By Dana Knauer Back in 2003, as a young Christian mother of a baby and a toddler, I felt it my duty to begin exploring early childhood and elementary education options for my children. My research was detailed and ended up enjoyable and fruitful as I was finally led to Mission Hills Christian School. I say it “ended up enjoyable” because, as I am sure you know, researching possible educational institutions can be overwhelming, but that is for another blog post. I thank God NOW more than ever for leading me to Mission Hills Christian School. In 2004 as MHCS and my family began our partnership, the term “Christian world view” was introduced to me. However, honestly, I really didn’t understand entirely what this term meant to me and for my family. As an obedient Christian mother, I did my own research. Actually, I think I was too embarrassed to ask pointed questions about what it really meant or how this “world view” was to be implemented and fostered in my children. I came to the understanding that a Christian world view is a lens through which we view our world; when God comes first in our life, we see the world as if we were looking through His eyes and with His heart. I now had a cognitive understanding of the term; however, I still did not fully grasp its depth and breadth. My understanding was lacking in the area of application — seeing this Christian world view applied in my own son’s life. My son came home from his junior year in public high school (yes, the same one who began MHCS in kindergarten and graduated from there as an 8th grader) and shared an experience his AP History teacher created. His teacher brought in an expert about Abraham Lincoln and allowed the class to ask any question they had about President Lincoln’s life. I asked my son what he was interested to know. My son wanted to know how religious Mr. Lincoln was. He wanted to know if Mr. Lincoln had a personal walk with Jesus. What was most important for my son to understand about Abe was: did he put God first? Consider how his actions affected others? Was he kind and generous to all? Did he pray daily and go to church with his family? He did not state it this way, but what he really wanted to know was if Mr. Lincoln had a Christian world view! My son’s understanding of greatness comes from the Bible’s definition of greatness for a human. And just like that, I fully understood the meaning of a Christian world view. It was fostered for 9 years at MHCS by loving teachers who always pointed him to Jesus, not only in Bible lessons and chapel, but daily through thoughtful discussions that authentically integrated scripture into each subject. As a first grade teacher at MHCS, I let my class know that I love Jesus, our Lord, more than words can say. We begin the year with Creation and learn that God is a God of order. God loves order, and this comes up daily with math, writing, reading, science, and social studies. God cares for His people whom he created in His own image. The same God who created the universe also created them; yes, the very same God who created all of the universe’s beauty also created you! This is how a Christian world view is fostered – it always points students to Jesus. It is truly a beautiful thing to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my son has a Christian world view. He and his friends who also graduated from MHCS are a light in this world, and without even knowing it, my son shone so brightly that day in AP History when he asked about Mr. Lincoln’s Christian walk.
For parents and educators alike, one of the nationwide buzz phrases right now is Common Core. Basically, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of guidelines in language arts and math that provide a national framework for monitoring student growth. Each state may choose to adapt or reject these standards. The state of California has chosen to adopt the CCSS for its public schools. As a private school, Mission Hills may choose whether or not to adopt these standards. Our philosophy at Mission Hills has always been to implement the curriculum that best serves our student’s needs and prepares them for the next step in their academic journey. Therefore, we will continue to adhere to the former California State Standards which were some of the highest in the nation and more rigorous than CCSS. Of course, we also remain unwavering in our commitment to provide a Christian education from a biblical worldview using curriculum and methodology that are in alignment with our mission, vision and philosophy. For more details, CLICK HERE to read Mission Hills Christian School and Common Core State Standards. Carrie Gulino, Principal
Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father who art in heaven…” By Lisa Espinoza These are the first four words Jesus spoke in response to His disciples’ request, “Lord, teach us to pray.” As we begin our journey through the Lord’s Prayer, we humbly ask, along with these Christ-followers so long ago, “Teach us to pray.” Learning to pray is a lifelong adventure in relationship. As a teacher illuminates new concepts in reading, math and science to his or her students, so God illuminates the countless facets of Himself as we sit at His feet…eager students in the hands of the Master teacher. During a spiritual retreat a few years ago, I asked a precious old Benedictine monk named Claude if he ever got bored doing the same thing day in and day out at the monastery. He looked at me, eyes asparkle, and chuckled, “My dear, how could one ever tire of God? You can never know all there is to know about Him.” If we settle into the reality that we are always beginners in prayer, we will find that God meets us in every humble attempt to become pray-ers. May we live each moment in such open relationship with our ever-present Lord that we find ourselves living out Paul’s admonition quite naturally to “pray without ceasing.” One way teachers help students learn is to give them practice exercises, homework if you will. As permanent students “with Christ in the school of prayer,” as Reverend Andrew Murray so aptly puts it, we can likewise learn and grow through the practice of spiritual exercises. Growing in Prayer Week 1 We carry into our relationship with God, our heavenly Father, the experiences we’ve had with our earthly father. If your relationship with your father has been loving and positive, write a prayer of thanks for this glimpse into the father heart of God. If your relationship with your earthly father has been negative or non-existent, write a prayer asking God to remove any obstacles in your relationship with Him that have resulted from these negative experiences. Ask Him to reveal the truth about who He is so that you can trust His father heart. Week 2 The Lord’s desire for us is that we approach prayer as a natural element of a healthy relationship, not as a daily transaction we must accomplish in order to earn God’s love and favor. We are already loved by God, and because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, we already have God’s favor. We are free to “be” in relationship with God without the striving and guilt and fear of not measuring up. Just for this week, set aside your regular prayer list or routine and simply practice turning every thought into a conversation with God, even in the midst of your daily tasks. At the end of the week, write about your discoveries. Week 3 God speaks to us in so many ways—through His word, through people, through circumstances, through nature— just to name a few. This week practice listening. Begin each day asking God to open your eyes to the ways He communicates with you throughout the day. At the end of the day, answer these questions: “In what unexpected ways did God communicate with me today? How was my day different because I expected to hear from God?” Week 4 This week meditate on the heart of God as revealed in I John 4:9, 10: “By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Write this scripture on a notecard and put it in a prominent place you see several times a day…ask the Holy Spirit to work its truth deep into your heart.
By Jeannine Jilbert, MHCS Math Instructor Steve did it all in high school. He was a starter on the basketball team, pitched for the baseball team, was ASB President, editor of the yearbook, and competed on the debate team. Steve played the trumpet in a jazz band, the electric guitar in a rock band, and had a lead in the school musical. And he graduated with a 4.0 – the highest possible GPA in those days. A month after graduation, Steve died in a car accident. This true story that I share every year with my graduating eighth graders, now turns hypothetical. I believe that after entering heaven, Steve finally had that conversation with His Lord and Savior that he had been longing for. The conversation was not focused on his many awards or trophies, but instead I believe it went something like this: “I remember, Steve, when you wanted to cheat, but instead chose to act with integrity. How about that time when you wanted to give up, but kept on trying until you finally understood that pre-calculus problem! Remember that time when you had lunch with that new student that you noticed sitting alone? I really loved it when you encouraged the opposing team’s pitcher after they lost. Most importantly, thank you for telling Jeannine about my Son. Because of you, she now has the honor of sharing the Good News with her junior high students, and someday she will also spend eternity in My presence. Well done, my faithful servant.” Don’t wait to serve God. Make every day count for the Kingdom. I Timothy 4:12.
Advent is about waiting, anticipation. It is never easy to wait. Whatever it is on the other end, we want it now. Our driver’s license renewal, our In-N-Out burger, our turn to see the doctor, the notification that we’ve been accepted or passed the test. For us, it’s about the end result. God doesn’t see it that way. To God, the waiting is part of His process in our lives. In the waiting, we are reminded of our great need for whatever it is we are waiting for. We come to more fully appreciate the object of our anticipation. Right about Labor Day, it seems, our local retail establishments begin reminding us that Christmas is on its way. The waiting begins. The closer to Christmas we get, the more anxious we become about the waiting—and it all centers on “doing” Christmas well. Gift lists, rising credit card balances, decorations, preparations for houseguests. Maybe doing Christmas well means waiting well. Maybe carving out a few minutes each day to be quiet would help us wait well. In those few minutes, we could think of all we are grateful for. We could sit with a hot cup of coffee and enjoy the lights on the Christmas tree. Or maybe we could take a walk outside and breathe in the gift of air God brings us each day. We don’t have to wait forever. Christmas will come. He has come already. In this Advent season, we get to remember what it feels like to wait, to long for more than we are in and of ourselves. We get to anticipate a greater Hope, a deeper Peace, and a fuller Joy than we could have imagined if it were up to us. And then, when Christ appears… We celebrate.