3260 6th Street Drive NW | Hickory, NC 28601 828-324-5405

Many of you may be familiar with the TLC show, “19 Kids and Counting”, which is a reality show about Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 10 boys and 9 girls (all who have ‘J’ names).  I have only seen the show once myself (I guess I have been hardened to the curiosity of bunches of kids living under one roof), but it is somewhat of a national phenomenon, and an indicator of our modern times, where we are entertained by those who are different than us.  Whether we watch with amazement over a family of 21, or with  judgment over our own ideas of the appropriate size of a family, or just to veg on the couch for an hour over a “clean” slot on national television, there is no doubting the fact that the show has been a hit. 

In the show, we see a family, who could not possibly function effectively due to their enormous size, function effectively.  The kids are well mannered and all help around the house with good attitudes.  This is a family who takes “family” and “faith” very seriously, visible by the interaction, Bible study, and family prayer times that we witness on the show.  In today’s world of seeking self and personal conveniences, it is refreshing to know that there are still some people who place other’s needs before their own, and who point their kids to Christ, through Biblical Parenting (on TV no less).

In no way am I endorsing this show, or even the Duggar family.  I don’t know them, and like I said, I have only seen the show once.  But, the title and content are ironic to me, because they indirectly link to HCA, not just because there are several large families in our school, and not just because we emphasize traditional family and biblical values.  You see, on September 5, 1995, Hickory Christian Academy opened its doors to students for the very first time.  This week is exactly 19 years since that initial event (“19 Years and Counting”).  An even greater connection is the fact that the first student body that year consisted of 19 students in K4, Kindergarten, and 1st grade.  So, the title of the TV show, “19 Kids and Counting” fits perfectly into the history of HCA.  Today, with 474 students seated in classrooms, I can often feel like Jim Bob Duggar, wondering where we are going to put all these young ‘uns!

During chapel this week, Mrs. Peeler did a beautiful job of connecting this year’s school verse with our anniversary celebration.  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – Phil. 3:14.  Toward the end of 1994, when Debbie Bolch and Karen Johnson received the word from God to begin a Christian school, they had no idea of the final result  of that vision.  They simply knew that they were to open the doors to a brand new school, and then let God take it from there.  They pressed on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God.  To be clear, the prize is the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  The prize is not large student population, new buildings, scholarships to elite colleges, nor championship sports programs.  The prize is the calling.

For each of us who call ourselves “Christians”, we have received a calling from God through the grace given to us in His Son, Jesus Christ.  The privilege is not in our own accomplishments nor any prestige or glory that comes from the world.  The prize is having received sufficient grace from a loving God, who has allowed us to serve Him by serving His children each and every day at HCA.  We don’t want to become famous or highly acclaimed by man.  We just want to faithfully serve our Savior, and to bring Him glory, and to be satisfied in that upward calling. 

The thing that many of our families might miss in this message is that we are ALL in on this calling.  The calling did not end with Debbie and Karen.  Neither does it stop with our school board, administration nor teaching staff.  Every person who works at HCA, every person who learns at HCA, and every person who drops off a child at HCA is part of this calling.  This is much more than a safe-haven from the things of the world, where kids can learn quality academics.  HCA has the vision and potential to alter the culture of Hickory, North Carolina by investing in a remnant of families who still place Jesus as their top priority.  Eventually, our kids will grow up, and intelligently take what they have gained at HCA to share with their kids, friends, and neighbors, who will in turn do the same in the next generation.  The world is rejecting Christ in almost every direction.  We are a body who can stand firm, and actually fight to change the course of this community. 

Over the next 12 months, you will see more and more regarding our 20th year of school (2014-2015) at Hickory Christian Academy.  We are excited about celebrating this milestone with each of you, and we are planning several unique things during the year to recognize this accomplishment.  Having been here for 14 of the 20 years, I can tell you that it has never been easy, nor will it ever be.  But, the satisfaction of knowing that we are fulfilling a divine calling that has passed through many people, and now through an entire generation makes it all worthwhile.

Teachers, moms and dads, administration, board members, alumni, and current students, you are ALL making a difference for the kingdom of God through this school, and in our community.  Thank you for your faithfulness which has gotten us this far, and thank the Lord for His magnificent grace, now “19 years and counting.” 

Happy Birthday HCA!

(Below are a few pictures from the “old days” when we were still at Highland Baptist Church.  Check to see if you recognize any faces…)

Lunch Time
Having Fun

There are a few still remaining…
Current Building Under Construction in 2006
Christmas Concert