Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their toil.  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another one to lift him up….And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

A threefold cord is not quickly broken. What comes to mind when you think of this verse?  Perhaps you remember a time when you played tug of war, or pulled a bucket of water from a well. Maybe you think of taking the family boat out for some fun in the sun. Serious boaters certainly know the  importance of having a few good ropes on board. 

Ropes are tools that help us solve problems: lower the anchor, lash to the shore line, throw a life preserver to a struggling swimmer, tow a disabled boat, strap things down so they don’t blow away. Rahab used a rope to help  the two spies escape out of her window and down the wall of Jericho (Joshua 2:14). And remember the paralytic at Capernaum? This guy was helpless and had sunk into despair. Then he heard about Jesus and how others had been healed; even lepers. His friends encouraged him to believe that he too could be cured. So he asked his friends to carry him to Jesus, where he was teaching at Peter’s house, and they joyfully agreed. The crowd was so large it was impossible to  get close to Jesus. So what did his friends do?  They tore up the roof, grabbed a few ropes, and let him down to the feet of Jesus.  

Now this is where it really gets good.  Jesus sees this guy’s pleading eyes and he immediately understands.  This man wanted to be healed, sure, but more importantly he wanted the peace of forgiveness and true transformation. “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven”  (Luke 5:19-20). His physical pain was gone, and his whole being was transformed. This helpless guy was healed, the guilty sinner pardoned (DA 267.3-268.3). Did you get the faith part?   Jesus saw “their” faith, the faith of the rope holders as well as the faith of the paralytic.  As Christian teachers, we believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God.  We have faith in who Jesus is, in His power. We understand the “work of education and the work of redemption are one” (Education, p. 30).   So we share the wonderful news of the gospel, helping our students know and experience Jesus.  We are rope holders. This important work is a product of our faith in Him who has promised, “if you draw near to me I will draw near to you,” (James 4:8). Physical and spiritual healing is granted when we have the faith to ask and believe. The friends of the paralytic had faith first.  They shared their faith in Jesus with their suffering friend. As His disciples we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and share the good news of salvation through both words and actions.

Can you imagine the blessing of lowering that bed through the roof and experiencing the transforming power of Jesus? These friends didn’t give a second thought to the heaviness of the load. They had one goal in mind. They hoisted him up on the roof, ripped that roof apart, and lowered him down to Jesus. Blessings are found in bearing one another’s burdens. Recognizing our role as members of the body of Christ, we see others as part of our own family. When we see suffering we act as His hands and feet. “Every believer has received grace gifts, so use them to serve one another as faithful stewards of the many-colored tapestry of God’s grace” (1 Peter 4:10). Sure, heavy things add stress and strain and many of the children and families you serve are dealing with some pretty heavy things. Some are struggling with fear or depression. Some with the financial impact of having lost their jobs. Some with health issues. Every heart has sorrow, but we must keep our eyes on Him who is able and remember that it is not what happens to us but what happens in and through us that matters. “Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us” (1 John 4:19).  Our labor for others is prompted by love to bring healing, reduce stress, and lead others to the Savior. 

Now imagine the paralytic and his friends returning home.  There must have been great rejoicing and tears of joy in seeing their loved one restored to vigor and health. “An expression of purity and peace had taken the place of the marks of sin and suffering. Glad thanksgiving went up from that home, and God was glorified through His Son, who had restored hope to the hopeless, and strength to the stricken one. What joy, what fellowship” (DA 270.1).  The story must have been shared far and wide offering hope wherever it was told. It is our responsibility as Christians to be examples of love and unity in our homes and communities, to share the good news.  My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:12). Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10). The testimony of the paralytic, his friends, and his family inspired hope in others.

Our prayer this school year is that each of you will take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and eagerly share the blessed hope that we have in our Lord Jesus Christ. We encourage you to model the building of healthy relationships in your home, the community, church, and school. Jesus promised in Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” You do not labor alone. You have friends to help carry you when needed. You are part of a family and can experience the blessing of carrying another team member’s burdens. God will be with you in your efforts. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:3). “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). 

Are you fit to be tied? “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3:3). “Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

Faith,       Family,      Fellowship

April 15, 2020 Message

In keeping with Governor Lee’s (TN)  April 15 announcement and recognizing similar recommendations from Governor Beshear (KY) ,  all KYTN Conference schools will be physically closed for the duration of the 2019/2020 school year.   Instruction will take place through online digital tools and offline activities. Teachers are using the best means possible to continue to deliver quality instruction, albeit in a different way, and, as such, we are counting the days ahead as instructional days.  Teachers will take daily attendance via zoom or their preferred method and attendance will be noted as: DL (Distance Learning) in RenWeb. School in KYTN will officially end this year on May 20 as previously scheduled.

The Office of Education and Youth Ministries are collaborating to provide a Virtual Week of Prayer April 27-May 1.  Please plan to join us daily from 2:00 PM-2:20 PM Central time on our Facebook page live https://www.facebook.com/kytnED/

Delivering education from a distance is no easy task and would typically need many weeks for training, scaffolding and preparation. However, this global emergency put us in a position where continuity of instruction plans had to be put in place in record time. We are blessed in the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference to have a tremendously dedicated educational team. Our teachers are versatile and mission minded. They have exhibited superb attitudes and willingness to best meet the needs of their students. During the week of  March 23-27, 2020, we met daily on Zoom with all of our principals and teachers to provide information and instruction on moving online. President Haley joined the Zoom session on Thursday of training week to offer encouragement and support of these important initiatives. We spent time sharing, informing, and encouraging our teachers as they lead out in this important initiative. These Bi-weekly Zoom meetings will continue until students are back in their physical classrooms.

The Education Department has a private Facebook group set up exclusively for KYTN teachers (KT TEACH.Me) where teachers are asking questions, initiating ideas, and sharing together. I want to personally thank our teachers for all of the measures they have taken over the past several weeks to exemplify such gracious adaptability, kindness, and excellence in this unique season. I am grateful for their dedicated commitment to our students and families.

It is important during this time that we keep our hearts fixed on God’s love and plans for our lives. We know that even in the midst of the unknown, our Father “works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). Psalm 139:16 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT). Not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from our heavenly Father (Matthew 10:29). God is infinite and intimate, and he has a plan for each of us.  We as a conference team are keeping our students and our families in prayer daily as we continue in this unprecedented season of life. The God who told the wind to be still in Mark 4 is listening to our prayers today. He knows our needs before we do. He still goes before us and calms the storm. God has His hand over our schools, our teachers, our students, and our families.

Pegi Flynt, Superintendent of Education