Friday, 22 November 2013

Resisting temptation

We all face temptation, students were told during the final chapel of spiritual emphasis week. The way to resist temptation is to use the word of God, and the best way to have the word of God at the ready is to memorize it, said Pastor Wes Collins.

When Jesus faced temptation early in his ministry, he quoted Scripture, Collins told students, reading the story of Jesus in the desert from Matthew 4.

"And what happens when Jesus quotes Scripture?"  he asked. "Satan is silenced."

Collins said it word of God is powerful and good, but it's not useful to us if we don't have it at the ready.

"Jesus memorized it, and if Jesus memorized it, that maybe makes me think we should make this practice more relevant in our lives," Collins said.

Take time to put the word of God in your head and in your heart, he said.

Collins used students Jake and Sam to act out two scenes in which students faced temptation.

Collins said a practical way to memorize Scripture is to jot a verse down on a card and keep it in your pocket.

"When you get some time, take it out and look at it," he said. Eventually it works its way into your head and then into your daily life.

"A verse will come to mind, just when you need it at the right time," he said. "God has given you the tools. The question is, are you going to use them?

This is not a task on your to-do list, this is about a relationship," he said. "The reason we don't forget about God is that he has not forgotten about us.

"Jesus died on the cross for your sins and you stand holy in the sight of God."

Today's memory verse: Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17.

A student praise team led us in worship with Indescribable, Everlasting and My Redeemer Lives.

Each afternoon during spiritual emphasis week, students gathered in small groups after lunch, each one led by a pair of Grade 12 students. They watched a short video together and then participated in a discussion. Here are the discussion questions from today:

1. How does Satan tempt us?
2. What did Satan tempt Jesus with? 
3. What did Jesus do in response?  
4. How was Jesus able to respond immediately with Scripture verses (and no iPod)? 
5. What do you think of memorizing Scripture?  What are the benefits?  What are the difficulties?
6. Has your understanding of God’s word changed over this past week?  If so, how? 


Thursday, 21 November 2013

How do you get to be wise?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5.
Thursday's chapel during spiritual emphasis week focused on Solomon, the king of Israel, who was described in I Kings 4:31-33 as being the wisest man of all.
Chapel speaker Pastor Wes Collins invited students to turn to Deut. 17:14-17 for information on what a king should be like. The passage says the king of Israel must not acquire a great number of horses, must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold and must not take many wives or his heart will be led astray.
Yet in I Kings 10 and 11, Solomon is described as having more than 120 talents of gold (worth millions of dollars in today's terms), 1,400 chariots, 12,000 horses, 700 wives, 300 concubines and large quantities of spices and precious stones.
Collins explained that God's instructions for the king about horses, wives or gold were designed to make sure the leader of God's people would rely on God for strength, for provision and for God's guidance for living.

But the thousands of horses and chariots showed that Solomon was relying on his own strength, while the fortune in gold and jewels showed Solomon was relying on accumulating wealth rather than on God's provision.
And the problem of the many wives was not just that Solomon was not being faithful to just one woman but that he was using marriages with wives "of royal birth" from the neighbouring kingdoms in the hope of forming strategic alliances and achieving peace.
Using students to demonstrate, Collins explained that kings would hand their daughters over in marriage to other kings, and take their daughters in marriage in return, in order to establish peace treaties. Instead of trusting in God, Solomon was trying to work it out on his own, Collins said.
"Of course, the plan backfires and there is no peace," he said.
Worse, the wives turn Solomon's heart away from the Lord, Collins said. In Deut. 17: 18,19, the king was instructed to read the word of God "all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully are the words of this law and these decrees." But 1 Kings 11:4 shows that Solomon's wives turned his heart after other Gods. His heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, Collins said. Solomon followed Ashtoreth and Molek, and did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
"If Solomon, the wisest person on earth, crumbled to the ground when he leaned on his own understanding, what will happen to you if you lean on your own understanding?" Collins asked. "If Solomon, the wisest person in the world put aside God's word in order to do what he thought was best, what do you think will happen to us if we chose to forget God by ignoring what he wrote?"
Collins said one of the ways in which we ignore God is by seeking relationships with unbelievers. He told students to date a person who has a better relationship with Jesus than they do, someone who will "walk with you and pray with you and read God's word with you.
"When you begin dating and when God blesses you with marriage, date and marry someone who is a Christian," he said. "The Lord will provide for you, I am confident in that," he said. "The question is will you trust him?"
A student praise team led in worship with Hosanna, Victor's Crown, and I am Not Ashamed.

Here's a video of I Am Not Ashamed.

Important Note: Friday's chapel starts at 9:30, following choir rehearsal and Teacher R&D. All are welcome!
P.S. Pastor Wes Collins also confessed to the students that he's not wise, and tends to lay awake at night plagued by questions such as:
If mummies are from Egypt, then where are daddies from?
If you throw a cat out a car window, does it become kitty litter?
And if a kid refuses to sleep during nap time, is it guilty of resisting a rest?

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Don't forget

We can all be forgetful sometimes, Pastor Wes Collins told students at Wednesday's chapel. We can forget we already told someone that story, we can forget to do our chores, we can forget to do our homework, or we can forget to read the Bible.
Often, we are forgetful because we are distracted -- by fun things like television or video games. But fortunately God has given us a reminder in Deut. 8:19 (which is today's memory verse): "If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that surely you will be destroyed."
Deuteronomy 8 also explains why it's important not to forget God: because God has not forgotten us and because forgetting God makes our hearts proud, he said.
Collins said the proud heart is like the sin-hardened heart of Tuesday's message -- closed off and black. And he said God's warning about destruction still applies today.
Collins said it sounds like a scary verse but it actually "has God's grace written all over it."
Students applauded and Collins gave props to student Ben P. for his thoughtful and profound explanation for how the verse actually gives hope: because God cares about us.
Just as God sent Jonah with a dire message to warn the Ninevites, God warns us, Collins agreed.

"If God didn't love the Ninevites, he wouldn't have sent Jonah. And if God didn't love you so much he wouldn't be giving you the heads-up that you are driving your car off a cliff," Collins said.
So how do we remember the Lord? Collins tested the students with a quiz on great quotations (see the quiz below). He said the quotes are inspiring but the most inspiring quote of all came from "a red-neck from Louisiana" who never went anywhere without his Bible because he wanted to remember the Lord.
We can remember the Lord through praising and through prayer, Collins said, but one of the best ways is to read God's word -- daily. Collins said it's important to develop the discipline of making a daily connection with God's word because you have to understand it, you have to be able to find your way around it, and you need to be able to see the entire picture of God's message. Simply reading daily devotionals is not as good as being in God's word, he said.
"Devotionals are good, but they should not replace using the actual book," he said. Collins also said he prefers a printed book over a Bible app, because a book you can hold in your hands allows you to underline, write notes and revisit passages. Bible apps on electronic devices can give you access to easy distractions "but if you are able to use an app and not get distracted, go for it."
Collins said get a Bible in a size, colour and translation you like, and get into the habit of reading it every day. Make the reading time pleasurable and fun, and consider reading a book from beginning to end rather than random verses "so that you can get into the story and you want to find out what happens next."
And when you don't understand something, "get help," he said.
"Often I have no idea what is going on, I can have so many questions. But I always know there is someone else who knows more than me."
But the most important thing is doing it daily, he said.
"Pick a time that works for you and be consistent. And you only have to read one verse. It's better to read one verse every day than read a whole chapter on Saturday, because we are talking about getting into a habit."
A student praise team led in worship with Forever Reign, Great I Am and Build Your Kingdom Here.

We also prayed a prayer of thanks and blessing on members of the Senior Boys' Volleyball Team heading to OFSAA in North Bay.
Here's Build Your Kingdom Here.

Are you smarter than a high school student?

As part of Wednesday's message, Collins also challenged students with a brain teaser, testing their knowledge of famous and inspiring quotes and their sources.

Here are the ten famous quotations. See how many you know. The answers are at the bottom.

1. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

2. Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.

3. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

4. You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.

5. There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.

6. It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

7. You don’t need a license to drive a sandwich.

8. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

9. If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.

10. “There’s three things that I travel with.... one of them is this cup..... the other is a GALLON jug of tea.... and then the final and most important thang..... is the Bible.  I never leave home without them three things.”


1. Christopher Columbus 2. Benjamin Franklin 3. Walt Disney 4. Wayne Gretzky 5. Aristotle 6. Abraham Lincoln 7. SongeBob SquarePants 8. Chinese Proverb 9. Vincent VanGogh 10. Silas Robertson, better known as Uncle Si on the television show Duck Dynasty

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Bible is more powerful than a rhinoceros beetle

Chapel speaker Pastor Wes Collins said he's a pretty powerful guy.

"I can bench press one-third of my own weight," he told students at Smithville Christian High School, Tuesday. "I can do eight push-ups wearing a bathing suit, and I can run faster than a car -- that's parked."
Collins said he also researched some other powerful things. The most powerful animal in the world is the rhinoceros beetle, the most powerful computer in the world is The Titan and the most powerful gun in the world is the 32 megajoule railgun.
But the most powerful thing in the world is the word of God, Collins said.
"It is so powerful that people can hear it and in five minutes their life could be changed," he said. "It's so powerful that Satan will do everything he can to distract you from reading it."
As an example, Collins read the story of Jonah's visit to Nineveh, focusing on Jonah 3:4b "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

When the people of Nineveh heard those words, they called urgently on God, gave up their evil ways and violence and were spared.  Collins said those few words demonstrate the power of God's word.
"It's only eight words in the English translation but 120,000 lives were changed," Collins said. It's not because of Jonah, who probably looks terrible and smells like fish vomit, "yet lives are changed."
Why is God's word so powerful? Collins asked.
Collins read Hebrews 4:12, 13: "For the word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
Collins used a cardboard box to represent a human heart, that can easily be opened to give and receive love.
But Collins said humans have a problem with sin: "We produce sin and it hardens our hearts." When our hearts are hard as a result of sin, two things happen: we don't know we are guilty and we think we have no need for God. He asked students to name some of the sins that they experience, and for each sin a student volunteer put a plastic bag over the cardboard box heart. Students named lying, cheating, jealousy, gossip, and envy. By the time they were done, the cardboard box was tightly sheathed in plastic "and doesn't open anymore.
"You put this in a marriage, it's going to end in divorce," Collins said. "You put this into a friendship and it's going to create separation."
To illustrate the power of God's word, Collins told the students that when he was younger he had been fascinated with weapons, yet to his dismay, his mother never let him own any.
Collins told students he had had "a rough childhood. I was not allowed to say 'fart,' I was not allowed to have a gun and I was not allowed to have knives."
But on Tuesday he strapped on a leather belt that was loaded was knives, such as a machete, bowie knife, and hunting knives.
As another student volunteer read Hebrews 4: 12, 13 out loud, Collins pierced the "sin" shrouding the cardboard heart, to reveal a heart "that is even more open than before."


Romans 3:23 says that we have all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, Collins said, but the forgiveness earned for us by Jesus makes us holy in God's sight.
Collins said we still have a responsibility to open the Bible and use it.
"What good is a knife left in its sheath?" he asked. "You have to pull it out and use it. And you have to open God's word, read it, pray about it , ask questions about it, think about it, memorize it and trust it."
Members of a student praise team led in worship with Blessed Be Your Name, From the Inside Out and Holy (Wedding Day).
Here is a video of the praise team and Blessed Be Your Name.
Today's memory verse is Hebrews 4: 12,13.
Spiritual emphasis week continues with a chapel every morning at 9. All are welcome to attend.

Monday, 18 November 2013

The Bible is like vegetables

Reading the Bible is like eating vegetables, Smithville Christian High School students were told during the Monday chapel of this year's spiritual emphasis week. "It's totally necessary for you,"  said Pastor Wes Collins. "There are passages in God's word that are hard to chew. There are names you can't pronounce, places you've never been and customs that seem outdated," Collins said. But the Bible is a gift to you, he said, and should be read daily.

Yet there are Christians who don't read the Bible and that's a problem, Collins said.
Just like we'd rather eat bacon than beets or Gob-stoppers rather than cauliflower, we may prefer watching a movie, playing a video game or hanging out with friends than reading the Bible, he said.
"But don't be deceived, you need God's word to live," Collins said. Just as we need food to have energy,  "we need to spend time in God's word to have spiritual energy."
"This whole book is relevant to your life," Collins said, "every word of every verse is relevant. It doesn't mean we always understand  it, and it may mean we have to do some chewing, but every word is food."

Collins said in his work as a pastor he has the privilege of studying the word and he is often challenged by what he reads. But he is always amazed by how relevant it is.
"My goal this week is to get you hooked on the idea that you need the Bible and you need to read it every day," he said.
He said this year's spiritual emphasis week is a BYOB event: "Bring Your Own Bible."
Students will memorize a passage of scripture every day this week. Monday's passage was Deut. 8:3: "People do not live on bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord."
A student praise team led in worship with three songs:  Cornerstone, Holding Nothing Back and Build Your Kingdom Here.

Spiritual emphasis week continues with chapel at 9 a.m. every day. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Here's a video from chapel:

Thursday, 3 October 2013

How to be history maker

It's pretty easy to come up with a list of history makers, Bible teacher Neale Robb told students at chapel today. They are people like the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, William Wilberforce, Mother Teresa or Billy Graham -- people who are famous for their skills as preachers, evangelists, reformers, missionaries, Bible translators or abolitionists.

"These are people famous for their faith and the way God used them," Robb said.
But most of us will never attain that kind of fame or notoriety, Robb said, yet our chapel theme for the year is "history makers."
If we are not destined for fame, is it possible for us to be history makers? Robb asked.
The answer is "yes."
Robb said Tabitha, a "believer in Joppa, (who was) always doing kind things for others and helping the poor" is a good example of the kind of history makers we can be.
She was a disciple, she did good and she helped the hurting, he said.
There are no quotations attributed to her in the Bible and there is no other record of her exploits, he said, except we know that when she became ill her friends begged for her to be healed. (Acts 9:36-38.)
Tabitha's life clearly had an impact, Robb said.

Being known as a disciple meant that she was totally devoted to the lifestyle of being a follower of Jesus, he said. "We can do that."
We can also do good and help the hurting, he said.
"We can be a friend to a student who seems to be alone. We can stand up for someone who is being bullied. We can be a tutor a child at Rose City Kids or we can befriend a senior," he said. "Being a history maker is jumping in to help whenever we see a need."
He led in a closing prayer: "Help us to put our love into action. May we allow you to use us. Give us awareness and give us courage to step up and help."
 *   *   *
Here's a link to a video from this morning's student praise team, which led us in singing Mountaintop, Desert Song and Tell the World. 

And here are some more photos of the praise team. We are blessed to have so many talented and dedicated students who use their gifts to make our chapels genuine worship experiences. We also have a talented and dedicated AV crew that makes us look and sound good!

 * * *

Oh, and in his trademark fashion, Mr. Robb began today's chapel with the following news and helpful hints.
He informed the students that contrary to earlier assumptions, it now appears there WERE cars in Jesus' time, because the Bible tells us in the New Testament that the "apostles were all in one Accord."
Mr. Robb also recommended an experiment for students to attempt for Sciencepalooza. He said it's well known that when a cat falls it always lands on its feet and that when toast falls it always lands buttered side down, so if you tied a piece of toast butter-side up on the back of a cat and dropped it from a height, the opposing forces would cancel each other out, leaving the cat hovering above the ground. In fact, theorized Mr. Robb, if you tied enough toast to enough cats, you could devise the basis for a high-speed mono-rail system. Ba-dum, crash!


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

God is at work in our lives and he is using us

Grade 12 students led chapel this week with stories of how God is at work in their lives.
Katie H. said her new summer job in a restaurant kitchen had many co-workers asking her why she attends a Christian high school.

"I get to share my faith and how God is at work in my life," she said.
Mitchell H. said he and 24 other teenagers from his church traveled to the Dominican Republic this summer and although they were only there for a week, they tried to make sure that their contributions -- such as running a camp for shoeshine boys -- would make a difference.
"We talked about how to make it meaningful," Mitchell said. "We wanted to have lasting impact."
Monika C. said her summer travels included a mission opportunity under an inner-city overpass in Austin, Texas, praying "with them for healing, for comfort, for protection."
"Even under an overpass, God is there," she said. 

Sam B. shared that she is choosing to put herself in situations where she can avoid negative peer pressure.
It wasn't easy but "I needed to take myself out of that situation I was in," she said.
Spiritual life director Gord Park said the Book of Revelation describes the saints who have triumphed "by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony."
Park said our testimonies don't have to be dramatic or complicated. "It could be a 30-second thing."
And they aren't "about your life as a super-Christian," he said. "It's saying you are not sure where it's all going but God is leading me."
He invited all the students to consider sharing their testimonies at future chapels or in classroom devotions, "making our chapels and devotions interactive and conversational."

A group of other Grade 12 students then led a devotion about blessings in our lives, urging students not to opt for "the lesser blessing."
If financial gain is the most important thing for you, you have missed the blessing of God and your life is second rate, said one. Eternal blessings are love, relationships and eternal life in the presence of God, he said.

Principal Ted Harris said he had received feedback about the Grade 12 students who were at the retreat. A staff person at Silver Lake Mennonite Camp said that she had been tremendously blessed by hearing the students worship together, and she had great joy singing along with them from the kitchen.
"You do change lives," he told the students.

Grade 12 students also led the school in an awesome time of worship, with Beautiful One, Jesus Take All of Me, Blessed Be Your Name, Shout to the Lord and Victor's Crown -- songs that they had sung together during the retreat.

It is SUCH a blessing to be led in worship by young people, and to praise God with the voices of hundreds of teenagers raised in song. Want to experience it for yourself? You are always welcome to attend chapel -- usually Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Being history makers

Smithville Christian High School's spiritual life director Gord Park launched this year's spiritual life theme by inviting students to be history makers.

Park said each one of us has the ability to have an impact, and we don't have to be famous or newsworthy to do it.

Instead, our ability to change the world is based on the power of God through the Holy Spirit in us, he said. Reading from the 1926 poem entitled One Solitary Life, Park said there was nothing about the external details of most of Jesus' life that made him remarkable.

Yet Jesus' greatness was based on the power of God in him, Park said, and that same power is available to each one of us.

Each one of us can change the course of history by saying "hi" to a new student, by stopping to pray with a friend before an exam, or by asking a friend in a difficult situation how things are going, he said.

"Behind every avalanche is a snowflake and behind every landslide is a pebble," Park said. In the same way, the real heroes are the people who pray for the Holy Spirit to shape the ordinary moments of their lives.

"Whenever you let the spirit of God into the ordinary moments of your daily life, you are a history maker," Park said.

He shared the story of his summer encounter with a young musician in El Salvador, and how God used a chance meeting at a high school there to lead to a life-changing moment for both that young guitar player and for Park. 

"Allow God to be real in your life and to live that with the person next to you," Park said. He challenged the students to listen to what God is saying to them and to pray for God to give them the courage to act on it.

"Help us to recognize your voice," Park prayed, "and to share you with others through how we live and honour one another. Through you, we can make all the difference."

The students also watched a video of the song "History Makers" by Delirious. 



*  *  *

One Solitary Life
by Dr. James Allan, 1926
(Read by Gord Park at chapel)

He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of humanity's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of humans on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Friday, 6 September 2013

Why it's good to get involved

Morning devotions at this year's Grade 9 Blast focused on fear.

Mr. Neale Robb told students about his fear of heights, and his daughter's insistence that he try ziplining this summer. He said there are two possible responses to the things that frighten us:

F Forget
E Everything
A And
R Run


F Face
E Everything
A And
R Rise

So when Robb faced his fear and stepped off that platform to zip across the waterfall, he found he actually enjoyed himself, he said.

Robb told the Class of 2017 that they might be frightened about getting involved in school activities, but they shouldn't be. God promises that when we turn to him for help, he will provide the help we need, said Robb, citing Deuteronomy 31:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:9.

To inspire you, here's an article from a recent issue of the school magazine, Echoes, on how getting involved in extra-curriculars is good for you:

Being busy is good for you

By Marlene Bergsma, Director of Communications and Admissions

While parents and teachers may think high school is all about learning facts and earning credits, ask any student and he or she will tell you that high school is really all about making friends and having fun.
That's because the truth is a good high school experience is turned into an excellent experience when a student gets involved. Often, when students participate in portfolio interviews, when they contribute to the three-minute yearbook or when they reflect on the four years they spent at high school, they say that extra-curricular sports and activities were the highlight. Sadly, some students look back on their high school careers and wish they had dared to try out or been brave enough to sign up.

Some are afraid they won't make the cut. Others are afraid to embarrass themselves or are afraid they won't know anybody. Still others are afraid they will be too busy to focus on schoolwork.

But what teachers have noticed is that for many students, the busier they are, the better they do. Being busy helps students focus their efforts, and forces them to be efficient. Busy students decide it's better to buckle down and get that assignment done so they'll be able to go on the choir tour, attend that sports tournament, or run the sound system at the upcoming event.

And don't let try-outs dissuade you from taking a chance: being in a small school means there is a greater likelihood you'll make the cut. So even if you think you're too short to make the basketball team or too slow to make the soccer team, try out anyway. Every team needs a manager and social media manager, and you'd still get to go to games and travel with the team. Other sports, like cross-country and track-and-field, welcome anyone who wants to run, jump or throw.

There are also many activities that are completely open and the more students who get involved the more fun it will be. You might think it's risky to take a chance, but don't let others miss out on the opportunity of getting to know you. You're guaranteed to be glad you joined.

Activities for which there are try-outs or elections

Praise team
Student Council
Sports for which there are try-outs

Each of these teams sports also needs a manager and a social media manager. 

Open sports and activities

Track and Field
Art Club
Audio-visual Club
Book Club
Computer Club
Christmas Parade Float
Culture Club
Graduation Planning
Homework Club
Photography Club
Play Make-up and Hair
Play Publicity
Play Set Decorating
Intramural Sports

To read more articles in Echoes, go to the school website at and click on the "About Us" tab.