Grabbed this shot this morning before leaving for work. Narnia-ish.
The Ohio chapter of the ACLU is threatening a potential lawsuit against the East Muskingum Local Schools if they don’t remove a portrait of Jesus that has hung in the school hallways for decades to memorialize a teacher who passed away. The school board will meet tonight to determine the appropriate action. (Here are the links to the news stories from the Columbus Dispatch and the Zanesville Times Recorder.)
The ACLU may win and mark it up as another victory for “freedom.”
They can have the painting, if you ask me. (Not exactly the response you were expecting from a minister of the North Terrace Church of CHRIST, was it?)
Let me explain.
Here’s how we as followers of Jesus should respond.
The teenage Christ-followers who walk the hallways of John Glenn High (as well as Zanesville, Tri-Valley, Philo, Maysville, etc.) should respond by displaying compassion and kindness to their peers who are treated as outcasts. They should be pursuers of peace and defenders of the bullied and the oppressed. In their studies, they ought to work at it with all their heart, as working for the Lord. They should show respect for their teachers and be seekers of knowledge and godly wisdom.
The educators and school officials in our region who love Jesus, they should respond by being on their knees, praying for the students every morning before they arrive. Their uncanny patience and unexplainable willingness to serve the students should be their identifying mark.
Christian parents, our response should be waking up to our God-given responsibility to pastor our children and teach them to love the Lord with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind. Our response should result in our kids seeing our commitment to Jesus in real and relevant ways.
All of us should respond by devouring God’s Word daily as He speaks to us through His living and active book. We should respond through prayer for our community, our leaders, our educators, our students. We should respond by gathering together in our Bible-believing and Jesus-loving churches so we can be challenged, encouraged and celebrate the work God is doing in our corner of the world.
Legislate public prayer out of school. Take down the Ten Commandments from our houses of justice. Take the portrait of Jesus. Truth is, no man, no organization, no man-made law can stop the power of God working through his people who are in Christ Jesus.
Imagine with me for a minute. What if the thousands upon thousands of people (children, teens and adults) who are disciples of Jesus in our area responded in the way I just described?
There would be no need for an artist’s rendition of Jesus hanging on our school’s walls.
The real thing would be walking the halls.
This is the birthday you have been longing for! Sixteen year olds can’t wait to get their drivers license. Twenty-five year olds look forward to their car insurance rates going down. You’ve been counting down the days until you were four so you could battle Darth Vader at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Now you just have to wait a little bit longer until our December vacation.
There is so much about you that I love, it is impossible to convey it all in a blog post (or in a lifetime for that matter). I not only admire the uniqueness God has created in you but how you have embraced it at such an early age.
For instance, you are the most committed kid I’ve ever known. When you find something you like, you are ALL IN. Every year I interview you and Chase before your birthdays to find out what your favorite things are. With Chase I never know what he’s going to say cause he dabbles in lots of things but with you I know exactly what you are going to say.
You ALWAYS want to fight with lightsabers. (I’m warning you again Vader).
You ALWAYS want to play Disney Infinity.
You ALWAYS want a Coke Icee.
You’re also committed to healthy foods which is really impressive! You are the only kid I know who goes to Subway and orders an adult salad with lettuce, cheese, extra tomatoes, cucumbers and NO DRESSING. You never want ketchup, you never want sauces of any kind — you have zero tolerance for dips…except for chips and salsa. In contrast your brother would dip YOU in ranch dressing if given the chance. Yesterday I took you and Chase on a daddy/sons dinner date to Buffalo Wild Wings and while Chase and I pounded down the chicken wings you were content with celery, mandarin oranges and french fries (I didn’t say that everything you eat is healthy… just most of it).
Jackson, you bring joy to so many people. There is something so special about you that makes people smile when you walk into the room. This has been the case since we met you in Taiwan back when you were 7 months old, but the new thing is now you’ve started noticing it and I think you kind of like the attention.
In my very first “Letter to Jackson” blog post I wrote, “You were born to be center stage.” I had no idea how prophetic those words were.
A few months ago at the Child Dedication Service at our church we had so many families who wanted to commit to raising their kids under God’s way we couldn’t fit everyone on stage. We ended up lining up in front of the stage on the main floor. As your mother and I held you and Chase during the service I could tell you were mad about something and then you said, “I’m mad cause I wanted to be on the stage!”
Well, last week you made your onstage debut. You came out dressed as Mr. Incredible and helped get the word out about the upcoming Fall Festival to our friends at the North Terrace Church. When I asked what you were going to do with the invitation in your hand you proceeded to melt every heart in the auditorium when you said, “I’m giving it to my friends who live next door…cause I love them.” Jack Jack that made me so proud. But seriously, can you please take off the Mr. Incredible costume? You’ve worn it for like two weeks straight and we still need it for Trick or Treating. (Remember what I said about you being ALL IN?)
I still can’t believe I get to be your daddy. Happy Birthday.
I love you, buddy.
My Little Man, Chase…
First off I am not a fan at the frequency in which these birthday blog posts seem to be coming.
SLOW DOWN ALREADY!
I just read your birthday blog post from last year and it made me laugh that I made such a big deal about you riding a big boy bike with training wheels. I was impressed. But you were just bored. You couldn’t get those training wheels off fast enough. Two months after you turned four you were a two-wheeling maniac!
We crammed a lot of life and a lot of change into the last year, didn’t we Chase? One of the major transitions was our move from Orlando to Ohio. This wasn’t your first move but this time I could tell it made you sad. You loved our house in Lake Nona and you especially loved our neighbors Kamryn and Drew. I know because it’s been eight months since we moved and you still thank God for them every time you pray. This was the first time your mom and I made a big decision where we could tell it really impacted you. I know it was hard for you little man, but I appreciate how you have adapted to all the changes and how you have learned to love #LifeInZanesville.
One of my favorite things about you is watching your mind work. The way you process new experiences fascinates me. Case in point, recently we were talking about our upcoming family vacation to Disney World in December. I was telling you about our flight to Orlando and as I was talking I watched as your eyes went up and to the left and I knew you were no longer listening to what I was saying. You were imagining yourself sitting in that window seat,looking down on the clouds and whatever you were picturing made you giddy cause you broke out in the biggest smile. I can’t wait for that plane ride so I can experience it through your eyes.
Speaking of learning, your sponge-like brain just keeps soaking in new information as fast as it can. This past year you caught your first fish, you learned lots about the Presidents of the United States (you love that Taft was so fat he got stuck in the bathtub), and you’re a walking GPS for your mom and me (tonight when your mom and I got lost driving to a friend’s house, we didn’t ask Siri…we asked you). Now that you have begun Preschool, I pray your thirst for knowledge and wisdom only grows.
But I don’t want you to think you are all brain. You are all boy too–as evidenced by your constantly skinned knees, dirty nails, and band-aids.
Another big change to our life in Zanesville is me working in an office and not from home (which I was blessed to be able to do ever since you entered our lives). But this too has its perks I’ve learned.
2. There’s the awesome Bye Bye song you two knuckleheads made up.
3. Our picnic lunches on my office floor when you guys surprise me with a visit.
4. And the big hugs I get when I get home.
I just love being your daddy, Chase! Best. Gig. Ever!
(Now just promise me it will be a few more years until I have to write your 6th Birthday blog post.)
On Saturday, we traveled just south of Pittsburgh, PA for a get together of families who have adopted children from The Home of God’s Love in Taiwan. We had never met any of these families in person before except through Facebook.
It is amazing the instant bond we have with families who have been to that very special place. The Home of God’s Love is holy ground to all of us.
Over the years we have connected with families in California, New Jersey, Florida, New York, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana and even Iraq who have all experienced the dichotomy of being in a room full of crying babies in Taiwan and somehow it being one of the most wonderful and peaceful places on Earth. The faith of Ted and Bev Skiles (the founders and directors of THOGL) has a lot to do with that.
The legacy Ted and Bev continue to build is remarkable. Hundreds of former orphans have forever families now because over 40 years ago they committed their lives to James 1:27.
Weather-wise Saturday turned out to be a gloomy and rainy day, but I don’t think the kids minded much.
Chase and Jackson’s only regret of the day was that they finally got to travel to Pennsylvania but didn’t go to Frog Creek and meet Jack and Annie from The Magic Treehouse books.
Their favorite part of the day; however, was meeting a bunch of new friends.
And so it begins…
With that grin you would think he had just been told he was going to Disney World. But no, the smile’s source is the combination of beginning his first year of Preschool and going decked out with his Darth Vader backpack (complete with his name embroidered on the front thank-you-very-much).
Jackson got one too, even though he won’t start until next Fall. Apparently nothing says, “I’m ready to learn” like an evil, galactic warlord.
We were thrilled to learn that Chase would have Miss Tina as his teacher. She is phenomenal at what she does. The North Terrace Christian Preschool has a long history of stellar teachers like Miss Tina. It is such a blessing and honor that the North Terrace Church has this partnership with the school in serving the Zanesville community.
I am so proud of Chase and the way he courageously goes into new experiences. Whether it’s been learning to ride his bike without training wheels, learning to swim, or moving to a new community–he is consistently up to the challenge.
The hardest part of taking Chase to his first day of Preschool was helping Jackson understand why he had to wait a year until it was his turn. He was making himself awfully comfortable in Miss Tina’s classroom.
We’ve been in Zanesville now for a little over a week but already it is feeling like home. This is true because of so many new “family” members we have from the North Terrace Church of Christ who have gone above and beyond in welcoming us. I’m not going to mention the people by name because there are just too many and I’d hate to leave someone out.
Instead of mentioning the WHOS I will mention the HOWS…
1. One person flew to Orlando and drove the other moving truck all the way to Zanesville.
2. We were met at the church by a team of people welcoming us to town.
3. A bunch of people worked tirelessly on a small house next to the church, renovating it so we could have a place to stay until we found a house of our own to buy. I wish I had some “before photos” because they did a serious Extreme Home Makeover on it.
4. While that house was being worked on another family housed us for a week. Honestly, we didn’t really want to leave it was so comfortable.
5. We have visited a bunch of prospective houses with our realtor and were serious about four. One guy in the church came with us to all four of those homes and put his eyes of expertise on them pointing out major red flags that actually saved us from a lot of future trouble and he helped point us to the right house we are in process of buying.
6. One person parked one of his semi-truck trailers outside of our transitional home so we could store a lot of our stuff. After we close on our house in July he will simply connect the cab and drive it to our new home!
7. Some of my teammates in the office scrubbed my office walls and hauled out tons of stuff. Now someone is coming later to paint the walls.
8. There have been so many others who have dropped by to say “Welcome” and who have offered to help in any way.
9. One family took us out to the local Japanese hibachi restaurant. I can see that place becoming a Mehaffey favorite.
10. OK I will drop one name. Today I came into my office for the first time and received a little goodie bag from my best friend and head cheerleader, Janie.
Now I know why Bill Meaige has stayed here for 30 years and counting! It is so humbling to be working along side such a great group of people.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.