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“Add to Your Faith”

by: Dr. LAws Rushing

Our theme this year is “add to your faith” from II Peter 1: 3- 11. Faith is, undoubtedly, the foundation in beginning a relationship with God. Faith is a dynamic reality that consists of knowledge and trust in the nature and character of God. The Hebrew writer describes faith as “evidence of things not seen” and the impossibility of pleasing God without it (Hebrews 11:1-6). Our knowledge of God is more than a cerebral experience but a personal and authentic relationship. It consists of trust and confidence in His very person. Proverbs declares, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart!”

Faith is a powerful catalyst that moves the believer in the direction of God which is creative and good. The Apostle Peter counsels that our faith grows into beautiful expressions such as virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. Please join us on our journey of dynamic faith. Our lives are not called to spiritual stagnation and mediocrity but transformative growth in sanctification. “Add to your Faith!”

6 Mistakes to Avoid During your Senior Year + College Prep Checklist
 


Senior year can be stressful. You want to make the most of the time you have left with your friends and have a rich social life, but there are so many things that have to be done to prepare for college that life can begin to feel overwhelming. You’re worried you won’t make the right college decision or that you won’t enjoy your major.

TAKE A DEEP BREATH! Everything will be ok, I promise!

It’s my job, as the College and Career Advisor, to walk you through the college planning process step-by-step. Together, we will find answers to all of your questions and check each item off your College Planning To-Do List. One of the great advantages of being a senior at RCA is that you have a small class, so I am easily accessible to you and your parents for questions and concerns.

In this blog, you will find a College Planning To-Do List and a list of common mistakes to avoid. I have refined both of these lists over the last eight years to give you and your parents a road map that is broken down into manageable action steps for each season of your senior year.

We can do this...together!

Mistakes to Avoid during your Senior Year:

- Worrying about the Future/Not Being Present in the moment - Do not get caught up in worrying about your college decision, your field of study, scholarships, etc... Take this year one step at a time. Follow the College Planning To-Do List, give your maximum effort to everything you put your hand to, and pray for guidance from the Lord. Your two main jobs this year are to 1.) get ready for college, and 2.) make tons of great memories with your friends and family as you close this chapter of your life. Focus on present events. Worrying about the future can be hurtful because it causes unnecessary stress.

“Your Heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” ~ Matthew 6:32-34

-Senioritis - It happens to the best of students. Senioritis is an “affliction” that plagues students in their last year of high school. This “affliction” is characterized by a decline in motivation. Even the most ambitious students can lose interest in their studies and start a bad habit of procrastination as the year progresses. Keep your goals in mind. You can do this...finish strong!

“Lazy people want much but get little,  but those who work hard will prosper.” ~ Proverbs 13:4

- Burning Out - Senior year can be stressful. You will have difficult classes, the ACT, sports, work, clubs/organizations, college applications, spring formal, the list goes on and on! You must prioritize and organize to keep from burning out! Begin keeping a planner now! Break your to-do list down into manageable chunks. Mark items off your list as you finish them; this will give you direction, and a sense of accomplishment!

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” ~ Proverbs 21:5

-Not Using Your Resources - Your teachers and I are willing to help you with anything! We want to see you succeed, but we don’t know how to help if you don’t ask. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to review your resume or scholarship application, write a recommendation letter, or help you understand a financial aid packet. Email me with any questions or concerns: whitney.creasy@rcaknights.org

-Lack of Attention to Detail - The small things matter! Pay attention to the details, from deadlines to instructions, spelling, grammar, and handwriting on all of your admission and scholarship applications. The small details are what make the difference sometimes between one scholarship application and another. Make a habit of checking your work before hastily turning it in.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” ~ Colossians 3:23

-Don’t Forget to Have Fun! - Your senior year will be packed with applications, deadlines, and other commitments. Work on managing your time. If you can master this skill, you will have less stress and more time for the fun things! It is your last year in high school; enjoy the moment, make memories with your friends, and get involved. Work hard, play hard!

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” ~ Proverbs 17:22
 

College Planning To-Do List
FALL 2022 (AUGUST - NOVEMBER)
 

You should have a general idea what field you would like to work in, and then begin compiling a list of your top 3 to 5 schools that offer the degree you need to get a job. There are many free career aptitude testing options online that students can consult. I suggest that a community college should be on everyone’s top 3 to 5 school list.

Compile a resume that includes all of your extracurricular activities, work experience, community service/volunteer work, and awards and honors. Sometimes college applications will ask you to include a resume, but this will mostly be a huge time saver when you begin applying for scholarships. Most scholarship applications ask you to list all of these items; if you have your resume saved on your computer, filling out applications will be a lot less work...hello copy and paste! Click here for an easy resume template gallery on Google docs.

Create an account on www.fastweb.com to begin receiving notifications about national scholarships that you are eligible to apply for. Schedule time each week to check your fastweb account and work on scholarship applications. Do not get bogged down with fastweb. Just schedule an hour or so each week to work these applications.

Visit your prospective colleges to get a feel for the campus. All juniors and seniors have three pre-approved college visit days per year. Fill out a student leave request in the office before scheduling your college visits. Be sure to ask the admissions counselor about the application process, financial aid, admissions requirements, and deadlines.

Register to take the ACT! October is your last chance for many scholarship opportunities. Contact the schools you are considering enrolling in and ask if they require the writing test for admission. More and more colleges and universities are requiring the writing test for admission. 

Pay attention to college application and scholarship deadlines! Deadlines usually begin around November 1; therefore, I encourage everyone to apply to the schools they are interested in attending by Halloween. Also make sure that all required documents (transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc...) for admission and/or scholarship opportunities are sent on time. REMEMBER, just because you are accepted to a school doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve completed the scholarship application. Your admissions application makes you eligible for scholarship opportunities at some colleges, but others require separate applications for admission and scholarships. 

All Tennessee residents need to apply for the Tennessee Promise! The application will go live on August 1 and the deadline to apply is November 1. It is important to apply even if you do not think you will attend community college or technical school. TN Promise is the ultimate Plan B because it is FREE!

Fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA is your application for all federal student assistance. It is also your application for the Tennessee HOPE scholarship. Be sure that you include all of the schools that you have applied to on your FAFSA school list. This is important because it will hold up your financial aid packets if you do not. All Tennessee Promise applicants must have their FAFSA completed by February 1, 2021. I will schedule a FAFSA night with our Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation representative for anyone who would like guidance when filling out the application. Stay tuned for the date and time!

Remember to STUDY!


WINTER 2022 - 2023 (DECEMBER - FEBRUARY)


Make sure the college admission process is complete (all required documents have been received, entrance essays have been written, and interviews have been scheduled).

All Tennessee Promise applicants will have to attend two mandatory “team meetings”. The first meeting is in December and the second meeting is in the Spring. Keep an eye on the TN Achieves website for dates and times.

Continue the hunt for scholarships through fastweb.

I will begin passing out applications for local scholarships as soon as I receive them (January or February). I encourage everyone to fill out all scholarship applications that they are eligible for. It’s a good idea to invest in a planner if you do not already have one to keep track of all of the local scholarship deadlines.

Remember to STUDY!

SPRING 2022 (MARCH - MAY)


All Tennessee Promise applicants will have a mandatory team meeting and/or a webinar in the Spring. Keep an eye on the TN Achieves website for dates and times.

Once you have received all of your responses from colleges, make your final decision. Accept the financial aid you’ve been offered and pay your tuition deposit (if your school requires this step.)

Continue applying for scholarships.

Meet your school’s housing deadlines.

Be sure to notify the College & Career Advisor of all scholarships that you receive for the Senior Recognition Day and the Graduation section in the newspaper.

Remember to STUDY!

Be fitted for your cap and gown.

Mail out your graduation invitations.

Have a blast at your last Spring Formal and on the Senior Trip!

Make sure there are no holds on your records. RCA holds transcripts and diplomas if you owe money, fail to turn in an athletic uniform, etc...

Before graduation, fill out a transcript request form for your final transcript to be sent to the college you are attending.

Participate in Senior Recognition Day (May 12, 2023), Baccalaureate (May 14, 2023), and Graduation (May 18, 2023)!


 

Socrates famously exclaimed, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” Riverside Christian Academy is ready to ignite the hearts and minds of our students this year! Our school remains committed to our families, who have busy professional lives and prioritized faith. It is so exciting to welcome back all our students to RCA! We hope that everyone had a great summer with relaxation and fun. We look forward to seeing you for orientation on the evening of August 1st. We will be sharing important information and delicious ice cream! Our classes will commence August 3rd. 

Riverside Christian Academy’s enrollment is up from last year and we have added a new pre-school class for two-year olds. We heard from many families needing this added resource in our community, and we have answered the call to assist in early childcare education. The High School has added a Rhetoric class, in addition to Philosophy, interjecting classical pedagogic elements into our curriculum. Rhetoric offers intentional opportunities for self-expression and speech to cultivate this needed skill in academia and future professions. The High School has also added a Cultural Studies and Geography class introducing students to the social richness and diversity within our world, enabling them for success in a global economy and higher education.

RCA is going to add a jumbotron to our beautiful gym. The school is so thankful for our initial sponsors, Bank of Lincoln County and Shoney’s and their major contributions to this project. It will be an amazing addition to the sporting experience and an audio-visual medium for assemblies and extracurricular activities. We will be offering advertisement opportunities for local businesses and community partners.

We have developed a program with Freed-Hardeman University that began with 32 hours of college credit during high school at no additional, out-of- pocket, expense for our families. We have now expanded the partnership to become a pilot program called “Pioneer.” RCA will be collaborating with the university on many levels creating new synergy for both schools to the benefit of our students.  This will include, new teacher and administration resources and research through the Bobbie Solley Center of Excellence in Teaching. We also look forward to offering our students more resources and coaching in High School as they begin the journey to their professional lives. 

Our theme this year is “Add to Your Faith.” It is taken from II Peter 1: 5-8, which states, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We look forward to the many spiritual lessons expounding on cultivating a spirit of personal growth in the Kingdom of God. 

We look forward to kindling the fire of intellectual curiosity and passion for Christ. One of the students’ favorite songs is “Light the Fire.” It is so heart warming and encouraging to hear young voices sing the lyrics to this pious song by William Maxwell.

I stand to praise You
But I fall on my knees
My spirit is hungry
By my flesh is so weak

Light the fire (light the fire)
In my soul (in my weary soul)
Fan the flame (fan the flame)
Make me whole (make my spirit whole)
Lord You know (Lord You know)
Where I've been (where I've been)
So light the fire, in my heart again.

I feel Your arms around me
As the power of Your healing begins
You breath, new life into me
Like a mighty, rushing wind

Light the fire.
 

Mountain Top Living ~ Part 30: By Their Fruits You Will Know Them

June 03, 2022
By Dr. Laws Rushing
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

False teaching was a prevalent problem in the primitive church. The Apostle Paul agonized about the Judaizing teachers who insisted on the Torah equivalently with Christ. If justification could be achieved through the law, then Christ was unnecessary. It was through Christ Himself fulfilling the righteousness of the Torah and prophetic witness that atonement could be achieved and thus justification before God. (Galatians 2:21) “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” The Church of Colossae was also threatened, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

We see historically that the church struggled early with articulating Christological doctrine in a faithful and Biblical way. The Arian heresy failed to see Jesus as fully divine in the same sense as the Father. Church Father Athanasius argued, “Jesus that I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God.” False teaching continued with Docetism, Gnosticism, and many other unorthodox beliefs through the centuries.

Godly leadership is imperative for the prevention of false teaching. We see the echoes of Christ’s warning in the words of the Apostle warning the Ephesus church and elders. “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-31).

The Scriptures are authoritative in beliefs and practice. The Apostle Paul boldly wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16, 17). God requires that we are discerning about the fruit of false teachers. This requires our knowledge and understanding of the truth. The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

The church must strive for stronger leadership and increased Biblical knowledge. We are commanded to “test the spirits” and “prove all things.” May God help us in proclaiming His message faithfully and truthfully. 

 

Posted in Biblical Worldview

Mountain Top Living ~ Part 29: Enter by the Narrow Gate

May 27, 2022
By Dr. Laws Rushing
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 
dxBecause narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

There is an old saying, “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong.” It takes on the notion of consensus and whether something is true or not. This logical fallacy is called argumentum ad populum that we sometimes fall prey. Just because something is widely held as true or accepted, doesn’t make it so. Elvis is talented, regardless of his 50 million fans. The Bible implores us, “Do not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

We are tempted to imitate the groups that we find ourselves in, whether it is a peer group or the larger culture. Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, went so far as to say, “Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity.” Jesus unequivocally warns, many are on the road to destruction because of the universal problem of selfishness and sin. We are called not to live according to the many but the One, the Lordship of Jesus.

We also find a powerful motivation in what sociologists’ call “group think.” It is a phenomenon of when people can make irrational or even immoral decisions based on the social pressures of conformity. The scriptures speak of our peculiarity compared to popular culture, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people'' (I Peter2:9).

One of the reasons that we find so many on the path of destruction is because of ignorance. People simply do not know a better way. Ultimately, it is the mission and responsibility of the church to remedy this through evangelism and teaching. The church is commissioned by Christ Himself to teach and preach throughout the world (Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:18-20). The Apostle Paul goes to great lengths to clarify that our knowledge of good and evil is what makes us culpable for sin through our conscience or the law (Romans 2:15, 3:9). It is only the Gospel that can save us from sin (Romans 1:16).

We also find so many on the path to destruction because of the love of worldliness. The Apostle John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world” (I John 2:15). We must not mistake this teaching for the material world as evil like dualists or the Manichaeans. It is rather the temptation to be ruled by the flesh, eyes, and pride which dominate the world value systems. We see so much of humanity ruled by insatiable flesh instead of the Spirit, trusting their eyes through only empiricism instead of genuine faith, and an artificial allegiance to prideful self instead of humbly walking with God.

Don’t be fooled by the crowd. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).

 

Posted in Biblical Worldview

Mountain Top Living ~ Part 29: Enter by the Narrow Gate

May 27, 2022
By Dr. Laws Rushing
Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 
dxBecause narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

There is an old saying, “50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong.” It takes on the notion of consensus and whether something is true or not. This logical fallacy is called argumentum ad populum that we sometimes fall prey. Just because something is widely held as true or accepted, doesn’t make it so. Elvis is talented, regardless of his 50 million fans. The Bible implores us, “Do not follow a crowd to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).

We are tempted to imitate the groups that we find ourselves in, whether it is a peer group or the larger culture. Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, went so far as to say, “Evil is not to be traced back to the individual but to the collective behavior of humanity.” Jesus unequivocally warns, many are on the road to destruction because of the universal problem of selfishness and sin. We are called not to live according to the many but the One, the Lordship of Jesus.

We also find a powerful motivation in what sociologists’ call “group think.” It is a phenomenon of when people can make irrational or even immoral decisions based on the social pressures of conformity. The scriptures speak of our peculiarity compared to popular culture, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people'' (I Peter2:9).

One of the reasons that we find so many on the path of destruction is because of ignorance. People simply do not know a better way. Ultimately, it is the mission and responsibility of the church to remedy this through evangelism and teaching. The church is commissioned by Christ Himself to teach and preach throughout the world (Mark 16:15,16; Matthew 28:18-20). The Apostle Paul goes to great lengths to clarify that our knowledge of good and evil is what makes us culpable for sin through our conscience or the law (Romans 2:15, 3:9). It is only the Gospel that can save us from sin (Romans 1:16).

We also find so many on the path to destruction because of the love of worldliness. The Apostle John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- is not of the Father but is of the world” (I John 2:15). We must not mistake this teaching for the material world as evil like dualists or the Manichaeans. It is rather the temptation to be ruled by the flesh, eyes, and pride which dominate the world value systems. We see so much of humanity ruled by insatiable flesh instead of the Spirit, trusting their eyes through only empiricism instead of genuine faith, and an artificial allegiance to prideful self instead of humbly walking with God.

Don’t be fooled by the crowd. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2).

 

Posted in Biblical Worldview

Mountain Top Living ~ Part 28: Do Unto Others

May 06, 2022
By Dr. Laws Rushing
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

One of the most significant and widely known teachings of Jesus is the “Golden Rule.” It has been taught in homes, schools, and churches to the benefit of all humanity for over two millennia. Many have remarked and preached on the progression of human history as envisioned through the iron, silver, and golden rules. The “iron rule” is one of sheer power, strength, and force. The story of Cain and Abel illustrates the iron rule. We see this rule played out among men and nations and stated as, “might is right.” This rule is the law of the jungle and has very little ethical considerations and sophistication. Nietzsche says, “this world is the will to power—and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power—and nothing besides!” The “silver rule” was stated by Confucius, "Do not impose on others that which you yourself do not desire.” One could say the chief strategy is to do no harm and characteristic of jurisprudence. The Rabbi Hillel likewise said, “that which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." Most of the Ten Commandments would be a great example of the silver rule which is encapsulated by the phrase, “Thou shalt not.”

The “Golden Rule” is the call to active goodness. Christ challenges His listeners to “Do.” There is no limitation or restriction on this command. We are to extend our grace to all. It is through our “good works” that we glorify the father (Matthew 5:16). Our actions are the expression and manifestation of God’s eternal workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

We are to pray for our leaders and all people. The Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Timothy 2:1,2).  Furthermore, we are to “remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10) and “as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).  We are to help orphans and widows (James 1:27, Acts 6:1-7). Even the stranger is considered a neighbor. The story of the “Good Samaritan” reminds us that a neighbor is anyone in need and thus subject to our love and mercy. Jesus proclaims, “Go and do likewise.” We are also to share the good news of the Gospel so that others can know God and find inner peace and eternal hope (Matthew 28:19, 20).

The “Golden Rule” includes self-love and care. The command insists, “whatever you want men to do to you.” It is through the lens of our shared humanity that mercy is found. God has gifted us with His image that gives insight to our ethical responsibility and reciprocity. We have the capacity to feel for each other through our self-awareness and imagination.

The “Golden Rule” is truly a sublime treasure and catalyst to a higher ethical consciousness. If only we would heed the wise words of our teacher.

 

Posted in Biblical Worldview