Monthly Archives: March 2018

“Implicit Bias: Disrupting Your Perceptual Lens,” by Dr. Brian Chad Starks

On Friday, March 30, 2018, Dr. Ben Daniel, a Greenville area dentist, arranged for his former Wofford College football teammate, Dr. Brian Chad Starks, to address an audience at The Equipping Center. If you would like to read my summary of Dr. Starks’ excellent message, “Implicit Bias: Disrupting Your Perceptual Lens,” please read on. . . .

“Implicit Bias: Disrupting Your Perceptual Lens”
By Dr. Brian Chad Starks, BCS and Associates
The Equipping Center
62 E. Antrim Drive
Greenville, South Carolina
Friday, March 30, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal, Southside Christian School, Simpsonville, South Carolina. (Any and all mistakes in this transcription are mine alone.)

Dr. Daniel introduced his former Wofford College teammate:

From Columbia, South Carolina.
Columbia High School.
Wofford College.
A freakishly good defensive back (in the Wofford Hall of Fame).
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, with an additional Master’s Certificate.
Ph.D., Delaware College.
He walks the walk. He talks the talk.
A social scientist.
Now lives in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Teaches at Lynchburg College.
Entrepreneurial.
“He has the tools to help the city of Greenville, South Carolina.”

Dr. Starks

In my college classes, I have conversations. I do not lecture. I take every opportunity I can to advocate for social justice. We know about the social ills of our communities for centuries. We have to have honest conversations. Sometimes, diagnoses don’t feel good. Our relatives who “educated” us are no longer around, but their teaching is still with us.

My mom didn’t think I should go to college. That upset me. Crack cocaine looked like a better option than a college scholarship. I resolved to take a little bit of control in this situation. My mother had put her arms around me to protect me from the fall from inequality, if I didn’t realize my dream of college.

My mother had been one of 14 children who were birthed with the purpose of providing for the family. Her identity didn’t matter, except with the power structure of class. She wasn’t looking forward to school. She was a domestic servant. She served as an elementary school custodian when she worked. Men were laborers in her world. She suffered from lack of exposure. I wasn’t afraid. My education started way before I got to Wofford College.

We categorize by race, age, and gender. WE put people in boxes. I didn’t fit into the boxes or molds. I wanted to learn why I didn’t choose alcohol and drugs. I wanted to bring solutions to those problems.

I fought with Wofford students. My coaches were messengers on the journey. They listened to me before they made decisions about me. I’m in debt to the messengers in my life. They helped me figure out my identity.

I owe you my conversation in Greenville, South Carolina.

When you think of identity, what do you think about?

I have had 22 years of formal education. I saw that I could have an impact on the criminal justice system. I created relationships with people in the system. It was uplifting. I was doing it. But I realized I was taking advantage of vulnerable people at the most vulnerable time in their lives. My mother was making $12,000 per year. I was making $12,000 a month as a bail bondsman.

I quit the business and looked for Ph.D. Programs. I became a scholar. My Wofford Coach used to tell me, “Son, you’ve got to find a better way to address your problems.”

What did I start doing about the issues in communities? I looked at how people got involved in crime. I looked at the issues of bias.

Social media give venues for conversation AND for us to latch onto biases. How can good-hearted people still have biases? There need to be equitable opportunities for success! This isn’t the 50s or 60s! I thought we were in a post-race color-blind society?!

Bias is unconscious now. Are we still seeing the outcomes of discrimination in health care, housing, criminal justice? Yes.

But more-so today, implicit bias is plaguing our country. Where did that come from?

What did your grandmother teach you? What did your parents teach you? What is being discussed at family gatherings today in your homes? What about LBGT? Beliefs need to be grounded in research, not biases.

I use 4 constructs in my social justice work.

Identify, Culture, Diversity, and Respect

[Dr. Starks asked us to come to the front table and choose one of several different cards featuring the constructs of his social justice work.]

Why did you choose the card you chose? Why does the evening news lead off with the worst news of the day? Why does the National Enquirer sell more than the New York Times? We take unconscious pleasure in seeing people suffer.

How often do you self-reflect on what makes you tick? We all have biases from our own cultural conditioning. I do it. I discriminated against women when I chose the administrative assistant for my bail bondsman business. When I came to awareness of my discrimination and called it to the attention of one of these women, she wasn’t even aware of the bias.

Women have been breaking barriers for centuries. In 2017, I was in the room when an energetic new white President, who had grown up on a tobacco farm, compared the work ethic of an African-American female vice-president to a tobacco farm slave. She didn’t even realize what he had said until she got into her car and wept afterwards. But no one confronted the President, well-meaning as he might have been. Someone tried. I told him I wanted to meet with him. He said to send an e-mail. I sent multiple e-mails with no response.

We can’t turn our back on injustice. You have to challenge unjust conversations. We’ve got to change the way we talk to each other. And maybe bring in Dr. Starks in for a diversity conversation.

IDENTITY

How do our kids see themselves? Middle school kids have the highest rates of suicide in the U.S. They don’t know how they feel about themselves. They have hopelessness. We need to appreciate differences.

How do we see each other? The way I am dressed today, I look like a Furman professor. When I’m wearing baggier clothes and a hoody, I can be stereotyped and labeled, too.

Acknowledging one’s race isn’t racism. Using race against the person is. What does that say about our society or us as individuals? Wofford trained us to think critically; difference, if done right, can improve us all. What would be the purpose if we all look the same?

This is not about changing each other. Why don’t you not want me to love my skin or my hair (dredlocks)? You don’t have to lose your identity? You can add to your identity as a holistic personality which is always going to be growing. Grow new ways to respond to hurt and pain. Kids can’t do it alone.

What are we telling our babies sometimes? Are we letting them go out the doors unprepared for the realities of life? The best bail bondsman told me to cut my hair, because no judge would take me seriously, he said. Man, we got a long way to go, if that’s the case. That’s not an inequitable fight. Is hair that important? Does it matter that much? As you can see, I didn’t take his advice!

The length of my hair has nothing to do with the words come out of my mouth. I love my identity, because it’s mine. You can’t ask me to be ashamed of something that was outside of my control. You want to drop the hair style on these people who are struggling with so many issues in their lives?!

You have to be uncomfortable to get comfortable. One of the best things that happened to me was to be bused at 9. I had to meet people who were very different than the students in my neighborhood.

How many of you had black professors in your college journey?

CULTURE

Cultural competency matters. Why do we limit kids in their education? Understanding different cultures allows you to relate to other people in great opportunities.

I didn’t know the Irish-Catholics were the first to coin the term, “ghetto.” I got excited in graduate school: “It ain’t just us!!”

Can we have a conversation about how the criminal justice system has grown? Let’s change the perspective. We demonize others. We’ve got to disrupt implicit bias. Teach people BOTH SIDES of the issues. Be a messenger of justice. Reach and search out the truth.

We have so much learn. We’ve got to stop acting like we’re going to know everything about everybody. I get to learn from students every day. I don’t know it all.

Whenever you expose inequality and mediocrity, expect to be labeled the villain. You’ve got to challenge bad thinking. Build equality through good stewardship.

We talk about doing what’s right. Do we change our value systems when things get tough? I want the social ills fixed.

DIVERSITY

Diversity is the cuss word in this discussion. We can’t check the boxes on people’s lives.  Diversity is a way of thinking and knowing and appreciating differences. What are we educating our society to be when it comes to diversity? Are we asking for different ideas? I’m working with NASA to open opportunities for women and people of color — people who have been marginalized the most. We’ve got to start having the conversations.

We’ve got to connect the disciplines and communities. I am a social scientist working with a physics professor to increase the number of women and African-Americans at NASA. NASA wanted to know if I would speak at their national conference. I said I would be “pleased” to speak at the conference. I got 10 minutes the first year, 20 minutes the second year, 30 minutes in the third year, and 60 minutes every year now! I am very proud of that. How did that happen? I was a messenger. I took my identity and challenged the status quo. We shouldn’t separate. We should work inter-disciplinarily. I have earned the moral authority to speak into these issues.

When you leave here, you will all be messengers. What kind of conversations are we going to have? As messengers, you’re going to have to take some risks with your family and friends. You don’t want to let your “team” down. I’m asking you to engage in self-reflection. Do you engage in implicit bias? Write it down. Face your emotions. Fear doesn’t give you the right to discriminate.

RESPECT

Respect comes easily after we get a good hold on identity, culture, and diversity. We must appreciate everyone’s identity. It doesn’t mean you have to agree. Get out of the way of other people’s thinking and identities. You’ll be free. Face your biases. You won’t be stressed. You’re always thinking. We have to take steps to disrupt implicit bias.

We say we don’t see color. That’s been said to me a million times. You really going to say that to me, Black as I am?! Don’t blame me for my color. I love it when I look in the mirror. I don’t see grey. I don’t see pastel. I see black. Don’t you want me to appreciate that?! Don’t you appreciate who you are?!

The more information we have, the better decisions we can make. But that makes us afraid; with more information comes more responsibility. I had no excuses at Wofford. It was hard. Education first. Formal. And informal. Take the time to teach the kids. Be messengers of justice. Take advantage of fertile ground.

Parent at teachable moments. Put your money where your mouth is. You can’t just walk away from injustices and believe the injustices will take care of themselves. Have conversations about decision-making. Learn about others. Have diverse ways of thinking about culture. You can’t take a paint brush and stroke every situation with the same color. Recognize the diversity and the diverse ways of responding to situations, which empowers you and empowers the people you are giving to.

I need you to be messengers. You need to challenge with respect. Listen to each other. Share information. Be filled with the Spirit. Add. Don’t take away from each other. Come together for a common goal of humanitarianism. We all have to be soldiers of justice. Sometimes, the responses will need to be immediate. Do the right things. I appreciate the opportunity to do some truth-telling today. Thank you.

Q&A

How can we bring awareness to Greenville having the 4th largest concentration of poverty in the country, when the city is receiving so many awards for being such a great place to live? [This question was asked by a Caucasian man.]

We need to come up with intervention strategies. Tap into the strategies which have been successful in other communities. Education is key. Connect students to opportunities. Fix the systems. Transportation barriers must be eliminated. Feed the poor. Try strategies, even when they don’t work. Don’t breed negative; language has power; don’t use words which perpetuate negative stereotypes.

Have you read the Harvard study of African-American boys who are still not earning as much and are incarcerated more? [This question was asked by an African-American man.]

I have not.

We are expecting our first child, and we’re concerned about our son coming into the world which has explicit bias against black men? [This question was asked by the same African-American man.]

Honesty. Be direct about the issues with your son. Give examples of overcoming biases.  Prepare kids for the realities they will face outside your home. Brainstorm with your children. Role-play situations which can be dangerous.

We have adopted a black son. My biggest struggle is the best place for him to go to school. Race or academics? [This question was asked by a Caucasian woman.]

I’m greedy. I haven’t done the research. I say both. Community. Informal and formal education. Give him the best education. And find mentors to get both. Black fraternities provide opportunities for African-American students, including those from single-parent homes.

Do you co-present with white colleagues? Is there synergy? [This question was asked by Dr. Daniel, a Caucasian man.]

Yes, [with a broad smile] we complement each other well. We are friends.

“A Day of Prayer: A Day of Celebration,” 29 March 2018

On Thursday, March 29, 2018, Dr. Sam Barfell, Superintendent of Southside Christian School, led a very impactful chapel during Holy Week.  If you would like to read my summary of Dr. Barfell’s unique presentation of Jesus’ last week of life on earth, “A Day of Prayer: A Day of Celebration,” please read on. . . .

“A Day of Prayer: A Day of Celebration”

By Dr. Sam Barfell, Superintendent

Middle School Chapel

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Text:  “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”  (Philippians 2:5)

Summary of Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal

Dr. Sam Barfell, Superintendent, called students to attention, announcing that Pastor Colin Urbanick was with the seniors on their outing, and that he would be facilitating the activities of a special day for prayer and worship during Holy Week.

Dr. Barfell had “asked the Lord to have His Holy Spirit show up like He did during the Middle School Spiritual Life Conference (a few weeks earlier).”

Students would be reading passages of Scripture related to the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The high school praise and worship leaders would be leading us in worship through song as well.  Dr. Barfell asked everyone to be fully engaged in the chapel activities.  He encouraged students to be demonstrative in worship, if they liked, as the Spirit led.  Students shouldn’t worry about the students around them.

Dr. Barfell

This is the day of the Resurrection.  The ladies came to the tomb, looking for the body of Christ.  All of a sudden, an angel was in their presence.  He proclaimed, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He is risen!” (Luke 24:5-6)

Read those final three words with me — with conviction:

[The students and staff did so:]  “HE IS RISEN!”

I want to show you one more thing here in the beginning.

Earlier this week, a parent hunted me down to show me a photograph she had taken after a rain delay of a recent track meet.

[Dr. Barfell projected an image of a rainbow encompassing the entire building!]

That rainbow is perfectly positioned over our campus.  God was saying to Noah [as a representative of humanity] through the rainbow, that he was promising He would never bring a [cataclysmic] flood to his earth again.  That is our promise through Jesus today.  Isn’t that amazing?!  This rainbow represents a first p — promise.

I believe this rainbow also symbolizes a second p — our provision.  God has provided for this school year-after-year-after-year.  He has provided for this school for 50 years.

I ran into a young man and a young woman at a baseball game last week.  They had dated through their Southside Christian high school experience and into college.  They will probably be engaged and marry.  They were both excited about the ways that Southside Christian has influenced them.  Such has been God’s provision for them.

A third p is protection.  God has protected us. That rainbow is a symbol of protection, too.  [The visible Under Armour sign on the fence read, “PROTECT THIS HOUSE.”]

I have asked Middle School Chaplain Jake Evans to read a passage about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry to Jerusalem during what has come to be known as Holy Week.

Matthew 21:1-11 (English Standard Version)

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

5  “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

    humble, and mounted on a donkey,

    on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Footnotes:

  • Matthew 21:5 Or donkey, and on a colt

Upper School Vocal Music Director Fred Barrett (on keyboards and vocals), junior Coby Greene (on percussion), and junior Mary Elizabeth Baumgarten (on guitar and vocals) led the middle school audience in a time of praise and worship in song.

Dr. Barfell

The Jews were looking for their new “king.”  They laid their coats on the ground. They were waving palm branches.  They were singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna!  Hosanna!”

Then things turned quickly.  Jesus knew He would be crucified.  It was an intimate time for Jesus and His disciples at the Passover.  Ninth grader Tad Denney is going to read that passage for you.

Luke 22:14-23 (ESV)

14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it[a] until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.[b] 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

Footnotes:

  • Luke 22:16 Some manuscripts never eat it again
  • Luke 22:20 Some manuscripts omit, in whole or in part, verses 19b-20 (which is given… in my blood)

Dr. Barfell

What an amazing account of their last few minutes together as a group. These men had followed Jesus all over Israel.  This was the night before He was crucified.  There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood.  The Old Testament system was for the shedding of animal blood for the remission of sin.  But, here, Jesus, the precious Lamb of God, would shed His blood.

Mary Elizabeth led the audience through the next praise song.

Dr. Barfell

Mr. Barrett is going to read our next passage.  Jesus knew what was coming.  He was in the Garden with some of His disciples.  In agony, Jesus cried out to God, “if there is any way you can accomplish this, without me shedding blood and dying, please do it, but if this is what you want, Lord, I will do it!”

Luke 22:39-52 (ESV)

39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. 40 And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[a] 45 And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

47 While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant[b] of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?

Footnotes:

  • Luke 22:44 Some manuscripts omit verses 43 and 44
  • Luke 22:50 Or bondservant

Dr. Barfell

Amazing words of Jesus, as He suffered in the Garden. We’re going to sing a song called “Man of Sorrows.”

Mr. Barrett led the singing of “What a Savior.”

Dr. Barfell

Mary Elizabeth is going to read the amazing account of Jesus hanging on the cross, making the ultimate sacrifices for you and for me.

Matthew 27:32-56 (ESV)

32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

45 Now from the sixth hour[a] there was darkness over all the land[b] until the ninth hour.[c] 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son[d] of God!”

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Footnotes:

  • Matthew 27:45 That is, noon
  • Matthew 27:45 Or earth
  • Matthew 27:45 That is, 3 p.m.
  • Matthew 27:54 Or a son

Dr. Barfell

Jesus died.  He said, “It is finished.”  And He gave up His Spirit.  He gave up his life.  He did that for you and me.

We know the end of the story.  Jesus conquered death!  Why did He go through all of that?!

Romans 10:9-10 tells us what we must do.

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

9 . . .if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

We are saved from eternal damnation!  We are made right before God.  With our mouths, we profess our faith.  We are saved from eternal separation from God.

Bow your heads and close your eyes right now.  I don’t want you to be distracted.  Here are the questions.  “Do I believe with my heart that God can raise me from the dead?  Have I confessed with my mouth that I have faith in Jesus’ actions on my part?  Am I saved?  Have I believed and confessed that way?

We want to live in obedience and faith.  That happened me as a 16-year-old in high school.  I want to lead us in a prayer.  If you believe these truths in your heart, repeat this prayer silently with me — everyone in this room.

Father, I know and I believe you sent your son Jesus to die for me.  I know and believe He rose from the dead.  I trust in that in my heart.  Now, today, I confess with my mouth that I have faith in Jesus Christ.  I know that Jesus is my only hope for relationship with you and eternity with you.  I give that prayer to you, believing you have done what you said you did.  I confess to the glory of God.  Amen.

If you have prayed that prayer before, raise your hand.  Many hands are up [in the middle school chapel and high school chapel].  [Praise God!!!] Thank you.

If this is the first time you have prayed that prayer, raise your hand.  [A few hands went up during both the middle school chapel and high school chapel!  Praise the Lord!] Thank you.  Thank you.

Father, I just pray that Your Gospel would transform us — that we will believe in our heart and confess with our mouths that Jesus is Savior.  Thank you for so many who have prayed that prayer today.  Thank you for those who prayed that prayer for the first time!!

Junior Class Chaplain Josh Boyle, come and read the conclusion of the narrative.

Luke 24:1-12 (ESV)

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Dr. Barfell

We’re going to close in prayer.

Leave in a spirit of worship.  If you prayed that prayer for the very first time, your assignment is to tell me, Dr. Stouffer, or one of your teachers.  You are a new creature in Christ.  We want to help you live in obedience to God’s Word.  Tell someone, so we can pray with you.

Dr. Barfell prayed to close the chapel. 

“ACSI Day of Prayer,” 29 March 2018

Southside Christian School is an accredited member school of the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), THE largest professional organization of Christian schools in the world.  Dr. Stephen Reel is the predecessor of Dr. Sam Barfell as Superintendent of Southside Christian.  Dr. Reel is now in upper-level leadership of ACSI. 

Dr. Reel has asked ALL of the Christian schools around the world to pray without ceasing on Thursday, March 29, 2018.  Dr. Barfell has asked all of the administrators and teachers to organize as many prayer activities as possible for this day. 

On this day, SCS Lower School Assistant Principal Sherri Broyles and I will be representing Southside Christian at an event organized by Dr. Reel.  We will be joining numerous regional Christian school educators and students at a prayer, praise, and worship event at Bethlehem Christian Academy in Bethlehem, Georgia (about 2 hours from Greenville, South Carolina).  

This event — broadcast live from 1:00-2:30 p.m. E.S.T.  — will feature Southside Christian School’s own Aaron Keyes, who has had a significant impact on this generation of praise and worship leaders in the United States and the world.   

Please be at prayer for Christian education, Christian schools around the globe, and Southside Christian School, in particular.  

If you would like to read the prayer I prayed over the Upper School staff and students during morning announcements today (Thursday, March 29, 2018), please read on. . . .

ACSI Day of Prayer

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A Prayer Prayed by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal

Southside Christian School

Simpsonville, South Carolina

U.S.A.

Today, Christian schools all over the world have been called by our professional organization, ACSI, to pray. So we will pray.

Please close your eyes, bow your heads, and pray with me.

Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You for Christian education. We thank You for Christian schools. We thank You for Southside Christian.

Thank You that we can be a part of a world-wide movement of prayer today.

God, prepare this generation of students to be leaders in a great revival!

You can show us how to ignite spiritual passion among the students of this school.

First, let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith!

I pray we hunger and thirst with desire to become more like Jesus every day.

God, all of life is about you — Your righteousness, Your power, Your wisdom, Your will, Your glory.

Strip us of our egos. Give us humility. Bring us broken to You.

I pray that we hate sin. More importantly, cause us to hate our own sin. Help us to confess our sin.

Your Word says that our confession will be met with Your faithfulness and justice and forgiveness and cleansing of all our our unrighteousness.

We offer our thanks for every blessing in our lives, including the opportunity to worship openly in our country, in our state, in our city, in our school. We do not take that privilege for granted in our Christian school.

We are the body of Christ lifting up our voices to you today around the globe, God.

Thank You for Jesus.

Thank You for His birth.

Thank You for His sinless life.

Thank You for his willingness to absorb Your wrath for the sin of all eternity.

Thank You for His substitutionary death on the cross.

Thank You for Christ’s Resurrection!

Thank You for giving everlasting life to all of us who call Jesus Lord and Savior of our lives.

We are so grateful, God.

Help us to show our gratitude by laying down our own lives, taking up our crosses daily, and following You wherever You take us.

Show us new vigor on this Easter Sunday, when we celebrate this Resurrected King who is resurrecting us!

In the name of the strong name of Jesus we pray!

Amen!

I have one final comment:  My wife Cheryl has created a really cool t-shirt.  She and my 5-year-old granddaughter Gracelynn used sidewalk chalk to adorn our front driveway yesterday with the quote from her t-shirt.  The quote describes Easter as “THE BEST DAY EVER!”  Is that not true?!  Is not Easter THE BEST DAY EVER?!!  Indeed!  Until Jesus comes again, there will NEVER be a more important day for all of humanity.  Today, I praise God for our salvation, which came as a result of the birth, sinless life, death, and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

Amen?!

AMEN, AMEN, AMEN!

HALLELUJAH!

HE IS RISEN!

“The Learning Pathway: Part 1”

During devotions on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Southside Christian School Campus Pastor Colin Urbanick presented information to the Upper School staff members about disciple-making. If you would like to read my summary of Pastor Colin’s material, “The Learning Pathway: Part 1,” please read on. . . .

“The Learning Pathway: Part 1”

By Pastor Colin Urbanick

Southside Christian School

Upper School Staff Devotions

Fine Arts Center

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal

Good morning. Welcome to Tuesday morning devotions. I have the opportunity to present information on discipling students, as we continue to work to become an even more vibrant disciple-making school.

Students are searching for who they are. As influencers, we need to anchor them into who God says they are, and whom He desires them to be in Him. I see so many of you do this so well and so often.

Let me pray, and we’ll dive in.

Thank you, Father, for your work in our lives. You’re continuing to make us more like You. Be with me, Father. Be with the leaders in this room, amazing educators who can help students know You more intimately. May this be a fruitful time, as we hear your Word. Amen.

I want to introduce “The Learning Pathway.”

[Pastor Colin projected the following PowerPoint slide:  Disciple = Mathetes = Learner]

Disciples practiced what their teachers modeled for them. That Greek word, “mathetes,” means “learner.”

When we talk about learning, we often refer to knowing “about” God, versus “knowing” God. Learners and disciplers are learners “of God.” We want our students to know Him.

How did Jesus help his disciples learn?

He started with “information.” It’s a very important part of the process. Western culture does this really well. We’re good at informing. So many podcasts are available. Information alone cannot typically result in us “knowing” God, though. We’re doing an amazing job about information at Southside Christian.

I have a quick video of Francis Chan, who plays a little fun with this:

When I was a kid, we used to play a game called “Simon Says.” It was a simple game. We did what we were told to do.  The church studies and memorizes.  In the church, Jesus says this is a very different game. Jesus says we need to go out and actually make disciples. We memorize how to make disciples. Why do we think we’re going to come before the judge, quoting everything He said, rather than making disciples?

Francis Chan is poking fun at our culture. But information is essential, because we have to “know” before we can “do.”

“Imitation” comes next in The Learning Pathway. This is best described as apprenticeship. This is where we are positioned so well as a school. We get to spend hours every day with students. We have 180 days with these kids. We interact with them. They see the good days. They see the bad days and everything in-between.

In The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a lot of information. Then, His disciples saw Him living-out these ideas. Paul said, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.”

Are our lives worth imitating? We want our students to imitate us.

[The bell for the close of devotions rang.]

Let me pray us out at this cliff-hanger. We’ll finish this material after spring break.

[Pastor Colin prayed to close the devotions.]

Amen!

Have a great rest of your day!

 

“Are You Sure You Know What You Want?”

On Sunday, March 25, 2018, Eastside Presbyterian Church Lead Pastor Mark Auffarth preached one of the best sermons I have ever heard him deliver. If you would like to read my summary of that message, “Are You Sure You Know What You Want?” please read on. . .

“Are You Sure You Know What You Want?”

By Pastor Mark Auffarth

Eastside Presbyterian Church

Greenville, South Carolina

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Quote of the Week:

“You become a hypocrite when you can’t freely be at peace with others, but you can carry green palm leaves to church to commemorate ‘Palm Sunday’! Throw those palm leaves somewhere, and lay your life down for someone to walk on!” (Israelmore Ayivor)

Passage of the Week — Luke 19:28-42 (English Standard Version) —

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

Summary of and Editorializing by Bob Stouffer

Anne and I had a wonderful trip to Israel and Turkey. What a privilege to be at Mildred’s wedding with the entire clan. We were able to see the places where Jesus walked, giving me new spiritual insights.

This is Palm Sunday when we commemorate Jesus coming into Jerusalem for the week prior to his crucifixion, death, and Resurrection, but, before we do that, let’s pray to lift the name of Jesus, for spiritual wisdom, for the one who preaches, for he sins. Forgive his sins. May You be you be lifted up, Jesus. Amen.

Life was hard in the First Century. Most people were farmers. Some, fisherman. The farmers planted crops for themselves and a little to sell at the market. They were at the mercy of weather. Many ran after Baal, the rain God. Such was a temptation for the Israelites. The disparity between the wealthy and the poor was large. There was a modest middle class of tradesmen, but the vast number of people were farmers and fisherman.

Women married young — as early as 14. They cooked and tended houses, took care of kids, and did the laundry. Infant mortality was very high. They lost many children because of childhood diseases. On top of all of that, the Romans taxed 50 percent of what they made, making their lives almost impossible.

Here came Jesus. He was a man of the people. He loved them. He did way more than that. He healed their diseases. He cast out demons. He healed the lame. He fed them. He was the answer to all of their problems; with Him, they had hopes and dreams.

Things were heating up in Israel. Jesus had been ministering for 3 years. Jesus was hated by the religious leaders. He was teaching things which they did not believe. He had strange practices on the Sabbath. He was equating Himself with God. This Jesus — this Savior — was going to save the people — and perhaps even take off the Roman tax.

Was he the Messiah who would take the country back and usher in a time of peace in Israel, so the country was the center of the world? They wanted to make him King.

Bethany was not very far from the Mount of Olives. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. At the Mount, people rushed out of the city to meet Him. They screamed, “Blessed is He who comes in the way of the Lord!!” The Pharisees wanted the people to stop saying He was the Messiah. Jesus responded, “If they don’t cry out, the very rocks will cry out.”

The people thought Jesus was going to set Himself up as King. They had the right person but the wrong belief. Was Jesus the Messiah? Yes, He was. But not the kind of Messiah they sought. They wanted to be freed from the challenges of their lives. They got Jesus wrong.

How about us? Are we so different from these people? Our lives are characterized by anxiety, stress, busy-ness. We don’t think Jesus is listening to us. We wander around like orphans in the world. We don’t know if Jesus is here. We’re hardly experiencing the abundant life He promised in His Word. Has the abundant life been your experience? A life full of joy?

As I said, we just got back from Mildred’s wedding. Mildred grew up in our church. She sensed the call of God to the mission field. She is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. She just got married. When she gave her testimony here in December, she talked about how joyful her husband was, in spite of his circumstances. Converted people in his country are disowned by their families. She commented on his constant joy. His response? “Isn’t that normal for a Christian?”

Is it? It’s a good question.

We have joy sometimes, but, when our circumstances go wrong, the first thing that goes is our joy. Perhaps I should speak for myself. But I think it’s this way for our culture. We have been “trained” by our culture in this.

What does Mildred’s husband have that we don’t have? He expects for life to be hard, and for there to be great difficulties. Joy comes from what Jesus has done for you. This is the promise of the Gospel. Have we lost sight of what the Gospel really is?

The Apostle Paul suffered greatly for Jesus. He was a Pharisee. He knew the law. But everything was a “loss” compared to knowing Jesus. All of those things were “rubbish” compared to the righteousness which comes through faith in Jesus. He had obtained resurrection from the dead!

We don’t want to suffer. What does it mean to share in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering. Suffering is what He did, too.

We have bought into the culture’s definition of suffering — which is to say that we want to avoid it. Suffering is bad. This earthly life is all we have, the culture says. That is a product of the “Enlightenment.”

A man specializing in leprosy wrote a book, GIFT OF PAIN. He asserted that Americans seek to avoid pain at all costs. We are not equipped to deal with suffering. There is no purpose for suffering if this world is all we have. In Mildred’s husband’s country, you’ve got to count the cost of being a believer, and you know that life will be hard.

But there is a purpose to suffering.

The people who greeted Jesus on Palm Sunday saw Him as a way of alleviating their pain.

Why do you go to Jesus?

Is it to relieve your suffering?

God may not remove the source of suffering, but you can’t believe God does not care for you.

Most of the Psalms were borne in difficulty. Most of the epistles were written in prison. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress in jail. Christians have suffered acutely throughout the centuries. But they have also accomplished great things when they are in the fire.

James told us to persevere through trials, maturing and not lacking in anything.

Some of you are angry at God, because you can’t get through the suffering.

Morgan Washick made a brilliant insight to me lately. You can see through winter much clearer during the bleakness. We’re left with whether we believe in Jesus and His promises, or not?1

Suffering has a purifying and clarifying effect on our lives.

I present no easy answers for suffering or pain.

I want simply to present Jesus to you. He was not immune to suffering. He came to suffer. Jesus loved His people, and He came to suffer for them. His people had lost their way. He came to suffer for their sins. There is no other religion which teaches about a personal God, who, out of His love for people, would die for them.

We can’t measure up. He did this for us! What kind of God is like this?

Jesus teaches that joy and hardship are not mutually exclusive. He was rejected by some of the very people who praised Him on this Palm Sunday. God poured out His wrath on His Son. There is no other God like this.

This makes sense. When you push on darkness, darkness is going to push back. The crowd misunderstood who He was.

He wept over Jerusalem. What would grant them peace?

Do we have the right person but wrong reason?

Are you trying to avoid suffering at all costs?! He can make your faith shine through the suffering!! Are you asking Jesus to thwart His plan for you?!!

What is He asking of you? He’s asking you to set down your desire for relief from suffering. He is asking us to lay down our lives, so others can trample on us for His sake.

We can do this. God the Father will not trample on us. He trampled on His Son for us!

To embrace our difficult circumstances is to see Jesus in them. We must throw ourselves in service to Jesus with reckless abandon.

Jesus loves us. He is with us. He wants to use our suffering. He promises to walk with us.

There is a joy which comes from us embracing suffering. This is not about seeking suffering. When we follow Jesus, suffering is going to happen. He promised He would be with us, and we should live our lives accordingly. There is no other religion which promises this paradigm of suffering. The way down is the way up. The more we lay down our lives for Jesus, we are lifted up.

America is all about “my rights.” Christianity is about giving up rights and being willing to suffer for Jesus.

You won’t find lasting peace and joy in your family, in science, in anything temporal. All temporal things will go away. Everything will die. Christianity promises you will find joy in Jesus and his promise of the Kingdom to come.

This is the promise of Christianity.

This is the Jesus in Whom we believe.

We are obsessed with getting rid of our difficulties.

We must give these difficulties to Jesus and see what He can do with them.

This is the fabric of our culture that surrounds us. We avoid conflict with others we see — people who are obviously “drowning” in their sin — because we are fearful that we will be rejected.

Martyrs down through the centuries have given us inspiration. In the third century, 40 Christian soldiers were a part of the Imperial Roman Army. An edict came down to sacrifice to pagan gods. These soldiers said they could not do so. They were stripped of their clothes in freeing temperatures. They would renounce Christ or die. Warm water was within sight, if they would renounce Christ. In the cold, the men huddled together. They fell to the ice — dead — one-by-one. Forty bodies. All died for Christ.

Brothers and sisters, we do not face this kind of persecution, but we have been trying to hold onto our comfort and avoid suffering.

Are you willing to give your suffering for the One Who suffered for you?

That’s the Gospel.

And the Gospel changes everything

“Internet Safety for Teens”

On Friday, March 23, 2018, a deputy from the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office made presentations on appropriate student social media use to the middle school students and the high school students of Southside Christian School. If you would like to read my summary of the special assembly, please read on. . . .

“Internet Safety for Teens”

By the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department Southside Christian School Simpsonville, South Carolina Friday, March 23, 2018

Summary of and Editorializing by Dr. Bob Stouffer, Upper School Principal

Vivian Welkner, Dean of Women, welcomed the students and parents to the assembly.

Mrs. Welkner prayed to begin each assembly.

Mrs. Welkner introduced the Deputies who were in attendance on this day.

Deputy Mike Bryan

Today, we’re going to talk to you about social media and how to stay out of legal trouble with social media.

Unfortunately, students don’t understand the permanence of inappropriate social media use.

These issues can follow you for the rest of your life. Colleges and prospective employers will look at your social media history. Something you do now — done inappropriately — can have an impact on important decisions of your lives. We ask prospective deputies if I will find any inappropriate material on their social media sites. Colleges weed people out by evaluating your social media presence. We can dig stuff up electronically that you think has disappeared.

Risky behaviors include

  • Mean or rude messages,
  • Sharing inappropriate photos,
  • Talking about adult subjects, and
  • Visiting adult sites.

Inappropriate content on social media includes

  • Drinking and drug use,
  • Hate speech,
  • Lewd or offensive gestures,
  • Profanity,
  • Revealing or suggestive images, and
  • Threats.

You could narrow your life track by posting certain images and ideas.

We just worked a case at Mauldin High School; we dragged a student out of bed yesterday morning.

Two Kinds of Stupid (a video)

Eduardo was a good kid, student, and swimmer. Recruiters for college swimming programs were talking to him. He went to a party. There was drinking. Eduardo took photographs. He had “too much fun.” He got “really dumb” and posted the pictures to his social media page. “It’s what everybody does.” Everyone saw the images. He was called to the principal’s office. His swimming coach was disappointed. He had violated the schools code of conduct. Zero tolerance meant he was off the team, he was suspended, and “goodbye scholarships.” Other students got called into the principal’s office as well. It was one mistake after another.

The party results in bad consequences. Everyone will be charged at those parties. If you post pictures, that brings an entirely different set of consequences. You’ll be guilty by association; if you’re holding a red solo cup in the photographs, you’ll be in trouble.

I am in “absolute possession” of my phone when it is on my person. If you get pulled over in a car with drugs or alcohol, you will all be charged with possession, even if you are not in absolute possession. If you see alcohol and drugs, you should call and report it. Option 2 is to leave the situation.

When I was in college, a friend of mine wanted to go to a rave with a girl he really liked. They got in the car for the drive from Clemson to Spartanburg. A passenger rolled-up a marijuana cigarette. My friend asked them to get rid of it. He asked to get out. They pulled over. He got out. Wise decision. Don’t get tied-up in these messes.

Your best decision is to not take pictures.

You have to ask yourself what will happen when such photographs are posted.

Who might I hurt?

Do I like what this says about me?

Could this get me into trouble?

How could this impact my future?

Would the adults in my life think this is appropriate?

You are a screen shot away from very serious trouble.

Zero tolerance means that, at the end of the day, the rules apply to you, and you will be gone. In this situation, you can be removed from this school. All of the opportunity here, and all of the money your parents have invested in this school, will be all gone.

When you’re older, you can lose scholarships. You can lose a job. There’s not way to get those scholarships and jobs back.

People make posts about social and political issues. What you say in those posts can get you into a lot of trouble. Relationships end over such disagreements.

Online information can spread quickly. People post way too much information, i.e., passwords, home address, home and cell phone numbers, location, and e-mail address.

When we work undercover, we extricate the identities of people who would do you harm. We can figure out who you are pretty quickly.

Pinterest is the worst offender with this issue. People tend to be more honest on the “innocent apps.” A quick search of user names can lead to you, because you are using the same names on other social media.

Have a different password for each account.

Use privacy settings.

Remember who your friends are. If you can’t put your hand on the shoulder of the person, don’t be a “friend” on social media. It’s probably a creepy old guy in a basement, trolling for students like you.

Limit access to your location.

Look for the lock symbol or https.

Don’t share others’ personal information.

Don’t share passwords.

Sexting

If we didn’t have our phones, we’d be in so much less trouble.

Sexting is the absolute reality what students are going through today.

Phones and apps are huge temptations for you.

You think these images are temporary, but that’s not true. We can pull information from Snapchat. The data is still on your phone and on servers. It’s still there. That information can be retrieved. I can’t tell you how many kids are Snapchatting “private” images, but the images are being distributed widely. We are working a case with 17 victims on music.ly right now. We’re tracking girls down all over the U.S.

The Photo Fate (a video)

Officer Bryan voiced over the video with the following scenario:

Do you send a sext?

What happens when you don’t send it? Nothing. Life goes on.

What if you say yes?

Will the receiver show it to his friends? Yeah, he’s going to show his friends.

Is he going to send it to his friends? Yes. Boys have no honor.

Boys and girls are doing the same thing.

People will promise “not to send it to anybody.” But it’s too late.

The images spread to countless devices.

Don’t let others decide where your posts end up. Think before you post.

That’s a little unnerving, isn’t it? It’s creepy, right?!

These two rows of students, please stand up. Here’s a math example. Here are 20 people representing the entire population of social media-using people. This applies to adults and kids. These people have taken a photograph of themselves and sent it to people. How much of 20 is 85%? 17. You three people sit down. 20 people sent out an inappropriate picture. 17 of them made it out to the general distribution of the Internet from a “private” distribution. 85% of those pictures will make it out to the Internet and child pornographers and others spreading the images across the Internet. Those are staggering numbers. That’s why we have the issue of children self-exploiting.

I can make a profile as a “14-year-old” boy. I ask a girl for inappropriate pictures. That’s what kids do. I send them to my buddies. Boyfriends and girlfriends send pictures. They break up. Girls and boys send the pictures to their friends to blast each other. Boys send pictures as “trophies.” Girls send pictures because they’re mad. People will look to exploit you because of those photographs. They’ll trade images on social media message boards.

Don’t take images of yourself that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.

Don’t forward anyone else’s image.

Don’t ask or pressure anyone to share an image.

Talk to an adult.

Don’t take the picture in the first place. Nothing will happen.

Lustful people will only seek to exploit you. That’s not the relationship you should be looking for. That’s a huge red flag. You can’t build a solid relationship on lust.

What now, if this has happened to you?

Tell someone.

File a complaint with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Department. Don’t destroy the images. We need the data for reports and prosecution.  Include your age.  Them us the images were posted without your consent.

[Due to time constraints, the high school assembly ended here.]

Recently, a girl in Greenville was reaching out to a young man who said he lived in Texas. He threatened to send out all of the nude photographs and videos she had made for him unless she “stayed in the relationship.” She got scared. She went to her mom. They made a report. We started to track-down the boy. All of her videos were up on Instagram. The images were blasted-out to the entire school. Everyone in the school saw her naked and acting inappropriately. We couldn’t stop it. We contacted Instagram. They agreed to help us.  The boy was actually in Mexico City. I could do something in Texas, but I couldn’t do anything in Mexico. Drug cartels are the bigger issue, and they can’t help us. This guy still had all of these images, putting them on the Internet. Fortunately, he is now leaving her alone, but there’s nothing which says he won’t do it again. He can show other girls that he can do this to them in the same way he exploited the girl in Greenville.

In short, don’t bully people.

Do you I know the story of Amanda Todd? People were bullying Amanda.

Video

She had posted images of herself on social media. She posted inappropriate pictures. She got a private message. This first boy knew her address, schools, etc. The inappropriate pictures were on his social media profile. She was in despair. She became a pariah. People called her names. A guy reached out to her. He said he wanted to be her boyfriend. He actually already had a girlfriend; they and their friends assaulted her physically. She felt she was a “joke to the whole world.” She wanted to die. She drank bleach. “It killed me inside,” she said. Students bullied her online. The posts wondered why she wanted to live. “I’m stuck. What’s left?” were her words. “I have nobody. I need somebody. My name is Amanda Todd.”

[15-year-old Amanda Todd took her own life.  https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-story-of-amanda-todd]

Bullying used to take more courage face-to-face. Now, all you have to do is post, and post, and post, and share. Boom. It’s gone. The bullied person believes the entire world is against him or her. Psychologically, it’s very difficult to resist. Protect yourself by not responding to the bullies. Block the bullies. Most importantly, tell someone immediately.

[Southside Christian Upper School has purchased an phone app, which is also accessible through a website.  The app is STOP!T.  The school will be releasing the information for students to be able to report bullying to our leadership team.  Update: We are holding off on making this information available, after discovering mostly negative reviews of the app use.  Stay tuned.]

The school can step in and stop things right away before someone hurts themselves.

If you see someone being bullied, step in and let them know you are a friend. They are, then, not alone. Reach out. Don’t bully. Report it when you see it. Be the bigger person.

When you take a picture of yourself, as a child or adult, it is unlawful to produce child pornography. Bare breasts, genitalia, and buttocks even with thong underwear is child pornography. We will charge kids. The sex offender registry lasts forever — for the rest of your life. That applies if you possess nude images. Get that stuff off your phone today. If you manufacture the pictures, that’s a First Degree crime, carrying the highest penalty. Major, major, major penalties. At the age of 17, you can be charged with any crime.

You have been warned. I have just mass-warned you. If I come back to your school, there will be penalties.

Thank you very much for your attention, everyone.

After the middle school assembly, Mrs. Welkner encouraged the students not to live in fear of getting in trouble. “Follow the Lord, and you will have nothing to worry about,” she said.

After the middle school assembly, Mr. Mason prayed Scripture and encouraged students to live Christ-minded lives.

After the assembly, the officers recommended Netsmartz as a good online resource.

Small Group Questions, 22 March 2018

On Thursday, March 22, 2018, middle school groups and high school groups met for the entire chapel period.  If you would like to consider the same questions suggested for discussion by the groups, please read on. . . .

Middle School and High School / Warming Up:
1. If you were president, what is the first thing that you would do?
2. Who is someone in your life that you trust? Why?
3. What is one highlight of the week?
4. What is one lowlight of the week?

Middle School / Digging Deeper: 
Take some time as a group to review what was talked about during the Middle School Spiritual Life Conference.  What were some of Jonny Mac’s main points that you can remember?
Think back to the MS SLC.  What was one highlight from that day?
What were some “next steps” for you to live out what you learned at SLC?
What would it look like for you to start making God’s name great?
How would you finish the following sentence: “God is Great because
__________.” Why did you say that?
What are reasons you feel held back to not do His work?
Have a few students pray out your time together

High School / Digging Deeper: 

1. Take some time as a group to review what was talked about during the High School Spiritual Life Conference.  What were some of Nathan Forrest’s main points that you can remember?
2. Think back to SLC.  What was one of your highlights from that day?
3. What were some “next steps” for you to live out what heard or were challenged by?
4. What are some ways that you would describe God (characteristics not physical
traits)?  If possible, have students answer, why?
5. How have you seen Christians respond poorly to the brokenness/sin in this
world?
6. How have you seen Christians respond well to the brokenness/sin in this world?
7. Discuss the following quote: “Christ’s church is not a storehouse to gather people
for preaching or for worship services. It is not a values club offering programs to
teach people about good character qualities. It is not a social club for us to
discover good friends and fellowship. All these can be valid outcomes of the
Church’s working, but they cannot and should not be the Church’s ultimate
purpose. Our purpose is simply for every member of Christ’s Church to live the
gospel in whatever place God calls us.”  (Dwight Smith)
8. What would you say our “vocation” is as Christians?
9. Pray together (maybe have a few students lead) as a group that you would
continue to see what God’s calling is on the individual lives in your group.