When I pastored in Ohio, I was always looking for reasons to visit California, especially in the dead of winter. To be honest, if I was invited to preach in California during December or January, I didn’t even pray about it, I just took it to be God’s will [not really but close!]. In thinking about California from Ohio I loved the thought of what would be there - sunny skies, warm temperatures, golden beaches, friends, family, Seaport Village in San Diego, Santa Monica Pier, and the In & Out Burger by LAX. But I also loved the thought of what wouldn’t be in California - weather in the 10’s and 20’s, grey skies, long dark frigid nights, ice on windshields, and slush on the roads. I loved the prospect of California, not only for what would be present but also for what would be absent.
I think you get the point, and I think it works the same way for Heaven. Heaven will be heaven partly because of what will be there, and partly because of what will not be there. Heaven will be heaven because of what will be added to our lives, but also because of what will be subtracted from our lives. As Adrian Rogers put it: “Heaven is the absence of all that is bad, and the presence of all that is good. It is all the loving heart of God can conceive, and all the omnipotent hand of God can provide.”
In the book of Revelation, we see this clearly outlined in a series of statements couched in the language of “no more.” According to John the Apostle, there will be no more sea, no more crying, no more death, no more pain, no more temple, no more sun, and no more curse (Rev 21:1, 4, 22-23, and Rev 22:3, 5). Imagine life without the barrier of the “severing sea,” which means a world where there is no separation; imagine life without tears and broken hearts, minds, and bodies; imagine life without expiration and the shadow of death; imagine life where you walk beneath the glow of God’s direct, manifest and glorious presence; imagine life where all the effects of Adam and Eve’s disobedience have been erased; imagine life where you have the presence of all that is good, and the absence of all that is bad.
Given that coming reality, we would do well to remind ourselves that the suffering of this present moment cannot be compared to the glory that is coming our way in the eternal kingdom (Rom. 8:18-25). Suffering will be followed by glory (1 Peter 4:12-13). Whatever problems we have, whatever tears we shed, whatever brokenness we experience, it all has an expiration date attached to it. It is all going to be erased. Someday sin, sorrow, and Satan will be behind us. Someday we will take our last insult, shed our last tear, attend our last funeral, offer our last sigh, and confess our last sin.
As children, and even as adults, we have often closed our eyes in a painful situation. We hope that when we open our eyes, the problem will have gone, or the circumstances changed. But every time we do that, we open our eyes in disappointment. Thank God, however, that there is coming a day when we will open our eyes to a world where all our protagonists, problems, and pains will be gone.
In our present circumstances, may we persevere in the hope that someday God will remove the bad and supersize the good.
Philip De Courcy is the senior pastor of Kindred Community Church in Anaheim Hills, CA, and speaker on the daily broadcast, Know The Truth. KTT.org
This July we will work with teachers from all over the country to redesign the way we engage and assess students. We are so excited to do this work over the course of July!
The Academies will be divided by Lower, Middle, and Upper School cohorts addressing student engagement, assessment, and feedback. Join with teachers from your grade level and discipline on Zoom and use our tools to improve content delivery, student content creation, and performance tasks with rubrics for feedback.
You will enter August ready to launch an amazing year for students whether that year is on campus, distanced, or a hybrid. You will have access to all of the tools your cohort creates in addition to what Baylor will provide.
Lower School VLA
July 8, 15, 22, 29
10:00 am CST
Middle School VLA
July 8, 15, 22, 29
11:30 am CST
Upper School VLA
July 8, 15, 22, 29
1:00 pm CST
Exemplary STEM Learning
Resources for Re-opening
A number of organizations and experts are supplying guidance for re-opening school campuses safely. Below are some resources that might be helpful. We will continue to add.
Education Next Blueprint for Back to School
Kennesaw State Open Letter to Independent Schools
Johns Hopkins Re-opening Guidance
CDC Flowchart on re-opening
Return to School Roadmap
Cult of Pedagogy Tips
Learning Management Systems
I have been getting a lot of questions about learning management systems for 2020-2021. My only advice is that you need one. Two challenges: information on pricing is challenging to get without contacting sales reps. Personally, I have only used Blackboard, Canvas, and Schoology. I definitely prefer Canvas and Schoology in this comparison.
The most helpful comparison site I have found that does not just seem like advertising is here.
More thoughts welcome.
Student Engagement Resources
For our Baylor Virtual Learning Academy, we broke student engagement down into five categories and shared these tools. The first two categories are more teacher driven, the final three are more student driven. Before you go adding more tools are spreading yourself too thin, please remember that there is "NO" in InNOvate."
Facebook Live on Exemplary STEM
May 18 at 8:00 Eastern - Facebook Live to discuss findings from recent study funded by 100Kin10 through that National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Link here.
Link to Assessing Distance Learning: A Virtual 101
Here is a link to a recent STEM webinar I did with CESA.
The Baylor Center for School Leadership
We work with great Christian leaders in schools all over the United States. Here are great things they are doing right now.