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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 wk-7 (A normal week)

Room 1501 pic

I’ve got nothing outstanding to tell you about this past week.  It was a good week.  It was long week.  The previous two weeks were only Tuesday through Friday due to Labor Day weekend and last Monday’s flooding. In my Utopia…I’d like to have every Monday off!  🙂  I’ll bet you would too.

So…this week’s blog is just going to be an oddball blog of some of the first things that POP into my mind about this past week.  I’ll try for a ‘POP’ 10 list.

1.  I would rather take a 50 point test than grade 100+ of them! (I might put the actual test at the bottom of this page if you’d like to attempt taking what your students in Room 1501 did).   🙂

 

  2.  york peppermint pattiesI am really loving how the Coffee Shop at JCS has York                                                                          Peppermint Patties for sale at 2 for a quarter!

 

 

3.  I wish the JCS Coffee Shop carried Snickers…but due to peanut allergy issues in our world, it is best they do not carry Snickers…”packed with peanuts.” Snickers_wrapped

 

4.  In order to get good grades in Room 1501…all you have to do it take good notes, keep an organized Notebook of all the handouts I give you, and use those notebooks during the test.  If you fail my tests…you stink at keeping an organized notebook!  I believe in you enough to keep an organized notebook!  

5.  You can teach people the Bible, but you can’t make them learn it! 

6.  The longer I’m around the Room 1501 students, the more I’m proud of them, love them, and deeply desire for them to be successful now and for the rest of their lives.  

7.  You cannot force people into spiritual discipleship.  You must earn people’s trust, lead by example, and wait for them to “get it” or ask for it.

8.  As a teacher… If you bring a large bag of Life Savers, the students will be full of gratitude…until you runlife savers out.  When you run out of Life Savers, the thank you’s end and they threaten mutiny and demand you bring more! 🙂  

9.  Things will not always go the way you want them to.  You can try to control these situations…but I’m pretty sure all control belongs to God.  

10.  I believe I am a warrior in the service of Joy and I can never stop taking a stand, speaking up, and doing my very best work.  

EXTRA CREDIT…

Do you want to take the test the students took in Room 1501 this past Friday?  Here you go…Let me know how you do!!

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.54.29 PM

 

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Good night.

Trent

 


Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 4…is the “Honeymoon” over?)

My first month of being a first time professional teacher is behind me.  As I look back with 20/20 hindsight I can’t think of a better place, to be a first time teacher, than Room 1501 at Joy Christian School.

JCS Crest 2014Room 1501 pic

 

It has been a blitzing kind of month.  I have never been so tired in my life, and at the same time, so content and blessed.

I consider it a privilege to be able to TEACH the Word of God at Joy Christian School everyday for High School Students.  I also get to PREACH the Word of God at different Churches around the country, and it is always a thrill to meet the people I get to speak to in these different churches…I’m getting ready to have a conversation with a church in PA where I hope to speak at in the near future.   So, not only do I get to teach and preach, I also get to LIVE out what I preach and teach about, through leading Return Hope International!  God is good.  All these ventures have just begun and sometimes that means slim pickings when it comes to income, but I have learned that God provides…and sometimes…He waits until the very last minute!  LOL…and that is perfectly fine with me.  He is God and I am not.  I will continue to do what He says and not tell Him how He should do it.

THIS WEEK IN ROOM 1501…I was reminded of something I already knew…but it was good to be reminded.

I encountered my first situation, that will probably end what can be called my Honeymoon phase as a new teacher. This past week, I encountered the reality that It’s not always gonna be fun in Room 1501.  Now, I knew this was going to happen sooner or later.  That is just what life eventually does to all of us.  However, I still deeply grieve the fact that the honeymoon phase had to end.

The details of this ‘honeymoon’ ending incident are not important.  The moral of the story is what is most important.

The 30,000 foot view of this situation is simply this.  I found out, that I said something that offended a student in Rm 1501.  (Knowing me, this could happen on occasion.)  The student, as they should, told their parents.  The parents sent an email to several people….but…not to me.  There was no verification of facts…No seeking to first try to understand.  Just an email blast.  (I’m a big boy, I can handle these kind of situations.  I’ve been in ministry for 20+ years and have slowly developed a pretty thick skin.)

I confess.  My skin is not as thick as I thought it to be.   I was surprised at how hurt I felt by this.  I will not let the hurt grow into anger, and I am not going to allow my hurt to ripple out into sinful reactions from me.  I vow to handle this situation with grace and love and patience.  When these things happen, I always use them as teaching lessons in a blog or in my preaching and teaching.  I have already spoken with the students in Room 1501 about the passage below.  They all actually signed a card saying whether or not they would honor the teaching of Jesus below. This pic is just one card of many.  image

I hope this blog about the situation will also serve as a reminder to all of us…if the lesson needs to be learned.

I have set up a personal meeting with the people involved in this  and I look forward to sharing, what is clearly a misunderstanding by a student and parents, and I look forward to full reconciliation and forward movement.

I want to jump right to what Jesus taught about things like this.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:15-16,If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.  But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” 

If I could be so bold as to actually retranslate this passage to fit my situation, it would read like this…

“If Trent Renner sins against you, or offends you, go and point out his fault, just between the two of you…even if it’s only with an email.  If Trent listens and the two of you work out this sin situation or what could be a simple misunderstanding, then you have won each other back and things can move forward.  But, if Trent doesn’t listen and clear up the situation with you, then take one or two others along with you, or send an email to one or two others, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”   Matthew 18:15-16 (T.R.version):)

The command from Jesus above is very clear in how the situation could have best been handled.

I am confident that after my meeting things will be fine.

So…if I can conclude with this.  If you hear about something that is taught in Room 1501/or happens at your work place/or your home… that just doesn’t seem to make any sense…then it probably didn’t actually happen…so please use the wisdom/actions that Jesus commands of us in the passage above.  Any time someone offends you…please go to the person and try to make sense of it.

I look forward to fully reconciling this situation and bringing clarity to the misunderstanding.  Any gossip that might be generated because of this post…is a whole other blog.  Don’t be a gossip.  Simply pray that we all be people who behave like Jesus.  We all have conflict resolution we need to deal with.  I pray this situation and this blog post are a motivator for you to live more holy and reconcile your conflicts as Jesus taught us to.

In the mean time…always SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD.

Jesus was pretty clear on how to handle situations like these.  Man, He is smart!  Let’s all be smart too!

The Honeymoon phase may be over…and I absolutely love Joy Christian School.  Especially those who I encounter every day in Room 1501.

I am grateful for this 3 day weekend…and I can’t wait for Tuesday!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Having Done In Room 1501, (week 1)

 

Room 1501 pic The first week of Joy Christian School is  behind me,  and as a 1st year school teacher, it  has been a  great learning experience for me.  What a wild  ride to have back to back classes 6  times in a  row…M-F in a row, with sophomores, juniors and  seniors.  This first week, we simply covered some overview things and talked overview of the Bible.  Who is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit and other Essential discussions of expectations and requirements.

The most dramatic moment this week for me was giving each of my, more than 100 students, a 3×5 card to write the answer to this question… “What is the Bible to you?”   I let them know they could answer that anonymously.  I wanted them to be honest…and some were brutally honest.  I rec’d answers that were full of depth What is the Bible picand personal understanding towards to the Bible.  Several answers came in…and I qoute… “It’s just another stupid book.”  The picture to the right is of the pile of cards I have the privilege to read through.  I am delighted at the answers I received.  Joy Christian School is a Mission School.

What is the meaning of a mission school?  It is a school that anybody is welcome to attend.  In Christian School World…there are two kinds of schools.  Both are great….just different.  There is a Covenant School…where you must sign a covenant saying you are a follower of Jesus Christ.   And there are Missional Christian Schools, where you can pay to attend no matter what you believe about Jesus.  I love the mission of Joy…and…below are some things I learned in ROOM 1501 this week…

The 1st thing I learned…

Teachers/Faculty do not get to spend much time together.  We might pass each other during lunch or upon arrival/exit, but very little time is possible to spend together.  Our purpose is to spend time speaking/teaching/interacting/learning with the students of the school.  Not having time to spend together, as teachers, has demonstrated another thing to me; If there are any administrative/faculty negativities going on at a school, (BTW…there is none at Joy so far!) then it means that someone or several of the teachers/faculty are going out of their way to find or to start/continue negativity. There just isn’t enough time to spend together and any time spent together is on purpose.  This is probably true with anything in life…”You will find what you are looking for.”  (neg. or pos.)  And…”you will become what you focus on.” (neg. or pos.)   I hope you choose positive.  See Philippians 4:4-8 below.

“4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

A 2nd thing I’ve learned…

A majority of students really do want to learn.  A majority show up in your classroom and they want to be noticed and respected by the teacher.  It’s really not a student thing…it’s a human nature thing.  A student doesn’t mind having to work hard, interact in discussion, do homework, and work for a grade…IF…they feel RESPECTED & APPRECIATED.  I recognize that I am still new at this teaching thing…but…I am pretty convinced if a teacher has a classroom full of chaotic kids that won’t listen, respond, or they mentally check out…I am guessing it’s more of a teacher problem than a student problem.  (I’ll get back to you on this one…I admit I am still new at teaching in a school…I could be wrong.  Time will tell…and as I learn, I will tell.)

A 3rd thing I learned…

Every profession has its own physical/emotional/intellectual CONDITIONING necessary to function in that position well. Imagine the physical conditioning needed to be working in the garbage truck business.  Landscaping. Working the drive thru at a fast food restaurant.  Working at a cardboard box manufacturing plant.  Farming.  CEO of a large company.  Driving a UPS truck. Office desk job.  etc. etc.  Every job is hard work…but that hard work comes in many different forms.

I have learned that being a teacher is no different.  I have learned that I am not in TEACHER SHAPE…YET!  I will get there.  Wow…my back hurts.  My vocal cords are tired.  My feet ache and my emotional and intellectual assets are fatigued…and so far, I am really enjoying the challenge.

I confess that I have taken the teachers of my own children and my own personal teachers, in the school system, for granted.  I have been a preacher/pastor for the past 20 years and am now getting to compare the work load, emotional-toll road, and the physical work load of both a teacher compared to a preacher.  Due to the fact that I am still too new as a teacher to speak with full confidence about this work load comparison subject…I will let time tell all things…and in time I will tell all things I am learning.

4th thing I’ve learned…

It doesn’t matter what kind of teacher you are…The very last class of students any teacher has on a FRIDAY….is going to have to figure out some very creative ways to keep the students minds and hearts in attention to the subject at hand.  It is very obvious, during the final school hour, that the students are checked out mentally as they think about the weekend break that is about to start.

I am pretty sure, at this final hour on Fridays, the students have superpower hearing.  I think the ticking of the clock on the wall is so loud to them as it counts down to their William Wallace moment of FREEEEDOM for the weekend, they have a hard time focusing.

So, as a teacher I could be stubborn enough and self-serving enough to demand their attention and think they will listen…but in all honesty…if I were to try to speak over the “freedom clock” noise ringing in their ears….I will only sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to my students.  It’s not their job to overpower the ticking clock.  It’s my job as a teacher to work smarter to help them not even hear the clock.  I don’t know how to do this yet…but I’ll get there!

Joy Coat of Arms

That’s what’s “Having Done in Room 1501.”

Hope you enjoyed the read.  I feel loved by you if you read this.

Thank you.

Trent