First Things First . . .
Greetings to all. My name is Kirk Smith and if you haven’t heard by now, I am the new Executive Director of ICHE. It’s my joy and privilege to be working with the Board of ICHE to best serve the needs of home educators in Illinois.
This is the first of what I hope will be weekly thoughts to stir each of us up to good works in our homes, churches and communities. I also trust these writings will provoke further thoughts on our blog that will encourage, instruct and exhort one another.
After 50 years of living, 25 years as a pastor and almost 19 years as a parent, I have literally hundreds of thoughts that I want to write about, so where do I start? Rather than try to impress you with a level of wisdom of which I have yet to attain, I humbly start with the verse and perspective that has been the cornerstone of everything that I’ve done in my life, Executive Director for ICHE included: Matthew 6:33. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” It all starts with God.
In the spirit of this verse I’ve requested and received permission from the Board to proclaim the first Tuesday of every month as a day of prayer and fasting before the Lord for His blessings on all the ICHE family and what we stand for. I realize some of you will have limitations in regards to work or physical ability. That is fine. Do what you feel God would have you do in the situation He has placed you in. This is simply a time for us to declare our dependence upon Him and His grace in every one of our undertakings as an organization and as individual support groups and home schoolers.
Each month I will post a few specific prayer requests that are on my heart as the Executive Director or on the heart of the Board. I will include a verse(s) to remind us either of God’s promise or perspective on the topic at hand. In addition to these prayer requests, please pray for the Board and me as we seek to be good stewards of the grace that God has given us in our respective roles.
I have shared excitedly with the Board that I believe “Aslan is on the move.” It makes me wonder what blessings and obstacles lay before us. It is my hope that we will prepare for both even now. In this first month I would encourage focus on the following:
1. To have a solid vision and be able to articulate that vision in a meaningful and impactful way.
- Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.--Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
- “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.--Hab. 2:2 (ESV)
2. To have unity of vision, purpose and heart among all the ICHE family.
- And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.--John 17:11 (ESV)
- Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.—1 Peter 3:8 (ESV)
3. That God would stir up and encourage the hearts of the people who are leaders or work on the local or state level for the cause of home education.
- And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.--Ex. 36:2 (ESV)
- Then rose up the heads of the fathers' houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem.--Ez. 1:5 (ESV)
4. That God would implant into the hearts of all fathers to disciple their children spiritually.
- And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”--Malachi 4:6 (ESV)
5. That God would continue to pour His grace out upon our governor, state senators and representatives to protect our rights to home educate.
- The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.--Proverbs 21:1 (ESV)
- Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,--1 Tim. 2:1-3 (NKJV)
These represent a starting point; there are many more things that we could lay out before the Lord. I would invite each of you to share things on the blog that you are praying for, either on an individual basis or a state-wide basis in regards to home schooling. We want to encourage each other in the Lord.
As Jim Elliot said, “That saint who advances on his knees will never retreat.” ICHE has no intentions of retreating but pressing the rights of King Jesus and His people. May great grace be upon us to see His will accomplished individually and corporately.
Executive Director, ICHE