I describe how lepers in Bible times were considered outcasts – unfit to be with any human. In all regards, lepers were considered to be ‘dead’. But, just like these lepers had a dreaded skin decease called physical leprosy, we have a dreaded spiritual decease called spiritual leprosy – sin.
Yet, the message of this account is that while Jesus’ grace is sufficient enough to commune with physical lepers…His grace is also sufficient to deal with our sin and to call us to relationship with Him.
For many of us, Easter brings many memories and family traditions. Mine are full of ham, chocolate egg hunts, and having a special family breakfast with coloured eggs.
This year though, similarly at Christmas, my wife and I are realizing that we are now defining and instigating our traditions for our young family.
My wife has started that by baking Paska. Here is a picture of her work. Isn’t it great!
Easter Sweet Bread
But, as I reflect on Easter I cannot help but think how ‘easy’ I have it. I mean, I take Easter for granted…I take Jesus’ death and resurrection for granted…I take those first few days after the first Easter for granted. John 21:1-14 helps me consider what it might have been like for those disciples days after that first Easter.
Download the audio from this chapel for your computer or mobile device, or listen below.
As you look into your own heart & character, what do you hold as your standard? Do you look around to those you respect? Or to those you are simply aware of? Or do you look to something greater than yourself?
At chapel this past week I shared on the passage from Luke 6 where Jesus uses the analogy of a tree being known by its fruit – that a good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. Although analogies cannot be used to generate a 100% of the time policy or expectation, they do speak to the general case. It is commonly accepted that Jesus is drawing parallels between the tree and one’s heart, and the fruit and one’s words & behaviours. The conclusion of the text offers the following words that need little explanation:
out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks
Download the audio from this chapel for your computer or mobile device, or listen below.
Each one of us must decide who we want to become. It has been said that we will hit what we aim for. So, I simply ask the questions, ‘What are you aiming for? What is your standard?”
Do you look around to see others…to compare your own actions relative to what other people hold as true? Or do you hold to something greater? Do you have an example to model yourself after?
Teenagers, like each one of us, are in such a tough situation with these questions. They experience the ups and downs of friendships and peer-pressure and identity and purpose. They can be ostracized for their beliefs when they may contradict the accepted norm. Yet, to be true to themselves they must remain congruent. A teacher on our staff often says, “when you hang out with fish, you smell like fish.” So true – we all have such power to influence those around us.
Another colleague often referred to GIGO: garbage in – garbage out. We must be disciplined & diligent regarding what we choose to put into our minds & body. This is a great statement on the key verse of this post, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, because it reminds us that our heart is key to our attitude and actions.
Like this picture helps me see, it is below the surface that produces the results.
So, how do we train our hearts? The Bible is clear that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), and that we are to look to Jesus as our example (Philippians 2). We must start with the right input before we can expect the right output.
So, who is your standard? In your heart, what is driving your motivations and behaviours?
Our words and our actions have such power – for good or for bad
We are all on a journey; we all find ourselves on a path. Be it a faith journey, a school journey, a maturity journey, or a physical destination journey – we all can relate to being in process. In light of Amanda Todd’s tragic incident earlier this October, and building off last week’s Chapel talk, I believe that we can also find ourselves on a spectrum of giving & receiving. But, the spectrum I want to present this week is one of hurtful words & actions. I don’t want to call this Bullying, but I do want to admit that we all have been givers and receivers of hurtful words. The audio below will explain this in greater detail.
Last week (previous post called part 1) we saw Amanda’s own YouTube video recorded a month before she took her life. After having a grade 7 post-chapel discussion, a group of students created their own response video as seen below. They had no staff help. Just as Amanda’s mother has said, “I have lost one child, but know she wanted her story to save 1,000 more,” I hope this grade 7 response video can serve as a light in a dark world with the message of God’s love. Great job grade 7s!
As I spoke with our students I made it clear that Bullying is the repeated attempt to undermine, intimidate, influence, and harm. A bully does not listen to the request to STOP and does not heed to the response of NO. Yet, as I built this talk, I aimed to speak to all of us – first-time or repeat offenders – who offer hurtful words or actions. Sometimes it’s a one-time big issue and other times it’s an ongoing small thing that although little, can add up over the long run. In the audio, I offer two of these negative examples from my own life – two things I am not proud of. Yes, your principal has things he is not proud of in his past. Yes, your principal is human. Yes, your principal needs to ask forgiveness…often.
Although I offer words to our givers and receivers on our spectrum of hurt, I did fail to mention those who may indeed be neither. I mean, some people may find themselves not directly involved. But, as an innocent bystander, they have an obligation to stand up for what is right, to stand up for Truth, and to stand up for those being hurt. They need courage to stand up and courage to speak to someone who can help.
I used the following scripture in the talk:
Col 4:6 – …speech being always full of grace, seasoned with salt…
Eph 4:22 – …putting off the old self; putting on the new…
Eph 4:29 – …do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…
Eph 5:4 – …nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking
Eph 5:8 – …you were once in darkness, but now you are in the light…
[conclusion] 2Cor 10:2-6 – …taking every thought captive…
[conclusion] Col 3:17 – whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus…
As a self-reflection piece, I created this quick document to help students process where they might be at. I have given two sections – a personal side and also a peer-input side. I really want students to spend time with someone who knows them well to go over this page.
As always, I would love your thoughts on this post. I value and appreciate your feedback. The goal of eduglean is to glean/encourage/challenge/etc. one another. I invite you to consider offering a few words for the rest of us. Thanks in advance!
Note: Audio from today’s Chapel is included below. Please note the non-talking from 1:44-2:40. Also, the end of the audio has a time of prayer and music. You can play the talk directly here, or download it below.
Take home message from today’s Chapel (speaking to my students):
You have someone. You have someone in your life who cares.
Coquitlam, BC, is mourning the loss of 15-year-old Amanda Todd who took her life this past week. Amanda Todd’s tragic story has gripped BC, Canada, and parts of the world. In a nutshell her situation is the result of unfortunate online choices that began at age 12 that led to relentless cyber-bullying.
Since suicide and bullying are such a consequential and awful topics, I felt I needed to address them at today’s chapel with our High School. In general terms, I believe these topics are often treated with a, “it’s somewhere else; it’s someone else” attitude among students. Sad news can often be just that – news from another situation. Sorry. No. This is a precious 15-year-old life…gone forever. This could have been our city; this could have been our school; this have could have been our friend.
Important side questions for every family to discuss:
Have you met all your Facebook friends face-to-face? IE: Are you fully sure that they are who they say they are?
Are you aware of any and all possibly harmful or embarrassing or incriminating photos or videos that exist on your camera/cell/computer/etc.? What would happen if they ‘got out’?
Parents, how involved are you with the texting & social media activities of your children? I encourage every parent to have every password for every program that your child uses.
For information on the Amanda Todd story I recommend this article from the Vancouver Sun. I also recommend Amanda Todd’s own YouTube video which she recorded a month before ending her life. *Warning: the final scenes of the video are very graphic and today I stopped the video on the final slide at 8:05 where she says, “My name is Amanda Todd.”
My key point in my chapel talk centers around Amanda’s statement at 8:02 in her video below:
I have nobody; I need someone 😦
When I saw this I yelled at the computer. This is the LIE that I need to dispel today at chapel. The truth is that for students listening in chapel, they all have someone, they all have somebody who cares. The audio below will walk through the fact that God loves each of us so much, that families/guardians desire to know what is happening in our lives, that the friends around us care for us deeply, and that there can be adults in our lives such as youth leaders/counsellors/family friends/teachers/etc. who wish to listen.
Here is the video:
The conclusion of my talk today was just reminding students of how much God loves each one of us. This is part one of a two-part series on this topic. Stay tuned for next week’s chapel talk.