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.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Starting the year with a jubilee attitude

Smithville Christian High School principal Ted Harris started the school year with a reflection on the fact that he's turning 50 this week, and a look at the significance of the number 50 in the Bible.

In Leviticus 25, God introduces the concept of the 50th year as a "year of jubilee," saying it's a time for freedom, for forgiveness and for renewal, Harris said. "It's a time for things to be 'set right.' "
Borrowing from the inspiration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech (also 50 years old), Harris said he has a dream that life at Smithville Christian High School can also be like the year of jubilee, where things can be 'set right' for students and their teachers.
"We want to be the kind of school where you can be at home," he told students. "Where you can be comfortable where you are as a learner."

Harris promised that learning will be more important than evaluation, that teachers will be constantly finetuning project-based learning, and that the school's new online learning management tool will aide student achievement and success.

But more importantly, Harris said his dream is for a school where "we are forming community in a way that no one is pushed aside, where we are aligning our thinking with the kingdom of God and where we are taking our faith perspective seriously.
"Let's consider having a jubilee attitude," he said, "where you emphasize enfolding the new student sitting next to you, where we are returning every square inch of creation to the one who created it, where the sowing and reaping will be in the fertile ground of your minds and your hearts."
Harris told students he has a dream "that you will be dreamers, and that the dreams you have will have great cultural significance -- both here at school and in the wider community."
Harris told students they have the potential to change the world.
"The dreams of our young people can have a massive impact in our world, and we encourage you to be culture makers," he said. "Dream big."
Chapel began with a time of worship, led by a team of staff members. Students sang "Mighty to Save," "How Great is Our God," and "10,000 Reasons."
Students also learned about the many activities getting underway:
  • Praise and worship team auditions - sign up in the office
  • Grade 12 Retreat planning meeting for all interested students Wednesday at noon
  • Homework Club starts next week and runs every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
  • Boys Volleyball, Jr. and Sr., first tryout after school today
  • Girls Basketball, Jr. and Sr., first tryout after school Wednesday
  • Cross Country team starts this week. All are welcome
  • France Trip short meeting Wednesday at noon, Room 113
Returning vice-principal, Fred Breukelman, said his two-year stint in Indonesia emphasized to him how "absolutely critical it is that we are a community together." Breukelman said things won't always go perfectly this year, but the book of Leviticus is an "incredible story of forgiveness" and we can be the kind of school where forgiveness is both sought and graciously extended.

Breukelman ended with the blessing from Jude:
"But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!"
* * *
Chapels are held weekly, usually on Wednesday mornings at 9. They usually feature praise and worship led by student worship teams, and all are welcome to attend. Next week's chapel will be on Tuesday.
Check morning announcements on the school website or via Edsby to find out what's happening daily.
P.S. Mr. Harris's 50th birthday is on Saturday.
Here are a few more photos from the first day of school. We are GLAD to be back!