How Should We Treat One Another?

I’ve had several conversations with people over the last few weeks around the topic of how we treat one another. Most of the conversations have centered around people not treating others appropriately. As I thought about this, two separate passages came to mind. The first one is Matthew – ‘But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment’ (Matt. 12:36).

The second passage is found in Ephesians 4 – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, putting away lying, Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,”[e] for we are members of one another.  29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (Eph. 4:1-3, 15, 20-25, 29-32).

These two passages both focus on how we use our words. In Matthew, we are reminded that we are accountable for every word we speak. When I think about that word, I think of the definition of gossip. We often say things about people that are not uplifting or helpful; we like to see how bad others are because it can help us feel better about ourselves. I wonder just how much our conversation would change if we were truly thinking about the fact that we will give an account of our words one day. I know that it makes me reconsider what I have said (and may say down the road). A good rule of thumb to go by is Phil. 4:8, ‘Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things’.

The Ephesians passage describes how we ought to talk to one another. Paul uses phrases such as ‘walk worthy of the calling with which you were called’, ‘with…gentleness’, ‘bearing with one another in love’, ‘speaking the truth in love’, ‘speak truth’, Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers’, and ‘be kind to one another’. I know I have been on the receiving end of phone calls (or emails) where parents have voiced their displeasure at what I had said or done (or what they thought I had said or done). The problem was that the call or email started off with accusations instead of questions. It is far easier to attack than to first inquire about what may or may not have happened. As every story has two sides (or more, depending on the number of participants), it is far wiser to find out the details of the event before reacting to it. Jumping to conclusions may be good exercise, but it is usually not helpful when trying to solve a problem.

Another problem when we speak is that we often do not think about who else can listen in when we speak. There is certainly a time and a place for having serious conversations. However, that does not mean that others who are not part of the conversation should be able to listen in. Parents, when talking to your child’s teacher, please make sure your children, unless they are a direct part of the conversation, cannot listen in. Please make sure that other parents or other children cannot listen in. It damages relationships to jump to conclusions and attack a person and have others standing around who witness the entire exchange. So often love, gentleness, kindness, graciousness, and edification are not adjectives that others would use about us when speak to or about them. 

This is my appeal to all parents, students, board members, staff, and admin [me!]: we have a responsibility to watch our words when we talk to others and when we talk about others. May we be known for being gracious and kind, yet truthful, with our words.


Donuts for Pushups

For secondary chapel this week, we did a re-enactment of this classic story. Mr. Long, our Vice Principal, played the role of Brother Christianson and Ryan Gilmour, a grade 12 student, played the part of Steve. (The story will be included at the end of this post.)

Mr. Long placed some staging in the center of the multi-purpose room to portray Mt. Calvary and Ryan placed a table on top of the staging so that every eye in the room could see him as he was lifted up. Dr. Klaue provided Timbits for every student and staff member in the gym.

Mr. Long then offered everyone, one at a time, the opportunity to eat a donut. He called up each person and asked them to state, into the microphone, whether or not he or she would accept the donut. Each person could either accept or reject the offered donut, but the pushups still had to be paid. For every donut, Ryan had to pay four pushups. As can be imagined, a secondary chapel with staff is approximately 150 people, so four pushups per person leads to 600 pushups in total. Needless to say, Ryan was not able to complete all the pushups, but did manage to pay over 200 of the total 600 pushups. He has promised to pay the missing pushups within the next seven days.

Many people accepted the donuts, but many passed them by.  As we think about the offer of salvation that Christ paid for, many have accepted that offer but many, also, have refused that gift.

This chapel clearly conveyed the fact that our salvation was bought with a price and that it cost Christ’s all to pay the price.

Enjoy the story….

There was a boy by the name of Steve who was attending school in Utah. In this school Seminary classes are held during school hours.  Brother Christianson taught Seminary at this particular school.  He had an open-door policy and would take in any student that had been thrown out of another class as long as they would abide by his rules. Steve had been kicked out of his sixth period and no other teacher wanted him, so he went into Brother Christianson’s Seminary class.

Steve was told that he could not be late, so he arrived just seconds before the bell rang and he would sit in the very back of the room. He would also be the first to leave after the class was over.

One day, Brother Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him.  After class, Bro. Christianson pulled Steve aside and said, “You think you’re pretty tough, don’t you?”

Steve’s answer was, “Yeah, I do.”

Then Brother Christianson asked, “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200?  That’s pretty good, Steve,” Brother Christianson said.  “Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know…  I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” Again asked Brother Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10?  I need you to do 300 in sets of ten for this to work.  Can you do it?  I need you to tell me you can do it,” Brother Christianson said. Steve said, “Well…  I think I can…  yeah, I can do it.”

Brother Christianson said, “Good!  I need you to do this on Friday.”

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, Brother Christianson pulled out a big box of donuts. Now these weren’t the normal kinds of donuts,
they were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls.  Everyone was pretty excited-it
was Friday, the last class of the day, and they were going to get an early start on the weekend.

Bro. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want a donut?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

Steve said, “Sure,” and jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk.

Bro. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Bro. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.”  Bro. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?”
Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut.

And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten pushups for every person before they got their

And down the second aisle, till Bro. Christianson came to Scott.

Scott was captain of the football team and center of the basketball team. He was very popular and never
lacking for female companionship.  When Bro. Christianson asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own pushups?”

Bro. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Bro. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so Scott can have a
donut he doesn’t want?”

Steve started to do ten pushups.  Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Bro. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks, and my donuts.  Just leave it on
the desk if you don’t want it.”  And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

Now by this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little.  He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down.  You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.  Bro. Christianson started down the third row.  Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Bro. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Jenny said, “No.”

Then Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve,would you do ten pushups so Jenny can have a donut that she
doesn’t want?”  Steve did ten, Jenny got a donut.

By now, the students were beginning to say “No” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.
Steve was also having to really put forth a lot of effort to get these pushups done for each donut.

There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Bro. Christianson asked Robert to watch Steve to make sure he did ten pushups in a set because he couldn’t
bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts.  So Robert began to watch Steve
closely. Bro. Christianson started down the fourth row.

During his class, however, some students had wandered in and sat along the heaters along the sides of the
room.  When Bro. Christianson realized this; he did a quick count and saw 34 students in the room.  He
started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Bro. Christianson went on to the next person and the  next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve
was really having a rough time.  He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Bro. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Bro. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your pushups. You can do them any way that you

And Bro. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled, “NO!
Don’t come in!  Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on.  Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Bro. Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten pushups for him.”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in.”

Bro. Christianson said, “Okay, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now.  Jason, do you
want a donut?”


“Steve, will you do ten pushups so that Jason can have a donut?” Steve did ten pushups very slowly and with great effort.  Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down.

Bro. Christianson finished the fourth row, then started on those seated on the heaters.  Steve’s arms were now shaking with each pushup in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity.  Sweat was dropping off of his face and, by this time, there was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two girls in the room were cheerleaders and very popular. Bro. Christianson went to Linda,
the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Bro. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten pushups so that Linda can have a donut she
doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow pushups for Linda. Then Bro. Christianson turned to
the last girl, Susan. “Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, asked, “Bro. Christianson , can I help him?”

Bro. Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, he has to do it alone, Steve, would you do ten
pushups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last pushup, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that
was required of him, having done 350 pushups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Brother Christianson turned to the room and said. “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ,
plead to the Father, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” With the understanding that He had done
everything that was required of Him, he collapsed on the cross and died.  And like some of those in this
room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten. 


Broken-Window Theory

I was talking with my wife earlier this week and our conversation ended up reviewing how large (significant) change happens when very small changes are made. I remembered reading something about this and ended up finding it in Chuck Colson’s How Now Shall We Live?

On p.364, Colson states, “[George Kelling and James Q. Wilson] discovered that if a broken window in a building is left unrepaired, soon all the windows are knocked out. Why? Because damage left untended sends a message that no one cares, that no one is in charge, and that further vandalism will incur no penalty. A single broken window soon attracts the kind of people who will smash more windows. Likewise, a city that allows pockets of public disorder, starting with graffiti and litter, sends a message that authorities are either unwilling or unable to enforce standards of behavior – to control their space and their citizens. And once a city sends that message, law-abiding citizens leave, and the criminal element is attracted – exactly the cycle that has ravaged America’s major cities.

In the early 1990s, New York Police Chief William Bratton took the broken-window theory to heart and persuaded New York’s newly elected mayor and ex-prosecutor Rudolph Guiliani to give the theory a try. The order went out to police in Precincts 69 and 75 and to Brooklyn…to ‘fix broken windows’ – that is, to arrest petty offenders and clean up the neighborhoods. The police adopted a policy of zero tolerance for any violation of public order, and in the process they soon discovered that there is indeed a ‘seamless web’ between controlling petty crime and restraining major crime. Whereas before they had ignored turnstile jumping at subways, officers now nabbed the offenders, who, as often as not, turned out to be muggers. Whereas before they had turned a blind eye to minor traffic violations, they now stopped all traffic violators, which often led to the discovery of drugs and guns in the cars. They chased away loiterers and panhandlers, many of whom were drug dealers looking for a sale. In three years in Precinct 75, once one of the most dangerous places in America, the number of homicides dropped from 129 to 47.”

What does this have to do with SCS? I guess the key message from the above paragraphs is that when you deal with the small things, the big issues never really have a chance to develop. Another way of putting it is that when small issues are dealt with right away, they never have a chance to fester and increase in size or severity.

This principle can be applied to many situations. For example, when there is a conflict between a parent and a teacher, the first step is for the parent and that teacher to talk (and, rather than starting with accusations or assumptions, start with the premise that both parties want what is best for the student. Seek understanding and clarification and resolution.) If they can’t resolve it, take it to the next level. In other words, follow the pattern as laid out in Matthew 18.

A second area has to do with dress code (which we are currently in process of revising). If all staff deal with all infractions right away, the problem stays small. This issue only gets worse if there is sporadic enforcement as students can then play off one staff member against the other.

A third issue has to do with assignment completion. If parents ensure that all assignments are completed on a daily basis, then the student doesn’t start to fall behind. It is when a student falls behind too far that frustration sets in and behavioral issues start.

A fourth issue has to do with the cleanliness of the facilities. If everyone, staff and students and parents, pick up the little bits of garbage as they come upon them, the school stays clean and tidy. (I’ve had numerous compliments from outsiders as to how clean and tidy the school is; thanks custodians!).

I’m sure there are many other ways in which we can apply this principle. It may be in the expectations teachers have for their students or in how we represent the school in the outside community. It could be in how we treat those around us (whether or not we smile or scowl). Thinking about this principle has certainly caused me to reflect on what I can do to contribute to significant change.


Colson, C. and Pearcey, N. (1999). How now shall we live? Wheaton: Ill. Tyndale Publishers.

What If Jesus Meant What He Said? Part 3

Part 4

Our Suffering and Persecution Reveals Our Savior

 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you (2 Corinthians 4:7-12).

In the New Testament we see that Jesus said, ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven’ (Matthew 5:14-16). The ‘lamp’ Jesus’ hearers would have been picturing was a small earthen vessel – a simple clay lamp which would be continually refilled with oil to keep burning.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are the light of the world because Jesus, the Light of the world, dwells in us. He is the treasure in our ‘jars of clay.’ Just like the battle in Gideon’s day, for our battle plan to be effective, our clay jars must be broken for the light to be manifested. It is in our brokenness that the world will see Jesus Christ.

We speak often of transparency, but do we know what that means? The word itself originated in the late 16th century, and it means ‘shining through.’ Being transparent isn’t letting people see into you – it’s letting them see through you. There is a big difference. True humility is not emphasizing all our shortcomings. Rather, it’s about showing His salvation despite our failures. Brokenness is a conduit to that end. Here is a litmus test: when another person leaves a conversation with you, do they leave thinking about your life (whether it be your perceived successes or failures) or about your Savior? Does the world see the beauty of Christ alive and at work through your brokenness – a brokenness which is changing you more and more into the image of Jesus Christ?

Let us not run from the very battle-plan that will reveal our Savior to a lost and dying world.”

Part 5

Suffering and Persecution Reinforce Our Strength

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

Much of the church is weak and sickly. Not because Christ isn’t enough, but because we confuse weakness and strength. We try to pray away the difficulties of suffering and persecution, when our Lord not only refused multiple times to take Paul’s thorn away, but declared weakness as the very channel through which God displays His strength.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul stated that the thorn was ‘given’ to him. Not imposed, but given as a gift – an asset. Furthermore, did you notice the purpose of the thorn? The apostle stated, ‘to keep me from becoming conceited.’ It would be easy to assume that this ‘messenger of Satan’ was simply an enemy attacking Paul, but since when does the Enemy of our souls want us to not become conceited? God was in ultimate control.

Lessons or opportunities from God are often accompanied by a messenger from Satan. The Enemy wants us to focus on the thorn and miss the test that God has prepared for us. We might see a problem when God wants us to use that very situation to teach us patience. We might see our failures when God is showing us His faithfulness. We might see sorrow when God is revealing in us His strength. We might see disease when God is teaching us dependency. God tests His own to prove them, not to disqualify them.

Going back to Gideon’s confrontation with the Midianites, what was God’s reason for not wanting 32,000 soldiers to head into combat? ‘The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me’’ (Judges 7:2). This brief life is for the glory of God – the glory of a God who loves us and wants us to enjoy Him forever in His kingdom. When Jesus tells us to deny self and take up our cross, this is not a punishment but a privilege. It is an invitation to allow God’s life to be manifested in our mortal flesh, thorns and all.


Bramsen, N. (2017). What If Jesus Meant What He Said? Dubuque, IA: Emmaus International.

Appearance or Reality Part 3

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a student. During the conversation, he told me that God had laid a particular verse on his heart: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me (Matthew 15:8).

This raises an interesting point as far as SCS is concerned. Just as we consider where we are academically, so we should also consider where we are spiritually. Unfortunately, there is no written test that we can take that gives us the information we are looking for in an easily understood graphic or result.

When we are considering our spiritual level, we need to consider what we say, what we do, and the attitudes we display. We need to also remember, as the Lord Jesus put it, that it is not as much an outward display that God is looking for, but, rather, an inward reality. David, probably more eloquently than most, put it like this: O God,  You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water (Ps. 63:1).

So, how can we draw closer to God with our hearts? One step would be to consider what our first impulse is when we are faced with a decision. Do we think of how that situation benefits us or do we think of how that situation glorifies God? John the Baptist had it right when he said, He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30). Paul put it like this: Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).

A second step would be to practice obedience. The first part of that would be to put God first, ‘But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33). In Luke, the Lord Jesus adds, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’ Matt. 22:37). The second part is to put others, not self, second. Micah reminds us, ‘He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8)? The author to the Hebrews adds, ‘But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased’ (Heb. 13:16). Paul adds, ‘that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God’ (Col. 1:10).

A third step would be to honour God in our relationships. Probably the best reminder of this comes from the author of Hebrews, ‘Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you’ (Hebrews 13:17). This refers not only to students, but also to staff and administration (and, in fact, everyone who is involved in the educational process). All of us have those who are in authority over us in one form or another. Of course, there is always the one caveat, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).

A fourth, and, for this blog post, final step in drawing near to God would be in how we conduct ourselves. Malachi talks about the focus of our words when he says, ‘Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them; So a book of  remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord And who meditate on His name’ (Mal. 3:16). Peter talks about actions when he says, ‘having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God’ (! Peter 2:12).

These steps, if not acted on with the correct motive, merely result in an outward display. But, if we mediate on these verses and seek to live them out so that we glorify God, we will draw near to God in reality and will dwell in His presence.

As Fanny Crosby explains,

  1. I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
    And it told Thy love to me;
    But I long to rise in the arms of faith
    And be closer drawn to Thee.

    • Refrain:
      Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To the cross where Thou hast died;
      Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To Thy precious, bleeding side.
  2. Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
    By the pow’r of grace divine;
    Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
    And my will be lost in Thine.
  3. Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
    That before Thy throne I spend,
    When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
    I commune as friend with friend!
  4. There are depths of love that I cannot know
    Till I cross the narrow sea;
    There are heights of joy that I may not reach
    Till I rest in peace with Thee.


The Importance of a Solid Foundation

Last weekend I had a conversation with someone about the importance of a solid foundation. Later that night I was reading the book Ten Questions from the King by Mark Cahill and I came across these thoughts:

p. 108 If you walk it but don’t talk it, you are just a good person. Folks like that are everywhere. They are a dime a dozen. If you talk it but don’t walk it, you are a hypocrite. Those folks aren’t too difficult to find either. But if you walk it and talk it, you are the most dangerous person on planet Earth. Satan couldn’t move you with a bulldozer if he tried!

p. 110-111 Jesus is telling this parable [the house built on sand/house built on the rock] in Galilee, and the Galileeans would have been very familiar with the winter runoff and spring rains that caused the rivers to rise and overflow their banks. These floodwaters deposited a mixture of sand and rocks on either side of the channel creating a near-level plain of debris. After the heat baked the floodplain into pavement, someone might be fooled into thinking it was an ideal location for building a house. But when the torrents returned the following spring, the house wouldn’t stand a chance against the heavy slurry of water mixed with gravel that would sweep the valley floor again. The house would collapse because it was built on nothing more than loose ground.

To build a good foundation, you have to dig deep. You want to put those pillars down in the ground and anchor it to rock. The deeper they are set, the sturdier the building will be. The World Trade Center buildings were built to withstand a hurricane. The buildings could sway in heavy winds, but they would not topple over….

Keep in mind that as we serve the Lord, we must dig deep. We need to be in the Scriptures. To be a leader, you have to be a reader! We need to turn off our phones and soak up some good teachings. We need to talk about the things of the Lord with believers. Keep digging deep. There are treasures to be found in the truth of God’s Word that will build us up and help us to reach the lost.

p. 112 When we come to Jesus in spirit and in truth, we are building on the right foundation. Then we want to stack up good and godly works on the foundation of Christ all the days of our lives….

If you detonate dynamite on it [Stone Mountain, GA], some of that granite would break off. If you set off a nuclear bomb, it would destroy much of that beautiful mountain. The obstacle that prevents it from being completely destroyed is its foundation. Its foundation is so deep. Its foundation is so strong. They say its foundation reaches seven miles down and all the way into North Carolina! You can mess with the top of Stone Mountain, buts its foundations is not going anywhere unless God says so!

Likewise, if you want to live your life correctly for God, you must–and I do mean must– have an immovable foundation. That foundation must be so completely solid that no matter what circumstance comes into your life, you will not be moved.

p. 113 Since you must have the right foundation, you need to make sure your foundation is made of rock. Christ is that Rock. A life committed to Him and lived according to His ways is a life that Satan will never be able to destroy.

p. 114 Think about building your dream home…. So if you were building this dream home, would you build it on sand or on rock? Now if it is my dream home, I want sand beyond the front door so that I can witness to people on the beach! But I do not want to lay the foundation of my house on that beach. My goodness, the sand on beaches can’t even hold umbrellas in place when a little wind pops up. No way I would build my house on shifting sands!

I love walking into the homes of righteous people. You can recognize, very quickly, if that home is built on the Rock of Christ. You will also notice things in the home that let you know it is committed to the Most High God. Make sure your house is righteous in the days to come, and you will be fine.

p. 117 The next time you are sharing your faith at the beach, stoop over and pick up some sand. Watch as it runs through your fingers back down to the other grains of sand. Now pick up a rock. That rock isn’t going anywhere until you decide to drop it.

Remember, your foundation needs to be built on the true Rock. Never, ever drop the Rock of Christ. Never, ever walk away from Him. He is your solid foundation for all of eternity. By the way, are there any cracks in your foundation that need repairing? Is there anything you need to repent of to get back in right relationship with the Rock today? When the storms of life hit, the house that is built on sand will collapse. It might be a dream mansion, but it will not hold up. It doesn’t stand a chance against the forces that beat upon it, and it will collapse in devastation and great ruin.

Always keep in mind that you do not want devastation on the day you stand in front of God at the Bema Seat Judgment for believers. You want your life to count. God wants to reward you well for a grand life lived for Him!

p. 118 The important thing to remember is that you must show yourself approved unto God, not man. That is the key. Too many of us are people pleasers instead of God pleasers.

p. 119-120 If a flood came rushing through your town and you had that nice stone house up on a hill, you would hate to see the devastation of others below, but you and your family would be okay. However, if you had a cabin that sat right by the river’s edge, and you didn’t know that the recent days of rain were moving a surge of water downstream towards your house, you might feel secure, but you would actually be in danger. Trouble is coming, but you just don’t see it yet.

The same is true of the flood that is coming with the reckoning of the Lord. Payment time is coming. Your life is going to be judged, whether good or bad. You still have days to store up treasures in the heavenlies. Might as well go for it, before it is too late….

If your life is based on the foundation of sin or if your life is based on the foundation of doing nothing for the Lord, trouble is coming. You will not be able to stand when the winds and rains of righteousness come. First of all, make sure you are born again and saved. Second of all, get rid of all dross in your life. Cast anything that is worthless to the wayside. Life holy and fully for the Lord with your remaining days!

Also, if you know what you should be doing and are not doing it, be careful. You are playing with fire. You are playing with a coming flood of judgment. You can’t win at that game. You do not want to ruin your life now or in eternity. Heed the call today, before it is too late.

Those who ignore the warnings will suffer. All of their work, all of their long days, and all of their efforts in building their house will come to great ruin. What a waste. Don’t waste your life! One more time, DON’T waste your life!

p. 121 Very simply, are you building your life on the true and rock-solid foundation of Christ? Are you building on that foundation with the precious truths of God? Is your house of faith strong enough to withstand the brute force of floodwaters pushing felled trees and debris against your house? Is your foundation so firmly anchored to Christ that no catastrophe could move you, no matter what the circumstances? And are you doing the will of the Father in Heaven by winning souls for the Lord Jesus Christ so that others can stand, not only against the trials in life, but also in the Judgment to come? Will you do that for Him and for the lost, before it’s too late? Judgment Day is coming, and everyone must be ready to face that day and to stand before the Son of Man.


Cahill, M. (2017). Ten questions from the king. Stone Mountain, GA: Mark Cahill Ministries.

Appearance or Reality Part 2

As I mentioned earlier, one issue I am wrestling with is whether we should spend more time focusing on the appearance or the reality of the situation. Let me continue with a specific example.

Over this last week I was looking at the math results for SCS based on the CAT/IV results and our own math screeners. In many ways I can say that we are doing quite well…. But ‘quite well’ implies a comparison (or two). And that is where the focus on appearances or reality becomes important.

Every three years, countries that are part of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) participate in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) exam. Students who are 15 years old are assessed on their knowledge in English, Math, and Science. These results are then released and countries are ranked (it is possible to get an in-country ranking to see how each region [province/state] does within the country). I looked at Canada’s results for 2015 (the most recent exam).

In Math, Canada placed 10th out of 137 countries. The various provinces were broken out in terms of how well they performed in comparison to the Canadian average. Canada, as a country, scored 516 (the top country, Singapore, scored 564). British Columbia, my previous place of employment, scored 522. With the exception of Quebec, whose results are not trustworthy for this year due to possible non-response bias, all the other provinces scored less than the Canadian average. As I looked down the chart, I searched for Saskatchewan, my new place of employment. My eyes scanned further and further down (past Portugal, Italy, Spain) until I finally came to Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan scored lowest of all Canadian provinces at 484. To quote the PISA summary, “Only Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan observed a change in the mathematics performance of its students since 2012. Saskatchewan experienced a significant decline in the mathematics performance of its students and consequently went from performing above the OECD average in 2012 [506] to performing below the OECD average in 2015 [484] (the OECD average for 2015 was 490)” (

When I look at this information and compare it to our local results, I am left with several thoughts. When we just look at SCS’s results, the appearance is that we are doing reasonably well in math in comparison to other schools in Saskatchewan. However, the reality is that Saskatchewan achieved the lowest result of all provinces in Canada. So, where does that leave us? Would we (should we) be open to discussing this? If we are, we would have to ask ourselves some very difficult questions. In my mind, there are four places we can look: teachers, students, curriculum, teaching strategies. I would discard the first two options as non-issues; I think our students are just as smart as those anywhere else and I think our teachers are just as well trained as anywhere else. That leaves what we teach and how we teach it. Even just looking at those two topics leads to an uncomfortable discussion. And yet….

Do we focus on the appearance or on the reality? Should our decision (which aspect to focus on) depend on which aspect makes us look better? I would much rather focus on the reality and deal with the unpleasant/uncomfortable topics so that we can truly do what is best for our students. If we can help our students learn math more effectively by changing the materials we use, then let’s do so. If we can help our students by changing the instructional strategies, then let’s do so. As long as it helps the students.