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.
On December 30, 2016, my family and I will be celebrating my grandmother’s 100th birthday. All five generations will gather, and she can’t wait. (Yes, she is a great, great grandmother to my grandson, Nolan.) If I had to name the greatest influencer in my life, it would be her. She continues to be a marvel, a true prayer warrior, and a blessing to all who know her.
Back when my son Matt was in high school, he wrote the following:
Now, almost 88 years old, my great grandmother is still thriving. She loves life, her family, and mostly, our Father in heaven. I believe that my children will also be able to have stories told and adventures to experience with Gigi, if not first hand, certainly through the memories we have made together. Looking at her life and how she has lived, through joys and sorrows, yet always relying on the Lord, motivates me to live my life to its fullest and never let opportunities pass me by. She will always have a special place in her heart for me, but I know in my heart that my love for her can overcome anything. She will inspire me and my family for years to come. After all, she is the one and only Gigi.
Come to GrandFriend’s Day on November 22 to celebrate family and friends, and the godly influencers in your life and in the lives of your children. Be that influencer in others’ lives. Enjoy and be grateful for God’s gift of family.
We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:4
San Jose Christian School is a praying community. God calls us to pray without ceasing (Colossians 4:2), and to pray for others (James 5:16) and we do that. Very few things bring me more joy than walking into a classroom and listening to the prayers of our students- for each other, for their families, and for their friends.
Last year, the faculty and the middle school began praying for a young man in South Africa. He was very ill with cancer, with what seemed little hope for recovery. Just a few days ago, Mrs. Coetsee informed the staf and students that God continues to be in the business of miracles. Rayno, who has been on a road of trials, is cancer free. Praise God! And that is exactly what the students did in shared emails. Words of praise and thanksgiving filled the inboxes.
Prayer connects us with God, but it also connects us in community and allows us to celebrate His faithfulness! Being able to share in answered prayer is God’s way of allowing us to see Him at work. Do our prayers alter God’s intentions? No. However, it is through prayer that we build our relationship with God.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4