Still Learning

December 3, 2013

Remembering the themes from 2011, 2012 and 2013

This week, I will conclude our review of the themes that we have shared, as a school community, over my time at NCS. This week, This week, I will write briefly about the themes from 2011 (The 3Rs), 2012 (Redemption), and this year (The King and His Kingdom).

2011 – The 3Rs

As a School, one of the areas of focus is always what is widely referred to as “the 3Rs”, being Reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. These basic skills are very important for students to develop to the best of their ability, and the school invests a great deal of time and effort in helping students to improve in these areas. In a very real sense, this is a major theme every year, and 2011 was no different.

In 2011 we took the 3Rs model and extended it more widely to help us think about the gospel and gospel living. We looked at the gospel within a 3R model, looking at

  • Repentance,
  • Reconciliation and
  • Rejoicing.

We used a 3R framework to think about what our lives should look like because of the gospel:

  • Reflecting God’s goodness,
  • Responding to our environment (and not reacting), and
  • living Righteous lives.

We also used a 3R framework as we considered some of the key foundations of developing Christian character:

  • Resilience,
  • Right relationships and
  • Respectful living.

Finally, we also considered what is a helpful (3R) framework to help in decision making:

  • Receiving what is good,
  • Rejecting what is bad, and
  • Redeeming those things that are good but have been spoiled.

2012 – Redemption

Redemption conjures thoughts of recovery, repayment, rescue and vindication. The Bible is all about God’s Redemption of us. It teaches us that we are, each and every one of us, sinners by nature and by choice. This is why Jesus came into the world:

  • Jesus came to live the life we could not live;
  • Jesus came to die the death we should have dies;
  • Jesus came to gain the reward we could not earn.

Even outside of this all-encompassing gospel story, there are so many in our society who need Redemption, simply because of the issues that they face in this fallen and broken world. We face issues of abuse addiction and a range of other, assorted troubles.

As Mike Wilkerson, in his book “Redemption” writes,

    … Fill in the blanks with your own trouble. You are surrounded by it. It is impossible to live life on the earth and not be stung by sin and suffering. Even more sobering is the fact that you are certainly the cause of some of that trouble to others around you.

    Abuse, addiction and assorted trouble send us searching for answers, explanations and stories to make meaning of it all. We need to know the story that makes sense of life, the story about a personal Redeemer, who offers hope for real redemption. This is the story of God as told in the Bible”

This is the story that we explored in more detail in 2012 at NCS.

2013 – The King and His Kingdom

This year, our school’s theme has been “The King and His Kingdom”. As part of this, we have been thinking about the “Big Picture” of the Bible and:

  • how the story of creation, Adam and Eve, and the serpent in the garden of Eden points to our need for Jesus,
  • how some of those seemingly strange sections of the Old Testament point to Jesus;
  • how the Old Testament prophets point to Jesus;
  • how the gospels, the account of the life, death, burial and resurrection show that Jesus is King;
  • how the accounts of the early church shows that we need to talk about King Jesus;
  • how the full majesty and glory of the Kingdom will not be seen or experienced until King Jesus comes again.

The model that we have followed to help us remember is an 8P model:

  • The Pattern of the Kingdom
  • The Perished Kingdom
  • The Promised Kingdom
  • The Partial Kingdom
  • The Prophesised Kingdom
  • The Present Kingdom
  • The Proclaimed Kingdom
  • The Perfected Kingdom

In class, in the playground, on the sporting field, on the stage, and in every aspect of school life in 2013, it has been our hope that we will continue to come to a deeper understanding of the King’s Kingdom, a deeper love for King Jesus, and be better equipped to live in today’s world. We believe that this best comes from a foundation built on Kingdom relationships, values, knowledge, skills and commitment.

November 26, 2013

Remembering the themes from 2008, 2009 and 2010

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This week, I am continuing to briefly review the themes that we have shared, as a school community, over my time at NCS. This week, I will be writing briefly about the themes from 2008 (Trust), 2009 (Sola Powered: Powered by the Son), and 2010 (Worship: it’s a whole of life thing).

2008 – Trust

In 2008, we looked at the theme of “TRUST”, in two different ways.

First, and as a key thought, it is good for us to be reminded that our past, present and future lie in the hands of our Creator, Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  There are so many things that are beyond our control: there is nothing beyond His. Our salvation is not predicated on our efforts, goodness, righteousness or works, but on His: we need to TRUST in Him.

The theme verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. It provides a challenge, wisdom and a promise. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

The other way of thinking about our theme for 2008 was to see the word TRUST as an acronym:

Truth – especially the Truth of the gospel;

Relationships – built on assuming the best of each other and working hard to develop positive and Christ-like relationships;

Understanding – we need to think about how we are to understand God and His Word, and also how we can better understand each other;

Service – a key aspect of how we are to live;

Thankfulness – we live in a culture that is built on making us dissatisfied and always wanting more. This is the opposite to how we should live and how we can find contentment.

These 5 subthemes were very helpful to many of us as we grew and learned from each other in 2008.

2009 – Sola Powered: Powered by the Son

Our theme in 2009 was a play on words. The school installed a large Solar system that not only provided power for the school and the wider electricity grid, it also provided a real world example of technology and data that has been used to enrich the learning of many students. At the same time, we were able to explore the “Sola” statements that are foundational to reformational theology:

Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”) – this statement expresses our belief that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God, is the only source for Christian doctrine, and is accessible to all.

Sola fide (“by faith alone”) – this statement expresses our belief that our salvation, which comes because we are justified in God’s eyes, is  received by faith only, without any mixture of or need for good works. This balances, and does not contradict the 2006 (Real faith adds…) theme, because saving faith is always evidenced, but not determined, by good works.

Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)  ”) – this statement expresses our belief that salvation comes by divine grace or “unmerited favour” only. Salvation is an unearned gift from God for Jesus’ sake, not because we can in any way deserve it.

Solus Christus or Solo Christo (“Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”) – this statement reminds us that  Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and that there is salvation through no other.

Soli Deo gloria (“glory to God alone”) – this statement encapsulates  the belief that all glory is to be due to God alone. Our salvation is accomplished solely through His will and action.

2010 – Worship: it’s a whole of life thing

Sometimes when a church congregation is singing, they are told that they are worshipping God. This is true, but it can be misleading as it is only part of the story. Worship is so much more than singing, or praying in church. It is more than singing, praying, or reading the Bible as a personal, private devotional exercise. Worship is both a “gathered” activity, when a group of believers are together as a group, but it is also a scattered activity, what we do when we are not gathered. What does scattered worship look like?

When we devote ourselves to something that we prize or desire, we are, in a very real sense worshipping it. When we give something or someone importance or weight in our thinking, it has an impact on our attitudes and actions. We make choices, and as our devotion to that person or thing grows, we make sacrifices to “honour” or gain or honour that person or thing.

The Bible tells us that we are created by a loving God Who made us “in His image”. While theologians have different opinions in their interpretation of the different nuances of what this means, one thing that is generally accepted is that we are made to worship. As we make choices to commit to different good activities, we can easily slip into the mistake of giving too much emphasis to these good things, turning them into a “mini” (or sometimes larger) “god”.

In 2010, as we considered all this, we asked many questions, such as:

  • Who or what has the place of most importance in our lives?
  • Who or what is your god?
  • What does our lifestyle say about us?

November 19, 2013

Remembering the themes from 2005, 2006 and 2007

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This week, I am continuing to briefly review the themes that we have shared, as a school community, over my time at NCS. This week, I will be writing briefly about the themes from 2005 (Living by God’s grace), 2006 (Real faith adds…), and 2007 (Known).

2005 – Living by God’s grace

In his book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?”, Philip Yancey states that it is hard to properly explain grace. Indeed, he modifies a comment of another author when he writes:

(grace) can be dissected, as a frog, but the thing dies in the process, and its innards are discouraging to any but the scientific mind… I do not want (grace) to die … I would rather convey grace than explain it. (p16)

Grace is, in many ways, a mystery to us. We live in a world where we are told that there is “no such thing as a free lunch”, “no pain, no gain” and “the early bird gets the worm”. These statements reflect reality: we do live in such a world and in many ways we need to operate under these rules simply to survive. You can see how this non-grace world in which we live reflects the fact that we live in a grace-less world. But people who know, love and trust Jesus are, according to the Scriptures, to be in the world but not of it. This means that while we live, learn and work in 21st Century Australia, Christians also live within the Kingdom of God, and we live by grace. Part of our focus in 2005 was to remind our school community that:

  • There is nothing we can do to make God love us more
  • There is nothing we can do to make God love us less

2006 – Real faith adds…

While our 2005 theme reminded us that there is nothing that we can do to earn our salvation and that we are saved by grace, and grace alone. To participate in the salvation that God offers, we need to place our trust in Jesus. To simply say that we believe what God says in His Word and that that Jesus died for us, but to not allow it to make a difference in how we live, is not to have real faith.

2 Peter 1 reminds us that it is Christ’s divine power that has given us everything we need for life and godliness. This comes to us through our knowledge of Jesus, who called us by His own glory and goodness. As we read this passage, we need to remember that in the Bible, to know something means to intellectually know it AND to live it – to do something about it, to invest your life in it.

This is REAL FAITH. We need to view real faith, that is saving faith, as placing trust in what God says. We place trust in the school bus and bus driver when we let our children catch the bus each day – we are not really trusting the bus and the driver if we say we trust them, but insist on driving our children to school rather than allowing them to catch the bus. Counterfeit faith, on the other hand, can be thought of as knowing what God says and not living it out. Counterfeit faith might be active, and be seen as disobeying God, or it can be passive, where what God says is ignored. Some people actively or passively show counterfeit faith by placing their trust for salvation in their own works, ability, goodness, or in a belief system that ignores what God says.  Real faith is trusting all that God says He will do.

2 Peter 1 also challenges those who have real faith. Because of what Jesus has done, we are to make every effort to add to our faith “goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly (and sisterly) kindness; and to kindness, love.” And we do this to keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Throughout 2006, we explored more of these important matters.

2007 –Known

Our 2007 theme reminded us that God, our Creator, knows each one of us intimately. He knows our thoughts, our needs and our desires. Not only that, but God has made Himself known to us through His Creation and His Word, the Bible, that tells us about Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.

In Hebrews, we are told that God has spoken to us (made Himself known) through the prophets in many times and various ways, and that He has  also made Himself known through the scriptures that point to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are reminded that:

the word of God is living and active. 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. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13).

Wow! Nothing in all creation – including my thoughts and motives – is hidden from God’s sight. Now, that can be a little scary, can’t it! We will explore what this means for how we live.

God’s knowledge of us is in part based on the reality that we are made by God. David, in Psalm 139, writes that:

… you (i.e. God) created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

We are like an intricate tapestry with each of the threads – our gifts, our passions, our motivations and our energies – chosen by God while we were still in the womb. This gives us wonderful significance – we are so much more than an amalgam of chemicals and electrical impulses, so much more than the end result of mutation + chance + natural selection + time. We are made by a God who therefore knows us and wants us to know Him. David’s writing also reminds us that God knows our circumstances and our future, when He writes of our days being ordained before they came to be.

God’s knowledge of us also extends to the fact that He knows and understands our circumstances:

Since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

The Son of God, through Whom everything was created, has walked this earth and understands what we experience, the temptations and trials that we face and our needs. He is perfect, and He understands us.

God’s creation proclaims God’s glory and power. His Word tells us of His love for us. The death of His Son allows us to be declared friends of Jesus, opening the door for us to know God better. The fact that He made us and has walked this earth means that He knows us and our circumstances!

November 12, 2013

Remembering the themes from 2002, 2003 and 2004

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This week, I am continuing to briefly review the themes that we have shared, as a school community, over my time at NCS. This week, I will be writing briefly about the themes from 2002 (Thermometer or Thermostat?), 2003 (Distinctively different), and 2004 (Not for ourselves alone).

2002 – Thermometer or Thermostat?

In 2002, our school’s theme was based on the Nido Qubein quote:

Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer only reflects the temperature of its environment, adjusting to the situation.  But a thermostat initiates action to change the temperature in its environment.

We encouraged our students to be a thermostat. This means that we would like for our students to be “influencers of”, rather than “influenced by”, our culture.

Being slaves to the latest trend, fashion or fad is not how we are meant to live.

Being moody and living according to how we feel, rather than what we know is right, will make us people who are difficult to really know and live with.

In any given situation, reacting – which is linked to acting without thinking, is a poorer option over responding – which involves thinking through our responses and choosing to do what is thought to be right.

Our society sometimes gives the impression that people should not be expected to take responsibility for their actions. Our legal system is sometimes used by people to lay blame on other people rather than taking responsibility for the action. We have probably all heard stories of people suing someone else for their own unwise behaviour. As an educator, the example that resonates with me is the school vandal suing the educational authorities because there were no signs telling him that the school’s roof was not safe for him to climb.

In this theme, we encouraged our students to understand that blaming others for our actions is not right. We sought to help our young people not only understand their responsibilities, but to help equip them so that they can properly fulfil them. I believe that this idea helps us to be more godly citizens who not only give a good example to others, but who can take a leading role in shaping our culture.

2003 – Distinctively different

In 2003, we explored the idea that NCS should be distinctively different from other Schools, and indeed the culture that surrounds us. For this to be the case, it is the individuals in the School that are to be distinctively different.

This was a dangerous theme. There is danger in focusing on being different because we can easily slip into thinking that if we “act” differently we are then “acting Christianly” and it is this that makes us a Christian. From this idea it is a short step to moralism and a legalistic approach to Christianity.

It is essential to keep in mind that what makes us a Christian is not the fact that we act or think in a certain way, that we don’t say or watch certain things, and so on. What makes a person a Christian is an acknowledgement of our sinfulness which brings us to a reliance on, and a relationship with, Jesus Christ who, being perfect, died in our place so that we might live forever with Him. From this relationship comes a desire to live in a way that pleases Him. As Christians living in community we need to be encouraging one another to consider how we can best live in response to all that Jesus has done for us. It is this response in our lives that will shine through and make us distinctively different. We do this not to earn our salvation but because of the salvation that has been freely given to us.

2004 – Not for ourselves alone

This theme is self-explanatory. Throughout 2004, we reminded each other that while God deals with us as individuals, He also works with us in community. He calls us to love our neighbours, and to serve each other. It was during this year that the seeds were planted that ultimately became the school’s 5S Service model, service of others that is:

Simple,

Sustainable,

Stimulating,

Selfless, and

Strategic.

God, our creator and master, has served us wonderfully well in Jesus Christ, providing an opportunity for salvation. As we receive this wonderful gift, we also get a chance to serve others. What a privilege!

 

November 5, 2013

NCS Themes from 1999-2001

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Last week I started to briefly review the themes that we have shared, as a school community, over my time at NCS. This week, I will be writing briefly about the themes from 1999 (Renewing the mind), 2000 (Living before an audience of One), and 2001 (Living in light of eternity).

1999 – Renewing the mind

This theme reminded us that the fact that God has made the world and Jesus has done everything necessary to redeem us means that our worldview must be informed by these realities. From the teachers’ perspective, the “what we teach”, the way that we teach and why we teach will be different from teachers who do not see the students as people for whom Christ died. As parents our aspirations for our children must be different from the aspirations of parents who do not look beyond this material world in which we live. For some – we would hope the majority – of our students, the difference is sometimes seen in positive ways as they respond to God’s Spirit in wanting to think about how to live lives that will please Him. For other students there may be conflict as they feel torn between the things that the home, church, school team teach and the attractive looking things that they hear about through the media and other sources.

The challenge of renewing our minds is one for each of us! Our key Bible passage this year was Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

2000 – Living before an audience of One

This theme had many different ideas that underpinned it. As a school, we “perform” to many different audiences. Students, parents, government and the wider community are part of our audience. At all times, the school needs to work hard to ensure that it meets the needs of these different audiences. At the same time, the school needs to be faithful to its mission which is founded on proclaiming the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of creation. The school, its Board, its leadership and its teachers need to focus on this foundation and to remember that Jesus is our real audience.

As parents we also often see ourselves as working with our families before different “audiences”. Our own children, extended family, friends, neighbours and church can be seen to be different “audiences” that see us as we parent our children. Again, while this is true, our children are gifts from God and how we act as parents towards our sons and daughters is of vital interest to Him. Indeed, it is Him to whom we are accountable as parents and He is therefore our real “audience”.

Our children find this idea as difficult to live out as we do. Our children, depending on their age and stage, will see their parents, extended family, peers, teachers, church and what is often called the “invisible audience” as important audiences. In school work, sport, social settings, dress and so on our young people will want to please different audiences. While this is both understandable and valid, we need to recognise and teach our young people to recognise that God’s interest in them and view of them is of more importance than that of the other audiences. Of course, God is also much harder (impossible) to fool compared with the other audiences. And this is where our Christian Character comes in. You might remember from last week’s Chronicle article, that, in 1998 when we focussed on our “Quest for Character”, we defined Character as “Who you are in the dark – when no-one is looking”. Our real audience of one – God Himself – looks at our heart and not the outward appearances. In the book of Joel (2:12-13) the people are being rebuked for their sins and are being warned about the consequences of their sins. The Lord declares ‘return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments.’ Notice the focus on the heart.

There are times that this focus seems overwhelming. There are, however, some tremendously wonderful things that we need to keep in mind:

  • Our audience is also our Maker. He knows us better than we know ourselves.
  • He is also the One Who has promised to send us His Spirit to help us in our walk.

We all know how much easier it is to “perform” in front of a supportive audience, and “audiences” don’t come more supportive than our God.

An Audience of One? Our most important audience is The One!

It is Jesus, Who we need to seek to serve and to please.

2001 – Living in light of eternity

The theme for 2001 came from the Latin phrase, sub specie aeternitatis, which translated means  – in the light of eternity. This was a great theme as it summarised the importance of all that we do at NCS. It reminded us that while we seek to prepare our young people for the world of work and service here on earth, we are people with an eternal spirit and will spend eternity with God if we respond to His offer of grace to us. As we get caught up in the busyness of family, school, church, work, sport and so on, we need to keep all things in a proper, eternal perspective.

October 29, 2013

NCS Themes from 1997 and 1998

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As you all know, this is my last year at NCS. I am determined to continue to do the best I can over the next seven weeks to finish well, and this involves not only 2013 work, but laying the foundations for 2014. This process requires me to be forward looking, and there is much excitement as I anticipate the future for our school community. While I do this, however, I hope that you will understand that, for me, part of the process of leaving the school and the people I love involves looking back. Over the rest of this year’s Chronicles, I would love the opportunity to look at the annual themes that the NCS community have had in my time here. This week, I would like to reflect briefly on themes from 1997 (Hold… Consider… Encourage) and 1998 (The Quest for Character).

1997 – Hold (to what is important), Consider (how can we better serve) and Encourage (one another)

This theme was drawn from Hebrews 10:23-25:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I selected this passage in my first year at the school because it is packed with ideas that reflect what I believed the school was, and would continue to become:

  • We are to hold to what we believe without wavering: the circumstances that surround us do not determine our attitude and actions, our trust in God does;
  • We seek to serve and trust in God, Who faithful – even when we aren’t;
  • Those who belong to God and name the Name of Jesus should not rest in that salvation, but must actively consider (think about and implement strategies that clearly personify) what it means to belong to Him;
  • From a human perspective, one of the key forces that sustains us is mutual encouragement, based on ongoing relationship (meeting together).

1998 – The Quest for Character

Character … it’s who you are in the dark (when no-one is looking). As we explored this theme in 1998, and encouraged each other to be real and avoid hypocrisy, we also explored some of the things to keep in mind in developing Christian character. The two subthemes were “Guard your heart”, and “Give your heart”.

  • Guard your heart
    • Proverbs 23:19 says “Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path.”, and as we considered this subtheme we talked about the temptations of Fortune, Fame, Power and Pleasure;
    • Some of the thoughts we shared during this time included:
      • The highest reward for toil is not what you get for it, but what you become by it;
      • Character is not made in a crisis – it is only exhibited;
      • Character is simply a long habit, continued;
      • Give your heart
        • 2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
        • As we thought about this, we encouraged our students to:
          • Remember God’s generosity to us
          • Remember God’s promises in the Bible about generosity;
          • Examine our hearts – how can we give (time, service, materially) to others;
          • Trust God to honour generosity;
  • We also spent a lot of time thinking about, and talking about what the Bible means when it urges us to be content;

This “quest” is a lifelong one.  At its heart lays a determination to:

… enjoy the things we ought, and to hate the things we ought…

as this has a great bearing on excellence of character.

Such an approach to life does not guarantee an easy life – far from it. As Christians, we sometimes pray for God’s intervention to make our lives easier, but the big message of our 1998 theme is helpful to keep before us, always:

God is more concerned about our character than our comfort.

His goal is not to pamper us physically, but to perfect us spiritually.

October 15, 2013

The Proclaimed Kingdom

The Proclaimed Kingdom

The Proclaimed Kingdom

As we continue to follow our theme for this year, we are now focussing on “The Proclaimed Kingdom.” People who know and are trusting in Jesus for their salvation are charged proclaim Jesus and His Kingdom to those around us. This can be scary, but it is good to remember, as this week’s verse remind us, that it is “the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead” is living in us!

When it comes to proclaiming the gospel, one quote I have often heard is:

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

This quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan Order. It is used to encourage us to think that proclaiming the Gospel by example is more virtuous than actually proclaiming with voice. But this is not really true.

First, it puts gospel proclamation by words and First, it puts gospel proclamation by action almost in competition with each other. It is NOT an either/or situation, it is a BOTH situation.

Second, there is good evidence that St. Francis never said such a thing.

According to researchers, none of his disciples, early or later biographers have these words coming from his mouth. It doesn’t show up in any of his writings. Not even close really. The closest comes from his Rule of 1221, Chapter XII on how the Franciscans should practice their preaching:

No brother should preach contrary to the form and regulations of the holy Church nor unless he has been permitted by his minister . . . All the Friars . . . should preach by their deeds.

Essentially, make sure your deeds match your words, not replace them!

October 8, 2013

Culturally maladjusted, Bible believing, servant hearted followers of Christ

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We were very encouraged and blessed by some wonderfully encouraging times with our graduating Year 12 students. At their Graduation Dinner on the Friday of the last day of Term Three, I told them that it is my hope that they would be culturally maladjusted, Bible believing, servant hearted followers of Christ.

Culturally maladjusted:

  • That you don’t go with the flow.
  • That your goals in life are different from those around you.

Bible believing:

  • Please believe me when I tell you that the Bible has all the answers for all of the really important questions that you and I have.

Servant hearted:

Please, don’t squander what you have on yourself.

  • Serve and love God.
  • Serve and love others.

A follower of Christ:

  • Ultimately, He is the only one worth following.
  • He is the only one worth dying for.
  • He is the only one worth living for.

That you will be a culturally maladjusted, Bible believing, servant hearted followers of Christ.

This is my prayer for all of our students.

September 18, 2013

The Present Kingdom

The Present Kingdom

The Present Kingdom

At our last K-12 assembly, we saw our secondary Drama group’s wonderful performance that they prepared for this year’s Eisteddfod. It was also our final assembly in our sub-theme “the Present Kingdom”.

We talked about how Jesus, through His death, resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, has won! He has defeated Satan, but the final victory is not yet evident to us. We continue to struggle, but we are encouraged, and empowered, to live for the Kingdom – His Kingdom – which is very much present! People who belong to Jesus live in a now… but not yet, Kingdom, and hold on to a sure and certain hope.

At this assembly, we also sang three of songs that we will be singing at our Thanksgiving Night at the end of the year, and congratulated India ( Year 4) on achieving 3rd in the 800m race in CSSA State Athletics.

September 10, 2013

Leadership

Clear Leadership. Strong direction. Justice and compassion. Good government.

The election is over, and these are the things that we hope for from our newly appointed Commonwealth parliamentarians. But is this all there is to leadership?

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to visit our school’s Leadership Development camp, where our secondary students who have shown interest in taking on leadership positions for next year had the opportunity to be taught and to think through some aspects of what it means to be a student leadr in a Christian school. Certainly, service, sacrifice, and playing a role as part of a group were key parts of the focus.

So was each one’s relationship and walk with God. Students were encouraged to share their testimonies. They shared with great passion and genuineness about their faith and how they seek to live in a way that pleases God.

During Friday morning’s session, I had the opportunity to share how I often ask applicants about their current walk. What Christian books are they reading? At what points do they think God is growing them right now.

Leadership is also about being teachable. Christian leadership is about being taught by God, and allowing Him to use circumstances and the words and example of others to refine us (often a painful process) so that we would be more like Jesus.

This takes genuine humility and a desire to change. Aspects of leadership that we don’t see too often, but that we hope to see at NCS.

As an aside, over breakfast, I asked many of the students who their heroes were. I was encouraged by the very high number who named a parent as their hero. Parents – be encouraged!

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