June 10, 2016
I read an article in which author David Scott was quoted as saying, "Education must be looked at as an investment, not a cost. The cost of not doing so is a price too dear to pay." I would add that Christian education is an even more important investment and am glad so many parents send their children to Bethany Academy - which seems to show their agreement with this.
Also, preliminary information from a Youth Specialties and YouthWorks report was released supporting the data that nearly 60% of youth leave the church after high school. The report identifies the "ubiquity and onslaught of information and competing worldviews, as well as a greater resistance to the gospel among their peers make it harder for young people to find meaning in a complex culture."
The report states the "fact that teens lack commitment [in their youth ministries] due to general busyness, and the broad scarcity of student leaders, suggests that relationships and engagement in church are not reaching sufficient depth. Youth leaders are right to prioritize discipleship and relationship building."
Christian schools are in a unique position to support youth ministries as we are able to help grow disciples through strong relationships - which takes time to develop. Time we have that youth ministries do not.
As we help grow our students in their faith, let's also encourage them to exercise their leadership skills in their youth programs, not shy away from them because they have already gone to chapel or have gotten enough "Bible" or "religion" through their classes, and see what God will do through them - even helping grow other disciples!
Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." - Matthew 28:18-20
December 17, 2015
It is true, God loves to bring joy to the hearts of His faithful. We at Bethany Academy are learning that He has a very funny sense of humor to boot.
In the last 24 hours we have been in awe of how He has taken an unbelievable half court shot to the world---bringing a glimpse of His humor this Christmas season. The resounding response after people have viewed the now famous video is one of happiness. Many people have said for some reason it brings them to happy tears.
The Ramey's, and Bethany Academy, are pleased -as -punch to play a role in His Christmas merriment. For us, the first video going viral was more than enough. However, God wasn't done yet. Click on the attached photo to see what happens when Angela Ramey attempts another shot on Good Morning America live.
The joy of the season is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Only a God as big as our God could use Angela's heart for feeding the hungry and this school in such an amazing fashion. May these video's bring you unspoken joy and happiness.
Merry Christmas from Bethany Academy and the Rameys!
PS. It's not to late to donate to our fundraiser. Go to www.bethanylovesbloomington.com .
December 16, 2015
This year we decided to forego our annual walk-a-thon in favor of a service project to teach our children to be the “hands and feet” of Jesus in a tangible way.
On December 4, with help from Kids Against Hunger, our students, volunteers, parents and sponsors far surpassed our goal packing 30,000 meals and packed over 41,000 to help feed the hungry in the Bloomington area. The date was picked knowing Christmas was just around the corner.
As part of the project, students were asked to seek donations to help support their school. One student, Grace Ramey, more than doubled their family’s goal and was the top fundraiser.
This qualified her for the grand prize of half-off tuition for the 2016-17 school year. However, in order to claim the prize, she, or a member of her family, would need to make a half-court basketball shot. Grace tried with all of her might but was unsuccessful; so she passed the ball to her mom Angela. Angela closed her eyes, said a prayer and heaved the ball.
At first, there was a feeling of disappointment as the ball fell well short of the basket and bounced to the ground. Then, miraculously, on the rebound, the ball made it into the basket. Angela had looked away but the roar of the crowd helped her realize something special had just happened. As she recovered from all of the excitement, she wanted to address the students.
Wow...God put that ball in the hoop! Thank you to everyone who gave of their time, talents, and resources. This service project is dear to me, as I understand food insecurity. When I was a child, I remember my mother praying for God's provision for us. Thanks to the generosity of people like all of you, we always had enough! As Mrs. Smith shares daily with her fourth grade class..."God is Good ALL the Time!”
I want to thank our students, staff and faculty for all the hard work in supporting the event. A special thank you to our sponsors who helped, as well:
- Boeser Family Foundation
- Northern Tool and the Kotula Family
- Nathan Reader, MD - Southdale Eye Clinic
- Arch Language Network and the Hastings Family
- Universal Cleaning Services
- A grateful family (anonymous)
Thank you to Eric Perkins and KARE11 for helping to get this story out. Here is a link to their story.
As we approach Christmas, my prayer is God will be able to use this story to encourage others and the meals that were packed will bless families in our community. If you would like to donate to Bethany Academy for this fabulous fundraiser it is not too late. Go to www.bethanylovesbloomington.com to donate today.
October 23, 2015
How 300 People Can Feed 30,000
I grew up in a college town where the population varied between 25,000 and 55,000 people depending on the school’s schedule set by the university’s board of regents. Every fall 30,000 college students brought a crazy collegiate atmosphere to our town and we agreed with Aristotle who famously said: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In other words, bringing the parts together at one time into one community escalated the value of each and the community thrived.
Today I’m thinking about our Bethany Academy neighbors and how much God values them. Jesus said in Matthew 25:35 and 40: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” We pray often that our school will positively impact the community, and packing meals for the hungry is one way we can do this. Hunger in America is real.
30,000 people living within a few square miles of Bethany Academy go to bed hungry every night.
The Twin Cities ranks ninth among urban centers of hunger in the United States.
8,500 people access one of Bloomington’s food shelves every day.
At Bethany Academy we are training future leaders to lead now in the surrounding community, and our upcoming Bethany Loves Bloomington Meal Packing Event gives our students the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of our neighbors. As a school we will meet the needs of hungry people by packing and distributing 30,000 meals on Friday, December 4th.
Bethany Academy’s 235 Kindergarten-12th grade students will pack meals in the gym for 45-60 minutes during a five-hour rotation. We’ll distribute the meals to Bloomington food shelves and other organizations that provide assistance to those in need.
Meal packing and delivering literally requires our hands and feet to serve the hungry. If you want to get involved, please visit the Bethany Loves Bloomington website at www.bethanylovesbloomington.com.
June 22, 2015
In 1988, the leader of a small Christian school called Bethany Academy in Bloomington took a chance and hired a brand new teacher fresh out of college to be the third grade, phy ed teacher, and coach at his school. Little did he know that my goal was merely to get a few years of experience and then move into the public school system. After all I was the product of public school, plus both my parents where public school educators, and I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
However God had other plans, as He so often does. While at Bethany Academy, I fell in love with the culture, the students, and the other faculty members; Christian education was something I had never experienced before outside of college. I began to realize that I had been called to inspire future generations of godly leadership through teaching, coaching, and life-on-life impact.
After 27 years and hundreds of students later, the most remarkable thing I have seen along this journey is the faithfulness of God in my life and the life of the school.
He has provided for Bethany Academy through times of plenty and times of want. Through change and growth, He has always been faithful. He never changed. He provided—not as a result of anything that we did or did not do, but because of His amazing grace and blessing. For this I am extremely grateful.
It has been a great honor and privilege to serve the Lord at this wonderful school. My prayer for Bethany Academy is that you remember how God provided in the past, while you live in the present and look toward the future. Remember that Bethany Academy is not just a school, but it’s “a people”, a people like it says in Philippians 1:27, a people who are standing firm in one spirit, connected and committed to the same purpose, the same mission, and the same values. You are walking a path that many before you have walked. Many will come after you so keep the path clear.
As you learn to walk this path in a new way, be assured that He who has been faithful in leading in the past is faithful in the present, and He will lead toward the future.
December 08, 2014
Black Friday may have sounded like a good idea when it started to become popular several years ago. After all, Thanksgiving Day was a day of plenty and rest, a time when stomachs fill up and families connect. A quiet Friday morning probably seemed unexciting to parents and kids alike after all of that turkey and activity from the day before. Yet, now that the hectic frenzy of imposter traditions are trying to hold Thanksgiving hostage and threaten to replace the real meaning of Christmas, it's time to slow things down and reclaim what's ours. It's time to take back what really matters to us and give our families and kids a chance to recharge.
As parents, God has given us the keys to the family vehicle and the authority to control the velocity of our family's schedule. It's time to reclaim the promise of peace on earth and peace in our homes.
Here are several things you can do to help your kids and family recharge this Christmas:
- Get outside.Become a kid again and go sledding, ice skating, or on winter walks.Time seems to stand still when we get away from electronics and the pursuit of materialistic things.Experiencing God's beautiful creation brings a sense of calm within a hurried soul.It's amazing how peaceful snowflakes fall amid an orchestra of gentle serenity.
- Spend time praying as a family.When we focus on Christ and look to Him to meet our spiritual needs, the importance of those $99 deals at the local department store start to fade.
- Limit commitments.We are the gatekeepers and we know when the exhaustion meter in our kid's eyes hits 100%.Saying no always feel uncomfortable in the moment it's uttered, but the benefits are realized when your pulse drops as you settle in for a warm night of family time.
- Honor traditions.The type of traditions isn't as important as making and honoring them.Traditions remind our families we are grateful for another year, thankful for the special people that surround us, and worshipful of God, the Giver of all good things.It slows the pace of life when we take time out to answer the question of why we exist.
- Focus on serving others.When we serve it makes us more like Christ.It also reminds our kids of the joys of serving and starts to recharge their hearts with a potent fuel for life.Some of the best places to serve are at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, nursing homes, and church.
- Reflect on the words of Christ.Jesus only "lost his cool" once and for good reasons when He encountered greedy people who tried to take over the temple.Otherwise, He was the one calming the storms of life and bringing peace to troubled souls in despair.That is why His words should be close to our hearts anytime life threatens to get out of control. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." In John 16:33 He said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Merry Christmas and may God bring peace to your heart and home!
August 01, 2014
Stephen Houser took this photo of the cathedral in Prague where he prayed for Bethany Academy.
His footsteps undoubtedly were heard throughout the majestic cathedral in Prague as he stepped into its divine atmosphere. Why was he here? Where did he come from? He was on a mission and it included intercession for a place and a people dear to his heart. He bowed his head as he lifted his voice to heaven. The sound of silence was intermittently broken from time to time as new worshippers entered and those present whispered prayers to the God of heaven and earth. Time seemed to pass quickly in this place that has stood timeless throughout the centuries. Yet, as he prayed, his heart was beating like clockwork, just the way His heavenly Father created it to.
As he knelt in prayer in the middle of that cathedral, his spirit was united with many others across the globe and right here at Bethany Academy. Why? Stephen Houser, father of seventh grader Trace Houser, became one of the many who joined in the recent 24 Hour Prayer for Bethany Academy event. He just happened to be with a friend on a leisure trip across Europe. While most of us were sleeping in the Twin Cities, he was praying in Prague. The goal was to pray for our students, for our teachers, and for an amazing year in the presence of God.
There are many ways we can grow unity as the Bethany Academy family, but prayer is probably the quickest conduit for us to become one in spirit. God wants us to pray. The Bible tells us to bring our needs and requests to God. Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." This means that so many things that we can't understand and that we worry about are worked out by God through prayer.
True prayer requires a quiet heart, one that is ready to listen. Prayer isn't a speech; it's a conversation between a Father and his children. Andrew Murray once wrote, "Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God's voice in response to mine is its most essential part." What is God speaking to you today as you calm your restless and over-scheduled soul?
I think that God knew what Stephen Houser would pray and where he would pray long before Stephen entered that gorgeous cathedral in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. What Stephen couldn't have known was that we will be having a new student from the Czech Republic here at Bethany Academy this fall. His prayers may have very well laid the spiritual foundation for this student.
There are no coincidences in life, especially when God is involved.
July 14, 2014
The sound of the door slamming on the back of my SUV was THE signal for the angels to begin singing. At least that is how I felt at that moment. A couple of seconds later, once my wife and kids were in their seats, I heard the roar of the engine, and it sounded to me like the voices of a choir giving praises to God's idea of rest. Yes, I was thrilled about this opportunity to head up to Minnesota's North Shore for four days with my family, but as I watched the mile markers on the interstate go by, I wondered why the word "summer", which sounds so relaxing, can quickly turn into one of the busiest and exhausting seasons of our lives. Five hours and many bathroom breaks later, we arrived tired but ready to play!
Chances are, your summer is just as hectic and busy as mine. For some of us, it might feel like the start of a new school year will be a welcome relief from the frantic summer months. Right now, families across America are struggling to achieve quality time together while trying to avoid the fatigue that comes from too much activity. So what do you do to keep everyone, including Grandma, from collapsing from sheer exhaustion amid the hum of the summer noise and activity? Consider trying these four suggestions that have worked for me and my family:
1. Choose to listen. If we only knew what we missed from the mouths of others, it would probably literally break our hearts. "I love you Daddy!" or "Thank you for teaching me that Mom!" are words that will flood anyone's soul with affirmation and strength. What about God? Is the noise of activity drowning out words that God is trying to speak to you? Jesus said in Matthew 11:15, "Whoever has ears, let them hear." James 1:19 says, " My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…"
2. Snap a few "selfies" with your heart, instead of your phone. Time is fleeting but the love you feel when you are with family and friends will last a lifetime. It is priceless. The next time you start to smile, look around at the photograph of your life as it's happening and choose to treasure that snapshot in your heart.
3. Find something simple you love and give thanks for it. For me it's the campfire. I love to watch the flames dance wildly in the cool, evening breeze. It sounds strange, but I am so thankful for fire and heat. Staying warm in the winter and enjoying a summer campfire are truly gifts. What simple pleasure are you grateful for in your life? The best way to slow life down is to say "thank you" to God for the simple things many busy people overlook.
4. Remember to focus on enjoying this moment. Our minds are so busy with activity that we are often get caught in the trap of always thinking about what is next on the to do list. Stop right now and think about this! Every experience we get will only be lived once. We can never get it back. People are God's expression of His love and creativity. When we treasure people and an experience as it is happening, we are in a way worshiping our Father in Heaven. James 1:17 says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."
Within a few seconds of finishing the last frantic touches to our campsite, I sank down into my chair by the campfire and took a deep breath. That's when it hit me. We are all blessed. Yes, we're busy with an over-scheduled summer, but the love we feel and the experiences we enjoy are a calming gift from God.
Director of Admissions