Christian Central Academy {School of the Week 2017-18}

Central Christian Academy

This week we thank God for and pray for Central Christian Academy!

Fast Facts:

  • About 400 Students (K-12)
  • Founded in 1949
  • Mascot: Crusaders
  • Colors: Blue and White

Prayers:

  • Pray for all the students of Christian Central Academy, but especially our First Trinity high school students: Brendan and Tommy. Ask God to walk with them each day and give them opportunities to live out their faith at school, in extracurricular activities, and in their homes.
  • Pray for their administrators, faculty, and staff.
    Head of School: Mr. Thad Gaebelein
    Assistant to the Head of School: Mrs. Lori Williams
    Ask God to give all who lead the students wisdom and grace.
  • Pray for the students who are sports teams or in music programs that they would perform to God’s glory, stay safe, and have fun.

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Christian Academy of WNY {School of the Week 2017-18}

Christian Academy of WNY

Fast Facts:

  • Founded in 1993
  • Students representing 36 different churches attend
  • Mascot: Eagles
  • Colors: Green and White

Prayers:

  • Pray for all the students at CAWNY, but especially our First Trinity students: Maria and Liz. Ask God to walk with them each day and give them opportunities to live out their faith at school.
  • Pray for their administrators, especially their principal Mrs. Cindy Lichtenberger, that they would have wisdom in their leadership.
  • Pray for sports, music, and drama activities this week that the students would do well, have fun, and be safe.

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Dwell On These Things

Today my devotion has me reading Philippians 4:8-9. It says,

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, dwell on these things. And the peace of God will be with you.”

Every time I come across this verse I try to think of one thing for each category as a way to dwell here a while. In a world lately where everywhere I turn I find more tragedy, disaster, and heartache, this was a helpful exercise to pause and do today. And yes, it did being so peace!

  • True – God loves us… all of us… even me.
  • Noble – Firefighters working countless hours to battle fires in CA; first responders running toward the hard and messy and dangerous to save lives
  • Right – taking time for self-care
  • Pure – a little kid’s giggle
  • Lovely – Bright purple and yellow flowers on my table from beautiful friends
  • Admirable – Teachers doing the hard work of showing up day after day to love on kids as well as teach them and prepare them for life
  • Excellent – An amazing team I get to serve alongside
  • Praiseworthy – All the youth and young adults I see serving around the church and world impacting greatly the lives of those they serve.

What would be a few things that would make your list? Comment below!

Charter School for Applied Technologies {School of the Week 2017-18}

Charter School for Applied Technologies

Fast Facts:

  • Largest Charter School in New York State
  • 2,090 students K-12
  • Mascot: Eagles
  • Colors: Blue and Gold

Prayers:

  • Pray for all the students at CSAT, but especially our First Trinity students: Manda, Katie, Kassie, and Katie Jo. Ask God to walk with them each day and give them opportunities to live out their faith at school.
  • Pray for their administrators, especially Ms. Ann Morgante (principal),Mr. Frederick Cristens, and Mrs. Tralina Middlebrooks (Assistant Principals) , that they would have wisdom in their leadership.
  • Pray for sports, music, and drama activities this week that the young men and women would do well, have fun, and be safe.

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As Seasons Change…

As I write this, the rains pour out my window on a cool Fall day.  Just a few days ago we were setting record temps and it’s supposed to warm up again tomorrow, but for today, Autumn has arrived.

In this changing of seasons, I’m finding myself reflecting on various seasons of life. The fact that I went almost a year without a single blog post is one small piece of evidence that shows me the most recent stage had been one of survival.  It was a wonderful year and a half with so many adventures and joys, but with full schedules, new challenges, and more responsibility, my focus centered on the moment right in front of me. Sometimes, I think we see seasons of “survival” as a bad thing… as if we should be doing more than just survive. We must “thrive”, right?!? But just as each season of the year has its place, I find myself thankful for this last season I found myself in.

As mentioned above, seasons of survival give focus. I couldn’t plan everything out or control what might happen next; I had to stay centered on the present. That is a gift.

I also find that seasons of survival teach me dependence. Whether I have to depend on other people to help me, depend on what I know or have experienced to get me through a tough situation, or simply depend on God for all the things that are just too much, seasons of survival are seasons of dependence.

One final lesson learned in this most recent phase is one I feel like God finds ways to teach me in every phase: Grace.

John 1:16 says, For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

This past season was no exception. Day upon day, moment upon moment, God poured out His grace upon grace. I find myself beyond thankful for this sustaining, restoring, peace-filled gift in the midst of this season.

But as seasons often too, it’s time for a change. I’m not sure what word may categorize this next phase, but I’m excited to see what the Creator of the Seasons has in store!

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Canisius High {School of the Week 2018}

This week I’m kicking off a “school of the week” program connected with our High school ministry. Each week I’ll highlight one high school and our students that go to that school! I’ll spend the week praying specifically for that school, it’s students, teachers, and administrators, as well as the families of our students that attend there. Whenever possible, I hope to “represent” the school on Thursday by wearing school colors, or even better a school t-shirt if I can find it.  First Up:

Canisius High School

Fast Facts:

  • About 825 students
  • Founded in 1870
  • Mascot: Crusaders
  • Colors: Blue and Gold

Prayers:

  • Pray for all the students at Canisius, but especially our First Trinity students: Andrew, Jonah, Noah, and Wisken. Ask God to walk with them each day and give them opportunities to live out their faith at school.
  • Pray for their administrators, especially the principal Ms. Andrea Tyrpak-Endres, , that they would have wisdom in their leadership.
  • Pray for sports, music, and drama activities this week that the young men would do well, have fun, and be safe.

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A Rope To Cling To

Recently I’ve found myself enjoying the show “Call the Midwife.” For those that haven’t seen it, basically there is a group of nurses and midwives who work alongside a group of nuns (who are also midwives and nurses) to care for the people of East London in the 1960s.

In an episode I watched a while back, one of the nurses was going through a particularly hard time in her life as she helped her own mother who was near death.  One night, one of the nuns came out and sat next to her on a bench and offered her an invitation to join them in their evening prayer service to help sort out her thoughts.

The nurse replied: “I’m afraid I can’t even think of what to think just now.”

The older nun’s response struck me (make sure you read with a strong English accent): “A conundrum that has ailed me much.  But in chapel, we need not choose our thoughts.  The words are aligned like a rope for us to cling to.”

This put words to one of the very reasons I am thankful for gathering in worship with other believers.  Whether at my church on a Sunday morning or Saturday night, in a large setting with hundreds or thousands like a worship festival I went to a few weeks ago or in a simple chapel with a few dozen at the conference I was at recently, I am thankful for these chances to gather.  I’m thankful for the words that “align like a rope” giving something to cling to.  I’m thankful that I don’t always have to know what to think or pray or do. Whether written ages ago or led by the Spirit in that moment, the next thing in the liturgy, the next prayer on the page, the next song to sing, leads me into God’s presence and leads me into peace.

Even a step beyond what may be written on a page, I am thankful for my fellow worshipers, the ones who gather alongside and cling to that rope as well. There are some weeks where my heart is joyful and ready to praise… my song, my words, my presence can stand in the gap for someone who “can’t even think of what to think”.  And then there are the days that’s me… the voices of those uplifted around me carry me into that throne room of our God, the place where we find great grace and strength for the week, the day, the hour ahead.  As the author of Hebrews puts it,

“Let us then approach God’s throne with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. … we take hold of the hope set before us [so that we] may be greatly encouraged.  We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.”  (Hebrews 4:16, 6:18-20)

One last picture that comes to mind is of the preschoolers in our school. Near the beginning of the year, especially in the younger classes, the teachers use a rope to lead the students.  Spaced throughout the bright colored rope are different cloth shapes the students can hold on to.  This keeps them in line, less likely to wander off, as the teacher leads them where they’re going next.

God’s rope may not have colorful shapes, but the outcome is the same. As I’m led into worship, He then can lead me back out into the world with freedom to live the life He has for me.  When I don’t even know what to think, worship becomes a rope to cling to, an anchor for the soul.

rope