agency partner Jay Maynard.

Lakeside Lutheran High School begins 60th year

Lakeside Lutheran High School opened its doors to incoming freshmen on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, marking the beginning the school’s 60th year. Freshmen begin their school year a day early to get a chance to learn their schedules, meet other incoming freshmen and explore co-curricular opportunities. Classes begin for all students on Thursday, August 17 with an enrollment of 415 students, a 4% increase since the end of the 2016-17 school year.

The Opening Service and installation of new faculty take place as part of the first day’s events on August 17 at 10 a.m. in the west gymnasium. Pastor Matthew DeNoyer from Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fort Atkinson will offer the devotion during this special chapel service. Liturgist for the opening service will be Pastor Clark Schultz from the Lakeside Lutheran faculty. The community is invited to attend.

New faculty to be installed include Mr. Phil Dretske, instructor in Mathematics and Religion, as well as football and baseball coach. A 2002 graduate of Martin Luther College (MLC), he and his family live in Madison where he previously taught at Eastside Lutheran School.

Also being installed as a full-time Physical Education instructor is Mrs. Jennifer Krauklis, who served in an adjunct position at Lakeside Lutheran in the Mathematics and Science departments in 2016-17, and has been the Warrior varsity volleyball coach for several years. A 1998 graduate of Lakeside herself, she attended MLC and graduated with an Education degree from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, where she is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Educational Leadership. She and her family live in Lake Mills.

 

SONY DSC
Lakeside Lutheran faculty number 33 for the 2017-18 school year, including back row, from left: Pastor Don Schultz, Assistant Principal, Religion; Andrew Willems, Technology Director, Computer Science; Jim Bauer, PhyEd, Math; Jim Buege, Director of Choirs, English; Tim Matthies, Math; Matt Doering, Social Studies. Second row from top, L-R: Dan Kuehl, Director of Instruction, English; Pastor Mark Toepel, World Languages; Darice Brumm, Extended Learning Aide; Jeff Meske, Career and Technical Education; Ruth Hirschfeld, Director of Extended Learning; Paul Bauer, Science, Math. Middle row, L-R: Phyllis Huska, Librarian; Damon Tracy, Science; Phil Dretske, Math, Religion; Steve Lauber, Director of Admissions, English; Andy Rosenau, Guidance Director, Computer Science; Kirk DeNoyer, Activities Director, PhyEd. 2nd row up, L-R: Pastor Clark Schultz, Religion; Jodie Schommer, English; Jenny Krauklis, PhyEd; Lori Tetzlaff, Art; Lance Johnson, Science; Pastor Caleb Davisson, Religion. Front row, from left: Todd Hackbarth, Math; Andy Asmus, Social Studies; James Grasby, Principal, Health; Nathan Koerber, World Languages; Cameron Ausen, Social Studies, Religion; Sandi Corlett, FACS, Health. Missing are Gerry Walta, World Languages; Glen Pufahl, Director of Bands, English; and Jayne Meske, Extended Learning Aide.