FINDING JOY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Josiah Norrie, CCS 2019 Graduate
As I look beyond graduation and what God has for my future, He has been showing me how to turn my faith in Jesus into a PASSION for Jesus. Being a Christian isn’t just a title or a belief for me. It is a relationship with Jesus that I want to be evident in every area of my life. God is showing me three specific areas that can help my relationship with Jesus define my life and not just be a part of it.
First, I must understand what a true relationship with God is. A relationship with Christ begins with saving faith.
The three basic parts of saving faith are knowing the facts of the gospel, agreeing with our need for forgiveness of sin, and choosing to trust in Christ alone for salvation. Most people will gladly depend on Christ for their salvation; however, not as many will trust God by fully submitting their lives to Him. The truth is that if we want to make Jesus our passion, we need to trust Him with our lives. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourselves in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The more time that I spend with God, the more His desires become my desires. My relationship with Jesus becomes filled with JOY and serving Him becomes my passion.
Secondly, I must be willing to obey. Obedience to God not only brings me joy, but brings me freedom. There is such freedom in knowing that I am doing exactly what God wants me to do. Obedience to God will bring me true satisfaction and joy! God will not force obedience, but He longs for me to choose Him over everything the world has to offer. Choosing to obey God despite the personal sacrifice or consequences is what develops a passion for Jesus.
Finally, once I am finding joy in my relationship with Christ and have fully submitted my life to Him, I can live with an eternal perspective. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth…but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I should live with a mindset that anticipates Christ’s return and an eternity with God. Choosing to pursue eternal things instead of earthly things changes my perspective. I can passionately pursue Jesus by focusing on and investing in others for the glory of God.
“I Choose Joy” was our school’s theme for my senior year. This can become a reality in your life when you choose to enjoy your relationship with God, trust Him fully, and invest in the lives of others with an eternal perspective.
FINDING JOY IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
It is an enigma that parenthood can provide such an extreme spectrum of emotions. One moment our children elevate us so high we have to look down to see heaven when at other times we become so frustrated with them that we hardly care to admit we actually brought them into this world or chose them to be a part of our family. Parents will always be older and wiser…right? Then why is this calling of parenthood so scary? Is it even possible to raise good children anymore?
My life mentor, my mom, Marliss – mother of six, told me often, “Melissa, you do not have to teach your children to be naughty, that comes quite naturally to them. You must train them up in the way they should go – to do good, to make right choices, to do the things you ask them to do in a way that is honoring to God. You cannot let your kids call the shots and remember that mistakes are part of the journey!”
Leonard Sax, physician, psychologist and author, believes that if we want our children to be virtuous, we must teach them virtue. Children are not going to develop into individuals who have a strong moral compass, self-confidence and sweet temperaments without hours, weeks, months and years of teaching them how to live virtuous lives. This means not allowing your young children to decide what is best for them as they do not have the capacity to do that. Sure they will have choices but they also need to be held accountable.
Now this does not mean that you have to rule with an iron thumb…in fact, it is quite the opposite. Sometimes parents believe that they are helping their young children by stepping back and letting their kids decide on things that they are not yet ready to make decisions about. Our children (often literally) are screaming for guidance and direction because even at some level are cognizant that they are not ready to make some of the decisions that they are being confronted with. A very important concept that my dad modeled for me was to tell his children (me being one of the six) ‘yes’ as often as he could so that when he had to say ‘no’, we knew that he really meant it.
Reflecting back on my childhood, my brothers and sisters and I had very few rules that stand out in my mind because somehow my parents instilled in us a desire to want to obey, respect and please them simply because we did not want to disappoint them. How does that happen? Even though it did not seem like it to us at the time, that was a very intentional move on my parent’s part. They taught us to love each other. They loved each other well. From the time we woke up in the morning until it was time to go to bed, they were purposefully and intentionally pouring into us their expectations of what they believed God had called them to do in raising their children.
Every parent I have interacted with desires to be an outstanding parent and raise accountable kids throughout the joys, triumphs, and challenges. Modeling is one of the most powerful teachers in parenting. It is tempting to look outside of our homes for reasons why our kids act the way they do at times. It’s easy to make excuses or to point fingers at others. Yet how can we expect our children to live accountable lives if we do not? Where else will they learn to practice personal accountability? If not from us, then whom?
The partnership that my grandparents, my parents, and my husband and I have had with Christian schooling has been a huge component in all of our journey of raising up children in the way they should go. Being a part of a Christian learning community has been one of the best decisions that we have made. Parenting is difficult and when there is a partnership with both parents, school, and church, children are provided the best possible opportunity to become all that God has designed them to be.
It doesn’t just happen. It takes intentional parenting to raise virtuous children. It’s not easy and it won’t always be fun…but it will be worth it. EPHESIANS 6:1-4
– Melissa (Witt) Phillips
Highly recommended parenting resource: Raising Accountable Kids – John G. Miller and Karen G. Miller
Many hands make light work
With over 200 volunteers, Central Christian School is able to accomplish tremendous projects and events. Central Christian School families and friends volunteer to serve at events like our annual auction, which raises money for our tuition assistance program; Every Mile Counts fun run, which is a community event; Washington Family Ranch Retreat- building unity among our jr high and high school students; or elementary field day – an end of the year celebration. Additionally, we welcome parents, grandparents, and Central Christian friends to volunteer in the classroom. Collectively, volunteers give an average of 15 hours each day assisting teachers with daily activities.
For more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of the students at Central Christian School, contact the school office at 541.548.7803 or through the Contact Us tab on the website for more information.
At Central Christian, we are not only planning for college but for an entire life. We believe God has limitless power to shape our future and place students exactly where He can have the most influence in their lives. Our role is to partner with students and their parents to approach the college admission process with prayerfulness, enabling students to grow into responsible decision makers and discover God’s potential for them. We believe God will pave a trustworthy path for their college choices. Central Christian desires to prepare students to submit to God’s plan for their life, with joyful acceptance of His loving care for their future.
Salutatorian Summer Brunoe says it like this:
“The beauty of Central Christian School is it is a safe and nurturing learning environment. My time here has been like none other. There are not enough words to describe the atmosphere it presents. Classmates become second family, teachers like second parents, and the school like a second home. It is safe to say I’m going to miss it here, a lot. I have built my closest relationships at CCS. It’s a place where you can grow and learn, make mistakes and have someone there to help pick you up. Finally, after countless late night study sessions and early morning coffee runs everything we’ve been working for these past four years has been leading up to this moment. Now, an unknown future awaits us just beyond the horizon. And while the future may seem daunting, I don’t believe we have any need for fear. We are all fully equipped for the journey ahead. I could not have asked for a better class to spend my high school years with. We should be proud, class of 2016.