The Three Greatest Words Ever Spoken

it-is-finished

“It is finished.”

To understand the importance of these three, simple words, you must first understand their context.

The context is Jesus’ perfect life, led for us.  The events of Holy Week culminating with the most selfless act in the history of mankind.  The brutality and shame of Calvary.  The grim sight of the cross.  All of this, led us and Him to these three words.  The three words that would display love, grace, mercy, and our future.

Those words speak volumes.  His resurrection was the exclamation point.  The victory dance.  The ultimate celebration.

Those words tell us that there is nothing more that needs to be done.  He has done it all for us.  It truly is finished.  His redemptive work is complete, nothing that we do will earn His favor.

We are completely His, bought by His own blood.

Many of our Lutheran schools have resumed classes this week after Christmas break.  For many, it was a well-deserved and well-needed break from the rigor of school.  It also served as a time for us to reflect on the birth of our Savior, and the life that he was about to live for our sake that would culminate with those words, “It is finished.”

The second half of the school year will be filled with challenges, blessings, disagreements, and struggles that we cannot even imagine.  We live in a sinful world, and we will all have our failures.

When we have those failures, it is then we realize the power of Jesus’ statement on the cross.  It is then we understand the full scope of His love for us.  it is then we humbly fall at the foot of the cross, and realize that all we have is because of Him.

We have His treasured little ones in our presence every day of the week.  We have the opportunity to bring them up in the pages of God’s Word.  We have the fortune to proclaim to them every day, “It is finished!”

Look at the second half of this school year as an opportunity, an opportunity to share that pure Gospel message that is the completion of Calvary.  The knowledge that by grace alone, by faith alone we are saved.

It is finished!  Go forward this school year with the dedication, peace, and knowledge that is found only in Him.

Be an Example of Happiness to Your Students

Did you ever have that teacher who looked like they would rather amputate their left leg than be in the classroom that day?

That doesn’t exactly make for an exciting day of learning.

Here is the big question…shouldn’t we, as Lutheran educators, be the happiest educators of them all? Every day we get to share the story of God’s amazing grace with our students. Every day we can apply proper use of law and gospel as the greatest aid in classroom management every created. Every day we have the opportunity to sit down with our students for a religion lesson, devotion, and prayer. Every day we can present history, science, and all of our other subjects from a biblical point of view.

You may be thinking, its easy to display that happiness on day one of the school year, but what about after eight straight days of discipline issues and three days in a row of little Johnny puking his guts out?

I am going to challenge you to have the mindset that those are the days where it all the more important to show that happiness in Christ.

Even on their worst days, your students must know they are loved…

Yes, firm discipline must be present. Yes, we must show our displeasure with their actions. Therefore, we must also show that love that our Savior has for us even though we screw up every, single day.

Your students must know you are in control…

Show that even on the worst of days, you are in control of yourself and your emotions. Don’t we preach that to our students and children all the time? We must be the model of that behavior for them.

Show those students why you love being a called worker…

I heard that we had over 40 schools who did not receive a teacher graduate out of MLC that requested one this year. That number is shocking! One of our must important jobs is to prepare the students we have for a lifetime of service. If they see us as miserable in our callings, than why would they ever want that calling for themselves? I think we could do an entire blog post on this topic. Show the love for your calling, so your students can see the incredible blessing that is the public ministry.

My 11th Commandment in my classroom…

Thou must laugh every day. Of course I don’t mean to make light of the 10 commandments, what I am saying is that laughter and happiness should take a priority in your ministry and your classroom. Just food for thought.

Finally, be happy. Be happy to know that God is using you to proclaim His Word. Be happy to know that the redeeming work of faith is not up to us and our imperfections. Be happy to know that the Holy Spirit is in charge of that work, our job is to plant the seed.

Be happy in Him, and always show your happiness.

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The Power of Positivity in the Classroom

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.”

School-wide climate and culture is a major topic in the world of education.  We see district and state wide attempts to change that climate and culture within schools.  With anything though, change begins at the bottom-up.  Change begins in our individual classrooms. Our classrooms must be a sincere example of positivity.

Now before we get further on how to affect this change, we must first clear the air on one topic.  Creating a classroom climate of positivity does not mean we forgo correction, honest feedback, and discipline.  It is quite the opposite.  It is out of positive love that we correct, give sincere feedback, and carefully discipline.  Those are the building blocks of a positive classroom environment.

They, however, are not the foundation.  This is the unique blessing we have in teaching in a Christian environment at the foot of the cross.  Every day our foundation of a positive classroom must begin and end with the gospel message that we are His children.  The foundation of the law and gospel is what affects positive change in the life of a child.  Every day, it is our job as Lutheran educators, to share with our students that they are forgiven and loved.

So with Him as our foundation, how can we continue to foster and build a classroom of positivity?

Sharing with each child that they are a redeemed child of God…

This gives them a sense of self-worth.  This gives them the power to know that no matter how much they screw-up, they have a Savior who loves them.

Build a relationship with your students…

As Lutheran educators, we have a unique bond with those we serve.  Show them that gospel love that we talk about in class every day.  Take a special interest in them.  Go to their baseball games, dance recitals, and birthday parties.  Keep up with them after they leave their class.  As they grow into their teenage years share an encouraging message with them via texting, facebook, or twitter.  Most importantly, be there for them.

Be firm and consistent…

Don’t allow negative behavior to grow.  Handle it right away.  That student will respect you for it, and your entire class will thrive with the knowledge that you are providing a safe, family environment for them.

Be direct, specific, and to the point when giving praise…

While you show your firm side, don’t hesitate to give praise when deserved.  Always be sincere and honest, never make something up just to give praise for the sake of praise.  Your students will appreciate it and love you for it.

This is by no means an all-ecompasing guide to a positive classroom.  If you have your own ideas, share them!