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Your Belief System and Your Church (26): Glimpses Into the Spiritual

ONE SIMPLE PRAYER. As a Christian teacher in a public school setting, not being allowed to speak God’s Truth openly, I determined to live it strongly. I determined to go to school each day with the simple prayer that God would help me live truth so clearly that absolutely no one would have any questions. After all, the old proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” From the example of my life, I wanted students to know what was right and wrong, black and white, and the meaning of saved and unsaved. With my elementary and middle school teaching positions in inner city, I was continually faced with unimaginable problems that many street kids have with their dysfunctional families, street gang influences in my classroom, and survival-of-the-fittest attitudes and life styles. I took the truth of Proverbs and other Scriptures and used it to guide my classroom management. I allowed “relationship” to mold my interactions with the students. I learned to give King Solomon responses of wisdom instead of emotional reactions. With high respect for each student as a person, I operated fair and impartial discipline, and they grew to enjoy the safety and security it provided. Inside those boundaries, I freely risked giving them lots of love, and they responded back the same. However, while learning how to operate truth, for the longest time, apology was the main part of my teaching style.

TOTAL TRUST. Basically, the whole scenario was an ultimate TRUST issue. For many years, I blindly went to school seeing no results. The only direction I had from God was His specific request at the beginning of my teaching career, “I want you to go where it is the darkest so your light will shine the brightest!” So for about 15 years, that was my only guiding principle with no visible results to confirm any good was happening. I simply remained faithful, and “kept on keeping on.”

QUESTIONS ASKED. In a public school, teachers are prohibited from "proselytizing" as initiated by the teacher. But teachers have constitutional rights to answer without restriction any questions the students may ask about God. So with living truth strongly and actions that speak louder than words, the students began asking questions. Why was I completely surprised the first time it happened? I don't know.

FIRST GLIMPSE. I received a small glimpse into the spiritual realm the day I was asked my first question. After a fourth grade music class, I released the students to file back to their regular classroom. As I was watching them enter their room next to mine, a boy suddenly did an about-face, walked back to where I was standing, and looked straight into my eyes. “Can I ask you a question?” he asked. To which I responded, “Why, certainly you may! If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try my best to get it for you.” Without a blink of the eye, he asked, “Do you love God?” With utter surprise, I stuttered around before I could compose my response, “Uh, wha, uh, ah… let me ask you back,… what made you ask me that question?” Again without a single hesitation, as he turned on his heels to go back to his room, “I can tell!” That was the moment I realized there are two things in life that you cannot fool—one is kids and the other is dogs—they both see straight through you. And when they do, all parts of your life had better match! Wow, this small glimpse was enough to carry me through another 15 years.

SECOND GLIMPSE. A few years later, I received another glimpse. I have yet to figure this one out. Because I cannot, I will simply relay it as was spoken. A parent from the west side of the city approached me one day and said, “Mr. Knauss, I have to tell you honestly. When you had our first child, we didn’t know what to think of you. But now that you’ve had our whole family, we have to thank you for literally changing our whole family!” To this day I have no idea of what the change was, or even how it happened!

THIRD GLIMPSE. A parent from the west side of the city approached me one day and said, “From the way you run your classroom and give the kids love and respect, we know you’re a Christian without you saying so!”

FOURTH GLIMPSE. Somewhere around my 25th year of teaching, our oldest daughter was a counselor at a Christian Camp north of the city where I taught. One of the girl campers approached her one afternoon, and said, “So your last name is Knauss? Do you happen to know David Knauss who teaches music down in the city? He’s your dad? Wow! Would you tell him I’m a Christian today because of him!”

FIFTH GLIMPSE. I just completed my 35th year of teaching and I recently received a note from one of my college music education methods students. The note said, “Thank you, Dr. Knauss, for all the ways you increased our music skills and teaching skills. We not only learned a lot from what you taught us, but even more from the way you taught us.” I thank God often that some of the next generation of music teachers are “getting it” and continuing high levels of music excellence.

I say to the next generation of teachers and to churches and pastors alike, when God tells you to put your hands to the plow and head off in a certain direction, keep going with all your might and don’t look back and doubt, not even for a moment. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62.

Pastor, can you imagine having a church who live Christianity and Godliness so strongly, that unknown people in the community walk up to you and say, “I’m a Christian today because of _______ in your church! Thank you for literally helping to change our whole family.”

Your Belief System and Your Church: (1) Introduction

Your Belief System and Your Church: (2) Your Paradigms

Your Belief System and Your Church: (3) Bondage or Freedom

Your Belief System and Your Church: (4) Gateway Skills

Your Belief System and Your Church: (5) Teacher Accountability

Your Belief System and Your Church: (6) Talking About vs. Doing

Your Belief System and Your Church: (7) Student Accountability

Your Belief System and Your Church: (8) Assessment

Your Belief System and Your Church: (9) Bury Dead Tradition

Your Belief System and Your Church: (10) Teaching vs. Learning

Your Belief System and Your Church: (11) Teachers' Three Phases

Your Belief System and Your Church: (12) Excellence is NOT a Goal

Your Belief System and Your Church: (13) My Teaching Limits Were Their Learning Limits

Your Belief System and Your Church: (14) Unlearning Creates Success

Your Belief System and Your Church: (15) Pioneers vs. Settlers

Your Belief System and Your Church: (16) Real and Lasting Learning

Your Belief System and Your Church: (17) Problems With Memory

Your Belief System and Your Church: (18) Ownership Creates Success

Your Belief System and Your Church: (19) Not Perfect, But Honest

Your Belief System and Your Church: (20) Take Risks and Give Away Control

Your Belief System and Your Church: (21) Out of a Job

Your Belief System and Your Church: (22) KCAASE and Proverbs 24

Your Belief System and Your Church: (23) Responding vs. Reacting

Your Belief System and Your Church: (24) Only When Performed

Your Belief System and Your Church: (25) A Supervisor's Vision

Your Belief System and Your Church: (26) Glimpses Into the Spiritual

Your Belief System and Your Church: (27) One Reason Alone

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Rather like Heb. 11:1 isn't it?
Been stirring "bees" on the home front. Have to duck and run. Why is it that stirring bees is the only way to find and kill them? Currently have to Heb 11:1 the result. Meanwhile am working on some Solomon responses for the next go round.
HI Lisa,
First, how do you like the hyperlinks? Do they make it easier to navigate?
Second, the more I think over what I've written, and the more I apply the motto of my doctoral committee ("If I had more time, I would have written less!"), the "less" part of these belief posts is a simple Aesop moral. Relationships always first, and programs always second. Kids and adults alike want relationship in everything they do and they want to be doing well-organized quality. Even the root cause of a street gang is relationship. Just consider all the injustices that happen when the two are reversed. Consider what happens when you omit the well-organized part.
Third, how's this for stirring some more of your "bee" thinking?
Blessings, Dave
Hyperlinks make a really long list at the bottom of post to scroll through. I don't do a lot of navigating back and forth so not much difference to me. It does make it easy to see and pick a topic that interests you.
I see this series as something where folks could pick a few things and work on them. I think it would be overwhelming for anyone to try and do it all. However the abundance of information does give one plenty to choose from.
The bee thing may end up as a seperate post. I got disgusted and kicked something into the open. Solomon responses could be the only way to handle it with grace. Have eaten a bit of humble pie due to the alternative. I'd rather just hit them and get it over with than try to come up with a Solomon response. Of course the relationship thing is a key factor here.
I learned that Kingdom Solomon responses are the best course of action. I see them as "teaching moments." If you don't apply some kind of modification to undesirable behavior, you get no where in improving anything and your frustration remains. For me, I also have the guilt of neglecting my God-given talent and a God-given teaching moment.
I am very aware of that after many years of the sudden, direct, foolish approach. I do think that sometimes us teacher folks need to remember that there a moments when we should teach and moments when we should let it go for later. What's the use of teaching when others are in no mood to hear it?
The bees nest mentioned earlier seems to have worked out. Most involved, including myself, have apologized all around and the atmosphere is decidedly more peaceful.

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