Category CSE Magazine
Title Well Prepared from Christian Education
Author/s Kenneth S. Bode
Preview Christ-centered education keeps what really matters in perspective.

Christian education has prepared me for a lifetime of service. I am an alumnus of the Tampa Baptist Academy (TBA), class of 1995, where I spent 17 of my formative years training to enter the world as an equipped Christian man. From there I attended the Air Force Academy, where I found that my previous schooling prepared me for the paradigm shift to rigorous college life. Next I attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University, and I am currently a resident in orthopedic surgery. Through my years, I have depended on the Christian foundation that my church, parents, and TBA developed; a three-cord strand is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). I have endeavored to create, just as ACSI purports, a lifestyle of character, leadership, service, stewardship, and worship through a relationship with Christ.

Christ-centered education keeps what really matters in perspective. TBA's central theme of "educating for eternity" is a true testament to how Christian schooling offers quality education, which includes teaching students to conduct critical analyses as they learn what is truly relevant and develop a biblical worldview. One of the keystones of this framework is the teachers who had a large impact on my life through a multitude of ways: encouraging my intellectual development, living as examples of Christian faith and truth, fostering my potential in Christ, loving me, and implementing positive discipline (2 Timothy 3:16). My mentors and coaches had expectations of me, and they were my cheering squad; this combination motivated me to live a life that is pleasing to God.

I did not contemplate the significance of this type of education until I experienced mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual trials at the Air Force Academy. I found it natural to abide by the Academy's honor code-and its core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all a person does-because I had already lived this lifestyle and had character education before my matriculation. My prayer life escalated at the Academy. Even from the first day of basic training, I realized I had to depend on God to get me through in the austere environment of military training (Hebrews 12:11, Philippians 4:13). One of the applications of Proverbs 22:6 for me is the Spirit-directed self-governance afforded through Christian learning. The service, prayer, and dedication of my parents and teachers have helped me to grow in my relationship with Christ and to put His teachings into practice (Philippians 4:9).

When I have faced trials in my life, I have found that the Bible knowledge, including memorization of verses and application of the Bible's truths to my life, that I gained in my Christian education is so ingrained in my life that I find myself unconsciously choosing to do the right thing or seeing that the biblical path makes the most sense. Even today I find that key verses such as Proverbs 3:5-6 come back to me when I am praying before each elective surgery or when I am encountering multiple trauma patients in the emergency room who have fractures and mangled extremities. During the stress of being a surgeon and in the military, I have held fast to the core values imparted to me through my Christian education. Now that I am a father of three children, I especially understand the importance of a Christian education, and I desire this treasure for them.

My Christian education and role models have made me better in my main roles in life, and they have positively affected the key decisions I have made, such as the decision to marry a woman who is a strong Christian. I know that I would not be where I am today without God's helping hand; God has opened the doors before me every time I have given Him all the credit for my achievements. His placement of key Christian teachers in my life has shaped and formed me into the Christian servant I am today, and I can confidently state that Christian education prepared me for life after graduation.

Kenneth S. Bode graduated from Tampa Baptist Academy in Tampa, Florida. Having received a doctor of medicine degree, he is a resident in orthopedic surgery at Wilford Hall Medical Center in Texas at Lackland Air Force Base. 

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