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We all think we are, but are we really?

We all think we are, but are we really?

From Andy Stanley’s Crazy Like Us

We all think we are this, but in actuality most Americans are not this and do not know how to do this! Now at MCA, I know we are above average! But here is the thing, this is not something natural but has to be taught.  So you might be asking, what is this? Well, this is HOW TO BE GENEROUS.  No, not how to give, but how to be generous, to live generously, to be… not to do.

Now I know what you are thinking. Whenever someone says that we are not something, we immediately remember that one time we did it and define ourselves with that single event. An example, especially for the guys, would be in marriage. This happens at times, and perhaps too many times in my own, where your wife says something like, “You don’t help enough around the house.” Our immediate response to this, guys, is “No, remember that one time back before the kids where born when I washed the dishes?” And then we define our whole being with that one single act. When it comes to generosity, we are not talking about a single random act of giving.

You see, random acts of giving come from people inspiring us, motivating us, selling us, or guilting us into giving. Generosity is not a single act of giving. Generosity transcends inspirational and guilt giving. Generous people move beyond that. When we learn how to be generous and order our life around generosity, we will give more, save more, and consume less.

Now there are some of us who will not save more. In fact, you may already be saving more than all the neighbors on your street combined, including everyone in a four-block radius. You will not save more; you will give more. Maybe you do this because you are nervous about money, but it isn’t because you don’t have enough, you just never learned how to be generous. Others may think you are based on zeros on the end of your check, but you’re not generous. Generosity effects every part of your life, finances included. It’s a keystone habit that affects everything, but it is something that we need to be taught.

Generosity is not natural. The best example of this is found raising our own children. We have to teach them how to share when they are young. It’s not natural for them to do it. They will want to fight for their stuff and take other children’s toys when they want it. We have to teach them to give up what is maybe theirs; we have to teach them to take turns. It’s funny that even as adults we can still feel resistance when we give our own stuff away.

So if generosity isn’t natural, what is it? It’s crazy! Most Americans spend more than they make, pay interest on things that decrease in value as soon as they possess it. We never really feel rich, but we are, and we may feel generous but we aren’t.  That is crazy. Imagine sharing your financial pressures with someone from a third-world country. They would think you’re CRAZY! Just to give an example of this, if you make $40,000, you are considered part of the top 1-2% of the richest people in the world. This is mind-blowing, isn’t it?

Now with that being said, since we know that generosity isn’t natural and needs to be taught, let’s look at four myths of generosity.

Myth 1 – Generosity is spontaneous. Nope, it isn’t simply giving to the random kid in the neighborhood who is raising money for XYZ. It’s not walking by a musician downtown and throwing some change in the guitar case.  Generous people are not spontaneous, but far more strategic in their giving.

Myth 2 – Generosity depends on cash flow. If you think you can be generous today but not tomorrow, that’s not how it works. Generosity isn’t determined by whether or not you can afford it. Generous people are consistent in giving.

Myth 3 – It’s the amount that counts. This is pure crazy. Many times people look at the amount to determine if someone is generous or not. No one knows if the amount of zeros on the check makes a person generous. It may be more money than I have, than I could give, but one way to fool ourselves is by looking at the amount. The amount does NOT count. Everyone can be generous, and everyone can make a generous donation.

Myth 4 – Rich people are generous. “When I become rich, then I will become generous.” This simply isn’t the case. So think about this, if you are not generous now, when you get rich, you will simply be a rich person who is not generous. Rich people are rich and generous people are generous. There isn’t a correlation; they are two different things.

Now after reading those myths and what we already discussed, let’s just close our eyes and imagine for a moment. Imagine that all of the financial mistakes you have made over the years, the money lost, is now sitting in a bank account. All of it is right there for you but there is a catch. You can only spend it on others and not yourself. WOW! Can you imagine the rush of giving that away to others and helping those in need! Jesus tells us that it’s better to give than to receive, or you could say “Happy is the person whose life is ordered around giving than receiving.” This bank account certainly would bring you a lot of happiness and it would be because you were not spending it on yourself.

So bottom line is this, you need to choose your crazy. You can either be crazy like everyone else, or you can be crazy generous.

My Passionate Call To Action

My Passionate Call To Action

If you’ve heard me speak, you’ve probably heard me use phrases like “the redemption of culture” or being the “cultural salt and light”.  I’m almost always talking about the role our students are called to, to be agents of change and reconciliation for their generation.  I know…o.k. I can get a little long-winded on this topic, but I’m passionate about it!  Almost as passionate as I am for your kids!

There was a great book written in 2001 titled “Culture Matters:  How Values Shape Human Progress”.  It represents the culmination of some of the most influential thinkers pertaining to the topic of culture.  It was and remains a highly controversial book.  The authors define culture as “the values, attitudes, beliefs, variations, and underlying assumptions prevalent among people in society”.  One of their key ideas is that cultural values powerfully shape political, economic, and social performance.  The central conservative truth, one that I agree with, is that culture, not politics, determines the success of a society.  This is why culture is so important and why you hear me harp on it.  Since the first century, the church has been a principal cultural shaper.  Allow me to share just a few examples.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the church has and remains the single largest provider of healthcare in the world.
  • The very first orphanages were churches in the middle ages
  • The church lead society to abolish and make illegal the slave trade
  • Almost all schools were established by the church, first in the catacombs of Rome to the great universities
  • The church established the original Red Cross hundreds of years before the international Red Cross was formed
  • Church teaching on the sacredness of marriage heavily influenced the legal concept of marriage during the Reformation
  • In the 10th Century, the church established alms houses caring for the elderly and disabled
  • During the Victorian Age, the church pioneered prison reform by advocating for human rights and teaching prisoners a trade
  • Public libraries in Western society, which had tremendous impact on learning and culture, were developed by the church during the Reformation
  • The father of the modern foster care movement was a devote Christian who started the Children’s Aid Society in the mid-1800s
  • The church was the first patron of the visual and musical arts

Certainly, this list is not all-inclusive, but I’m certain you would agree that the legacy of the church is an impressive one.  A recent Barna Research survey cites an increasing view among millennials and Gen Xers that the church is no longer relevant.  In my opinion, we did it to ourselves, as the church has gradually withdrawn from the culture.

My passionate call to action…is to prepare and train our students to engage their culture and redeem it.  To reclaim the churches’ prominent role in shaping the “values, attitudes, beliefs, orientations, and underlying assumptions” in their world.

Thank you for your belief in our mission and entrusting us with your cherished children.

Serving Him together,

Brian Sullivan
Head of School
Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

Celebrating our Savior’s Birth & How It Transforms Us

Celebrating our Savior’s Birth & How It Transforms Us

Isn’t it nice to be in a school where we can wish each other “Merry Christmas,” host Christmas programs, and collectively celebrate the birth of our Savior? On behalf of the faculty, staff, and Maranatha Christian Academy, Merry Christmas!

We read in Luke 2:8-11 the account of the shepherds who had an encounter with the infant Messiah. Shepherds had a bad reputation in Israel. They were regarded as dishonest and unreliable. Yes, it was the shepherds who God chose to announce the good news that the long awaited Messiah had been born. They responded by going to Bethlehem to see for themselves. Verse 16 says “they hurried off” and found what they were looking for…Christ the Lord. When they had seen Jesus, “they spread the word” concerning what they had seen and heard (verse 17). They literally could not keep the good news to themselves, they wanted everyone to know! The shepherds then returned to their flocks glorifying and praising God (verse 20). They “returned” to their fields and sheep, to their homes and families. Although their jobs and homes remained the same, they themselves did not. The shepherds were new people in an old situation. They had been changed by seeing Jesus!

The discovering of Jesus Christ is still a transforming experience 2,000 years later. Together, let’s celebrate our Savior’s birth and how it transforms us.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Serving Him together,

Brian Sullivan
Head of School
Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN)

MCA Students Visit Emerson Automation Systems

MCA Students Visit Emerson Automation Systems

As part of the Entrepreneurship program at Maranatha Christian Academy (Brooklyn Park, MN), a group of students participated in a site visit to Emerson Automation Systems.  The follow article was published by Apriton Educational Advisors, who partner with MCA in this ground-breaking program.


Integrating Interdisciplinary Learning and Industry
By Brent Veninga

How can we integrate interdisciplinary learning and encourage both career and college preparedness for high school students? Today, Emerson Automation Systems (@EMR_Automation) hosted two of our schools, Southwest (@swchsstars) and Maranatha (@MCAmustangs) in an outstanding site visit. With help from Emerson’s Global Education team, students toured their manufacturing floor, the Solution Center, and the new Interactive Plant Environment training center. Emerson’s educational team used examples from content specific areas (e.g. physics, engineering, business, math and communications) and explained how these areas transfer into necessary skills such as collaboration, innovation and critical thinking. Incredible technologies on flow, pressure and measurement were described – and how instant worldwide communication benefits Emerson and its many clients. Such an impressive environment for our students to experience.

Furthermore, the Emerson team helped cast vision for our students into career possibilities and pathways to work at tremendous organizations like Emerson. They shared their personal career paths and the nature of their daily work and how they too are lifelong learners.

This is an outstanding example of how schools and business can intersect and cast vison in talented students that can become future employees.

Thanks so much to the Emerson Global Education team for this fantastic opportunity!

Summer Reading Update

Summer Reading Update

Did you know that students who log their summer reading minutes are eligible for prizes? Continue reading to see what your student can do to participate.

Lower School Students:

Students that read and log on their Scholastic account the following minutes will be entered into a drawing for a gift card.

  • Grades 1-2 = 1,000 minutes
  • Grades 3-5 = 2,000 minutes
  • Each additional 500 minutes will earn another entry into the drawing.

The grade that records the most summer reading minutes (1-5) will earn an extra recess on Monday, October 23.

Questions about the Lower School Summer Reading can be directed to Mrs. Stacy Huether at

Upper School Students:

Students that read and log a minimum of 1,500 minutes will have their name entered into a drawing for a gift card. Each additional 1,000 minutes read will earn another entry in the drawing. Two students, one from Middle and one from High School, will earn a $100 Amazon gift card and additional names will be drawn for $20 gift cards.

Middle School students should enter their reading minutes on their Scholastic account they received in the spring. High School students should fill out a reading log and submit it to Mr. Oehler in the Upper School Learning Commons no later than Friday, September 8. Click here for grades 9-12 reading log. Questions about the Upper School Summer Reading can be directed to Mr. Jerry Oehler at

Reminder! Make sure to check in with your student and his/her summer reading. Click here for details on your child’s assignment.