Regents Academy’s high school TAPPS Academic & Art Competition team placed third from among 24 teams at the state competition in Waco in April.
Several students placed in their events including:
Congratulations to the Regents seniors for successfully defending their 2018 Senior Theses!
The Senior Thesis offers students a culminating opportunity to expand critical thinking, research, and rhetorical abilities by preparing, presenting, and defending a substantive argument on a scholarly, debatable question. Students are expected to prepare a paper as formal evidence of learning and skill acquired at Regents Academy. As such, the paper is the most lengthy and most carefully documented essay written so far; students research, discuss, and write their theses throughout their senior year.
There are five stages in the completion of the senior thesis: first, students select and do preliminary research on a topic to be proposed to the thesis teacher; second, students work with the thesis teacher to develop an outline and perform further research on the approved topic; third, students write the thesis in a series of drafts that are reviewed by the teacher in preparation for an essay that adequately defends a position on the issues relevant to a chosen topic; fourth, students carefully prepare a final draft of the essay; and fifth, students present and defend the completed essay before faculty and invited guests at the Senior Thesis Presentation and Defense.
A good word from Paul David Tripp – “Hope For Today, Because Of Tomorrow.”
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!
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.”
“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.
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.
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.