Charles Spurgeon, a London pastor who lived in the 19th century, is known as the “Prince of Preachers” and for good reason. Spurgeon was renowned for his oratory skills and could preach sermons that would captivate his audience. Over the course of his 38 years as a pastor, thousands of people came to hear him preach and when he died, the whole of London mourned his passing. Spurgeon left a great legacy of stalwart faith in Christ and a treasury of writings still read and respected by theologians today.
One of his quotes which I came across the other day, challenged me as both a parent and an educator:
“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, training them up in God’s fear. . .as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of Host.”
What a challenge for Christians! What an encouragement, also! While directed at parents, this quote applies just as well to Christian educators. Training Christian young people is serious business. We are working with parents to equip their children to be soldiers for Christ. Thank you, SJCS families, for trusting us with this awesome responsibility. Who knows? Maybe the world’s next Spurgeon will be one of your children. Thank you for helping us continue our legacy of offering a quality Christian education for almost 60 years.
First of all, I would like to say that our CityTeam food drive was a great success! Thank you to everyone who donated and those who helped organize the food drive. Not only did we fill up the ten barrels we had, but the overflow filled up an additional four barrels. Last week’s chapel speaker was a CityTeam success story. Scott spoke about how CityTeam provided food and shelter for him when he was homeless, but more importantly, he shared how CityTeam shared the gospel with him and changed his life forever. CityTeam is an excellent example of the gospel in action, and we are grateful for the opportunity to have a small part in assisting them with their ministry in our local community.
This week we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time we traditionally set aside to fellowship with family and friends, indulge in delicious food and to focus on what we are thankful for. While the country at large may focus on thankfulness one time a year, Christians recognize that a spirit of gratitude should pervade our daily lives all year long. As fallible humans, however, it is not always easy to keep a thankful heart when our circumstances seem to demand a negative response from us.
Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances,” not some circumstances or most circumstances, but all circumstances. It would seem that God is asking of us the impossible. How does one give thanks in the worst possible circumstances? It is most definitely not easy, but it is possible. I am not suggesting that we have to be thankful for the bad things themselves, but we can be thankful for what God has done and will do in our lives despite the bad things. Our God heals broken people and redeems sinful situations and gives to those who mourn beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
We live in a fallen, broken world. Very bad and evil things happen to very good and righteous people, and it seems very unfair. Why do some seem to suffer so much and others hardly at all? I do not have an answer for that, and we will likely not know this side of heaven why God allows certain things to happen to certain people. One thing we rest assured of is that our Heavenly Father loves us with an everlasting love. He is working everything in our lives for our good and His glory, and His will for us is to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances” (Thessalonians 5:18).
As you enjoy the remaining days of holiday weekend, and while we celebrate the improved air quality in the bay area, please join me in continuing to pray for those devastated by the fire north of us. May each person see the Gospel lived out through our prayers and actions.
Many years ago, when my wife and I were young new parents, we read a book by Ted Tripp called Shepherding Your Child’s Heart. (This is an excellent book, and I would highly recommend it.) The premise of the book is that Christian parents should not just focus on external behaviors although that is important. More importantly, however, Christian parents should focus on the internal heart attitudes in their children. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Engaging our children’s hearts means reaching them with the gospel.
We as Christian school educators have the responsibility of doing the same thing while children are in our care. At San Jose Christian School we take that responsibility seriously. Our goal is not just a change in outward behavior, but a change of heart. We strive to reach each student with the truth of the gospel. It is much easier, of course, to deal with outward behavior because that is usually cut and dried; however, more often than not, outward behavior is an expression of the overflow of the heart. Luke 6:45 reminds us that “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” A permanent change in behavior comes from a change in the heart; therefore, we want to remove the “evil treasure” and replace it with “good treasure.” Reaching the heart of a child is harder and takes time, but this is the most important work of parents and educators.
How do we as parents and educators “shepherd” a child’s heart? Much like a shepherd who uses his staff to pull a wandering sheep back into the fold and away from danger, we must use the truth of the Bible to point out the sin in the child’s life and lovingly point them in the direction of the truth of the grace and mercy offered us by our heavenly Father. We must also be vigilant concerning the primary shaping influences in a child’s life which are the home, church and school. And, of course, we should pray for the Holy Spirit to work in our children’s hearts and for them to grow in their relationship with God.
Thank you, SJCS families, for letting us stand in loco parentis while your children are in our care. We do not take our responsibility lightly. SJCS has a long history of “shepherding” children, and our primary goal is to continue that tradition and for all of our students to grow in their relationship with the Savior.
“The Heavens declare the glory of God,” as the Psalmist says. This is a truth that my wife and I wanted to instill in our children as they were growing up. Whenever we asked them who made the stars or the ocean or the flowers, they immediately answered with a resounding “God made it!” They took for granted that God made everything in creation. For them it was a given, as it should be for all Christians. God made everything in the universe and sustains it. Question 8 of the OPC Shorter Catechism asks, “How does God execute his decrees?” The answer is “God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence.” Creation is the evidence of God’s providence, but sometimes even Christians take creation for granted. We forget that creation is evidence of God’s sustaining power not only in the universe but also in each of our lives. We may not always see clearly His hand at work, and sometimes it may seem that He has abandoned us altogether. Sometimes when I feel far from God, all I have to do is pause to reflect on the awesomeness of His creation. Matthew 6:26 reminds us that if God takes care of the sparrow, how much more will He take care of us. Question 9 of the Shorter Catechism asks, “What is the work of creation?” And the response is “The work of creation is God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” If God can make all things of nothing, He is certainly able to work all things for good in our lives.
This past week a group of dads met for prayer (Dads in Prayer, aka DIPS). As we talked and prayed, we were reminded of how the hand of God is at work in each other’s lives. We kept coming back to the same conclusion—God has everything in His control. Even if we don’t understand all that is going on in the world and our lives, and even when things seem to be spiraling out of control, God is in perfect control. Part of what make the SJCS community so special is that we understand Who has ultimate control of everything. This truth should be a source of great comfort to us. We live in a fallen world full of broken and hurting people, but God is still in control and works all things for our good and His glory.
Dads, please consider joining us on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 8:30 AM in the auditorium for a time of prayer and fellowship. When believers gather together to go before God, it not only strengthens us, but it reminds us that God is in control.
This Tiger Tracks Latin phrase is Caelum et Terra. Have your child translate this passage by Friday and turn it in me. Please make sure their names are on the translation.
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What does it mean to leave a legacy? I found numerous definitions/explanations of what leaving a legacy means. Webster’s Dictionary defined legacy as anything handed down from the past. An article in Huffington Post defined it as the need or the desire to be remembered for what you have contributed to the world.
To me, legacy means what did my character say about me, what did others learn from me, what will I be remembered for after I am gone and what positive impact did I have on others.
On August 28, 2018, Tina Vander Veen, a long time supporter of SJCS passed
away at the age of 94. She left a legacy! Tina had 12 grandchildren. All 12
grandchildren graduated from SJCS. For one year, all 12 attended SJCS at the
same time-the oldest in 8th grade and the youngest just starting kindergarten.
Tina and her husband Sid, until he passed away many years ago, were attendees to every event that their grandchildren participated in at SJCS. Even after Sid’s passing away, you would see Tina at every sporting event, musical event, fundraising event, special event, and of course, Grandfriend’s Day.
Numerous years ago, Tina and Sid were presented the gift of being named the ‘Official Grandparents of SJCS’ for their many years of dedication and commitment to SJCS. This plague was proudly displayed in their home. Anyone who came into the home was shown the plague and told about SJCS. This plague was also on display at Tina’s memorial service. She took great pride in being part of the SJCS family.
Tina not only attended events of her grandchildren, she modeled a life that they would remember in great detail. Tina was a godly woman, faithful in prayer, faithful in reading her Bible, faithful in trusting God, faithful in serving and loving others. As one grandchild shared, “‘Beppe" showed unconditional selfless love to every person she encountered.” She was not only Beppe to her grandchildren but to her grandchildren’s friends. And as her family grew, she invested that same unconditional love to her 22 great-grandchildren.
Tina is now enjoying her eternal reward with her heavenly Father, but her legacy lives on through her family and those of us at SJCS that knew her.
After I became a believer, I felt that God was moving me toward some type of full- time ministry. So I set off to Bible College to begin my training. I was nineteen and had about $300.00 to my name and hoped God would provide the rest (He did). I enrolled in a college in Florida designed to help train full-time Christian ministry workers.
As many of you know, the workload during the first year of college can be overwhelming, but you buckle down, study hard, and do your work. As I was getting ready the take my first major test, the professor led a prayer for all of us before he administered the test. I was expecting “God help everyone get an A’, “God, give these students the supernatural ability to do better than they should”, or something like that. But, he didn’t, he prayed “Lord, let this test be an accurate reflection on the amount of work that these students put forth.” In my head, I said “WHAT” that is not fair, I need a little supernatural help on this test.
That prayer shaped more of my life than the details I can remember from the class. I was reminded of that lesson again during my recent chat with our sixth grade life skills class. The topic was, “What have I had to overcome in my life.” My main point to them — God is faithful to His children, pray but work hard. We see this in Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
So what exactly is Ora et Labora. When I taught a beginning (very basic) Latin class to my students, this is one of the first phrases we learned. Without giving it away, have your child translate the phrase and put their names on the paper and turn it in to me. I will draw from all of the correct answers by this Friday, for a special prize.
Being part of the SJCS community requires an understanding of a variety of terms, expressions, and acronyms. Here are two:
CSI (Christian Schools International)
This is one of our accreditation organizations. Their mission is to advance Christian education, to support schools in their task of teaching students to know God and his world, and to glorify him through obedient service. They offer professional development and various curriculum resources to teachers. They hold accredited schools to standards of excellence in all areas of academics and faith integration. Click here for more information.
LOVE & LOGIC
Love and Logic provides parents and teachers with practical, proven tools for raising respectful, responsible, and happy kids! Through this program, parents and teachers learn techniques that:
Are simple and easy to learn.
Teach responsibility and character.
Lower your stress level.
Have immediate and positive effects.
Love and Logic resources are housed in the SJCS library and can be checked out by SJCS staff and community. More information can be found here.
San Jose Christian School was founded with the analogy of a three-legged stool, that family and school and worshipping in community at church interact and work together. There is symbiotic relationship and a partnership. It is with the basis of this picture that we put into practice consistent Biblical principles. Think about how important practice is when it comes to learning a new language. In order to learn Spanish, I spent four weeks in language school in Costa Rica, living with a “Tico” family, fully immersing in the culture and the language. I think of that experience of learning as a picture of what we try to do at SJCS; immerse our students, collaboratively with the family and church, to learn the language of God’s truth in our lives. We are in this together. When a leg of the stool is missing, things become uneven.
Each one of us is learning and being formed by Jesus more and more into His likeness. We need to participate in Christian community in order to know Jesus. We need to participate in Christian community so that the kingdom of God can shape us, and we need Christian community in order to be a blessing to our time and place. We do that with you here at SJCS as you commit to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
What a great night we had on Saturday! The Auction was a huge success both financially and in building community. It was great to see so many of you there, and it was such a pleasure to meet some new friends. Please accept a HUGE thank you to all of you who had a part in that success. I celebrate this success as another glimpse of God’s faithfulness to San Jose Christian School.
I am reminded of the final chapter of Romans. Chapter 16 is basically a list of thanks to people who were Paul’s encouragers or friends in the Lord. As we read through that list, we see how it took the work of these men and women TOGETHER to lay the foundation of the church. The work of the early church was not done through just one person because no one could do everything that was necessary, but through committed believers working for one purpose, they each used their gifts to serve the Lord and each other. That is what God calls us to do, still.
As we continue to fulfill our mission, may we live, learn, and serve together be a true reflection of God’s intention for Christian community.
One of the reasons that God puts us in community is to be able to support and encourage each other as we navigate the journey on which God has put us. It brings great joy and honor to God as we, the SJCS community, come together to celebrate each other, pray for each other, and support each other as part of God’s family. It is an honor and a privilege to work alongside you as we seek to educate and engage your sons and daughters to transform the world for Jesus Christ.
SJCS is a unique and special place where children are challenged to think and grow as students as they develop their God-given gifts and personalities. You have trusted us with your children, and we appreciate the partnership in which we LOVE-LEARN-SERVE together. You have many choices for your child’s education, and you have chosen very well! Thank you for your commitment and investment in a Christ-centered education where we seek to be faithful stewards of our resources in raising up a generation of children who will stand for Christ in a culture that often does not.
Receiving the sea of re-enrollment packets at this time of year encourages us that our partnership with your family is as important to you as it is for us. Keep them coming! God calls us to live in Christian community, and San Jose Christian School is committed to your family as we live out Philippians 2 together.
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others."