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.
In 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Imagine 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 email@example.com
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.
This 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.”
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 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.
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.
Lakeside Lutheran High School announced its Academic Top Ten from the Class of 2017. These individuals cumulatively earned 285.5 high school credits, an average of slightly above 28.5 credits each; 26 credits are needed to graduate. Their grade point averages range from 3.813 to a 3.987—a difference of only 174/1000 of a grade point. They had a 98.6% daily attendance rate and were on-time to class 99.3% of the time.
Their profiles, in alphabetical order, follow:
Top 10 Elliott Butler, son of Matthew and Susan, Ixonia, will attend Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn., to receive a degree in Elementary Education and Secondary Physical Education. “I would love to coach sports and be involved with them at a high school level,” he says. “I want to impact the kids I teach just like my teachers from grade school and high school.” He has received a $1,000 Service Grant and $2,000 Messenger Scholarship from MLC.
For his years at Lakeside, he was on National Honors Society for two years, Student Council for four, and served on the student newspaper. Elliott played basketball for two years and baseball and football for four years, a captain his senior year.
Elliott represented Lakeside at Badger Boys State and the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards. He traveled with mission trip program Operation GO to Alaska, Boise, and Louisville. He has served as an usher at his home church, St. Matthew, Oconomowoc, for three years and wants “to remain close to my church and faith.”
He appreciates his time at LLHS. “I loved the bonds I was able to create with all of my teachers. The friendships I made will be something I will never forget. The memories I left on all the athletic fields here will stick with me forever,” Elliott says. “Lakeside is such a tightly-knit family and was truly a great blessing.”
Top 10 Elizabeth Cichanofsky, daughter of Mike and Shelly, Watertown, will spend the next six years “at Carroll University to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy,” she says. “I want to be able to use my God-given talents to help others recover and do things they may not have been able to do for a long time.”
As an incoming freshman, she has already been accepted into Carroll’s Honors Program as well as its Graduate School. Carroll University has awarded her the Carroll Trustee Scholarship at $19,000 per year, renewable all 4 years, and the Donor Sponsored Grant for $2,100.
Elizabeth served as the editor-in-chief of the Warrior Times Weekly, which received a Scholastic 1st place and a merit for the “Most Outstanding High School Newspaper.” She also participated in National Honor Society, Math Team, and managed the JV softball team her freshman year.
“I really enjoyed the last four years here at Lakeside. I liked that I was surrounded by Christian teachers and peers,” she says. “I like the fact that our class is close and we are all family and treat each others as brothers and sisters.”
She is active at her home church, St. Luke, Watertown, in its teen group, church band, and altar guild. She also volunteers at Trinity-St. Luke’s grade school.
Top 10 Joshua Higgins, son of Charles and Julie, Watertown, is a member of St. Mark, Watertown, where he ushers, reads the Gospel during the service, and volunteers at church events. At Lakeside he participated in soccer, basketball, golf, baseball, and National Honor Society.
“I enjoyed all of the people I have met and all the friends I have made,” he says. “I really enjoyed attending and playing in a lot of sporting events. The environment during these activities and the memories that I have made either watching or playing with my friends is something that I will never forget and will cherish forever.”
Josh will head to Martin Luther College in the fall to pursue a degree in education. “I want to have a Christian family and I want to teach my classes in a fun way and still have my students learn what they are supposed to,” he says. He received a renewable Messenger Scholarship for $2,000. Though not attending, he also received a UW–La Crosse Soaring Eagle Scholarship for $2,000 and the Wisconsin Lutheran College Presidential Scholarship for $15,000, General Endowed Scholarship Fund for $1,500, and Partners in Christian Education Scholarship for $2,000.
Top 10 Tina Kehl, daughter of Paul and Kristine, Waterloo, will attend Martin Luther College for a degree in Elementary Education. “I would love to make an impact on the next generation and teach children in the setting of God’s Word,” she says. “I also hope to marry a Christian man and raise a family someday.”
While at LLHS, she participated in Summer Marching Band, Warrior Band, A Cappella Choir, Intramurals, Piano, Jazz Band, and Forensics. Tina also received various WSMA instrumental medals, and 3 golds and 1 silver medal at WHSFA State Forensics Meets.
She also served on the Warrior Times Weekly staff and in National Honor Society. “I was involved in my community through the Astico Perseverance 4-H Club, of which I have been a member for 10 years,” she says. Through 4-H, she received the Top Secretary Book for Dodge County.
At her church, Zion, Columbus, Tina assisted with Vacation Bible School and Christmas for Kids, and performed in vocal and instrumental ensembles for church services. “The wonderful education that I received at Lakeside was unlike any other and the Christian environment that I experienced here was truly uplifting,” she says. “I made amazing memories and sincere relationships that I will always carry with me.”
Top 10 Ian Lindloff, son of David and Phyllis, Lake Mills, will attend UW–Platteville to study Civil Engineering. After graduation, he hopes to “get a job in my intended field, eventually move to the East Coast and travel throughout Europe.” He received the Academic Achievement Scholarship from Milwaukee School of Engineering for $12,000.
While at Lakeside, he received three academic letters and the National Merit Scholarship Letter of Commendation. He participated in basketball for one year, track for two, and soccer for four. A member of St. Paul, Lake Mills, he has served as an usher for three years.
“My two favorite things about Lakeside are the friendships and the atmosphere,” he says. “I formed some really strong bonds with people in the span of just four years, and was able to live and grow in a school community centered around God.”
Top 10 Noah Miller, son of Dan and Jodi, Whitewater, will attend UW–Madison to either earn his Ph.D. in Psychology or an MBA. While there, he is planning to study abroad in South America. “Being a part of National Honor Society greatly increased the volunteer activities which were available to me,” he says. He volunteered at Twice is Nice for four years and helped with Grand Event—Lakeside’s annual fundraiser. He ushers at his church, St. John, Whitewater, and helps with after-service meals almost every month.
As a member of the Warrior football team, he was a team captain and also won second-team All-Conference honors.
“Lakeside has been a huge part of my life, and a solid stepping stone for the rest of it. Throughout my years in high school, I learned many things, but the most important were about Christ. I grew in my faith every day,” he says. “The relationships I have made will last a lifetime and eternity.”
Top 10 Katelyn Richter, daughter of Pete and Denise, Watertown, a member at St. Luke, participated in National Honor Society, Student Council, Badger Girls State, volleyball, and softball.
“It’s so much fun having friends from so many different cities and towns. You always have a place to stay if your game that night is an hour away from home and you don’t want to drive home!” Katelyn says. “I also enjoyed the fact that our school is small enough that you know virtually everyone by name and there’s always a smiling face to greet you when you get to school, whether a teacher or another student.”
In the fall, she will attend Madison College to study business or business management and then transfer to UW-Whitewater. Katelyn has earned the Grand Prix bowling scholarship by participating in league bowling for years.
Her goal is to “get married, have a family, and enjoy my job so much that I never have to work a day of my life.”
Salutatorian Danielle Schilling, daughter of Mike and Robin, Watertown, will attend UW–River Falls for a degree in Animal Science and pursue a career in the animal industry. “I want to maintain my academic success in college and be a lifelong learner,” she says.
From UW-River Falls, she received the outstanding academic achievement award for $4,000 and the Falcon Scholars Scholarship for $6,000. She also received the Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship for $2,250 per year.
A member of St. John, Juneau, Danielle participated in historical reenacting, city parades, and Share the Hope fundraising for firefighters, in her community. At LLHS, she participated in Teens for Christ, National Honor Society, Academic Bowl, and A Cappella choir. She served as the wrestling manager and participated in track, where she recently broke the school record in pole vault at 11’3. Danielle received academic high honors for all four years and received the National German Exam distinguished achievement.
“One of my favorite things about Lakeside is the incorporation of God’s Word in every class and activity. This provides the perfect environment to study and learn about our faith. This common background also lays the foundation for lifelong friendships,” Danielle says. “All of the teachers are committed to teaching the Word of God in a Christ-like manner. Lakeside prepares students for a life of ministry in a world of misery due to sin, and this is super important for young Christians.”
Valedictorian Caleb Strutz, son of Nathan and Elizabeth, Verona, is a member at Resurrection. He will head to Martin Luther College to receive a Bachelor of Arts in pre-seminary studies. Afterward he will attend Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary to become a pastor in the WELS.
At Lakeside, Caleb participated in Forensics, Drama, Math Meet, Academic Bowl, and STEM Club. He is a two-time Forensics state gold medalist.
“I liked how tight-knit everything is. The school is close and groups of friends are closer,” he says. “Activities were always a blast to participate in.”
Top 10 Kyle Wiessinger, son of Randy and Lorie, DeForest, will head to UW–Madison for a business degree. “I hope to have an enjoyable experience throughout college while still maintaining a strong focus on academics,” he says. He received scholarships to Marquette University, the Père Marquette Award and the College of Business Administration Scholarship. He also received the Presidential Scholarship and Out-of-State Scholarship to Bradley University.
At Lakeside, Kyle participated in football, National Honors Society, Teens for Christ, and the Math Team. “I liked the Christian atmosphere and learning about my Savior daily. I also enjoyed the friendships I have made,” he says.
At his home church, Peace, Sun Prairie, he is a member of FYSH (Faithful Youth Serving Him) and serves as a Sunday School assistant.