Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What's your name?

At this week's chapel students watched a video from the Nooma series by Rob Bell. It asked the question: "What's your name?"
Bell said the answer to that question defines us, it's our identity.
"How much of our pain comes from not being able to answer that question?" said Bell. Yet many of us answer that question by comparing ourselves to others.
But Proverbs 14:30 says "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."
We will never have peace if we compare ourselves to others, he said. We each have our own body types and abilities and families and histories,and that's what we have to accept. We can't "live our lives as if it's a script written by others.
"You have your own path," he said.

Students were led in worship by members of a student praise team, who played "Beautiful One," "Indescribable" and "Blessed Redeemer."

Watch the videos:
Beautiful One

Monday, 26 March 2012

South Africa 2012

South Africa was a trip of a lifetime for everyone who went. The first Sunday we got there we went to a church in a village that was never visited by white people before. When we got into the church the people were so excited to see us so they started singing before the pastor even got there. Their signing was absolutely beautiful. It was as if they were pouring out their whole soul in every word they sang.  It was a very poor village but for everything they did  they praised God. We learned so much from them.

The next day we went to Theocentric Christian College. We were all a little nervous because we weren’t quite sure what to expect when we got there. When we stepped out of the van we could see tons of kids looking out the window of a building that was across from us. All of the kids had the biggest smiles on their faces. As we started walking towards that building all the kids started to scream. As we got closer all of the class rooms emptied and hundreds of kids came running out and gave us hugs and tackled us to the ground. It was one of the greatest experiences of all of our lives. Every day during the week we helped out in different classes. Both the team and the kids loved it. We all built relationships with the kids in our classes. The last day at Theocentric was sad for everyone; it was really hard to leave the kids. Even in only one week we had strong relationships with all the kids.

After school on Thursday, Friday, and on Saturday morning, we ran a youth revival at a church near Theocentric. The church service went very well. Every service five of us  had the opportunity to share their testimonies. The reactions we got from the youth while doing our testimonies was amazing. While we were talking they were giving us so much support with shouting and nodding at what we said. God also used Mr. Park at the church. Every day he delivered a sermon. His sermons were remarkable and touched every single person there. The way they worshipped at the youth revival was amazing. They had a worship band that sang like I have never heard before, they were awesome. Before the pastor there would let Mr. Park preach, he made us all take some time to dance with the people. Sometimes this would last around 10 minutes of just praising God by dancing. Amazing.

The final thing we did in Africa was Kruger Park. It was an experience that brought us closer to God. The stuff we saw at that park, the landscapes and the animals were all proof that God was such a creative artist. There was beauty everywhere; whether it was a zebra or an elephant, or even a sunset we could see that it all came from God.  This trip was an amazing experience and I thank God for giving me the opportunity to go. I hope that someday I will have the blessing of being able to go back to South Africa.
By Devon Van Hoffen and Tallia Bezemer. Check back soon for photos.

Read about the team in the Limpopo Mirror: Young people must be light in the world

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Make your faith your own

We had a great start to our return back to school with some excellent musical leadership this week. A team of musicians from CTI Music Ministries led us in praise and worship at Monday morning’s chapel. The seven-member team includes a Smithville Christian alumnus: Calvin DeVries (class of 2009).

“I am excited to be here and to share what God is doing in my life,” Calvin said.
He challenged students to make their faith their own.

It’s not enough to say that you are growing up in a Christian home or that you attend a Christian school, Calvin said.

“You can’t live two separate lives – one at school and church and the other on the weekends when you are out with your friends,” he said. He encouraged students to make the school theme for the year – LOL or “Live Out Loud” – true in their own lives.

“I am not going to be telling you that serving God is going to be easy,” he said, describing what he is giving up by spending a year travelling with the music ministry. “But God is always with us and we can push through because God has us in his hand.”
We may have struggles, he said, “but God can always use us. We don’t need to worry about the little things.

“I want to challenge you to put yourselves out there.”

Monday, 19 March 2012

France Update #2

We're back!
We thank God for an amazing trip. More details and pictures to follow.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

France 2012 Update #1

A team of 25 students and three chaperones left for France on Friday, March 9.
On Saturday, we visited the Louvre and Gallerie Lafayette, and cruised the Seine at night.
On Monday we travelled to Normandy.
The extended bus ride gave many students the chance to catch up on some rest. We stopped at the supermarket to pick up some snacks and lunch for Tuesday's picnic on the beaches of Normandy.
After lunch in the historic town of Rouen, everyone enjoyed a walking tour: amazing churches, old buildings and glorious sunshine. Some free time was spent shopping and enjoying the ambience.
After dinner, we arrived at the hotel at 8:30. We had devotions together and played a few games before Wednesday's 7 a.m. wake-up call.

On Wednesday, after a wonderful breakfast, we went to Juno Beach and the Canadian cemetery.
We had a memorable day travelling back in time to WW2. We saw museums, watched a movie (short) about D-Day followed by visiting the locations where the Canadians, Americans and paratrooopers landed. The cool air and overcast skies made the whole experience even more sobering. After more then 9 stops - we travelled for 2 hours by bus (and napped!) to St. Malo. We are blown away by the city and are excited to take a walking tour Thursday morning followed by a few hours of free time. Everyone is well and enjoying themselves - trying to take it all in!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

South Africa Send-Off

We had an early chapel this week because the South Africa team is heading to the airport Wednesday and we wanted to be able to bless them before they go.

Mr. Gerryts shared a devotion he wrote after his trip to South Africa several years ago, entitled Yesterday I Was a Mountain. (Read it here: .) He said his experience in South Africa humbled him, and taught him to see more clearly and to feel more deeply.

Mr. T. described some of the details of the service trip. He said our school's partnership with Theocentric Christian College was established through the work of our former principal and his wife, Marc and Dora Stroobosscher, and said this is the fourth team that our school is sending to Theocentric.

Jazmine described the work the team members will be doing at Theocentric Christian College.

Several members of the team presented a dramatic version of the parable of the prodigal son.

Selena explained that the theme of this year's trip is Shine Like Stars based on Philippians 2:5-16, and Tallia shared how excited she is to be going. "I want to be part of something bigger than my everyday life," she said. "I put my trust in God to look after myself and the team. With God's help we are going to do great things in South Africa and I can hardly wait!"

The team members sang Hakuna Matata,

and then DD spoke words of encouragement, as the team heads to her home school, and sang three songs of blessing.

Friends gathered around the team members to place their hands on them while we prayed for God's blessing on their journey.

Members of the student council executive presented the team members with a gift from the school.

Then we hugged, and said good-bye.

Pray for David, Emily, Jazmine, Veronica, Matthew, Tallia, Kurtis, Josh, Thomas, Rachel, Katherine, Selena, Idalene, Devon, Christina, Mrs. DeHaan, Mr. Park, Mrs. Park and Mr. van den Boogard. God bless you all!

Here's a link to one of the worship videos from this morning's chapel :Revelation Song.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Give Loud

Spiritual Emphasis Week Chapel
Day 5

Are people attracted to you because you’re Christ-follower? asked Pastor Craig Danielson at the final chapel of Spiritual Emphasis Week.

“I would say I am a work in progress, and so are you,” Danielson said to students. “But which way are we heading?”

He used the examples of the expensive fragrance he bought his daughter as a gift and the expensive perfume that Mary poured on the feet of Jesus. “How good you live is about how good you smell,” he said. “People are attracted to us by what they see and hear. How good do you smell as a Christ-follower?”

He said we can’t do it on our own. “It’s not your looks, it’s not your charm,” he said. “It’s Christ who actually makes you attractive.”

He said when we are Christ-like we can “give without expecting anything in return.” He challenged students to find a way to bless someone’s day by giving without any expectation of being repaid.

Danielson also invited students to make a commitment “from this day on, to live for Jesus.” Many students accepted Danielson’s invitation, and he prayed with them.

“God is going to change our behaviour and we need to do that in community,” he said. “That’s why you have community, that’s why you have friends.”

Today’s small group discussion questions:
1.    Did anyone read John 13:12-17 to their parents and wash their feet?
2.    Did anyone do all of their chores without being asked? Tell us about your experience.
3.    Does anyone have a different story of how they served someone this week?
4.    Do you tend to think more about how much people give you or about how much you can give away to others?
5.    What does being generous mean to you?
6.    What has been the most meaningful part of Spiritual Emphasis Week for you? What has challenged you the most: Changing, Loving, Sharing, Serving or Giving?
7.    Are you willing to give away something that is valuable to you?
The Praise Team that led us in worship.

The sound team that keeps it all going!

* * *

We had an amazing Spiritual Emphasis Week.

Thank you to all the student musicians who rocked us during our daily chapels. Thank you to the student leaders who led our small group discussions. Thank you to Pastor Craig who brought challenging and inspiring messages. Thank you to the AV crew who kept it all together. Thank you to the students who shared their testimonies. Thank you to the organizers of our girls' and guys' nights out. But most of all, our thanks to God who loves us and who shows us how to love and serve each other. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Serve Loud

Spiritual Emphasis Week ChapelDay 4

“Stay open to the things of God,” students at Smithville Christian High School were told in chapel. “If you don’t know what God’s will is for your life, you are not spending enough time with God,” said chapel speaker Craig Danielson, pastor at Calvary Church in St. Catharines.

Today’s example of Living Inside Out Loud comes from Jesus, who humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples, said Danielson.

He read John 13:1-17, and said the idea of washing someone’s feet “kind of creeps me out.

“But that’s what Jesus asks us to do, is wash other people’s feet, whether I like it or not,” he said, challenging students to find others to serve.

“There will be people in this school, people in your family that need to be served today,” he said.

He said true leadership is humbling, but opting out is not an option. “We are all designed for service.”

Danielson invited students to share how God has been at work in their lives. Five students shared powerful testimonies of how God used disappointment and struggle to show them how he wanted to use them. One student thanked the teachers of Smithville Christian High School for helping him, and praised God for the changes in his life.

“My life has more meaning than I thought I had going for me,” he said.

Danielson also shared a powerful video with students, on how they can see the needs in the lives of the people around them:
Today’s small group discussion questions:
1.    What does 1 Timothy 6:18 mean?
2.    Does anyone have any stories of sharing
3.    Why is “showing” so much more believable than “talking?” Do you do more showing or talking about serving?
4.    Describe a time when someone served you without expecting anything in return.
5.    Why do you think it is so difficult to serve others?
6.    What are some practical things you can do this week to serve others?
7.    How do you think your parents would respond if you washed their feet?