It brings me tremendous pleasure to welcome you, our MAK community, to the 2017-2018 school year. Two weeks ago our new staff began their orientation to Taiwan, to our Morrison community, and to our way of teaching and learning at MAK. We have a fantastic new crew joining our staff, full of energy and creative ideas. This past week our full staff spent the week continuing to work toward an educational program that is about knowing, being, and doing.
Staff worked in grade levels, departments, and with job-alikes on other campuses to ensure that our classes are as engaging, appropriately rigorous, and as excellent as we can make them. Advisors and House Leaders discussed how to best meet the social, academic, and spiritual needs of our students. Much of our week’s activities also focused on our school’s vision of developing learners who ask questions (Lifelong Learners), take risks (Creative and Critical Thinkers), seek the Truth (spiritual discerners), collaborate (Effective Communicators), are responsible (Wise and Responsible Stewards), and are respectful (Moral and Ethical Citizens).
In the midst of all our start-of-school prep, I want to invite you, our community, to join me in thinking on this year’s school theme: It is Good to Follow Jesus.
During his life on earth, Jesus said a great deal of interesting and controversial things, and one of those statements is recorded in John 8. In verse 12, he says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” I don’t know about you, but I would never think of saying such a thing about myself. I don’t possess that kind of confidence. But along with our staff at MAK, I have made it my goal to follow Jesus – to read his words, to imitate his ways, to obey his commands.
This is not an easy task, and I’ve been very clumsy, for years, in my attempts. But I can say that the longer I have tried, by his grace, the more I have come to know his light and life.
Statements like that last one always need an example or two.
I do not like to ask forgiveness. I also don’t like to tell people that I’ve done something stupid. A little while ago I said something to someone that wasn’t particularly graceful or appropriate. Just about a week later, a third person mentioned to me that said person had told her what I had said. She was laughing because there was no way I would have said that. I smiled and carried on. But I knew full well that what she had heard was the truth about what I had said. A day or so passed, and I couldn’t escape the conviction, which I believe was God’s spirit working in me, that I needed to set things right – that I needed light and life. Scripture is full of verses about this. A great one is Proverbs 28:13: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper.” So in the end, I admitted my foolish words to my friend who didn’t originally believe I had said them.
That was not comfortable. But it brought light and life back into my conscience and into my relationships. I also wasn’t particularly happy about doing it. It wasn’t a fun thing by any stretch. But agreeing to do what he asks of me was a good thing. Our lives are filled with messages about happiness. Happiness really is seen as the ultimate aim. But as followers of Jesus our goal is higher than that; it’s goodness and rightness. It’s long-term joy and hope in the fact that we are following the ways of the Maker of the Universe.
As the year unfolds, we’ll continue, as a school, to look at ways in which it is good to follow Jesus. Here we’ve talked a bit about the first one – how he knows the way to go better than we do. The topics we will explore are:
- He knows the way.
- He is for you.
- He knows you.
- He is with you.
- He can make you new.
- He has a purpose for you.
We invite you, too, to explore this year, if you don’t know Jesus, why it might be good to follow him. If you do know him, I invite you to revive your heart with the ways in which he is good to you. Our first combined chapel is on Friday, August 18, from 8-8:40. Please feel welcome to join us!