A Deeper Faith, A Deeper Dependency
I sensed I should leave early. Stepping away early from a Christian school leadership conference was not like me. But, the Spirit tugged.
Hours later, at a Southwest gate at Love Field, I saw Bill Elliff. And, he saw me. Bill is the senior pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock and a father of two Warrior alumni. We spoke and caught up on our lives and ministries. It was uplifting but not as refreshing as what came next.
Two days later, I received a package in the mail. It was from Bill. I opened the thin parcel and found a letter of encouragement and a book Bill had authored entitled, The Line of Faith: 40 Days to Deeper Dependency.
I don't know if Bill knows our theme for the year - We Believe! – or not. What I do know is that The Lord drew me to the airport so I would be at the gate with Bill. I know the Lord had a message for me that extended well beyond the casual catch-up at the gate. I know the Lord wanted to deepen my understanding of the very theme I chose for the Little Rock Christian community this year. In that moment, it was another wake-up call. I am not the teacher. I am the student.
"We Believe!" has been a powerful mantra for LRCA this year. From the beginning, the intent was to underscore the fact that we are a different school than most because we believe. We believe in the timely and timeless truth of Jesus and the Scripture. Our passionate belief not only sets us apart, it drives us to higher ground in all that we do.
A second, somewhat unexpected, result of our theme this year is how it fed the spirit of our teachers, students, and athletes. There is an aspect of our theme that allows us to believe we can do it! Like the cheer of the student section on Friday night: "We Believe." We can win this thing! We can do it! And, we did. We believed and it happened. But, that is not what we meant.
Reading Bill's book reminded me why we need our theme. Not just this year. But every day.
Bill's book makes it clear: it's ALL about our faith. Faith is a word for dependency on God. When we chant our theme - We Believe! – and hold up the W, we are NOT putting our confidence in ourselves. It's tempting. But, that would be foolish and short-lived. Rather, I am begging Little Rock Christian to put our confidence in the Lord. Make room for God.
Here's a line from Bill's book: "His desire is to continually increase our faith capacity." This year, even now, various trials have descended on Warrior families. For many, these are bleak days. As I engage with our broken-hearted families, I see the extreme value of our theme. Rather than the weight of trouble breaking us, I see a renewed confidence in the Lord. I sense our faith capacity is growing larger. Yes, we are "hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair." (2 Cor. 4:8)
And, why is that? We believe! When you see me hold up the Golden Triangle or flash the W, when you hear me exclaim, "We believe!", know that I am calling us to a deeper faith, a deeper dependency on the Father, a deeper confidence that He is in control and "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Gratefully in His service,
Gary B. Arnold, Ed.D.
Little Rock Christian Academy
Head of School/President