Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Loving Out Loud is Sharing

Spiritual Emphasis Week Chapel
Day 3

Love is not an emotion, students at Smithville Christian High School were told in chapel today.

“Love is an action,” said chapel speaker Craig Danielson, pastor at Calvary Church in St. Catharines.

Unlike the messages communicated on television or movies, love is not about passion or about sex, he said.

“It’s familial love. It’s ‘I want to have a relationship with you.’”

Danielson read 1 Timothy 6:18 – “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share.”

“If you truly want to love someone, you have to share,” he said.

Danielson challenged the students to think of things they have that they can share with others: with other students, other people, or family members.

He gave the students an example of a single father who had been saving up to take his children on a vacation, but who ended up giving his savings away because someone else needed the money more.

“It’s not just about money,” Danielson said. “It’s time and energy.”

He said it’s easy to make excuses about why we are not generous, showing students a video called “The Christian’s Guide to Excuses.”

He read 1 John 3: 11-29, which calls us to love, not murder, and said “murder” can be what we do with our words.

“If you are at home or at school and something (harsh) comes out of your mouth, that’s murder,” he said. “We can murder people with words.”

Instead, as Christ-followers, we are to be a light “to the world, to our school, to our family,” he said.

Danielson said students could do practical random acts of kindness, like thank their bus drivers or their teachers, or pay for the person in line behind them at Tim Hortons.

But the best kind of love is knowing the need of the person beside us “and loving unconditionally for their betterment,” he said.

“Don’t wait until you are 20 or 30 or 40 to start living out loud intentionally and with passion,” he said. “You are brothers and sisters in Christ, and you need to pour love into one another with generosity.” 

Today’s questions for discussion:

1.    What does Romans 5:5 mean to you?

2.    How did thanking God for all his gifts give you a new appreciation for what you have?

3.    What are some of the benefits of comparing what you have with others? What are the dangers?

4.    What is the difference between “wanting” to share and “having” to share?

5.    Why do you think it’s so difficult to share our stuff?

6.    Do you have a cool story about how it made you feel to share something with someone in need?

Today's praise and worship: Amazing Grace, You Are Holy, and Our God is Greater.

Here's the link to the Brandon Heath song: Give Me Your Eyes

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Loving Out Loud

Spiritual Emphasis Week Chapel
Day 2

God is pouring love into their lives, students at Smithville Christian High School were told in chapel this morning.

“And here’s what God wants you to do: to pour the love that God has given you into the people around you,” said Craig Danielson, senior pastor at Calvary Church in St. Catharines.

He said there may be suffering in our lives, but God uses our hurts to produce endurance, and endurance to produce character.

“Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us,” said Danielson, quoting Romans 5:5.

Danielson said the difference between “spilling” and “pouring” is that spilling is an accident, while pouring is purposeful.

He said the theme of this year’s Spiritual Emphasis Week, Living Inside Out Loud, is calling us to live “with passion, purpose and intensity.”

Yesterday students were asked to identify something they needed to change in their lives in order to align themselves with the truth. Today they were encouraged to see the changes they need to make in their lives as “a journey” and not as a magic fix.

“In our suffering, in our tragedies, in our broken relationships, God has poured love into us so we can pour into other people,” he said. “How are you going to do that in your friend group? In your youth group? In your family?”

This morning’s chapel began with prayer requests and time for students to pray with each other.

Members of the Praise Team also led us in worship with Forever, Beautiful One and I Will Follow.

 Today’s questions for small group discussion include:

1.       How did you use your challenge card from yesterday?

2.       What are some of your thoughts about loving loud?

3.       What are some examples of being a “spiritual spiller?”

4.       Do you think we “spill” more than we “pour” into the lives of our friends and family? Why or Why not?

5.       On a scale of 1 to 10, how do you think you rate when it comes to pouring into others?

6.       What are some ways you can be more intentional about pouring into the lives of others?

Monday, 27 February 2012

What's stopping you from aligning yourself with the truth?

Spiritual Emphasis Week Chapel
Day 1

Students at Smithville Christian High School began Spiritual Emphasis Week with chapel this morning, led by Craig Danielson, senior pastor at Calvary Church in St. Catharines.

Danielson told the students he was there to challenge them to align themselves with “True North” – the truth. 

He said the point of aligning ourselves with the truth is to change our behaviour. 

“If we say we have fellowship with him (Jesus) while we walk in darkness, we lie and we do not practice the truth,” said Danielson, quoting from 1 John 1:6.

He showed students a video clip of parents demonstrating their live for their disabled child through actions, and told students that loving is a choice we make.

“We can’t say, ‘I don’t really feel like loving God today, or like loving others today,’” he said. “Love is not based on how we feel” but on what God calls us to do. 

He challenged students to examine their lives “for things that are preventing you from aligning with the truth.”

He said things like anger, or pornography, or cheating or gossip are all ways in which we can deceive ourselves about whether we are Christ-followers. 

“God wants to do things in your life so you can spill over into other peoples’ lives, but you’ve got to clean up your inside first,” he said. “What behaviour changes do you need to make to align yourself with True North, which is Jesus?”

That’s why the theme for this year’s spiritual emphasis week builds on the student council theme for the year – Live Out Loud – by adding “Inside:” Living Inside Out Loud, he said. 

Students were handed cards with Danielson’s challenge, and asked to consider what God is asking them to change about themselves.  They were asked to record what God revealed to them and then ask a parent or caregiver to sign their cards. 

Spiritual life director Mr. Gord Park acknowledged that accountability is scary, “but there is something about accountability that makes you free.” 

Before Danielson spoke, Mr. Park led the students in prayer, that they would be open to God’s work in their lives, and that their hearts would be “good soil” on which good seed would land. He also asked the students to give themselves – and each other – permission to let God work.

“Whatever you want to do with God today, that’s okay with me,” the students told each other.  

Members of the Praise Team also led is in worship with Desert Song, Came to My Rescue and Our God.

Each day this week students will also break into small groups for focused discussions, and there is a prayer room set up for prayer and meditation. Nearly 30 Grade 12 students have volunteered to lead the small groups.

Questions for today’s  small group discussion include:

1.       Where would you say your life is pointing right now? True North or somewhere else?

2.       What thoughts do you have about what was said in chapel this morning about changing your behaviour to “Live Inside Out Loud?”

3.       What kind of behaviour change would you need to make?

4.       What has been the most difficult way of living for you as a Christ-follower or as someone who is investigating God in a Christian school?

5.       What’s the hardest thing to change about yourself? What’s the easiest?

 Let’s cover our students with prayer as the Holy Spirit works in their lives.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

What do you believe?

“When is the last time someone who really counted asked you about your faith?” asked spiritual life director, Mr. Gord Park, at this week’s chapel. 

And that doesn’t mean your Sunday school teacher, or Mom, or Dad, or teacher, he said, but rather someone who really wants to know what you believe.

“Some of us might go through life and not have to answer a question about our faith to somebody who doesn’t already expect what our answer will be,” he said.

His own first experience came in university, when another student in a study group asked him whether he was a Christian, he said.

He panicked at first, but then answered “yes.”

Outside of the safety of his family and his church, “It was my first profession of faith,” he said.

But it turned out the others in the study group merely wanted to know how the Christian symbolism of fire might be relevant to The Sound and The Fury, a novel by William Faulkner. Later, the student who had asked the question approached him again.

“You are lucky,” she told him, “because you believe something that is foundational to your life.”  It affects how you think, and how you live and how you make decisions, she said.

“God lines us up for moments when someone will ask,” Mr. Park said. “How ready are you for that? To be able to say ‘Where is God in this?’ or ‘What does this mean?’”

He read I Peter 3:15 – Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 

This is not a chapel where I tell you what to say, he said. “It’s your story. What do YOU believe? Ask yourself ‘Why do I believe?’ or ‘What is it that gives me faith?’ despite where you are in the journey.”

Mr. Park said those students who will be travelling to South Africa in March, or those who have the opportunity to participate in a summer Serve project, often have a chance to give an account of what they believe.

He said the amazing thing that happens when you give an account of your faith is that even though you may be nervous or frightened, “God pours right back into you as you speak. His spirit moves through you, even when you are nervous.

“As you give, you grow. And as you speak, others grow,” he said.

“You are drawn closer to him and your faith grows,” he said, “and others feel the moving of the spirit of God in their lives. God’s spirit ties us together in unity. Profession of faith creates community.”

Mr. Park invited five students who will be part of the South Africa team next month to profess their faith. Here’s what they said.

Kurtis – Psalm 118: 24 Let us rejoice today and be glad.
“Showing joy doesn’t mean we forget about our struggles, but we have a God who goes with us along the way.”

Josh – Joshua 24: 14 Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
“We are here for a purpose, to serve God.”

Devon – Isaiah 40: 31 Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;  they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
“Whatever I do, God will be there for me. God will give me strength for whatever comes my way.”

David – Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
“I have had challenges in my life, but I can get through with God.”

Matt – Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Before a major Sr.Boys volleyball game at OFSSA on Manitoulin Island “I prayed that I would do everything I can to benefit my team.” Then at a turning point in the game, when Matt’s contribution was crucial, “God calmed my nerves. The feeling you get is amazing, when you know that God answers your prayer.”

Also in chapel today, Praise Team “Unplugged” leading us in singing “God of This City,” “Beautiful One,” and “Everlasting God.”

Student Council played Plinko with top sellers in the magazine campaign.
Want to support student activities at Smithville Christian?
You can still order magazines at Our school code is 11632.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

What's your sound?

If students at Smithville Christian High School really want to LOL (Live Out Loud) they have to know what sound to make.

At this week’s chapel, leadership coach Susan Dunk told students their purpose in life is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

Basing her talk on this year’s theme of Living Out Loud, Dunk said “proclaiming God’s praises” (1 Peter 2:9) requires you to make your sound.

She said our voice prints are even more unique than our fingerprints.

“That’s how phenomenal our God is, he gave you a unique voice and you are to proclaim his praises different than anyone else,” she said.

Dunk used the example of Esther, who risked her life by speaking up but who ended up making “the sound of redemption.”
She said John the Baptist made “the sound of prophecy,” Martin Luther made “the sound of reformation” and Martin Luther King made “the sound of freedom.”
“The sounds they allowed to come forth came from who they were,” said Dunk, reminding students that like Esther, “you were made for such a time as this.”

So what stops us from making our sound? she asked.

She said you can be fearful, which mutes your sound.

She said you can be muffled, by being too busy trying to prove yourself to other people and looking for their validation.

She said you can be masked, by comparing yourself to other people and trying to be someone you’re not.

She said sometimes the words that people use to describe us can seem like they’re negative, but they may actually be our unique sounds when we put them in the right context. For example, a child who is “strong-willed” is actually able to stand up for what is right, she said.

“I challenge you to get together with a friend and find out what you resonate with,” she said.

 She prayed for the students “that a word would come up and you would say ‘yes, that is the sound I am to make’ and you would not be afraid of that.”

“You may be called to speak to the elite or to the lowly, but I encourage you not to be mute, muffled or masked.”

Dunk also said she could tell there was something different about Smithville Christian.

“I want to commend you,” she said. “There is something about your school. There is a great spirit here. It feels like family. There is something in the air here, so whatever you are doing. Keep it up.”

At the chapel, members of Student Council executive hosted a bean bag toss as one of the incentives for the ongoing magazine fundraiser.

They also presented a skit to encourage students to sign up for the World Vision 30-Hour-Famine on Feb. 23 to Feb. 24.

Members of the Praise Team also led us in worship, with Mighty to Save, Loves is Here, and Revelation Song.

See more photos on Facebook.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Teacher R&D

What does it look like when teachers are the ones being given the assignments? Here are some Smithville Christian teachers at this morning's research and development session.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

South Korea Chapel

We had a fantastic time of praise and worhip today, led by our Praise Team and by special guests from South Korea. "We've got the joy in our hearts!"

The students from South Korea were in Canada because they spent the last month studying at John Knox and Covenant Christian Elementary Schools in an intensive English-language learning experience. Smithville Christian graduates Anne Kang, Josiah Dieleman and student Bethany Stuive travelled to South Korea last summer to volunteer at a vacation Bible School in Ulsan. Now some of the students came back to Canada to visit us. We had a great time praising and worshipping together!

Watch the videos on YouTube:

Students Council also introduced this year's Valentine's Day challenge. "Devona" lost her heart when Isaac sneezed and she said "Bless You." Girls, what will it take for a boy to steal your heart? Find out on Valentine's Day!

Here are some photos of our Praise Team.

What a great way to start the day!