Obedience is a very important ingredient in the culture at Regents Academy. Teachers stress it, as do I. One of our school’s slogans is, “We obey right away, all the way, with a good attitude every day.” The Bible speaks to children and commands them to obey parents and all authorities over them. Though “obey” may be regarded as a four letter word by some, for our students joyful obedience is a virtue, a beautiful adornment for a well-ordered life.
But there is a danger in stressing obedience. We must be careful never to give children the dangerous illusion that if they have obeyed their parents and teachers, then they are acceptable to God. That would be a terrible cause of stumbling and a sure way to insure a millstone will be hung around our necks. Instead, we must be consistent in communicating to children – both with words and with example, in discipline and in instruction – that they cannot obey their way to acceptance with God. Instead, they (like us) need Jesus Christ to be their Savior, who transforms us so that we love doing what is pleasing to Him, obeying human authority included. This is to say that we require children to obey, but we always want to lead them to ask, Why obey?
This is precisely the question author Paul David Tripp asks in the article I am sharing with you now. It is the best of news (for us and for our children) that we are set free from trying to win God’s favor by obeying Him well enough. It is also good news that our obedience is established by His grace toward us.
By Paul David Tripp
There’s simply nothing you can do to gain God’s favor.
You have to accept this and remember it: you will never be righteous enough for long enough to satisfy God’s holy requirements.
Your thoughts will never be pure enough. Your desires will never be holy enough. Your words will never be clean enough. Your choices and actions will never be honoring enough. The bar is simply set too high for us to ever reach.
We all live under the same weight of the law, crippled by the inability of sin. We’re better at rebelling than submitting, more inclined to arrogance than humility, more skilled at making war with our neighbors than loving them. We leave a trail of evidence every hour that we’ve fallen short of the glory of God one more time.
So what’s the point of obedience in the Christian life? Well, this hard-to-swallow pill of bad news is actually the doorway to eternal hope and joy, not depressive self-loathing. How? It’s only when you accept who you are and what you’re unable to do that you begin to understand and celebrate the necessity of God’s gift of grace.
Let’s put the bad news and the good news together. The Apostle Paul writes, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” but that’s only half of the story. He continues, “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:23-25, ESV)
A propitiation is an atoning sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus appeased the wrath of God and created a reconciliation between God and all who place their faith in him. In more simple words: you don’t need to obey to gain God’s favor.
Don’t misunderstand me: grace doesn’t make obedience optional. Obedience is the life-long calling for followers of Christ. But, your obedience is never a fearful payment. It’s a hymn of gratitude to the God who met you where you were and did for you what you could not have done for yourself.
Your obedience doesn’t purchase God’s love for you; Christ’s blood is the only purchase that could do that. Rather, your obedience is a thankful expression that you understand the significance of God’s love being placed on you.
So today, humbly admit that you’re more messed up than you think you are. And commit once more to a lifestyle of obedience, not because Jesus needs you to, but because you understand how much you need Jesus.
Regents Academy is very happy to welcome its new Art and Drama teacher, Mrs. Rebecca Higdon to its faculty for 2015-16.
The school’s longtime Art and Drama teacher, Ashley Bryant, stepped away from the position after the 2014-15 school year, and Mrs. Higdon has stepped into this role of inspiring creativity for Regents students. Mrs. Higdon will bring wonderful enthusiasm, creativity, and joy to our campus, and we welcome her!
We are glad to welcome a new teacher to our excellent faculty for 2015-16. Regents Academy’s new KPrep teacher is Mrs. Anna Vermillion, wife of Regents Academic Dean Lance Vermillion. Mrs. Vermillion is certainly no stranger to our community, and she brings a wonderful knowledge of classical Christian education and a kind, peaceful demeanor to our 4-year-old classroom.
After our much beloved Kindergarten teacher, LaWanna Smith, retired last year, our previous KPrep teacher, Janet Duke, moved up to teach Kindergarten. It is a great blessing now to have Mrs. Duke and Mrs. Vermillion teaming up to teach our youngest students.
Welcome, Mrs. Vermillion!
Regents Academy continues to grow (for which we thank the Lord), and so we continue to need space. In order to meet this need, the Regents board decided to install a new portable building on the south side of our main building in order to provide space for two additional classrooms. The 5th and 6th grade classes will meet in these new classrooms. The building is being completed right now and should he put in place next week.
This building is sturdy, attractive, and spacious, and it will supply much needed classroom space. The classrooms will be ready to go by the day of orientations.
Here are a couple of pictures that show the progress being made by Lunsford Buildings in Center.
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity [happiness]. Let it simply be asked, “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligations desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”
And let us w̲i̲t̲h̲ c̲a̲u̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. ‘Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it [free government] can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?
George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
Forasmuch as each man is a part of the human race, and human nature is something social, and has for a great and natural good, the power also of friendship; on this account God willed to create all men out of one, in order that they might be held in their society not only by likeness of kind, but also by bond of kindred. Therefore the first natural bond of human society is man and wife. Nor did God create these each by himself, and join them together as alien by birth: but He created the one out of the other, setting a sign also of the power of the union in the side, whence she was drawn, was formed. For they are joined one to another side by side, who walk together, and look together whither they walk. Then follows the connection of fellowship in children, which is the one alone worthy fruit, not of the union of male and female, but of the sexual intercourse. For it were possible that there should exist in either sex, even without such intercourse, a certain friendly and true union of the one ruling, and the other obeying.
St. Augustine, On the Good of Marriage (De Bono Conjugali) 401 A.D.
We are happy to welcome David Henry to the Regents Academy faculty for the 2015-16 school year.
David is an alumnus of Regents, having graduated in 2010. David graduated from New St. Andrews College with his B.A. in May, and now he returns to his hometown to teach Latin 1, 6th grade history, 8th grade Omnibus (Christendom 1), and Government.
We are excited to welcome him and look forward to his presence on our campus once again, this time in a new role!
Regents Academy was honored to host Dr. Laurence White at our school’s commencement ceremony on May 29, 2015. I hope you will take the time to listen (or listen again) — you’ll be glad you did.
As we close out the school year (it’s late May, all of a sudden!), I find that my thoughts turn to the long, hot days of summer. I think of the change of pace, planned trips and times with family, a slowdown in the demands of school, and the fact that it flies by every year. My musings inspired me to offer some random bits of advice for the summer months.
Make this the summer of the book instead of the summer of the screen. One sure way to lose academic ground is to allow our children to give themselves over nonstop to the passive entertainment of electronics rather than to the active pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful through books. Certainly, screen time is a welcome form of amusement and fun. But beware too much screen time, to the neglect of the joy of reading. Henry David Thoreau famously wrote, “How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book.” I doubt that a few generations from now someone will ponder how a new app or a video game changed his life. But books will never lose their power.
Make a Bible reading plan for the summer. This is something my family has done for several years now. We all read the same Bible passages each day and then hold each other accountable. It helps keep us on track spiritually. We all need a steady diet of the Word of God so that we continue to grow in our faith, even during the summer months. I know how quickly the summer and good intentions can slip away, so I recommend getting a plan together and starting right away to stick to it.
Find balance during the summer days ahead. Some parents tend to push really hard academically, even during the summer, while others relax and let down too much. Believe me, I’ve been guilty of both. Summer is a welcome break from the labors of school – but many academic gains can be reversed when we expect far too little of our children from June till August. Something my wife has done since our children were little is to find a workbook for them to complete during the summer. It’s something fun and different from what they do at school, but it’s academically valuable nonetheless. While we’re on vacation, though, we just call it off and do as little as possible for a few days. We all need a break, but the last thing we need is to vegetate for three months!
Keep the Regents vibe rolling. A big part of what makes Regents what it is, as a school, is our culture and expectations of our students. We expect students to be respectful, courteous, diligent, responsible, happily obedient, and accountable. We aim for loving learning, not just going through the motions of assignments and worksheets. So keep it rolling at home. Don’t accept excuses from your children, but instead, expect the best from them. If you’re like me, it’s all too easy to take the path of least resistance, to just let down. But whether it’s taking out the trash, exercising, reading, sitting with good posture, or saying yes ma’am, require your children to do the right thing and hold the standard high.
Finally, enjoy the time. The older I get, the more I sense how time is flying by. As St. James wrote, life is but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. So let’s be motivated to enjoy a season of family, leisure, and freedom as a gift from the Lord’s hand.
I hope you have a wonderful summer.