Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Student Devotions - September 24, 2008

My School Day - 23.09.08


What a very interesting day. From sitting in a doctor's office in the morning, to teaching a noon hour class on bullying, to schasing down run away students at the end of school. There is never a dull moment in this place.

We have some issues with an elementary student having serious problems with his sight. Imagine how frightened his parents must be. But we can be thankful that they have an incredible relationship of trust with the Lord. We need to remember to pray for them and for healing.

We have some interesting issues of maturity in the Secondary. I am sure they will get it. They just need a bit of time. Shining laser lights in other students' eyes is more the behaviour of elementary but, I am sure they will make some changes in their thinking soon.

It will be an interesting assignment for them; to investigate the extreme consequences of bullying. I hope that it opens a few eyes before it is too late. I really can't stand bullies. I can understand ther insecurities but I do not like the fact that others have to pay the price for their short comings. Respect is not a hard thing to give.

It would appear the activity kits are working in the elementary. The students have started working very hard to earn the privilege to use the kits. Today Chad and Jonathan worked together to make a large ferris wheel. Way cool.

My Strip

Monday, September 22, 2008

Student Devotions - September 23, 2008

Lessons I Have Learned

We are six minutes away from ending the day. How would you say it went today? Full of surprises and great adventures? Perhaps some intrigue and "soap opera" happenings? I hope not. Regardless of what some people believe school is about discovery, not excitment. It should be exciting to learn but not in the same definition as video game excitment.

It was a fair day. I was disappointed with the behaviour of a few individuals that threatened the freedom of their classmates. However, in reflection, these students have had the parameters of their life expanded. They need time to learn, to adjust and to discover their new limits. They must learn quickly but that is what school is about.

I am rather pleased and surprised by the amount of work so many people have managed to complete. Could this signify the beginning of a great year for so many individual students?

One thing I learned today, is that no matter how much preparation you put into something you need to be able to execute the event. ERC was great to prepare over the weekend (hours of preparation) but my notes did not help me sitting on my desk at home.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Student Devotions - September 15, 2008

Just in case some of the students were not paying attention this morning. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Student Devotions - September 12, 2008

You may want to check back on previous devotions for follow up comments. Don't let the discussion die just because you moved on to the next day.

I apologize for the quality of the video. I am still working out the best settings.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Student Devotions September 9, 2008

I am hoping this devotional turns out better than yesterday's. The video was too large yesterday. Now I am afraid it may be too small. I will have to experiment with it to get it just right. :-) Where is baby bear when you need him?


School Devotions - September 8, 2008

This video is scary. First attempt this year. I had no idea that it was recording from one cam while using the mic of another. It is rather funny. I hope you do not lose the message in the midst of the laughter. Be kind, and listen. :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Strange Man Sat At The Corner At The Back

The night was silent. Even the sounds of traffic from the distant highway did not seem to register through the thick evening air. The day had been hot and the air just as thick as it was now. Not even the cooler evening was able to cut through the thickness. It felt repressive. But none of this registered for him. It went unnoticed.

So did the neighbourhood that he was rushing through.

How did I get here? It was the only thought that filled his mind, like a recurring questions caught in some sort of loop, his personal version of a nightmare. The question had nothing to do with this neighbourhood filled with its unique stone homes and the expensive cars parked neatly on the side of the street. It had nothing to do with this impersonal city. These things were merely a backdrop for the drama that was playing out in his life.

The sensation of running was buried under his thoughts somewhere; the warmth of the evening air rushing over his face and pushing his hair back, away from his eyes. It was a familiar sensation but too familiar to pierce his reality tonight. The yards flowed by like a river, only he was going against its current. It actually felt like he was fighting a current as each stride took such incredible grit and determination.

He was running. But where? Where could he hide?

Nothing registered with him because his mind was too occupied to hold onto the information; it was full, too full. There was too much of everything pressing in on him, weighing him down, threatening who he was. The mounting bills that could not be paid were a part of it.

Why do finances have such an effect on me?

But they were only a part of it. If only they were all of it. If only this problem could be everything.

We honestly tried, he thought to himself. We worked so hard to save a little bit here and there. All our plans, our dreams, our hopes; torn to shreds. They were nothing more than pieces of fabric flapping in the great winds of circumstances and bad luck. But what are finances at a time like this?

Without acknowledging where he was he slipped into the metro station. It was familiarity now that directed his actions.

Unthinking.

Unfeeling.

Habit.

In the fluid motion of routine he ran his pass through the machine and descended into his escape. It was if there was not a single, living soul in this city. He was alone.
As he moved into the belly of the station he welcomed the comfort of the familiar. He welcomed the anonymity of this place. He welcomed the thought of escape. He welcomed the thought of being buried alive under tons of dirt, stone and concrete.

It was only last month he and his wife were celebrating the incredible high of their triumph. Sophie was pregnant. Pregnant! He remembered the now distant sense of elation as if it were mocking him. What a high it was! After so many years, the thought of becoming a dad ... incredible! No wonder the phone bill was so high. A slight hint of a smile jabbed at the corners of his mouth. He honestly thought nothing could crush that joy.
He had been wrong, so very, very wrong.

As he descended onto the platform he did not get the chance to sit as the train came roaring in. The noise and blurring streak barely registered with him.

The doors opened.

He stepped inside.

Now he could go anywhere and no one would know. Now he could disappear and no one would find him.

He had escaped.

He collapsed into a seat in the corner, at the back of the car. He did not take note if he was alone or in a crowded car. He didn’t care. He had escaped. But from what?

Cancer? How could it be cancer? This was not supposed to happen. Not to them.

He leaned forward, elbows on knees, burying his face in his hands. Here, in this place of escape, he allowed the pressing despair, loneliness and helplessness to wash over him, consuming him. He could do this in no other place. His body began to heave with the uncontrolled emotion that rolled over him like great waves, pounding him again and again and again. He lost himself, allowing the waves to carry him along. The tears began.
He felt it before he heard it; a deep rumbling at first, rising up, uncontrolled. It burst from him with such violence; a cry of anguish torn from his soul, filling the car, then overflowing. He was on public display, him and his broken heart. He didn’t care. He couldn’t care.

What was he to do? His wife? The baby? The bills? His dreams? His hopes? His future? Was it all gone?

Panic threatened his sanity. He felt as if he would burn up right there in that metro car. His face was on fire. The pressure that pressed down on him felt as if the city itself was falling on him, crushing him, burying him. The panic increased.
He could not let this happen.

There was no escape for him. Nowhere.

He had to get out.

His surroundings suddenly thrust itself upon his pain shrouded reality. The realization of where he was cut off his sobbing like a knife cutting out his heart. He raised his head in one quick jerk that brought with it a searing pain that pierced his head as if he had just been shot.

The car held some twenty passengers. Every eye was on him. Their expressions ranged from fear, to hatred, to concern. Embarrassment now took over. The only thing going through his mind was, GET OUT!

Even as the thought entered his consciousness the train came to a screeching stop, throwing its doors open as if demanding this rude passenger to leave, no questions asked. He responded to the invitation, trying to hide his face from the relieved passengers. He darted out the doors like an animal suddenly released from its cage.

He had to get out. He had to escape this grave. He had to breathe. There was no comfort here; only more despair.

He ran for the escalator. Too many people. What were they doing out this late. He felt annoyed at them, angry. He wanted to shout at them. He changed course and aimed for the stairs, taking two at a time. That’s when the question hit him.

Where is God?

How could he be allowing this to happen? That’s what he believed wasn’t it; that God was in control of everything? Did he have to strike some kind of bargain with God to change this? Make some kind of sacrifice? Would that make a difference? Why hadn’t this God of love and compassion respond to his pleas?

Am I doing something wrong?

As he cleared the first set of stairs there was no lessening of the oppressive feeling that pushed upon him. The panic still threatened to tear him apart just as the air seemed to be torn from his chest as be laboured for breath. But the pain in his lungs barely registered as he attacked the second set of stairs with the same urgency as the first.

People stared. He didn’t care. In fact, he didn’t notice. He was lost again in his anguish.

God! The name left his mouth as an accusation.

Where are you now? Where are your promises? The questions came back empty as they bounced off the station’s walls.

You claim to be loving. Prove it! No words, just thoughts. He was daring God to become real.

Answer my please! Show your mercy! The screams ripped through his mind. Where was God?

He cleared the last set of stairs and pushed through the metro station door, escaping the stale air of despair, gasping for the fresh air of hope. All he found was thick, repressive air. He took two steps then bent over in pain.

What was hurting more, his lungs or his heart?

He gasped as his lungs sucked in the life enabling warm, moist summer evening air. He gasped as his heart desperately tried to suck in anything that would be life enabling, anything that would sustain it as the last of life seemed to seep away.

He stood.

As he stood he suddenly seemed to turn to stone on the spot. His eyes were fixed straight ahead. His heart stopped beating. Tears began to well up in his eyes as he read over and over again what he had desperately needed someone, anyone to say to him. There, across the street, stretch out on a banner that was fixed to two great pillars of a large church was the one word he had been longing to hear.

Hope.

Everything seemed to slow down. Everything became silent around him. Everything became hushed.

There, in the middle of the sidewalk, he closed his eyes and allowed that word to wash over him. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, he received from his God that one thing that no one else was willing to risk giving him. He took it, grasped it and made the decision never to let go of it. There, in the middle of the sidewalk he began to dare to believe there was hope.

And it made a difference.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

In The Midst of the Frustrations

Hmmmm .... so anyone frustrated yet? I know I am. Here it is 12:31am and I am still trying to iron out some problems with computers. I realize that the final product is going to be worth it so that is the reason I keep going. When I stop and think about the benefits and the ease of use this system will bring to our Learning Centre I find it a bit easier to push through. I may be frustrated now but when we have worked everything out my frustrations will have been forgotten.

Do you think maybe this is what Paul was referring to when he wrote to the Corinthians: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." 2 Corinthians 4:17

The context of the verse is found here:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Do you notice the sentence that says "So we fix our eyes". A good builder knows what his finished product will look like. He has a plan that he is working toward. He may be working in the basement today laying sewage pipes but he already knows what kind of palace he is building and what it is going to look like when it is finished. This is the attitude Paul is writing about.

Our lives are part of an unfinished work of Art. What we see now is not the finished product so we should not pay too much attention to it. Perhaps we are not very patient with ourselves; perhaps we want better of ourselves; perhap there are many things we are not happy with in ourself. Maybe we do not like our current situation or our job or whatever. Yet, even though these details are part of a finished work of art, they are only part; they are not the finished work.

A good builder already knows what his finished buidling is going to look like and he builds to that end. An artist already knows what that painting is going to look like and works to that end. The Holy Spirit already knows what we are going to look like and he is working to that end.Why should we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen? Because what we see is an unfinished work of art. What we fix our eyes on is what we will be when it's all over. It is the reaon we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Be patient, Father is not finished with us yet.

Back to work ...

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Beginning Footnote To Today's Message At School

So now what? I have given you my pep talk and I hope it has had some effect on you but you and I both know that this is really going to come down to you. What do you want from this year? If you know what you want to do it will be much easier for you. However, if you do not have a clue then you appear to be stuck .... or are you?

You are in this place to learn in the hope that in the process you will discover those things that seem to ignite the passion in you. This means that most people come through the front doors without a clue as to what ignites their passion. This means you are not alone. In fact, this means you are in the majority. Yet, this still does not respond to the question “What do you want from this year?” How about if we see if we can find a clue in the Word of God? In fact, let me give you some big hints:

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:2-4)

Let’s hold on to the phrase shall we, “whatever you do”. You do not need to know yet. You are here to discover that beautiful thing but not knowing it yet does not keep you back from success today. Let us be honest, you are not sure about a lot of things and that is okay. But at the same time hear what the words are saying; you can have success in whatever you do this year if you commit it to the LORD. Keep him first, always.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Not everything you do this year will involve there being only one path. There will be some things you face this year which will depend on your own heart as either direction will please the LORD. In this case it is to your own heart that you will need to prove yourself true. All God asks is that whatever you decide make it a decision that is based on giving him the glory. This year decide to live your life to his glory.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father though him.” (Colossians 3:17)

Whatever you decide about this year make sure that Jesus is the center of it. The best way to insure that this will be so is to maintain a thankful heart. Be thankful for everything in your day because everything has its purpose. Do not lose your laughter because you let go of being thankful. As soon as you allow bitterness and complaining to creep in ... POW ... there goes your joy. Keep Jesus the center by maintaining your thankful heart.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

I would say this is the more important of these passages for you to hide away in your heart. Allow the Spirit to bring it out and refresh your spirit as often as it is needed. You will have times when you will find your supervisor to be unfair. There will be days that you wish God would just open up the ground and swallow your parents whole. There will be days when your emotions will get the better of you. Yet, on these days, if you could only recall this verse and remember that you are not serving anyone but Jesus Christ, this may give you that balance that you need to keep the joy and thanksgiving right where they belong.

Make this year a “whatever I do” year and make it for the glory of God.