Faith & Learning Blog
Connecting Faith and Learning Blog
Last month was an exciting time for students at Calvin Christian Junior High and High School. We introduced two new and very exciting opportunities for our Junior High and High School students.
Thanks to a grant from a local foundation, all of our junior high students were able to participate in an off campus retreat at Palomar Christian Conference Center high up on Palomar Mountain. The retreat provided an opportunity for Calvin students to leave busy schedules behind and grow a bit closer to the Lord in small groups and chapels (“Pain with a Porpoise”); connect with fellow classmates while zip-lining or carefully navigating the ropes course; or form new friendships over teriyaki chicken or breakfast burritos. We have heard nothing but positive feedback from parents and students and hope to make this event a regular occurrence for our junior high students.
While the junior high students were up on a mountain, students at CCHS were busy participating in Calvin’s first interim session. Students in grades 9-12 signed up for classes that normally would not be offered at Calvin Christian High School (or any other school for that matter). Students learned about the medical field in a class called “So you want to go into Medicine”. Other students chose to learn about sports officiating or the history and music of the 1960’s. Some students, learned how to play the Ukulele, some as an absolute beginner, over the interim session. We even had a group of students adventure out for a “Photography in the Southwest” class that took them to places like the Colorado River and Joshua Tree National Park. Students and teachers alike are excited for next year’s interim week and are already talking about potential class offerings.
There are many documented examples of why small schools serve students best. These unique programs introduced this year are just one example of what make Calvin Christian School a great educational option for your students. The faculty and staff look forward to growing these programs and having your students participate in them each year!
The story of Jesus, John 13:1-17, washing his disciples feet is one of the most memorable and powerful stories in the entire bible and yet it is often overlooked. If you’ve been a christian for awhile, you might be used to reading the bible and hearing the same familiar stories over and over again, but this story shouldn’t be quickly passed by. This passage comes during the last supper Jesus had with his disciples, right before he was crucified. Jesus is about to establish his kingdom and it is at this moment that Jesus wants to teach them one final lesson. He wants them to know who he is, what he came to earth to do and he also wants them to see what a life lived in service of our redeemer should look like.
There is so much in this passage that could be discussed at length, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t an entire book written about this chapter, but there are a few things that jump out immediately. First of all, we get to see what was motivating Jesus. His motivation for what he did that night was love. He loved his own. He loved his disciples so much that he got down and cleaned their feet for them. In a time of mani/pedis and easy access to clean water for showers, this might not sound so terrible but, for a culture that walked everywhere, in sandals, this was a big deal. The next thing this passage shows us about Jesus is the most amazing thing about this story. As he washed his disciples feet, they were looking down at the man who God had given all things to; the man who would rule over all of creation seated at the right hand of God himself. God had given him all things, he had come from God and he would be returning to God to rule his kingdom. His disciples knew that Jesus was going to be a king, and, when he got up from the table in the middle of the meal, they were probably expecting something more like an inauguration speech, an event to clearly show what his kingdom was going to be all about. What happened next was unusual. It was odd and it obviously confused some of them. Peter even said, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus surprised them. They were expecting a leader, and they got one, but not the kind of leader they were looking for. The leader they got was a servant leader, a leader who understands what true biblical leadership looks like. Rather than giving orders and accepting praise from his subjects, Jesus shows us the heart of a true servant leader, one who lays aside his own desires to serve those who follow him. The last thing this passage shows us about Jesus is his humiliation, his humbling of himself. Even though he was with God and would return to God to rule over his kingdom, he first stooped down, submitted himself to the will of his father, laid aside his own rights as ruler of the universe, and humbled himself to the place of a servant.
Which brings us to what Christ came to do. Now, Jesus obviously did not come just to wash the smelly feet of a bunch of sweaty, dust covered dudes. What he was doing was giving us a picture of what he ultimately came to do in order to cleanse his people from their sin. Paul, in Philippians 2:6-8, might have had this story in mind when he wrote, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus laid aside everything he had, eternal perfect awesomeness with God, and entered into our mess. He laid aside his rights in order to be rejected and executed, so that we may be accepted and have life. Getting up from the joy of a meal with his disciples and getting down to wash their feet is a picture of Christ leaving heaven, coming here and cleansing his people through his blood, shed on the cross for those who are his.
By washing his disciples feet, we have a small image of Christ’s work for us, but it also sets the model for daily life for his followers. Looking again at verses 14 and 15 we see his call to action, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” Now don’t forget everything that came before this verse! We have a tendency to go to scripture looking for verses telling us what to do. (Or, more likely, a verse to hit someone over the head with when they’ve made us angry.) Always remember the context of the gospel when you look at commands in the bible. Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples to wash each others feet BEFORE he would clean them. They were already clean, and then he even washed their feet, and then he finally tells them to follow his example. Imperatives in the bible (commands) always depend on the indicatives (the things that are true, what God has already done for us) and this story is no different. Don’t miss the gospel trajectory! Jesus is showing us an example of love for others that is undeserved and unqualified in any way. As it says in Romans 5:8, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So Christ sets an example in love for us. He also sets an example in leadership for us. Those who want to lead need to have the same mind as Christ; putting off the blessings and status we have, lowering ourselves to the level of people who don’t deserve our love and service, and showing them Jesus by our actions. By doing this, you are following the example of the good shepherd who loves and leads his flock. He poured out his entire life for us, and calls us to do the same out of love and thankfulness to him.
The work of service is often difficult and thankless, but, as we can see in this passage, service is at the heart of what Christ came to do and it is at the heart of what he calls each one of us to; laying down our own wants and living for the good of others, all for the glory of God. We do this because this is what God, in Christ has created us to do. We do this because Christ has called us to follow his example and show others the way as well. Let’s all strive to be people who, knowing the gospel of Christ, can say to those around us, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
In 2017, Calvin Christian School will share a blog from a local pastor every month. For the month of March, we share a post titled "Why Forgiveness is Hard" from Pastor Joe Russell of Riverview Church.
We have all been hurt by the actions or words of others. Depending on the degree and circumstance of the offense we can easily become angry, bitter and resentful. Forgiving our offender can be challenging and seemingly impossible. Yet as Christians we are called to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us. And how exactly did God forgive you and me? God sent His Son as a Sacrifice on the cross to take the penalty of our sins away through faith in Jesus Christ. We in no way deserve this wonderful grace from God that forgives us our sins. When God forgives our sins He removes the barrier that was in-between Him and us and does not hold our sins against us. On top of this He washes us as white as snow and makes us pure. We though, even after experiencing God’s forgiveness, tend to hold grudges against others who have wronged us even if we have “forgiven them”. This is because forgiveness is more than just saying the words, “I forgive you.” True forgiveness is the desire to purge out of me all resentment, bitterness, hate and revengeful thoughts against the person who has offended us.
Forgiveness does not deny the person’s wrongdoing or turn a blind eye to their action against us. We can only truly forgive others when we see sin for what it really is. As C.S. Lewis has said; “Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all is horror, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it. That, and only that, is forgiveness.” We must realize that God is the one who has forgiven us of all our inexcusable acts against Him, the sum of which would far outweigh the wrong that others have done to us.
In view of this we should forgive those who have hurt us and reflect God’s love and forgiveness for us. As we do this God will give us relief from the pain and bitterness that has been inside of us and bring reconciliation to relationships as God has reconciled us to Him.
So why is forgiving others so hard? Because we want easy forgiveness or desire the situation to just magically disappear. But remember that the forgiveness that Jesus brought was not easy; He had to die on a cross for us. Or forgiveness is hard because we like to hold onto the bitterness and use it against others, this though is opposed to the heart of God. Forgiveness might not be easy, but it is worth it and is best for us in our relationships with others and especially with God (look at Matt. 6:14-15). Right now we might need to forgive a parent, our children, co-workers, etc… To truly forgive others, we must see that it is impossible without God, for only He can help us purge all resentment and bitterness and desire reconciliation. Let us rely upon God’s heart, God’s love and God’s power to forgive others fully as God has forgiven us.
If you’re like me, and you use your kids as free tech support whenever you need to configure your wireless router or your TV to play funny cat videos, then it’s probably tempting to let the kids take care of their own online security, as well. That could be a big mistake.
While your kids might be experts at the technology, they’re not experts at evaluating risk.
You already know that, without guidance, children can be easily manipulated into smoking, drinking, speeding, bullying, and, of course, jumping off of cliffs because all their friends are doing it.
Mistakes can cause a lot of damage — everything from expensive ransomware infections, identity theft, loss of friendships to even putting your child’s life at risk.
Just as in the off-line world, you need to provide guidance, set boundaries, and, depending on your child’s age and maturity level, implement some safeguards. You also need to be aware of where the threats are coming from.
10 Things You Can Do Right Away
1. Make YouTube safe for your kids
2. Help your kids set the privacy controls on their social media accounts
3. Install anti-virus on your computers and mobile devices
4. Set up separate accounts for your kids on your computers
5. Set up separate accounts for your kids on your mobile devices
6. Secure your gaming systems
7. Consider using kid-safe browsers and search engines
8. Lock in apps for youngest children
9. Consider using an app that limits the time your child spends online
10. Make sure your kids are only using safe chat rooms
Teach, Educate and Talk with Your Children
11. Teach your children not to respond to messages from strangers
12. Educate your children about the risks of “sexting”
13. Warn your kids about file sharing
14. Warn your kids about online polls and surveys
15. Warn your kids about getting too close to strangers
16. Help your children deal with cyberbullying
17. Set a good example
18. Set rules about what your kids can share online
19. Add your kids as “Friend”
20. Set limits on how much time your children can spend online
21. Additional resources
Internet Matters: Resources for parents looking to keep children safe online, with age-specific how-to guides, free apps, and device safety checklists. https://www.internetmatters.org/
Family Online Safety Institute: Parenting guides and news and reports about online safety issues. https://www.fosi.org/
Safe, Smart & Social: Social media training guides and safety tips for parents and educators. https://safesmartsocial.com/