from the headmaster


Things You’ll Never Hear at Regents, Lord Willing

As we close out another school year, I offer my gratitude to God and my congratulations to you on a great year of learning, growth, perseverance, and peace. Here at the close of the year, it’s good to stop and consider just what our children are receiving in this distinctly Christian and classical education in which they are being nurtured.

So, here are a few things that in the years ahead you and your children, Lord willing, will never hear at Regents Academy.

“God is irrelevant. You know, 1+1 is still 2 even if you don’t worship Jesus.” In fact, your child will be told over and over again that we know reality only because the Triune God is, and His Son, the Divine Logos, is the meaning of all math and history and language and literature and science. We aim, unapologetically, for the Lord Jesus Christ to be the center of every lesson and every subject and every classroom.

“You have to decide for yourself what’s right and wrong.” In fact, your child’s teachers and administrators are under the authority of the Word of God, and they seek to apply the truth of Scripture to every heart and life, beginning with their own. God is the author of all that is right and just, and He alone decides what is right and wrong. It is our job, as His redeemed people, to know His truth and follow it in order to glorify Him. Your child will be told “No” when their actions, words, or attitudes are sinful, foolish, or unloving. This is what Christian love looks like.

“We’re spending class time getting ready for the STAAR test.” In fact, at Regents Academy standardized testing serves as an objective way to measure the learning we are already providing – something we believe accords with the actual educational value of standardized testing. In other words, we aim actually to teach the Trivium, not test scores. Every day in class, students are being trained and educated according to our school’s mission statement, not any standardized test.

“The only thing that matters, at the end of the day, is academics: test scores, college entrances, scholarships, and careers.” In fact, we are interested in so much more than the gray matter and future earning potential of your children. We desire to shape their virtue and habits and hearts and relationships as human beings and image bearers. Regents Academy is not a prep school, though we provide many of the same academic benefits of a prep school. Our vision for our students reaches far beyond academics to the character, passions, and personhood of our students. This is why we partner with parents.

“There’s a new educational fad that we’re going to try out next year. We hope it works!” In fact, the beauty of classical Christian is its embrace of what educator Christopher Perrin calls a well-walked path of the tried and proven. Theologian Thomas Oden referred to “the cheap promise of radical newness” which is “the most boring and repetitious of all modern ideas.” Classical Christian education rejects the whole notion of fads and instead seeks to embody an older, deeper way of educating that is more relevant than ever in our fragmenting culture.

Now, maybe you’re thinking of other things you’ll never hear at Regents Academy:

“Tuition is going down and there’s no more fundraising.”

“Homework is cancelled forever.”

“We are so over reading.”

Well, yes, in fact nothing is getting cheaper these days, and we do need to fundraise. Sorry, but homework is indispensable. And it’s true: we will never fall out of love with books!

But we hope you can continue to be such faithful parents who so lovingly support your children’s school and sacrifice daily to provide an excellent education for your most precious responsibilities – your children.

We look forward to keeping our end of the bargain, however imperfectly, in the years ahead and seeking to fulfill our mission of serving your family by providing a classical and Christian education and training your children to view all areas of life and faith from a Christian worldview and equipping them to lead lives of virtue, display mature character, love learning, and serve the Triune God.

May God bless your family this summer!

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Vacation is coming … But not yet

Summer vacation is coming. The change of pace. Carefree days. But not yet. So, in anticipation, here’s a little taste.

“The Lake Isle of Innisfree” by William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

 

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

 

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

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Hope For Today, Because Of Tomorrow

A good word from Paul David Tripp – “Hope For Today, Because Of Tomorrow.”

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When you woke up this morning, what gave you hope? Maybe a better way of asking the same question is: When you woke up this morning, where did you look for security?

For many well-intentioned followers of Jesus, we have mistakenly built our houses of hope on sinking sand. Without even knowing it, we load all our hope for life onto our spouse, children, career, house, retirement account, social status, or ministry calling.

Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with appreciating people, possessions, or positions. But these temporal things were never designed to be a source of hope. To hope in temporal things is to hope in what I cannot control and what is not guaranteed to me.

I think you can predict where I’m going with this: When we live with eternity in view, we find an unshakable hope for this sin-shattered world.

But wait: There’s a life-changing difference between understanding this conceptually and embracing it practically. I have found that many of us have sectioned this truth in the “theologically interesting but basically irrelevant” area of our Christianity. Eternity sounds nice, but it doesn’t make much of a difference in our everyday life.

So, once again, I would invite you to meditate on eternity. If you live with Tomorrow in view, it will change everything about the way you invest your life Today.

Listen to the saints who have passed over to the other side. They don’t talk about the wonderful temporal pleasures they experienced on earth. As fitting as it is to be thankful for all these things, they now have a crystal-clear sense of what is most important.

They summarize it with one sentence: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:10b)

Now in eternity, they have their values right. And through the gift of Scripture, we are given a glimpse of what they consider central so we don’t have to wait until we join them Tomorrow to get our values right Today.

But let’s confess: Much of our existence is a frenetic attempt to build a paradise in a broken world. The house is never quite right. The kids never seem to measure up. Our spouse is never quite able to please us. Our friends are never quite loyal enough. The finances are never quite secure enough. We can’t even meet our own expectations for ourselves!

No wonder we’re frustrated, discouraged, and exhausted! We’re trying to find hope in a physical world that is terribly broken by sin.

Someday, you and I will be on the other side. In the meantime, will you ask people, circumstances, and things to do what they were never designed to do? Are there ways in which you look to this fallen world to become your personal paradise?

Or, will you find hope for Today because of Tomorrow? Are you eavesdropping on eternity and letting Forever shape your values on earth? Are you resting in the promise that Christ will put all his enemies under his feet?

If our faith makes no sense without eternity – “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19) – then we ought to remind ourselves and others to live with it in view every day!

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The Great Work of God: Rain

As I sit at my desk this afternoon gazing out the window, watching the rain put me in mind of an article I recalled reading a few years back by John Piper. And as I reread it, I determined to share it with you, Regents parents, because it reminds us of two great themes that we simply can’t meditate on too much or too often: the greatness of God and the necessity of thankfulness. So I hope you are stirred to worship and gratitude as you read Dr. Piper’s words and consider “The Great Work of God: Rain.”

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“But as for me, I would seek God, And I would place my cause before God; Who does great and unsearchable things, Wonders without number. He gives rain on the earth, And sends water on the fields.” (Job 5:8-10)

If you said to someone: “My God does great and unsearchable things; He does wonders without number,” and they responded, “Really? Like what?” would you say, “Rain”?

When I read these verses recently I felt like I did when I heard the lyrics to a Sonny and Cher song in 1969: “I’d live for you. I’d die for you. I’d even climb the mountain high for you.” Even? I would die for you. I would even climb a high mountain for you? The song was good for a joke. Or a good illustration of bad poetry. Not much else.

But Job is not joking. “God does great and unsearchable things, wonders without number.” He gives rain on the earth.” In Job’s mind, rain really is one of the great, unsearchable wonders that God does. So when I read this a few weeks ago, I resolved not to treat it as meaningless pop musical lyrics. I decided to have a conversation with myself (=meditation).

Is rain a great and unsearchable wonder wrought by God? Picture yourself as a farmer in the Near East, far from any lake or stream. A few wells keep the family and animals supplied with water. But if the crops are to grow and the family is to be fed from month to month, water has to come on the fields from another source. From where?

Well, the sky. The sky? Water will come out of the clear blue sky? Well, not exactly. Water will have to be carried in the sky from the Mediterranean Sea, over several hundred miles and then be poured out from the sky onto the fields. Carried? How much does it weigh? Well, if one inch of rain falls on one square mile of farmland during the night, that would be 27,878,400 cubic feet of water, which is 206,300,160 gallons, which is 1,650,501,280 pounds of water.

That’s heavy. So how does it get up in the sky and stay up there if it’s so heavy? Well, it gets up there by evaporation. Really? That’s a nice word. What’s it mean? It means that the water sort of stops being water for a while so it can go up and not down. I see. Then how does it get down? Well, condensation happens. What’s that? The water starts becoming water again by gathering around little dust particles between .00001 and .0001 centimeters wide. That’s small.

What about the salt? Salt? Yes, the Mediterranean Sea is salt water. That would kill the crops. What about the salt? Well, the salt has to be taken out. Oh. So the sky picks up a billion pounds of water from the sea and takes out the salt and then carries it for three hundred miles and then dumps it on the farm?

Well it doesn’t dump it. If it dumped a billion pounds of water on the farm, the wheat would be crushed. So the sky dribbles the billion pounds water down in little drops. And they have to be big enough to fall for one mile or so without evaporating, and small enough to keep from crushing the wheat stalks.

How do all these microscopic specks of water that weigh a billion pounds get heavy enough to fall (if that’s the way to ask the question)? Well, it’s called coalescence. What’s that? It means the specks of water start bumping into each other and join up and get bigger. And when they are big enough, they fall. Just like that? Well, not exactly, because they would just bounce off each other instead of joining up, if there were no electric field present. What? Never mind. Take my word for it.

I think, instead, I will just take Job’s word for it. I still don’t see why drops ever get to the ground, because if they start falling as soon as they are heavier than air, they would be too small not to evaporate on the way down, but if they wait to come down, what holds them up till they are big enough not to evaporate? Yes, I am sure there is a name for that too. But I am satisfied now that, by any name, this is a great and unsearchable thing that God has done. I think I should be thankful – lots more thankful than I am.

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A Book You Don’t Have to Read?

Every day tens of thousands of schools across our nation welcome more than 50 million elementary and secondary students into their classrooms. And every day these students receive a clear Bible lesson. Now, very few of them receive what students receive at Regents Academy every day: Bible reading, instruction in the Scriptures, hearkening to the written Word of God as the very voice of the Lord of lords.

Rather, the lesson the vast majority of children receive in secular schools with official policies of neutrality and silence is active antipathy toward God. They are being taught to ignore God as they learn about the world; the standard of truth is their own; the world is understandable without knowing that God created it and sustains it. Jesus taught us that there is no place of neutrality anywhere in the universe (including in homes and classrooms): “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt 12:30). The Apostle John quotes Jesus, who said, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty,'” a statement that, if true, is anything but irrelevant. (Rev 1:8). As Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper famously declared, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

The editors of GQ recently published a provocative list that included the Bible as a “foolish” book that need not be read, right alongside works by Hemingway, Twain, and Tolkien. It seems to me that GQ is just bringing out into the open the tacit assumption that secular schools hold and reinforce every day in the minds of countless impressionable minds. But by God’s grace, Christians know that we ignore the Bible at our own peril, indeed, the peril not just of not receiving a true education but of losing our very souls. This week an opinion piece titled “GQ’s foolish anti-Bible click bait missed 4 secular reasons to read Scriptures” appeared in USA Today. Written by Tim Swarens, Opinion Editor of The Indianapolis Star, the article focuses on “secular” reasons for reading the Bible – imminently reasonable reasons for reading the Bible that are certainly a starting point for understanding its value in education. Of course, at Regents Academy we go far beyond these reasons to embrace what Swarens calls “the spiritual value of the Scriptures,” but we read the Bible for the reasons he lists also. They are quite helpful.

Regents parents, you send your children to a school that reads, studies, reveres, and seeks to follow the Bible as the very Word of the Living God. With God’s help, this is something that will never change.

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In the news business, it’s known as click bait, a deliberately provocative, often sensational and always shallow article that’s written solely to attract page views and in turn drive advertising revenue.

As with a drunk at the end of the bar who’s desperate for attention, it’s generally better to ignore the click-baiters’ provocations than to give the loud mouths what they want. But when a once-relevant magazine promotes cultural illiteracy for the sake of cheap clicks, it deserves a response.

Which brings me to GQ magazine’s recent hey-click-this list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” [. . .] The book on the list that’s generated the most media attention and the strongest pushback is the Bible, which author Jesse Ball dismisses, in all of three sentences, as “repetitive” and “foolish.”

Confession time: Ball condescendingly describes folks like me as people “who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.” Except I have read it, from Genesis to Maps, several times. This year and last, I’ve started most days by reading a New Testament chapter. So, yes, I am biased, but it’s a bias grounded in the fact that the Bible shapes who I am, and shapes who I aspire to be.

Still, let’s meet Ball and others like him where they are. If you reject the idea that God, even if you do believe in a deity, would communicate to humanity through a book, why would reading the Bible be worthwhile?

In the best tradition of click bait, here are four reasons, none of which addresses the spiritual value of the Scriptures:

-To understand Western culture. From Michelangelo’s Pieta to Handel’s Messiah to C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, it’s impossible without at least a cursory knowledge of the Bible to appreciate the inspiration behind art that continues to capture the imagination and admiration of millions.

The Bible, far more than any other source, has for centuries shaped Western culture. Just one example: Amazing Grace, a 246-year-old song written by a repentant slave trader, still brings tears to the eyes of millions of people around the world each year. You can’t begin to understand why that is true without a basic grasp of New Testament theology.

-To understand history. Our nation’s founding document states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Where did those self-evident truths originate? They’re rooted in the biblical concept that all humans are created in God’s image.

I’d argue that the same idea was the inspirational and philosophical bedrock of the Abolitionist and Civil Rights movements. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist preacher; to truly understand his work and writing, you have to read the book that most inspired him.

-To understand current events. Why is abortion still a hot-button issue in the United States? Why are the Israelis and the Palestinians still fighting? What motivates Vice President Pence and the voters who keep electing him to high office? Why is Chick-fil-A closed on Sundays?

You can’t really understand much of what is reported in the news, in the United States and around the world, without a basic knowledge of the Bible. You don’t have to accept the Gospels as gospel, but if you don’t read the Bible at least once out of intellectual curiosity, you’ll be lost when many big stories break.

-To understand your neighbors. My pastor on Sunday morning, in a message about parenting, described how he spent a year reading the Bible and making notes in the margins as a gift for each of his daughters. It was a sustained act of love, and one I suspect those soon-to-be women will treasure for the rest of their lives.

What motivates such devotion to an ancient book? The answer is as complex as the Scriptures themselves.

I’ve been amazed by people I’ve met around the world who make incredible sacrifices to help others in distress because they’ve been inspired by the Bible. I’ve also been appalled by people who wrap their anger and biases in that same book. Human behavior is complex and inconsistent, but it sure helps to know something about the ideas that drive so many people to acts of love and of hate.

You don’t have to love your neighbors as yourself to see value in understanding them a bit better. For hundreds of millions of your neighbors around the world, that means taking time to learn what the book that shapes their lives really says.

Because, like it or not, the Bible will continue to influence culture, history, current events and billions of lives around the world. And will do so long after GQ is less than a footnote in history.

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2018 BIG Serve all about Big Blessings

20 and 70.

Those are the numbers that represent the success of the Big Serve this year, and we have so much to be thankful for. The Big Serve brings together service to our community and fundraising for our school.

20. Our students, parents, and teachers served at 20 project sites last Friday around Nacogdoches. We served churches and ministries and organizations that make our community a better place to live and improve the lives of countless people. Students spread mulch and dirt, picked up sticks, painted, power washed, sewed, dusted, weeded, cleaned, chainsawed, organized, and sang. And then we met together at the school for a big celebration in the sunshine.

And 70. The Big Serve has now raised more than $70,000 for our school (a new record for Big Serve fundraising), which is crucial to improve our campus and fund future growth. Awesome job, Regents parents! Parents and students have reached out to hundreds of friends, family members, and neighbors at home and around our nation to bring in these much-needed funds. This is, of course, evidence of not only of God’s faithfulness and favor but also of our parents’ generosity and commitment to this ministry.

The reality is that every day at Regents Academy is a big day of serving others, and our school is the constant recipient of our parents’ generosity. But the Big Serve is a special day when we learn afresh that it is better to give than to receive and that if we will love as Christ loves, we will serve as He served.

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On Boys, Danger, and Dragons

This week I’m sharing some wise words from a good friend: Mr. Ron Gilley, Headmaster of Trinitas Christian School in Pensacola, Florida. I hope you enjoy his article “On Boys, Danger, and Dragons,” but I hope you also find it challenging and edifying.

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There is something in a boy that loves danger. That love frequently manifests itself in ways that polite society does not approve of, so we often squash it thinking we have done the boy a good turn, saved him some trouble down the road. What we ought to do instead is help him order his love of everything else to its proper place so that his love of danger becomes bravery in the face of evil, or even just resolve and determination in the face of the difficulties of life for the good of the kingdom of God. Unfortunately, though, our tendency is to squash and emasculate. And where has that gotten us? What has become of masculinity? Whatever happened to killing the dragon and getting the girl? Our boys and men are wilting in the face of dragons while the girls are girding on their armor for the fight. Backwards? Uh, yeah.

I don’t claim to be the model for masculinity, or even a good man for that matter; furthermore, I don’t mean to suggest that recaptured masculinity is the answer to all of society’s problems or that girls shouldn’t be part of the fight. I do mean to say that if we men will man up and teach our boys to do the same, we will be working with the grain of creation; we will be helping to establish the Kingdom on earth, and that is what we’re here for after all.

When I was a kid, from the ripe old age of about seven, I spent my Saturdays and summer days in the woods hunting snakes. Armed with BB guns or bows and arrows or homemade spears, my brother and I searched high and low for snakes to slay, not your run of the mill green and black snakes that were good for catching and putting in terrariums, but the dangerous ones, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, copperheads: they were dragons for us. Our motive was pretty simple: rid the world of these evil scourges. These were (are) dangerous snakes that slithered from place to place looking to ambush good people going about their business in the world. Sound familiar? It should. It is reminiscent of the language from 1 Peter 5:8 describing Satan: “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” I wasn’t thinking that far ahead at the time, but I was practicing what came natural to me, what God had put in me when he created me, a male.

Our problem is twofold really: first, we often squash a young boy’s flirtation with danger; and second, we don’t do a great job of teaching him what to love and what to hate. When he is away from us then out from under the protection of mom’s apron, he will usually choose one of two paths: 1) live in fear of evil because he has never been allowed to practice being dangerous to it; or 2) have his danger anyway, but then it will be in the wrong form because he does not know really what he ought to be dangerous to.

To answer the first problem, let your boys do dangerous things that are appropriate for their age, size, and experience. Let them jump off the bed, climb trees, shoot cans with a slingshot, sword fight with sticks, wrestle with other boys, box with other boys, explore the woods by themselves or with friends, jump in the deep end of the pool, take out the garbage in the dark, camp in the dark, camp alone, shoot bows and arrows, shoot guns, hunt for food, bleed without making a fuss, fail, fail again, and fail again.

To answer the second problem, teach your boys to hate relativism and the idea that truth is in the eye of the beholder. Teach them that there is one God, one truth, and that He is Love. Teach them (and train them by doing it yourself and leading them in it) to love what God loves and to hate what God hates. Teach them to hate lying, stealing, unfaithfulness, pride, idolatry, selfishness, the lack of self control in other men. Oh, the world will tell your boys all these things are right and good in the proper context. You had better be on your guard and actively teaching them what to love because I can assure the world is already teaching them what it wants them to love. The snake is lurking, waiting to ambush them on billboards, television, radio, social media, college, friends, girlfriends, toys, video games, shopping malls, music, sports, pop culture, you name it. The work is already being done and your boy is the target. The snake is crafty and more cunning that any other beast upon the earth. He is also the roaring lion; he is the dragon. And if you don’t teach your boy to recognize him, he will take your boy’s natural love for danger and put it to work for the wrong kingdom, the kingdom of darkness before you know what has happened.

When we pray as our Lord taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come. / Your will be done / On earth as it is in heaven,” we are praying for the Kingdom to actually come on earth, and we are real participants in bringing that to pass right here in Pensacola, Florida, USA, Earth. God gives us the great privilege of participating, and our boys should play a huge role in that, folks, so we better make them ready. God created them to love danger just a little bit. It is our job to teach them what they should be dangerous to and then turn them loose to do it. If we abdicate, Satan will take over. He will teach them using all his subtleties just what he wants them to be dangerous to, or he will watch as we emasculate them ourselves so they aren’t dangerous at all. We may as well pull our own houses down our heads.

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Repairing the Ruins Conference 2018

What are your summer plans? I have a great idea for you, Regents parents. Come with us to the ACCS 2018 Repairing the Ruins Conference.

The Association of Classical and Christian Schools 2018 annual conference is in Frisco (near Dallas) this year. Most of our teachers, staff, and board will be attending the conference on June 21-23. The conference truly is an amazing experience for teachers, administrators, board members — and parents alike. You’ll catch the classical vision from inspiring and profoundly insightful speakers, connect with other parents and teachers, and learn more than you’d ever thought you could know about classical Christian education. At the conference you really get the sense that we are part of a movement that God is bringing about to renew and redeem education.

Please go to 2018.repairingtheruins.org to learn more and to register. Repairing the Ruins will be an investment in your children’s education and well worth your time and money.

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Real Comfort

Quotes from Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change by Paul David Tripp.

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We forget that God’s primary goal is not changing our situations or relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy.

Human beings by their very nature are worshipers. Worship is not something we do; it defines who we are. You cannot divide human beings into those who worship and those who don’t. Everybody worships; it’s just a matter of what, or whom, we serve.

Embedded in the larger story of redemption is a principle we must not miss: God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the lives of others.

Real comfort is found when I understand that I am held in the hollow of the hand of the One who created and rules all things. The most valuable thing in my life is God’s love, a love that no one can take away. When my identity is rooted in him, the storms of trouble will not blow me away.

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Love Is …

Each school day at Regents Academy, we, like all those who worship God in Christ, talk about love: we read and quote what the Bible says about love, we exhort the students to love one another, we discuss and show ways to love and prefer others, and we correct students who are not loving others. But, of course, the word “love” in our culture has been sentimentalized, trivialized, and romanticized by a million mindless pop songs, romcoms, and greeting cards into seemingly utter meaninglessness. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful tradition, but you have to admit that it does little to give us biblical clarity about what love really is! So, What is love? I love (wink wink) what Paul David Tripp had to say about love in his online devotional this week. “24 Things That Love Is” beautifully and powerfully captures so much of what the Bible teaches about what love really is and what it really means for us to love others.

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What is love?

You won’t find the best answer on the pages of Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster or Shakespeare. No, the best definition of love was established at an event, the most important event in human history: the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ’s sacrifice of love is the ultimate example of what love is and what love does. Here’s a definition I like to use:

Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.

If we are followers of Jesus Christ and believe in the cross for salvation, then our words and actions and responses must be motivated by cruciform love. That is, love that shapes itself to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ (cruci = “cross” and form = “in the shape of”).

On this Valentine’s Day, here are 23 more ways that you can express cruciform love in your daily living.

  1. LOVE IS being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger.
  1. LOVE IS actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise.
  1. LOVE IS making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.
  1. LOVE IS being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.
  1. LOVE IS being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.
  1. LOVE IS a making a daily commitment to admit your sin, weakness, and failure and to resist the temptation to offer an excuse or shift the blame.
  1. LOVE IS being willing, when confronted by another, to examine your heart rather than rising to your defense or shifting the focus.
  1. LOVE IS making a daily commitment to grow in love so that the love you offer to another is increasingly selfless, mature, and patient.
  1. LOVE IS being unwilling to do what is wrong when you have been wronged, but looking for concrete and specific ways to overcome evil with good.
  1. LOVE IS being a good student of another, looking for their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs so that in some way you can remove the burden, support them as they carry it, or encourage them along the way.
  1. LOVE IS being willing to invest the time necessary to discuss, examine, and understand the relational problems you face, staying on task until the problem is removed or you have agreed upon a strategy of response.
  1. LOVE IS being willing to always ask for forgiveness and always being committed to grant forgiveness when it is requested.
  1. LOVE IS recognizing the high value of trust in a relationship and being faithful to your promises and true to your word.
  1. LOVE IS speaking kindly and gently, even in moments of disagreement, refusing to attack the other person’s character or assault their intelligence.
  1. LOVE IS being unwilling to flatter, lie, manipulate, or deceive in any way in order to co-opt the other person into giving you what you want or doing something your way.
  1. LOVE IS being unwilling to ask another person to be the source of your identity, meaning, and purpose, or inner sense of well-being, while refusing to be the source of theirs.
  1. LOVE IS the willingness to have less free time, less sleep, and a busier schedule in order to be faithful to what God has called you to be and to do as a spouse, parent, neighbor, etc.
  1. LOVE IS a commitment to say no to selfish instincts and to do everything that is within your ability to promote real unity, functional understanding, and active love in your relationships.
  1. LOVE IS staying faithful to your commitment to treat another with appreciation, respect, and grace, even in moments when the other person doesn’t seem deserving or is unwilling to reciprocate.
  1. LOVE IS the willingness to make regular and costly sacrifices for the sake of a relationship without asking for anything in return or using your sacrifices to place the other person in your debt.
  1. LOVE IS being unwilling to make any personal decision or choice that would harm a relationship, hurt the other person, or weaken the bond of trust between you.
  1. LOVE IS refusing to be self-focused or demanding, but instead looking for specific ways to serve, support, and encourage, even when you are busy or tired.
  1. LOVE IS daily admitting to yourself, the other person, and God that you are unable to be driven by a cruciform love without God’s protecting, providing, forgiving, rescuing, and delivering grace.
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