Category: STUDENTS

Written By Lizzy Place

Sophomore, Augustine Academy – Guest Author

I’m not sure what I expected. 

To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about it.

I’d agreed to see the movie Unplanned under the expectation that I would later write a something-or-other about it, a sort of “movie review.” The day rather snuck up on me. It was on my calendar; a circle with the title “Unplanned movie, Community Spirit,” but I barely remembered. It was the third quarter of my sophomore year in high school, and I was swimming in homework, social drama, and the endless concerns of a sixteen-year-old. 

My dad had warned me a few days earlier to accept the request to write about Unplanned with solemnity and to be ready to watch that kind of movie. I wasn’t concerned. I’d written movie reviews before, anyway. Again, I’m not sure what I expected. A saccharine movie about babies, reeking of the Christian message, and full of cliché one-liners, maybe. I am, after all, an infant Christian, and shaking off the pride of my Atheist stubbornness is difficult. I knew about the heat surrounding abortion, and I’d felt it, even in a tiny, Christian high school, but there were more important things in my life. 

Of course, I’d thought about it, to some extent, and decided I was tentatively pro-life. I loved babies, and I hated the thought of killing one, but I didn’t have the foggiest idea if a fetus was a ‘baby’ in the first place, and besides, I had better things to think about. If I could do the last bit of my homework before class started, if that one friend had figured things out with her boyfriend, if “you-know-who” had noticed my waiting precariously long until the only chair in the lunchroom left was the one at his table, you name it. Besides, it wasn’t cool to be “pro-life.”

How wrong I was. To some extent, I was right about Unplanned. It did ‘reek’ of the Christian message, and the occasional scene would grow a bit painful with the awkwardness of the entire group of male actors, but despite the things my pride stubbornly clings to, nothing could hide that message. It left me with only one thought. 

“Why didn’t we know?” 

Before I started this, I thought for a long time about what exactly to say. This is not an easy subject, and I don’t pretend to have experience standing up for the right thing. I was encouraged to write what was on my heart. Throw the ‘movie review’ nonsense out the window. I’m not sure if I’m ready to do that. I’m not sure if I’m ready to be honest. I’m a high schooler, after all, and a member of the part of the population most devoted to petty pleasure. I was devoted to petty pleasure. I was devoted to doing what I wanted, to saying what I thought would get a laugh, and most of all, to being accepted. Maybe we don’t know we are sleeping until we wake up. 

The theatre emptied around me after the movie finished. Suddenly, everything I cared the most about seemed ridiculously small. And I sobbed, while people staunchly pretended they didn’t see me–for tact’s sake, I suppose. I’ve never cried like that. The things I could have done. The lives I could have tried to save. The people I could have talked to, and the things I could have stood up for. It all came crashing down around my ears, leaving my perfectly normal, planned high school life in shambles. And then, one person approached me. She asked what I was thinking, so I told her. I poured out the wrestling I’d been dealing with, and the way the movie had torn me apart. She prayed over me, tears streaming down both of our faces. In that moment, I have never been surer of the presence of God, settling with almost tangible physicality around us. I felt him change my mind. 

I have no doubt why I went to that theatre. After returning home, I realized the dozens of steps that had led to that point. All the people I had ‘accidentally’ bumped into, all of the thoughts that happened to pop into my head, and all the books and articles I’d picked up at random were leading to that night in the darkened theatre, to that stirring in my heart. I can’t get it out of my head.

Having just reached the four month anniversary of my salvation, I can’t pretend to know how God works. I don’t know how he moves, and how he chooses people. But if I could guess, I’d say that something happened that night that might have changed my life. 

I’ve tried to live my convictions. I’ve tried to remain true to what I’ve decided, to take it into my everyday life, to stand up for the thousands of children that I want to save. It’s been difficult. Already, I’m not “cool.”  I’ve been labeled and boxed away from the conversations I used to partake in. I’ve already been argued with and shouted at. Answering the hate and anger with love has been easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I’ve never been surer that I’m right where God wants me. I think the worst thing we could do is let the world crowd out our convictions. 

I know my fire won’t last. I know things will begin to feel more important, and I’ll let my fervor fade away. But love is a commitment, not a feeling. I’ve made a decision to fight. While the issue is complicated, and there is definitely evil at work, maybe the biggest problem is our silence. For every abortion doctor, there are a thousand people who refuse to speak out, who ‘haven’t thought about it’ that are unwittingly cheering them on. Blatant evil is only half the problem. 

Maybe we need to wake up. We may not all be able to stand at the fence of a Planned Parenthood clinic or talk to someone considering abortion directly, but I think we all have a role in this battle. The stakes have never been higher. What if one prayer, one conversation, one smile, could save the life of one child? What if living a life of love and commitment could be all we need to turn the tide? What if the tugging on your heart could be God calling you to the battle for life? What if we lived like that?

It’s hard. It could cost you everything, like it did me. We have to trust. I had to decide what was important to me, and I had to submit to the voice in my heart. And now, I can boldly live, believing that as long as my God holds the world in His hands, there is no such thing as unplanned.

Twelve tons of food. Can you imagine?

Well, save your imagination, because you can see it right here! Mingo Valley Christian just wrapped up Spirit Week 2019, where they brought in 24,911 pounds of food. With 305 enrolled, that comes in at 82 pounds of food per student over the course of a week.

“For what?” you might be asking yourself. Sure, the winning secondary team received a gift card generously donated by Raising Canes, but you should prepare to be amazed. These kids, faculty and families brought in all of that food to feed the homeless at John 3:16 mission here in Tulsa.

I asked Senior Pastor, President & CEO Steve Whitaker of John 3:16 about the impact Mingo Valley Christian has had on their ministry. Steve said,

“John 3:16 Mission’s relationship with Mingo Valley Christian School has been singularly defining in my 30 years here at the Mission.

The first really big food donation we ever
received at John 3:16 came from Mingo Valley and they’ve come through year after year to help feed the hungry and homeless of our community. This year, they blessed us with 24,911 pounds – the biggest yet. It’s truly amazing.

Awesome job, Mingo Valley!”

The school divided into teams with Elementary Team 1 and Secondary 9th grade taking the prizes with their efforts. When you think about it–that means several more years with these overachievers, who worked so selflessly to help the homeless; MVC has been doing this event since 1990 and will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2020! Shannon Lowe, Director of Communications and Development, said “We try to build a sense of service and leadership into every part of our school culture, and Spirit Week is a very tangible way our students can give to their community. We’re honored to have partnered with John 3:16 in this way for so long.”

Best. Summer. Ever. | Kanakuk Camps

Kanakuk Kamps began in 1926 with a group of boys from Texas trekking to the Ozarks for eight weeks of character and confidence building alongside great Christian role models. Today, Kanakuk is one of the nation’s largest Christian, athletic summer camps. Each year, Kanakuk serves more than 16,000 boys and girls, ages 6-18, with five overnight summer camps in Branson and Lampe, Missouri, plus a traveling day camp called KampOut! that brings summer fun to churches and schools across the nation. Each term is specifically designed to serve a particular age group, ranging from one-week opportunities to one-month stays. Kanakuk also serves entire families through its family Kamp, K-Kauai, located in Branson, Missouri, welcoming more than 2,500 Kampers each summer. Finally, unique to other summer camp destinations, Kanakuk offers two specialty Kamps: Scuba Kamp, and Worldview Kamp, a one-week addition to a traditional term for ages 16-18.

The mission of Kanakuk Ministries is to equip next generation leaders. We do this through life-changing experiences, Godly relationships and spiritual training. Kanakuk provides Kampers the opportunity to play, train, laugh and learn in a safe and spiritually encouraging environment. Kanakuk also allows Kampers the chance to explore more than 70 athletic endeavors and activities that are central to the Kamp experience. Water sports, canoeing, kayaking, tennis, soccer, archery, basketball, lacrosse, mountain biking – the possibilities truly are endless and help to

fill Kampers’ summer days with new skills, healthy mindsets and memories that far outlast their time at Kamp.

More information about Kanakuk can be found at www.kanakuksummer.com.

In addition to traditional summer camp terms, KampOut! brings the exciting experience of Kanakuk to communities around the nation. KampOut! offers five days of faith-based, non-stop excitement to children in kindergarten through 5th grade. Kampers will have a blast flying down our zipline, scaling the climbing wall, bouncing in the inflatables and laughing at staffers’ entertaining skits, while also seeing and hearing that God is a caring Father and wonderful Creator who loves them and desires for them to love others. KampOut! provides a perfect introduction to summer camp for younger children while also sharing the heartbeat and ministry behind Kanakuk. Throughout the week, attendees will grow in courage and confidence, while fostering relationships with others in their community.

This summer, KampOut! will make three Tulsa-area stops in partnership with local churches. These locations include Metro Christian Academy, Redeemer Church, and Harvard Avenue Christian Church.

For more information including pricing and arrival details, or to enroll for KampOut!, visit www.cometokamp.com

Written by Teresa Goodnight

70%–that’s 7 out of 10 college students walk away from Christ by their junior year,

according to Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OKWU). That statistic alone should petrify parents. His haunting question: “Are you THAT sure your child won’t be one of the 7?”

CSM reported in February on Carson Lowe, a student at the University of Arkansas (formerly at Mingo Valley Christian), listening to the professor of 250 students in just one classroom proclaim there is no deity. Sadly, we see college professors gaming on our children. Meanwhile, we smile at our kids’ Instagram photos from sport rallies to fraternity parties, ignoring the statistics and warnings. Or, maybe, we’re just in the dark and need someone to open our eyes.

Dr. Piper started his interview with two simple questions for every parent:

“WHAT are they teaching your kids?”
“WHY in the world are you not concerned?”

Honestly my mind was shaken in minutes talking with Dr. Piper. I felt like the Supers (superheroes with powers) in Incredibles 2, when someone rips the hypnotic mask placed on their eyes. OUCH.

Dr. Piper had quickly volunteered to be interviewed. I sought some perspective from colleges and universities. I wanted to understand from their vantage point what exactly was going on out there. I knew how bad it was—or so I thought. Then, Dr. Piper started to speak. Our discussion made me uncomfortable—wishing it weren’t true. It was so powerful, I scrapped it for March. We changed the focus of the magazine for April to center around his warning. It was too critical to the future of Christianity to be a secondary story, too dangerous for our children graduating in just a few months to be pushed beyond a cover story. Dr. Piper needed the platform to rip off as many masks of deception possible from parents’ eyes.

Walking onto the campus of a university, students expect to receive an education to change the trajectory of their lives. According to Dr. Piper, that’s exactly what’s being offered—a purposeful, powerful effort to steer Christians students off course from their faith in Christ.
With Dr. Piper’s reference to the statistic, think quickly of how that might look:

21 of every 30 children in your youth groups—lost.
7 of every 10 children of parents in your Sunday School —derailed.

Play it out however makes the point in your heart–wide is the path that leads to destruction and narrow is the road towards a life with God. Dr. Piper said, “More professors than you can imagine (even at purportedly “Christian” colleges) find it sporting to destroy your child’s faith. They take pride in tearing down a biblical worldview and replacing it with ideas that are in direct opposition to orthodox Christianity. Everything you have taught your son and daughter will be challenged and maligned before they even get unpacked in their dorm room or attend their first class.” If that is going on, and so many stories like that of Carson Lowe reflect it is happening today—then why are we just sitting back and waving goodbye as they drive off merrily toward such statistically verifiable destruction?


They Don’t Learn Everything in Kindergarten–Indoctrination

I asked Dr. Piper, “What are your thoughts on a Christian education vs. a regular secular university?” He answered, “Every parent should be asking is this – Why spend 18 years training up your child in the way he should go, only to then to send him off to a university, where the goal is to tear his mind, heart, and soul out?” Dr. Piper continued, “Parents do it every day. Homeschool parents do it every day. Some seem to think ‘Oh. my son and my daughter will stand up to the religious persecution, the mockery, and the marginalization. My child will be fine.’ I see this misguided confidence all the time, only to have that parent approach me later and admit it was the worst decision they ever made, because they have lost their child.”

“When I went to college, I may have benefited from the cultural assumption that Christians, while perhaps a bit boring, were “good moral people.” We were thought of more positively. Most of our professors knew we wouldn’t lie and wouldn’t steal and wouldn’t try to hit on their wives or any of that type of thing so we were shown favor. These days are long gone. Christians are no longer treated that way.” he said. He went on, “We are now thought of as adversaries. They call us closed minded. They have decided we are judgmental. We have no right to live our lives by our religious code. We are truly the last minority group that is fair game for prejudice and persecution. So why in the world would any responsible parent want this for their 18-year old child? Since we know 70% of our kids will walk away from their faith before their junior year of college, why would you think your son or daughter is outside of that equation?”

I sat there listening with my mind becoming a bit overwhelmed. It’s not like I haven’t been watching the news. There is absolutely persecution to say, “I don’t have a right to decide what is right or wrong—God decided that for me and gave me a nice little book called the Bible as a reference.” I feel the change in the air about which Dr. Piper talked. Honestly, when you think about it, don’t you? Saying “I am a Christian” now assumes “I’m a judgmental person, blinded by religious bias.” It’s not my imagination. I’ve read it on social media. I’ve heard it first-hand.
Dr. Piper is right. He sees it even more clearly than we do. Students like Carson tell us stories about it. So why do we just go on about our gullibly, sending our children off to the slaughter without much more thought than cheering with scholarships or pledging and football bragging rights? Do we even want to wake up? It sure is fun to head to the Saturday game wearing the team colors after all. However, universities today are NOT the universities of old. And, maybe more importantly, according to Dr. Piper, the Christian universities are not all not necessarily a safer place to go either.

Dr. Piper warned, “Don’t be fooled. Christian colleges might not be better than any state university. You can’t just assume their marketing and nice four color brochures means they are actually faithful to the Christian beliefs and values upon which they were founded. Many Christian colleges are missing the mark. Some are, to state it bluntly, simply dishonest. Remember this simply axiom,

Wolves in sheep’s clothing are dangerous. But, wolves in shepherd’s clothing are downright deadly.”

Dr. Piper emphasized, “Any school can put together a slick marketing campaign that claims they are Christian and Christ-centered but do they truly practice what they preach? Do they hold tenaciously to the inerrancy of the Word? Do they believe and teach objectively of truth? If you do not see clear evidence that all of their faculty, every single one of them, teach and live out a conservative and orthodox Biblical worldview, that’s a red flag. Many “Christian” colleges actually take more pride in challenging and deconstructing a biblical worldview rather than teaching their students why they should believe it and how to defend it. Parents have to do their homework.”

Dr. Piper advises,

“Never send your son or daughter to any college or university until you pull the President aside and ask him two basic questions: What’s your view of scripture? And, what’s your view on truth? If he or she doesn’t say scripture is the inerrant word of God—run. If he or she doesn’t answer clearly, concisely, and boldly that Truth is a revelation of God, run even faster.

If there is any hint that they have imbibed the Kool Aid that truth is not an objective reality but rather a mere product of cultural dialogue, this is a giant red flag. It’s just not a good place to go.”

One thing Dr. Piper tells parents and students is this, “When you go to college you don’t major in opinions. I don’t grant degrees in opinions. That would be absurd. That would be an insult to you. You go to college to learn something. The point is to graduate knowing at a least a little more about what is right and true than you did when you started. Opinions always lead to brokenness and slavery. Pol Pot, Mao, and Mussolini all had opinions and it didn’t end well. But Jesus said, you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Never send your son or daughter to a university that doesn’t understand this.” Dr. Piper continued, “There is freedom in truth but opinions always lead to bondage. Almost every college I know of celebrates feelings rather than facts and politically correct opinions rather than God’s clear and unalienable truths and the end result is ideological fascism rather than academic freedom.”

Dr. Piper has had many experiences with the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). This Council includes about 120 national evangelical Christian schools. Dr. Piper stated “The council is a broad umbrella representing Baptists, Wesleyans, non-denominational schools and so forth. Within that multidenominational venue, we have discussions over differences like baptism, speaking in tongues and other such matters as you would expect.” Dr. Piper went on, “Back when same-sex marriage passed as a recognized legal status, two of our universities, Goshen and Eastern Mennonite, announced they would immediately begin to hire ‘married” homosexual staff. As the result, the President of CCCU sent out a note to all member presidents saying that we needed to come together for a time of dialogue to determine how the council would move forward on this new matter.” Dr. Piper said he was a bit frustrated at the mere thought of having such a discussion. He said to the CCCU president, “Where in the scriptures are we ever told to have a conversation about sin? The Bible tells us that we are supposed to confess it, not sit around and talk about it.” He went further to confront the leadership of the Council: “You seem to be intentionally conflating a disagreement over methods of baptism with a volitional act of sodomy. How can you even suggest that these two things are on the same moral plane?”

Dr. Piper said “Today’s universities, have embraced agendas that are explicitly condemned in Scripture and are clearly contrary to common sense, empirical science and natural law. Christian and secular schools alike support sexual fluidity, transgender accommodations, and all things LGBTQ. There are ‘Sex weeks’ on campuses from coast to coast. Schools invite in porn stars as guest speakers. Traditional morality is ridiculed as little more than the unfortunate product of bigoted white privilege.” He added, “You would also be hard pressed to find a university that doesn’t support socialism vs. capitalism.” Dr. Piper says, “We should be teaching the next generation the virtues of American Exceptionalism* rather than tearing it down. Our culture is something to be proud of rather than something to apologize for.”

*(Wikipedia defines American Exceptionalism as “an ideology holding the United States as unique among nations in positive or negative connotations, with respect to its ideas of democracy and personal freedom.”)

Dr. Piper referenced a quote from Gilbert Keith Chesterton, an English writer, poet, and philosopher to name a few of his known skills,

“When you break the big laws, you do not get liberty…you get the small laws.”
(July 29, 1905).

Dr. Piper shared, “We have come to the point where we refuse to teach the big laws of God; ten simple and clear laws (and frankly Jesus narrowed it down to two!). We disparage those laws. We mock those laws. We malign those laws and what do we get? Thousands upon thousands of little laws from D.C. and elsewhere rushing in to fill the vacuum. This is not intellectual liberty. It’s ideological fascism. Instead of liberty, you see more and more conformity and more and more control. If you refuse to parrot the party line and or to repeat what is popular and in vogue they will crush you.

Dr. Piper continued, “There’s a reason our culture is in a mess. Fifty percent of the country believes in socialism. We’ve lost the definition of marriage. We don’t understand the male and female physiology in our high schools and our universities. We are seeing the negative consequences bear themselves out in the nightly news. The sex-weeks on college campuses that I mention above have pornographers, adult film stars, sex therapists, booths with sex paraphernalia, lectures complete with X rated movies. This is not just in the Ivy league. It is right here in Oklahoma too.” He went on, “When you teach 18-year old men that this is the way they should think and these are the values they should embrace what do you expect? Why are we surprised to see the Matt Lauers and the Harvey Weinsteins of the world making headlines? You are going to get lechers when you teach lechery. We have taught them to behave this way. It’s really no surprise.”

Dr. Piper reaffirmed to me, there is a war for the hearts and minds of our young people. They are the future. Satan knows it. He’s armed and ready to annihilate them at every chance he gets. He’s beating down the doors to the schools. He’s running rampant on the campuses. We either have to put on the armor of God or admit surrender, as this fight cannot be won with passivity. A fight like Dr. Piper references needs sound instruction for our children in God’s word, God’s laws. It needs someone willing to stand up, who knows the reasons they must stand. It needs disciples of Christ, armed and trained in the inerrant word of God. Make no mistake. It’s a war. Don’t worry though. If you aren’t seeing it, you are exactly where the enemy wants you on his way to many victories at the expense of your children and your grandchildren. Just sit there. He will make you nice and comfortable, as he gently turns up the heat to boil you in the proverbial pot.


A LITTLE ON OKWU

Interestingly, as an example of a University clinging to the principles of the Bible, Oklahoma Wesleyan University is not afraid to boldly be pro-life. OKWU even has a mobile ultrasound clinic, which saved the lives of over 200 children. They are simply unapologetic over their pro-life stance. We have seen another Christian university in Oklahoma shy away from such a stance because of federal funds, which cause them to remain silent in fear. It was of no surprise to me when I read OKWU’s value statement: “Unapologetic in our commitment to the truth of Christ and the truth of Scripture, OKWU models a way of thought, a way of life,

and a way of faith. This is a place of serious study, honest questions, and critical engagement, all in the context of a liberal arts community that honors the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.”

THIS IS NOT AN AD for OKWU. If you were educated about what might set them apart for Christ, as I was in writing the article—well, good. I’d love to highlight all universities with this kind of commitment to the Bible and these sorts of values. They certainly aren’t as easy to find as my heart would like them to be.


Education. Does Where it Comes from Matter?

“’The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next’” Dr. Piper quoted from Abraham Lincoln. He expounded, “Where do our children spend most of their time? It’s in school. Think of the average hours in school vs. with mom and dad vs. church. There’s no question. School wins. So why would we think, when that’s where they’re getting most of their information, that these ideas aren’t going to sink in? How can we think they aren’t going to be influential in how they live their lives?” Dr. Piper is again spot on. We have to be equally engaged in the elementary and secondary school years about what’s going in, because it WILL come out. That’s how it works.
Dr. Piper also talked of Richard Weaver, author of “Ideas have Consequences.” He shared, “Why is publication date (1948) of Weaver’s book important? It is because it was just a handful of years after the Nazis holocaust. Weaver was writing to the German people, his own people. He was saying that ideas have consequences. His point was very simple: ‘The terrible things we taught in our schools bore themselves out in the terrible actions of our culture.’ We would be wise to learn this lesson.” says Dr. Piper.

Truth is, Dr. Piper isn’t saying anything our pastors haven’t warned us about before. It sinks in on some level. However, as Christian parents in our current culture, if we want our children following Christ, then we have got to take off the masks and see reality. We must arm them with Truth (the Bible) and an ability to study it, understand it and apply it with precision. We must TEACH THEM how to guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We know we have always heard that. However, in the current climate we live in—Dr. Piper is saying we need to wake up and take heed. Don’t just read his words and this article and think, “Hmm…that’s scary,” and then wonder about what you should eat for dinner. That’s exactly the response the enemy in this war is expects to get. It’s at best lukewarm. Just put the magazine back for anyone else to take. With a broken heart, I sadly guarantee, if your child later becomes one of the 7/10, you’ll wish you could go back to this moment and choose better. #GoDoBe


Taking A Stand. #GoDoBe

Read about OKWU taking it to the mat by taking an important religious freedom case to court and fighting for rights being stripped away by new laws:

• “A federal district court issued an order Tuesday (5/16/18) that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate against four Christian universities in Oklahoma represented by Alliance Defending Freedom. The order also declares that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” Citation from https://www.okwu.edu/blog/2018/05/court-orders-end-abortion-pill-mandate/

• OKWU was the only university in the country to challenge the government’s imposition in the courts. “When Oklahoma Wesleyan sued the Department of Education in 2016, we alleged that the Obama DOE had unlawfully issued Title IX guidance in 2011 and had unilaterally imposed unfair and impermissible conditions on all colleges and universities,” said Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan. “The mandate violated the privacy rights of our female students, denied due process for all students, and undercut the role of local law enforcement to investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct.” Their actions allowed the opportunity for all parties to comment on the proposed rules to result in a much fairer system for effectively addressing issues of campus sexual assault. https://www.okwu.edu/blog/2018/02/okwu-agrees-dismissal-federal-lawsuit-office-civil-rights/

Cover Model: Allie Beach

Our April cover girl model was right for the cover in more ways than one. Alexandria Beach (Allie) is a junior at Victory Christian School, who has been serving as a role model for as long as she can remember. Allie’s father is the minister of Wesley United Methodist Church in North Tulsa. She grew to love the church’s ministry and has been diving in since she was at least seven with ministries like the Tulsa Pizza Kitchen also in north Tulsa.

The thing is, when we raise our children with mission and purpose, they grow strong hearts of service and love. Allie’s family always trained her to go into the daily battles. Allie remembers in elementary her father driving her to a private Christian school. On the way, her dad walked her through putting on the full armor of God. Allie said, “We did it so that I would be ready for the day and anything I faced.” Allie continued, “Dad and I would start with the helmet of salvation and then the breastplate of righteousness and then the belt of truth and then the feet fit with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace and then the shield of faith and then the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. It was fun, but it also helped me grow up with a sense of protection and courage. I knew I wasn’t going to battle having fear, but God was with me.” Allie’s words were both beautiful to hear and further inspired me as a parent to pour, pour, POUR God’s truths into my daughter, training her for her protection against whatever she might face. Allie didn’t hesitate to walk through the full armor. She knew every single piece and its purpose.

After Allie’s school shut down, her parents moved to homeschooling from third through eighth grade. Then Allie started Victory Christian School her freshman year. Allie had enjoyed the time with her parents, but found time with students to be exciting as well. Allie said, “I just love the people here at Victory. When you are homeschooling it’s fun because of the freedom, but it’s also good to be around other peers.” At Victory, Allie pursues athletic training. She volunteers with the basketball teams. She hopes to attend college and study athletic training at the University of Oklahoma.

Allie is also a gymnast but had a back injury benching her from the sport. In line with her beautiful heart, she now teaches gymnastics for Aim Academy in Tulsa, who has programs in north and south Tulsa. It’s a faith-based, non-profit operation helping kids. They teach gymnastics, but they also pray with students and have the kids say ‘God made me special’ before they leave. They try to help students know their true worth to God and to the world.

Allie’s family also started a Tulsa Youth Ranch for their church out of their home. It allows kids to come take care of animals, to be accountable, but also a place for them to recharge mentally. Many of the kids don’t have a great home environment. For them, it’s a break to come to a place where it’s quiet and they can focus on caring for the animals while we care for them.

When I asked Allie if she was ready for the battles she might face in college, she said she felt about 50/50 excited and scared. Allie said, “It’s hard to think about going to college and being away from mom and dad for that long. Plus, having to do everything on my own is a bit scary, but I’m excited.” Allie has another year left to get prepped. When I asked Allie about facing temptations at college, she said “I know it will there will be lots of temptations. There’s a lot of temptations in high school today, even at Victory, but I know that my parents have set a really good spiritual ground for me. I know that even in the temptations, I’ll always know where to turn.” Allie added, “I’ll never be able to forget God, because He’s always been such a deep part of my life. So, I hope to be a light for others. It’s not just about trying to protect myself but also the people around me.” We discussed faith groups like Cru, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others who are on campus to keep you strong while in school. Allie has already been thinking about how to connect, but still needs to work on the plan for her spiritual side at school. Even the most amazing Christian students tend to focus on path of study and the location of the school before thinking about how to stay protected from outside forces on campus.

Allie hopes to be a light wherever she goes. Allie said, “My focus is trying to protect myself but also to be a light to the people around me. We discussed faith groups like Cru, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and others who are on campus to keep you strong while in school. Allie had already been thinking about how to connect, but still needs to work on the plan for her spiritual side at school. Even the most amazing Christian students tend to focus on path of study and the location of the school before thinking about how to stay protected from outside forces on campus.

Luckily, with the training from her parents, Allie looks better poised to beat the “7 in 10 statistic for walking away from God” at college than most. Allie’s beyond her years sage advice was “I would say the best plan for students heading to college is to always find a group of people or at least one other person who has strong faith that way you can always help you and be around and be an accountability partner while you’re in high school or college.” She went on, “It’s important to have a friend so that you can always turn to each other if you’re ever tempted or people are ever trying to push you off the path.” Funny enough, that’s not just true in college but in life. Like-minded friends can help keep us on the right path.

Thanks Allie for being the face of spiritual training for the magazine—and thank your parents for us. They are doing exactly what God has called us as parents to do,

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT) “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

*Allie’s cover look was created & styled with clothing from Jenny Faye at Hape Chic and makeup from Emily at Brushed By Emily. They were instrumental in creating this month’s cover.

Community Spirit is humbled to honor Miss Molly McKinney from Jenks High School as our Student IMPACT contest winner. Molly will use the $250 to further the development of her website, so that she can sell her products to fund missions project for little children in Guatemala. 

(Wouldn’t it be great if a web designer stepped in to help her?!? Hint. Hint. Nudge. Nudge.) 

Molly–We were so excited to meet you and learn about the mission God has you on. You are well on your way to creating a legacy of life lived for Christ. We can’t wait to run your first ad for free when the website is ready to go! Check out the “almost” finished project at www.123pearls.org

Molly’s submission: 

“The day I stepped onto the docks at Mission El Faro, my first thought was ‘I feel like I’m at home’. Every time I held a child, I was thinking ‘How are you so happy with so little?’ The answer I received was ‘The joy of the Lord is instilled in them.’

From that moment on, God was formulating a dream in me and opening doors for me to live it out. The joy these children have is the joy we all strive to have. 123 Pearls is investing in these children. Through your purchases, you will be blessing them and preserving a life of joy, love, grace and wisdom that only comes from God. 123 Pearls is giving back to honor God, Guatemala, and can help you fulfill your joyful journey for the Lord.

These kids and that place have been a constant love in my life. They showed me a new and truer meaning of God’s work in places outside of just my home. This is how this has impacted me and now I’m doing what I can so others are impacted through my new mission. 

Being able to do labor work in El Faro for only weeks at a time has made my hunger grow stronger to do more. Therefore, I have taken my resources to help provide life changing experiences for those who feel like are beyond an “everyday” reach.

I’m 17 years old now. My first year travelling to Guatemala, I went with Redeemer Youth at Redeemer Church. Last year, I went with Young Life. Paul Phipps has been my youth pastor for the past five years and now I am a young life leader for him!


Written by Teresa Goodnight

Biology, the study of the human body. Anthropology, the study of humankind. 

Carson Lowe started Biological Anthropology not thinking much more about what to expect than that he was taking a basic course in college. After all, in this age of where we are to accept anything and everything, you would expect a college course to be fair and balanced. Right?   

“The professor started the first week in a 250 person class in a big auditorium talking about deities, creationism, and about a creator blatantly saying ‘There is no creator.  There is no deity,’” said Carson.  Carson said the professor went on, “He explained there is really just no God that created us. My fraternity brother and I looked at each other like ‘Did he just say that? Did he call us out that way?’”  

“We had never been told that as a ‘fact’ by an authority figure we were supposed to trust. It just threw me,” said Carson. He followed, “They are so quick to say not to offend anyone with genders or whatever the social issue is—and I’m sitting there as a Christian wondering where the balance is. I wanted to stand up on my table and ‘Oh Captain my Captain’ but the professor was kind of a jerk. He was pretty cold. You could tell he wanted an argument. He would spout off information that was just not true and how there just couldn’t be a God as if he were an authority with facts to back up his beliefs.”  

Carson first found himself wondering if the guy had ever seen the Grand Canyon or the ocean. He said, “God is so evident in everything around if you look at the complexity of life, but it was a little rattling to experience that kind of forceful declaration from a professor. Then, he continues that tone for the whole semester.” Carson stayed in the class, but was constantly in awe of the hard-pressed nature of the anti-deity rhetoric he taught. Carson said, “I don’t know exactly how God created what He created, but I do know He did it. So it was something to hear this guy just speaking against it with some kind of authority like he could possibly know.”  

Carson’s foundation with his Christian education at Mingo Valley Christian laid the groundwork to keep him centered during a time of attack. Carson explained his Christian education was spread throughout his tenure, but it was really ramped up with Nate Madden, his Bible teacher. During the college class, Mr. Madden’s lessons came rushing back to him. Carson said, “Mr. Madden taught a theology/world views class his senior year. It was basically about understanding your faith, what it is you are saying, and what it is you believe in. We even had classes in years past with him about what other world religions believe.” Carson felt he had been prepared to face this kind of pressure although he didn’t really realize it at the time it was happening. He said, “Mr. Madden taught us exactly what we needed for moments like this. In the class, it was really getting a hold on what I believe and then understanding what others believe so that I can have that conversation with actual knowledge.” 

Carson believed those years and years of preparation with Mr. Madden made such a difference. Carson said, “Those classes really sparked questions I had thought about before that had gone unanswered until the class. The training inspired me to learn more and to pursue my faith as my own. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they enabled me to be able to stand on my own two feet when talking about my faith–and in a way that wouldn’t have happened in the church and certainly would not happen in a public school.”  

It was “years and years and years” of doing school with Mr. Madden and the other teachers at Mingo Valley Christian that Carson felt prepared him for what he was facing.  Carson said “Mingo Valley went into deep theology for high school. You wouldn’t believe it. I would come home and have these complex conversations with my parents.  Sometimes, I was even explaining some of it to them just because the theology was advanced stuff.” Carson explained they were really diving into Calvinism for one. Then, his teachers would dive into some of the harder questions about the Christian faith, things he felt they would never get into in church.

Carson continued, “I didn’t realize it while I was there. I really didn’t. I was a bit arrogant in high school and I’m probably still a little bit arrogant. I was just going through that information, but I was retaining it, holding onto it, and then in college I was really clinging to it.” 

So I just analyzed everything I was taking in. It was all just surprising to me. I remember getting out of that class and wanting to give Mr. Madden a call and tell him like “DUDE! You prepped me for today. I fought something off today and I’m happy about it.” 

Carson continued, “When you hear that from an authority figure, you want to just believe it. I’m a trusting person, some might tease I’m a bit gullible, but when someone tells me something I am not very skeptical. I tend to believe what people tell me for the most part.” Then Carson explained, “In my faith, when it comes to people discussing theology and people discussing God, I have learned to keep my guard up in ways I don’t do in other areas of my life. I got that from Mingo Valley Christian, which is a very hard thing to do. Even when I hear a pastor talk about the Gospel, even when I’m sitting in my church, I’m fact checking and making sure ‘Is this guy preaching truth?’ and taking it to the Bible. It’s not because I don’t trust them, but really it’s because it’s my duty to stay true to scripture above all else.”

It’s amazing to me how much my Christian education from Mingo Valley has played a part in me keeping true with the Gospel. It built the groundwork for me basically to be able to run.  

Carson spoke highly of friends in several private Christian schools around Tulsa, confirming how incredibly lucky we are in Tulsa to have so many options. Each one has a different appeal—a different way of being a fit for your child. Large, small, Montessori style or a specific denomination you prefer–we are truly blessed.

To wrap up, I asked Carson what he felt like was his main message to the Christian community. Carson immediately replied passionately.

“Honestly I can say this wholeheartedly, that Mingo Valley Christian, or really just Christian education, as a whole, may have been the single most beneficial thing for my faith that I have had in my life.

That’s a bold statement considering I go to a good church. I’m in a Christian fraternity. I’m doing all these communities that are about the gospel, but none of them prepared me for the Christian faith more than Mingo Valley, or just Christian education has done.

“And, truth be told, I don’t understand if you have the resources to do it—I do not know why you wouldn’t regardless of what school. I think as a Christian parent, if you can, it’s almost foolish not to do it. You should do it.”

We wanted to highlight just one way students make a difference. More than that, we wanted their story to IMPACT others!

Individuals or groups may submit their work here. We have a guaranteed minimum $250 prize for the winner’s cause. However, we will also be accepting donations here from readers for the fund-raising efforts/causes online to help further the impact. Donations will be tracked/accepted online. Deadline for submission is 2/15/19. Winner will be announced in the March issue of Community Spirit Magazine. 

The contest will look at 3 main areas:

1 – IMPACT to the recipient(s).
How will/did your efforts directly IMPACT the targeted recipients? What was the need? What did you (your group) plan/do to help? 

2 – IMPACT to the community. How will/did your efforts IMPACT the community? This can entail many sides.  Can/did your efforts touch a community?  Can/did they motivate your community to come alongside of you? Could others use your idea or be challenged by the idea to motivate more people to action?

3 – IMPACT to you. How will/did your effort IMPACT you? What will/did your involvement teach/instill/inspire in you?

This contest isn’t a numbers game, although we fully support mass efforts. Those coming together to help one family are every bit as worthy as those helping a city block. We all know Jesus taught us that the one matters. Jesus said, “…truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine…” (Matthew 18:14.) So, Go. Do. Be. Wherever God might lead you. And, tell us about it!  Students, we are in awe of your hearts, your ability to mobilize, and your desire to make an #IMPACT4Christ.

The winner will get $250 FOR YOUR CAUSE + A FREE OIL CHANGE from Christian Brothers Automotive!

Submit your work!

Make a donation!

By Teresa Goodnight

The youth are our future. It’s a reminder Christians need to keep top of mind every day.  The buzz around many churches in the city continues to be around discipleship.  Many churches feel they have lost their way a bit on discipling new (and old!) believers and are trying to navigate their way back into more of a discipline.  The problem is—that navigation takes time.  For those who aren’t paying attention, it will take an awakening. However, as parents we KNOW that we really don’t have THAT much time.

Nothing seems faster than a child’s move from diapers to grade school and then out of the house to college or career.  As parents, many seriously wonder where the time has gone (Of course, some ARE anxiously counting down the days to graduation!). With time not being on our side, often one of the things accidentally put off until tomorrow can be the true discipleship of our children.  It’s not that we don’t take them to church—we do.  Mostly.  However, for many, life seems to get in the way of scheduled dedicated time together to talk about the Bible and train our kids.  We are trying, but the quick, hard question is this:  Are we doing enough?  Are our churches training our children to live life as successful, independent adult Christians?  To take it even further, are they being trained in a way to stay grounded in a world moving away from our core Christian values?  If we’re unsure, it’s a great reminder – we only get one chance to raise them right. 

One way parents are getting the extra discipleship is partnering with a Christian school.  I know.  It didn’t strike me at first either.  I never considered sending a child to private Christian schools until I had one. It wasn’t even on my radar. Then, when my daughter was born, I started to feel the burden of managing her education.  My husband and I looked at private schools before she was out of her diapers at just under 2 years.  However, I wasn’t looking for a Christian education partner–I was searching for the school to offer my highly intelligent, little cutie the ability to take advantage of all God had given her.  My husband and I set the course looking for a school avoiding naps and offering her the perfect environment to thrive.  Christian schools were on the list, because I wanted her to grow up around other Christian kiddos, but our first line of business was education.  I just liked the thought of fewer students to one teacher.  I was pretty sure my only child would need all the attention a teacher could muster to feel assured and heard.

In 2018 though, I started meeting children attending private Christian schools.   I was really in awe of how well they could articulate their faith with real depth of meaning. I couldn’t help but wonder if the difference was at home or in where their time was spent studying—maybe both. If it was at home, I was a little jealous of the parenting skills, as we barely found time for meals, much less anything else.  So, I decided to dig a little deeper.  When I started talking to the private Christian schools, I was amazed. Turns out, the majority of them spend semesters of time learning the basics of our faith. The Bible is integrated throughout the school career.  It’s not just for Sundays or maybe Wednesdays.  They study it. They learn to share it. It really becomes a large part of their every day life at school. I never really thought about it before. 

Then I started asking the students. Sure enough, the students were in private schools, attending classes on the basics of their faith, world views, and learning to integrate their beliefs into their everyday life. I was amazed at both their ability to articulate what they believe as well as how confidently they expressed their thoughts.  I knew right then, I had been focused on the wrong thing.  It wasn’t just the general educational experience, but I wanted my daughter to experience all the integration of God with her daily life that I could find.  All of a sudden, her education dropped to second place under her discipleship.

Why does this matter? Because if they don’t understand what they believe and why, when the days come when they question their faith (usually college age but sometimes earlier), they tend to begin to wander.  Only you
can know your child and how your church is faring on instilling the important basics of the faith in them. As a parent, this is a critical part of our jobs. If we miss it, we may not get that chance again. 

So, as a product of an incredible public school, where Bible studies, a few Christian teachers and Christian friends were the norm, I can still see how much of a difference a Christian education might have mattered to me.  As times get more difficult, if school can offer those extra people investing Biblically in my daughter, who help keep my child on God’s path for life–I’ve decided it’s worth the sacrifice. After all, it does take a village. 

CATCH THIS: We’re interviewing a graduate of Mingo Valley Christian, Carson Lowe, sophomore at the University of Arkansas, for February to specifically talk about this training and its value in his University of Arkansas World Views class. You won’t want to miss it next month.

After touring around several of the schools in the Tulsa area, Community Spirit Magazine (CSM) decided we wanted to create an annual contest supporting those efforts. These students are being Christ by showing their love and we want to help their light shine even brighter.  

We think helping others is infectious!  

Metro Christian Academy had a key role inspiring the contest with their act of kindness in October this last year to the community surrounding their school.  They decided to create their very own community block party (a trunk or treat). With a team of 9, they organized the event – coordinating everything from a costume tent for kids to a petting zoo.  They went into the community surrounding their school to invite their neighbors to attend.  With a whole school of volunteers and parents behind them for what appeared a seamless event, they touched hundreds of families in the neighborhood surrounding the school.  CSM went in to talk with Halle Sutton and Annie Blankenship, two of the student leaders to better understand what went on. 

With excitement to discuss their adventure, Halle and Annie were anxiously waiting in the room ready to talk. Annie’s sister Amy Blankenship was the Service Head for the school and actually had the vision for the event.  Annie and Halle both helped start the event in 2017. They both saw exactly how the event impacted lives the first year–and couldn’t wait to be leaders this last year.  

So, without hesitation, they started right in.  Halle began passionately, stating she feels Metro Christian Academy’s campus location isn’t just by accident. She said “It’s a cool opportunity we have right where we are to help the community fellowship with each other.” The community surrounding the school hits the news a lot with more than what it deserves from crime problems. When you’re on the outside of a crime area, people tend to falsely assume the people in the area are creating the problems, when they are just living with them more closely than the rest of us.  Both girls feel strongly there is a need for everyone to come together as a community.   Annie says “It’s a cool safe place.  Even if for one night, kids can feel safe in their world. They can realize we can come together and we can make friends. It was fun watching them make friends with each other as well as the volunteers.”

Halle feels the event is stressful but incredibly worth it to see the kids having fun.  She said, “Some of the more difficult areas for running an event like this are trying to stay in budget.” That’s a common thread in any event planning as we all know too well.   Annie also finds vision planting a bit challenging at times.  She said  “As students we know the most about this event, but then you also have to work with the adults and the people in charge to get them to approve a lot of things. You have to share your vision with them to get them on board.”  

Volunteers were key to the success of the event said the girls.  They all played really important parts in the success.  Halle said “The volunteers could sign up for whatever their interests were. So, if they were good at painting, they could sign up for face painting.” Halle said “With all the volunteers, we had hamster balls, face painting, pumpkin painting, bouncy houses, inflatables, a petting zoo, 9 square and even a fire breather” (as both girls chuckled). “Then there was a costume closet.” said Annie  “A lot of Metro kids and families donated used and new costumes.  So, any kid who came without a costume could get one.“The event had quality and charm with a little something for everyone. Annie followed on to say, “On the night of the event, it was kind of crazy.  As the service committee, we knew we’d be running around trying to make sure everything was happening right but we had these volunteers coming for one night. They were fresh and ready to connect with the kids. So we got to see everyone creating these amazing bonds with the kids as we were running around making things happen. It was just incredible to watch.”  

Annie was thrilled with the smiles on the kids faces who came but also really moved at the impact the event had on the students at Metro. “Sometimes Metro students can wonder ‘Why are we in this location?’  It has a reputation for being a bad place.  So seeing the good in the community around us was a really cool thing for us, as students.  It helps everyone remember kids live here and they’re really sweet–like any other kids you would run into.” Annie also added  “I think the cool thing was also that we had so many Metro parents volunteering and I really saw them making connections with other parents.” 

The girls said they had some great community partners as well. Cane’s on 41st gave chicken kids meal cards for all the kids.  Reasors on Peoria stepped in and gave them a great deal on the food, which helped make the event even better.  That kind of kindness makes you want to run grab some Cane’s right before you go shopping at Reasors!

As I listened to them both, the incredible lessons they were learning for life were really astounding.  Being an event planner, it jumped out that they were touching on everything you would need to create a successful event for any business or charity–from logistics to budget and most importantly, getting people on board with your vision.  These were not just event skills, but critical life skills–all learned while making a difference in their community.  There was such joy in their eyes as they shared.  It was
easy to see deep down the greatest IMPACT of all was on their hearts.