Faith & Learning Blog
Connecting Faith and Learning Blog
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:1-4 (NIV)
It has now been over two weeks since most of the United States has been in quarantine. The increasing severity and rising effects of the coronavirus pandemic have caused the world to come to a screeching halt, putting society on pause. Schools, restaurants, stores, and churches have closed. This is a scary time for many people. Not only for those on the frontlines, like healthcare providers and grocery store clerks, but the millions of people self-isolating at home. This pandemic has thrown off many daily routines and paralyzed entire nations. In a world where we used to feel powerful and totally in control, God has humbled us and made clear our completely helpless reality.
In the midst of this phenomenon, God has made his presence and control clear. As Christians, we have a vital role in the navigation of these unique circumstances. We have the opportunity to set an example for the world of how we respond to a crisis and show where our hope and comfort comes from. Psalm 121:1-2 comforts us, saying, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of
heaven and earth.”
Because our help comes from the Lord, our faith can free us from our fear. We know that we have no control over the current state of the world, yet we can also be mindful of the power of prayer. We can not always see what God is doing, but we trust that he is working for our good and for his glory in all of this. When we put our faith in God, we can trust him no matter the outcome. God is far greater than the trials we face. He is bigger than a pandemic. He is greater than the coronavirus. We can solidly put our trust in him to lead us through.
Through reading the Bible, we learn that Jesus is the healer. He performed many miracles throughout his ministry. He is still that same God, capable of healing today. His healing works are a testament to his power and love. As medical technology advances and new discoveries are being made to prevent further spread and eradicate the coronavirus, we see God’s healing power at work. He is using people in the medical field to create vaccines, develop medication to treat the virus, and new methods of detecting it. God is not surprised or afraid of the coronavirus. It is part of his plan and he will use it for his glory.
Our current situation presents a unique opportunity as Christians in the world today. We have the opportunity to spend time at home, growing closer to our families, while also growing closer to Christ. We have time to spend in the word and no excuse otherwise. We should see this trial as an opportunity to grow closer to Christ, and also to be a light to those around us. In times of uncertainty, we can share where our hope is found. It is time we see this trial as an opportunity not to be wasted. Make sure you take time for devotions and reading your Bible, spend time in prayer. Write letters and send cards to those you haven’t seen in awhile. Do not waste this time binging Netflix. See this time as an opportunity to slow down, reach out to those around you, and grow closer to Christ.
Olivia Heinen is a friend and former classmate of CCHS senior Sierra Van Der Pol. Olivia is a senior at Sheboygan Christian High School in Wisconsin.
A great blog post from September 2017 from children's pastor Chris Montgomery at Emmanuel Faith Community Church. A relevant reminder for our young ones as well as ourselves.
Crabby, whiny, and out-of-sorts, this attitude was completely unlike her.
My youngest daughter, Megan, was usually very even-tempered and affectionate. That day she fussed about what I fixed for breakfast. She cried because the shirt she wanted to wear hadn’t been washed. She even asked to stay home from school.
When I stopped to think what might be causing her to behave so out-of-character, I didn’t have far to look: she had missed her morning “snuggle-time”.
Megan had created this routine from her earliest days, and “snuggle-time” operated within a predictable framework. She’d get up in the morning, eat breakfast, and then be ready to curl up with me or her Dad. She wanted to talk about whatever was on her mind, and to fill up on hugs.
“Snuggle-time” would be repeated right before bedtime. It seemed to help her unwind before she went to sleep. On a particularly rough day I might find Megan nestling up to me at other times. That was her not-so-subtle way of telling me she’d like some extra attention.
I enjoyed these times at least as much as she did, because I loved her cuddles, and her thoughts gave me insight into Megan’s heart. But she needed that closeness. For some reason that day I had felt too busy to sit close and listen, and Megan’s mood reflected it. Her entire day was affected until I realized that it wasn’t worth the cost to her or to me to finish what I was doing. She matters more to me than that.
Sometimes I, too, find myself crabby and whiny and out of sorts, and it’s usually because I’ve neglected to spend enough time with the Lord. However mistaken it is, I tell myself I’m too busy to make the time. The good news is that He’s never too busy for me, and touching base with Him changes my whole attitude. Because He loves me, understands me, and listens to my heart.
God enjoys those “snuggle-times” when I sit with Him, tell Him what’s on my mind, and just enjoy His company. He likes to hear what I’m thinking, and for me to ask His opinion about what is going on. He doesn’t even mind if I do it more than once a day.
He likes it. But I need it!
"Come near to God, and He will come near to you." James 4:8
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31b
"I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child is my soul within me." Ps. 131:2
1. What are the sources of stress in your life?
2. Where are you going to get relief from it?
3. How is going to God with your concerns different than going anywhere else?
Father, You know what makes me tick, what I struggle with, and what stresses me. It is only as I come to You that my soul is stilled and quieted. You alone bring peace to my heart. Thank You that You like those times when I just want to be with You.
Where does our high school government class start? With Exodus 20:12. We start with the very idea of authority. The Bible commands us to “honor our mothers and fathers.” That’s not a feeling you have, but outward obedience. God does not leave us alone in the world, but has provided authorities- governments - over us for our well-being. As the Bible clearly teaches about civil government in Romans 13, it is there for our benefit, and we need to obey legitimate government. Once the foundations of authority are established, we then explore how the American Republic operates. We build on the foundation students have studied in their United States History course. In American Government we use the United States Constitution as our framework to understand how our government operates. American government is unique in the world as it was the first to delegate power under God - not to a king or aristocracy - but to “we the people.” Students struggle with the reality that the government does not operate like the classic flowchart that we all know. How a bill becomes a law, etc. As a former member of the Presidential Elector College, I bring in artifacts to show exactly how our Presidential elections actually operate.
Students participate in two great exercises. One is to run for election as a U.S. Senator. Each student is randomly given a state and political party. They then work with other members of their party to construct a campaign plan, including brochure, commercial, billboard and stump speech. Once these are presented in class, we move into phase II, the legislative. In this element, students must attempt to get legislation they’ve drafted passed by the legislature and signed by the president. This is not easy as students have learned how and why most legislation is thwarted in our system of government. Students learn that the difficulties of legislation are there by design in our Constitution, as the founder didn’t trust governments and wanted to make sure that the liberty of the people was protected.
Having worked as a political appointee in the federal government in Washington, DC, as the chief of staff to a state legislator, and as an elected County Supervisor, I bring to our students real-life examples of how government works at every level. Along the way during this semester class, students explore key Supreme Court cases, administrative law, and criminal procedures. With ample knowledge and understanding, students write on whether they agree with the doctrine of judicial review or not, as there are compelling arguments for both views. This is an exciting time for a teacher when I can see how they are now thinking analytically.
The highlight of the class is our participation on the nation-wide “We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution” mock congressional hearings project. Students are divided into six groups where they write a four-minute speech and then respond to six minutes of impromptu questions about their subject. The judges for the exercise are former Calvin Christian School teachers, staff from local state legislators, and attorneys with experience with the U.S. Constitution. This culminating experience is stressful to students, but displays their research, writing, and speaking skills. Calvin Christian students have done well over the years in this exercise. Three times our teams have participated in the state finals in Sacramento.
Government class at Calvin Christian High School exemplifies our goal of integrating the Christian faith with high standards of academic achievement.
Steve Whitener teaches American Government at Calvin Christian High School. You can read more about Mr. Whitener via his faculty bio HERE.
Happy New Year Calvin Community! We have just experienced the time of year where we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ our Lord: Immanuel, God with us! It is my prayer that each and every one of you were filled with the joy of our Savior’s birth.
Do you see what I see? It is amazing what I see going on at both of our campuses each and every day. I am privileged to have some time each day to capture and document some of the many events happening at Calvin Christian. For those of you who do not know, I am adding a piece to my role here at Calvin. Not only am I the upper school art teacher and junior high life leader, I am also devoting a portion of each day to visually communicating the story of Calvin Christian School. In this first installment of “Behind the Screen with Mr. VDP”, I would like to introduce the importance of digital media and visual communications as a part of not only showing what our school is doing, but also getting the word out to others what makes Calvin Christian School unique. I would also like to occasionally “touch base” with you to keep you up to date on some of the ways we at Calvin Christian are working toward connecting with our parent, friend, and broader community about some of the great things that our happening here. Social media is one major part of a broader effort of our school’s marketing department to tell the story of Calvin Christian and how we want to invite others to be a part of this special school.
Social media is crucial in any Christian school's marketing strategy. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram are social media streams that our school has chosen to utilize. They can be wonderful tools which help us to tell the story of Calvin Christian. One of my goals is to use social media effectively. Remember that social media offers everybody a window into our school and what it is all about. It is my hope that you will enjoy seeing our student and staff accomplishments showcased in a Facebook post with a great photograph to illustrate what went on. YouTube allows us to see major events archived on video, interviews with current students, tours of facilities and short videos about our school. Tweets giving instant updates about a popular game or event will keep you involved. Instagram helps us to feature special photos or ads about upcoming events. Everybody loves to look at photos of our students and what they are involved with each and every day at Calvin.
I can’t do these things alone. The special thing about being in a Christian school is the tremendous parent involvement that helps to support our school. Please consider the following things as we move into the new year here at Calvin:
SHARE posts, advertisements, or videos about Calvin on your own social media networks.
SHARE information about unique events in which our students might be involved in that otherwise might not get featured by the school.
BE EXCITED about what is happening here at Calvin by simply “liking”, or “following” our main social media outlets.
Thank you in advance for your help, support, and passion, for getting the word out about Calvin Christian. I am thankful for this supportive Christian community. I hope by following us on social media, you will see what I see.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Ron Van Der Pol
CCS Art Teacher