In 1914 Berge Revne sat in a stuffy classroom in Grand Forks, North Dakota listening to a tear-filled teacher. Revne's collared shirts were tucked into his slacks, and his blue eyes and boyish blonde hair gave away his Norwegian roots. His chruch history class was taught in his native tongue, and through the Norwegian language, and this simple course in church history, Revne’s heart was pricked for the African continent.
Depression Era Instructor Highlights Spiritual Growth at Hillcrest and Foreshadows Continued Formation
In 1922 S.L. Klyve was added to the Lutheran Brethren Bible School faculty. He served in teaching and training ministry-minded individuals.
His class record book documents a difficult time at Hillcrest. Klyve was known as a man with keen spiritual insight, added to the Lutheran Brethren School’s faculty to enhance the Bible training for pastors in an era of growth and expansion in the Lutheran Brethren church.
However, in 1931, Klyve took a leave from the Bible School due to the impact of the Depression on the schools. He returned in 1936 to once again bolster and enhance the pastoral training. He noted in 1929 that the school was taking on a different look than many thought. While many thought of LBS as a Bible school, he noted that the high school department was growing at a larger and faster rate than the Bible school, concerning to some who saw the schools as a primary training ground for pastors.
Klyve would later write a testimony to the importance of the high school department in the Bible School for young individuals, noting that, “What we have is a high school with a Bible department.”
Kylve would go on to note that this change didn’t impact the spiritual emphasis of the school, but more was a remark to the age of the students who were attending the school at that time. It was said that one could be as godly as seventeen as at twenty-seven, but he would express his Christian faith and life somewhat differently.
The class of 1926 had a picnic to celebrate their senior year. Gathered on picnic tables they reminisced on their year, a year that changed their lives. This now tight-knit group of kids sat on picnic tables posing for a picture we view nearly 100 years later because God used a man to cast a vision for Hillcrest that held eternal significance.
President Brad Hoganson gave the address below as part of his introduction to the staff at Hillcrest. Speaking to his time at Hillcrest where he gained a perspective that he has "never met a mere mortal," Brad draws from Acts 1 and 2 to give a small picture of what it means to give someone an eternally significant gift when they may be looking for something simple.
It was way back in the fall when we first stood in line to register. Some of us stood there with great big lumps in our throats and felt as if we were only hands and feet. Then after registration we went up to our bare rooms, threw ourselves on the bed and cried oceans of tears. After a while a friendly senior came in and persuaded us to come out and meet some of the nicest girls we have ever seen, and before long we began to feel right at home.
Joel notes there is a distinct future for Hillcrest that is fulfilling God's design. He is starting to see a different future for God’s work at Hillcrest. “I don’t think we can imagine the harvest...the seed doesn’t know that the gardener sees and has an expectation of the harvest. There has been a harvest, but the coming one may be larger.”
To my disappointment, a week later the flowers seemed smaller and faded. I took a closer look and discovered several plants were lying on top of the ground and other flowers were dry. Hungry rabbits had chewed and jerked some, and the others were suffering from days without rain.
"Then after registration we went up to our bare rooms, threw ourselves on the bed and cried oceans of tears. After a while a friendly senior came in and persuaded us to come out and meet some of the nicest girls we have ever seen, and before long we began to feel right at home."
Two things strike me about the 2017 Senior class verse. One is that these high achieving seniors recognize their fears. And second, that they know confidence is found in their relationship with God!
The phrase “its rights and privileges” has often intrigued me. You have heard the phrase. On May 28th, I will address the HLA Class of 2017 “Upon recommendation of Mr. Isaac, Hillcrest Lutheran Academy Principal, and by virtue of the authority…granted by the Hillcrest Board of Directors, it is my privilege to award you the Hillcrest Lutheran Academy High School Diploma with all of its rights and privileges.”
A couple of weeks ago, I put down my foamy razor for a pen and paper to jot down the composer and name of an amazing arrangement playing on our “easy listening” TV channel. I thought, "I want this CD, and I’m going to recommend our music department perform the number.”
To the Colossians (2:20, 3:1), Paul wrote “Since you died with Christ…” and “Since you have been raised with Christ…” Since we died with Christ, the messages and expectations of natural philosophies (worldviews) have nothing for us. They lack power for changing our lives and they offer no eternal hope.
My emotions are touched by students who notice, hand off their books to another, and team up to carry Dan in his wheelchair to the next floor.
In spite of the frantic attempt to get away from being "Old Fashioned", we are not very successful. We are very much "Old Fashioned" after all, evidenced by the facts that we enter the world in the old fashioned way, we are nourished and grow in the old fashioned way, we rejoice and laugh, we suffer, weep, sorrow, die, all in the "Old Fashioned" way. Why, then, all this make-belief!
What would you imagine if I said, “Test?” My guess is you thought of a driver’s license or classroom examination if you are in your teens or early twenties. Maybe you remembered a recent eye exam if you’re in your forties. I chose not to mention the variety of tests doctors order for people my age.
“Inauguration” is defined as “an introduction into office,” “a ceremonial opening,” and “putting something into operation.” A new USA President is being inaugurated today, January 20, ’17. It’s a time when the country expects her chosen leader to say, in Paul’s words, “forgetting those things that are behind, I press on to lay hold of that for Christ took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12).
In 1931, the teachers agreed to keep on teaching “even without a guaranteed salary.” In the 1932-1933 school year, the teachers and administration had a total of $1,930 of salary left unpaid. In the 1933-1934 school year, they were paid less than half of their contracted salaries. They had been paid a total of $4,776.32, but $5,871 had been left unpaid. In the 1934-1935 school year, the teachers were paid a total of $5,647.40, with a total of $4,196.44 left unpaid.
Minnie’s foundational peace in Jesus propelled her to drink from the well of Bible training she received at Hillcrest 7 years later. “We studied the books in the Bible, it helped me a lot,”
“Why do I feel so alone when I have so many ‘friends’?” The social media context may be new, but the internal cry is the same, "I'm alone in a crowd."
Thirty-some years ago, I read a piece suggesting that our language shapes our identity. It was a period when we were incorporating technological vocabulary into self-descriptive conversation such as “networking,” “processing,” "hard-wired" and “random memory.”
The piece suggested that we would increasingly understand ourselves through mechanical robotic concepts and less in psychological terms that had been common beforoe that time.
But the most interesting point in the essay was that psychological descriptors had replaced theological concepts in our conversation.
I believe the lonesomeness of our day is not significantly different than it was decades ago, but the changes in language (influencing self-understanding) has increasingly blinded us to the solution of our loneliness.
In tech thinking, we need more connectedness. In psych terminology, we need therapy. In spiritual terms, we need God.
Knowing God is our mission at Hillcrest. The boy, Samuel, needed to lie down and listen to the Lord. In hearing the Lord's words, he became a prophet in Israel. The zealous Saul of Tarsus, had to be stopped in his ambition to excel above his peers and ask “Who are you, Lord?”
Our students, like Samuel and Saul, will be fulfilled humans when brought to oneness with God. Jesus was sent to grant us the Holy Spirt to indwell us with such intimacy that we would speak to God in familial terms, “Abba, Father!” (Galatians 4:6).
Are you feeling alone? Listen to elderly Eli’s words to young Samuel, “say, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’” You will discover you are not alone!