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Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 19-22) Passion or Fear in 2015?

Week 19 & 20 in room 1501 at Joy Christian High School were a wrapping up of the entire first semester of the 2014-2015 school year. (Weeks 21 & 22 were Christmas break)FullSizeRender

Week 19 & 20 were a couple of weeks of tidying up Bible Class Notebooks that would serve as the final grade of this first semester of Bible Class.  There were a couple of Zeros I had to give as a final grade.  The Notebooks worthy of being graded actually received a grade as low as 12 out of 100 and some received a 100!  It is quite an experience grading final work.  It shows how much the student cares and for some it simply shows that the student has brilliant strategy.  Strategic students know the educational system.  They know they want to pass the class, get the grade and move on.  Some of the students are doing so incredibly well in the class, that to even take a zero on the notebook, doesn’t drop their grade even a letter grade.  So…a few skipped the notebook and got a zero.

Now, to the rule follower adults reading this, who are shaking your head or even possibly feeling disgusted by this type of student behavior…This strategy actually made me smile.  As a teacher, I gave these students a zero on their final grade and moved on.  I can’t take it personal.  Some of these students who strategically took a zero learned a principle I taught in the first two weeks of Bible Class. They learned about what I call our Personal Hermeneutic.  If you want to know what these 6 levels of Hermeneutic are all about, you can read about it in full detail  here… Week 6 of this blog series of “Having Done in Room 1501”, titled (Spirit Week).  Simply click here.

These few students took ownership in their decision and knew that they could still get an A or even a B by taking a zero on the final project/test of this first semester.  If you read the levels of Hermeneutic, these students did not live in fear of being punished (Avoider), they are not living to please(Pleaser) their teacher or even their parents.  They are not living for some worldly reward (Seeker).  They simply worked hard all semester and knew they had created enough of what I call “grace space” that they could relax/sluff-off and be fine with the final result.

I personally think these students can be the ones who end up being the leaders of our future, because they know how to move forward in life successfully without pleasing everybody around them.  Some of the greatest world changers became what they are because they knew how to strategically break the rules, think outside of the box, generate change, and not be held back by fear of what other’s think.

Please know…I love the students who did the final project perfectly and accomplished an amazing Bible Notebook that is in perfect order. These students too, can have great success, and their work ethic of near perfection, shows it.   The principle I’m trying to point out, is that both example students mentioned above are right.  Just different.  I would bet a lot of money (and I’m not a betting man) that the student who understands the strategy of being able to get away with a zero and still get the grade has more potential at becoming a world changer and leader.  Why?  Usually the person who is in pursuit of the perfect grade, and doing everything by the exact rules laid before them…is someone who is not willing to break outside the box and break a few rules to accomplish something.  Again…this is not about right or wrong.  It’s about style and strategy.mandela and fear

Martin Luther King Jr. had to break a few rules to make change.

Nelson Mandela had to break a few rules to make change.

Benjamin Franklin had to take some huge risks to bring us some incredible inventions.

Michael Jordan failed at the freshman high school basketball tryouts and was cut from the team.

Isaac Newton was told by his teacher that he would never amount to anything.

Beethoven was told to he would never be successful in the music world.

You get the point.Road to success

After all…what is school really about?  Is about getting the best grade? Getting an A?   Is it about doing everything the teacher asks or requires?  No.  It is about the student becoming prepared to be successful in life.  Some of life’s greatest successes happen when we live motivated by our passion and not our fear.   

Are the majority of your decisions you make in life motived out of fear or pursuit of your passion?

I believe your best decisions in life are not the ones that make a lot of sense to other people…even your friends or family.  I think the best decisions in life are made through the understanding of how God made you, what He made you passionate about, and then pursuing those passions through the risk necessary to do what God asks of you.  It’s different for everybody.

The longer I am in the educational and academic system the more I am recognizing that Academia would prefer you to be a robot just like the robot sitting next to you in your class…just like the robots sitting in the Academic Chairs of Authority….so tests are created to make sure you are answering the right robotic questions to make sure you are the robot you should be….measuring all the robots in the industrial robot production lines to other robots.

I’m afraid the average school system is too much like the original line of Henry Ford’s industrial age, assembly line production, of the first car he produced.  These cars came off the assembly line with only one color to choose from, all exactly the same.  It was a great victory for the American way to build a profitable business.  My problem is that it seems that America is stuck in the past of thinking this is still the best process to create success today.  This might be true in the production of material goods, but not in any people business.

I believe our current culture is stuck in the cul-de-sac of the Assembly line age.  Those who are of age to have been influenced by the Industrial age of Assembly lines, are still in leadership of American businesses and are wrestling with the younger generation who have been raised under the influenced of the World Wide Web.  There is a giant traffic jam currently stuck in this Cul De Sac.  It is going to take time and lots of frustration before the traffic takes a U Turn and leaves the Cul de Sac.

Let’s take a moment and think in more detail about what I’m trying to say.   What does Henry Ford and the world of academia have to do with each other?

I do not think Henry Ford’s greatest invention was the Model T car.  In fact Henry Ford didn’t invent the car.  He invented the Model T version of a car. But, I do not think Henry Ford’s greatest influence upon our world came from the Model T…it came from the invention of the Assembly line.  Henry Ford discovered the ability to produce an affordable car through the assembly line that increased the efficiency of manufacture and decreased its cost.  Ford did not conceive the concept, he perfected it. Prior to the introduction of the assembly line, cars were individually crafted by teams of skilled workmen – a slow and expensive procedure. The assembly line reversed the process of automobile manufacture. Instead of workers going to the car, the car came to the worker who performed the same task of assembly over and over again. With the introduction and perfection of the process, Ford was able to reduce the assembly time of a Model T from twelve and a half hours to less than six hours.1926-ford-model-t-assembly-line-photo-338182-s-1280x782

Henry Ford is an inspiration to the USA.  He is a hero to capitalism.  Henry Ford’s style influenced millions of Americans to think differently about production and success.  I think Henry Ford and the other’s who were inspired to copy his style of business might have influenced our American Education System.

Have we created an education assembly line, that maneuvers individual souls down conveyor belts, to Education Assemblers who aim to manufacture products of same-ness?

It is an honest and fair question.  I think the answer is, yes.  And, I think this style has crept into our Churches, Hospitals, HOA’s, Sports world, and many other people circles.

This is why I personally am thrilled to see students jump off the “assembly line”…okay with getting a zero… to live strategically towards their passions, not afraid of the wrath of the Assembly line workers.

I am convinced… greater purpose and fulfillment is achieved through living in your passions and not your fears.  I am also convinced that those who live in their fears will someday arrive at death’s door very safe.  It is terrifying to step out, challenge, and/or ignore the assembly line workers, and live for your passions…but those who push through the terror of stepping out…will be the ones who change something in this world.

Some with a strong Bible understanding, might say that fear can be good, and also might quote the incredibly wise Bible verse of Proverbs 9:10,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”  

I agree that there is a great purpose in Fear.  Please understand when I celebrate the person who strategically ignores a few rules, that I am not talking about anything that has to do with sin.  When I say I love the person who follows their passion…I am not referring, for even a second, that I celebrate unholy living of any kind.  That is not success.   Some fear is necessary.  The fear of putting your hand on a burning stove.  The fear of being too close to the unguarded edge of the Grand Canyon.  The fear of head on collisions in automobiles. The fear of breaking the heart and will of God.

That’s good fear.

That Bible verse, above…it says the BEGINNING OF WISDOM.  I don’t just want wisdom’s beginning.  I want it’s middle and end.  I want its fullness.  We must have some motivation based from fear.  I’m simply saying we must be very wise in WHO we fear.  I have a serious problem with the RULER Hermeneutic (Clink link and go to Ruler Definition section of that blog).  This type of person believes that if you break their rules, you dishonor God.  This type of person would really have struggled with Jesus in how He confronted the Pharisee’s of His time.   My goodness…Jesus was a rule breaker.  He followed His Passion…To honor ONLY the Will of His Father…at the ignoring of many authority’s rules.

And He was successful.  It didn’t make a lot of sense to the people around Him.  Even those very close to Him…who spent years with Him.  Jesus was so misunderstood because He followed His God given passion.  I wouldn’t say that Jesus ignored His fears…He instead had great courage and trust in His Holy Father that overruled his fear.

It’s not wrong to be afraid.  It’s wrong to listen to your fear at the demise of the Passion that God you to accomplish something for Him.

2015 is Here…ANOTHER YEAR IS ABOUT TO BLAZE BY….What fears are holding you back from living in the Purpose(s) that God is calling you to live for?

What do you fear?  Is it possible that the Devil has instilled some fear in you to try to keep you from doing what God would have you do and be?

I challenge you to really break down your fears by thinking about what it is you truly fear.  When you write down a few things you fear…then…ask yourself Why you fear it.  When you think of the answer…write that down too.  Then ask yourself Why again.  Do this process about 5 or 6 times and I think you will get to the root of what you truly fear.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all Wisdom.  I challenge you to live in complete wisdom…not just in wisdom’s beginning. Complete wisdom will be found by filtering through all the voices in your life and in your head and only listening to the Voice of God.   Listen to only God’s voice.  WARNING NOTE:  God’s voice will never tell you to do something that isn’t already founded in the Bible.  Or, as I like to say it…

GOD’S WILL will never go against GOD’S WORD.

Living for GOD’S Will through God’s Word…will cause you to live as an individual designed by God as an individual, who will stand before God individually to give an account of everything you did.  Don’t be a robot.  God created you as an individual.  If you live in the USA, then you also live in a country that is founded on individuality, filled with truths to be self evident.  You are created to be free.  Live in the Freedom of how God created you to live and follow His guidelines (Bible) of true freedom.  It’s the difference of living for your fears or for your passions.

Happy New Year.

Bring it!

 

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 13) Fuel to finish strong?

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13 weeks ago, I sat in a classroom at Grand Canyon University with all the teachers and administration from Joy Christian School to be trained and prepared for the coming school year.  13 weeks!  Crazy how fast that time has gone by.

In the training from 13 weeks ago, I remember Joy’s Executive director challenging us to keep our eyes on Jesus and to be really bad at looking back.  Great advice.

We are now approaching the halfway mark of the school year.  We only have 6 full weeks of school before Christmas Break.

I’m new at Joy Christian this year.  Rumor has it that Joy School has had some drama in the past…what org hasn’t and doesn’t?  LOL!  I haven’t seen any of that drama this year.  Forward movement is a wonderful thing.  We all have problems and obstacles that will try to throw us off course.

This week-13 in Room 1501, I have had to lead students who are dealing with education fatigue.  I have heard a lot of talk about being worn out, and ready for a break.  These are obstacles and distractions, that if not confronted, can grow into full blown drama.  I don’t know who said it, but the following phrase is true.  “Tough times never last, tough people do!”

NO ONE LIKES DRAMA….don’t let drama get you all nasty!  Toughen up and last!

So…Christmas is almost here.  That means 2015 is right around the corner.

What is distracting you?

What are some obstacles/problems/people that you want to control and change?

I’ll bet these things are causing you great frustration.  The problem is…the only way you can change them…is if they are about you.

Everything else…Is God’s job to change.

Get your eyes back on your job and your purpose.  Leave everything else to God.  Get rest.  Drink more water.  Eat a little better. Read God’s word.  Choose to find the good and praise it.

When you want to critique…instead…find something positive to say.  Find it!

What is your alternative?  Crankiness? Grouchiness? Fruitlessness?  Complaining to others?  Those things suck.  When you get caught up in them, it causes you to suck too!

You don’t want any of that.  Others don’t want you like that either.

This past week in Room 1501 I am just trying to do my job to inspire the students to love the Lord, learn the Bible and be drawn closer to their creator.  I want to lead by example of how great Joy School is and how bright its future is.  When I keep my eyes on that…Life is good.

Everything else is someone else’s job…mostly God’s.

I just want to lead by example.  You do to.  If you are a teacher.  The semester is almost over.  Finish Strong.  If you aren’t a teacher…Christmas is coming…Year End too.  Finish Strong!   By the way…we’re all teachers…whether vocational or not!

In the process…I’m leading Return Hope International and striving to make a strong spiritual and economical impact in Uganda Africa.  I could say everything above fits exactly for it too.  So this is proof to me that whether I’m in Room 1501 for Joy School or in my office at home administratively leading Return Hope International…its all the same.

We are facing year end….which means new beginnings are coming!

I leave you with 1 Corinthians 10:13,

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

You got this!  Finish strong.

🙂

Trent

 



Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 10) No Looking Back!

JCS Crest 2014

 

 

Room 1501 pic

 

I can’t believe I just completed week 10 at Joy Christian High School as a first year professional teacher.  I love Room 1501 and even more the students that darken its door everyday.  I am still “taking notes”, and “the jury is still out” in regards to me speaking about the differences between being a Bible Teacher in a teaching profession, and being a Senior Pastor of a large and growing Church.  Having now done both…I’m having fun comparing the two.  One little thing I’m noticing, which I will blog about in the future…is that whether I am teaching in a classroom setting, leading my mission org called Return Hope International, or being a Senior Pastor of a Church on some street corner….they are all the Church.

I believe our Christian culture has done a huge disservice to the work of the Lord

by compartmentalizing Jesus’s bride.  

What do I mean?  We have mission orgs, Christian schools, other Jesus centered industries, but for some reason we only call the building on the street corner The Church.  I don’t want to get off track as to what this blog post’s purpose is, but the day is coming soon where I will blog about this huge disservice.  The Church is way bigger than what we have dismantled it to be by compartmentalizing it the way we have.  Sadly, we as the Church are the ones who have done the compartmentalizing.  We must change this.  (Another blog, another time.)

So on this week 10...I only want to blog about one day of it…and it was actually something that did NOT happen in Room 1501, but in the Library of Joy Christian School at 7am on Wednesday.

Wednesdays at JCS are not only chapel days for our whole school, but they are also Staff Devotion day for the JCS Staff.  I have been asked to lead these devotions and I consider it a huge honor.  I am very grateful for the trust and acceptance that the Joy Administration and the Joy Teaching Staff have entrusted to me.  I will never take it for granted and I always look forward to Wednesdays.

Week 10’s devotion was only a half devotion due to the fact that Scott Brown, JCS’s Executive Direction, asked if he could have 15 minutes to speak to the whole staff.  I think Christ-like character is displayed when the boss asks instead of tells.  When Scott asked to have the 15 minutes, he could have just told me, but he asked.  I love to follow this kind of leader.  If you are reading this blog, I ask you to lift the Administrative Staff up in prayer as they make tough decisions to lead Joy into the future.  It is not an easy task and they need our prayer and support.

Today’s blog is not focused on what I said on Wednesday at the devo, but what Scott Brown said in his 15 minutes immediately after the devotion.

Before I blog about his 15 minutes, I think it is apropos to first take a look at some phrases I wrote down at All Staff Training Day back on June 30, 2014, before JCS school officially started.  So…back on that June 30th training day…

Scott said,“It’s time to change the conversation.”  

He also said, “Be terrible at looking backwards.”

So, this past Wednesday was a refresher, on those two phrases and others, that we as Joy Christian School staff all agreed on when we signed up to accept the teaching and administrative positions we were offered.

Scott, taking the time to remind us of our commitment to keep Joy moving forward with positive change and growing academics at JCS, is the mark of a strong leader prodding our team to stay in alignment.  He challenged us to focus on the positive, to think about the things that are admirable and to work extra hard to keep focused on what the main mission is at Joy Christian School… “Building Christian Leaders.”  He talked about how we will fail in attempting to accomplish that mission if each one of us do not keep our eyes on Jesus, and check our actions to make sure they are matching Jesus’s.  I know all of the JCS leadership and teaching team agree that we want Joy to move forward with great success in its mission.  I think it is headed in that great direction and it will take many other challenges from our leader and each other to keep the focus on that forward movement.

What was amazing to me about this past Wednesday’s devotion, which was split up into two 15 minute segments, is that the theme was the same and Scott Brown and I didn’t plan it that way.  It’s amazing to me how God knits things together.  Before Scott stepped up to re-challenge us all, I read the passage in Scripture that Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4-8.

“4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

I hope that passage impacts you as much as it does me.  I like to say, “You and I will find what we are looking for.”  What does that mean? It means that if you want to find negative about JCS, you can go looking for it and I know you will find it.  The same can be said for your part in your marriage, your work, your attitude, your life.  If I want to find negative about any one or all of those in your life…if I look and start asking around….I will find it.  It is a fact that you and I will find what we are looking for.

So…let’s look for the positive…I know we will find it too!

If you totally focused on the Scripture passage above throughout the rest of this week…I’ll bet you find yourself having a great week.  In fact, I don’t think you’ll find a great week.  I don’t think great weeks are found…they are made.

So, as a very dear friend to me often says…

“MAKE IT A GREAT WEEK!”  

Great days/weeks are made, not found.  And I think it’s all about attitude and focus on the good that is happening all around us.  I pray that your week is a great one and that you will make great decisions that lead to more Christ-like unity and impact.  I’m trying to do my part and I’m always looking for others who are contributing to the great as well.

 

 


Having Done in Room 1501 Week-8 (1st bad day)

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic

 

 

Week 8?  No way, that’s crazy.  I can’t believe how fast it has gone by.  Are you humming, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” yet?   I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to decorate Room 1501 in Christmas Decor or not.  My gut says that I’m not going to decorate…don’t call me a grinch….if that bothers you…then come on in to Room 1501 and decorate it!  🙂  

8 weeks in and it is clear that Room 1501 students are getting comfortable with me as their Bible teacher.  This is good and not so good. This is the first week I’ve gotten frustrated with one of the classes in room 1501.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to get control of the class to the point where they were all listening and engaged. They were talking over me, and simply not engaging in what I was trying to teach.  I don’t fully blame the students.  I’m learning that classroom order is multi-faceted.  

I have to acknowledge as a teacher, that it is not just the students job to keep the classroom in order. Is it not true, in any situation where order is needed, that all parties are responsible to maintain order?  The person up front must be teaching in an engaging way…AND…the listeners must accept responsibility to practice the discipline of sitting still and engaging in the material being taught.   On this specific day, I was revisiting some material we had already gone over, and it was clear the students were tired of the subject.  I kept trying to capture their attention.  First, I simply asked the few who were talking to please “listen up.”  Secondly, I raised my voice tones a little more to try and make it obvious that I was trying to get them to listen.  Third, I added a little drama to my teaching by pacing and walking around the classroom….all to no avail!  

Room 1501 classes are only 40 minutes long.  In my many failed attempts to get the class to tune in…I actually used 30 minutes.  I’m pretty sure nothing was learned, but it was 30 minutes of pure effort on my part.  So…with only about 10 minutes left I told the class how frustrated I was.  I told them that when I was a student, the teacher would throw chalk and erasers at us when we behaved like this.  I told them I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw dry erase markers and erasers at them…but since I couldn’t do that…I told them all to get out of my class.  I told them that if I got in trouble for kicking them all out of room 1501 with 7 minutes of class left…that they were all busted too!

As the class nervously and quickly exited the room, many of the students walked by me with heads down, saying, “Sorry Mr. Renner.”  It made for a long night for me.  I went over and over in my head what I could have done differently, and this one silly incident caused me to wonder if I’m any good at teaching.

As I type this, I now find it somewhat humorous that I can have 7 weeks of great teaching with great student response, and then only one bad class nearly causes me to believe I’m bad at teaching.  LOL.  I’m becoming more dramatic as I age.  I’m going to assume that most of you have experienced something similar.  We all have great gifts that God has blessed us with and we can have so many great responses…but ONE BAD RESPONSE nearly does us in!  Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to??

Fast forward 24 hours…and nobody got in trouble, and everybody came in the next class day with a great attitude…even me.

As I shared the experience with a few teachers, they simply rolled their eyes at me and said…”Please…Welcome to teaching!”  Not all days are a good day.  I suppose I should just say, “duh.”  I know this, but for some reason that day really got at me.

There was good that came from it all…that specific class of students in Room 1501 were amazing the rest of the week.  I especially smiled, when the worst culprits from that bad day…were now the ones who asked the class to quiet down when it started getting rowdy.

I guess the moral of the story is this.  It takes all parties cooperating for peace to exist and thrive.

I suppose, if I’m really admitting to my own past behavior as a student, I deserve to have some days where the students in Room 1501 cause me some gray hairs.  That is exactly what kind of student I was… too often.   Some people call it Karma.  I call it, God’s sense of humor!”

I suppose it would do me well, right now,  to remember what I have preached so many times.  “Our battles are not flesh and blood.”  To quote the exact Bible passage…

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” –Ephesians 6:12

You and I are going to have a few bad classes.  Bad days.  Bad jobs. Bad relationships days.  Those days are not the norm.  Those moments do not define who we are.  They are just life. The Bible challenges us to focus on the good.  Even after watching some 10 O’clock news channel, I still believe that there is way more good in this world than there is bad.  The bad just hurts more and thus feels more real and prevalent.  The 10 O’clock news usually only focuses on the bad, and that tends to be all that we see, causing us to think the world has gone to hell in a hand basket.

It has not.  You are good.  I am good.  God is great.  You and I will become what we are focused on.  I think it is fitting to quote the Bible verse that is resonating in my head right now about this topic.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. — Philippians 4:6-8.

There are so many things happening in Room 1501 that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable!  I know the same it is true for you and your workplace, your home, and your life!  Don’t give the bad so much credit.  It doesn’t deserve that much attention.

Tomorrow is a good day.  When you get up in the morning, get on your knees for just a moment and give God thanks for what you are about to encounter.  Invite Him into every decision that you are about to make, every meeting you are about to attend, and every action you have yet to do…Then the God of peace will be with you.

That will be a good day…no matter what happens.

Here comes Monday!

 

 


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