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Chapel Blog

Chapel topics in the middle school and high school are based on the Bible verse and theme selected for that school year. The lessons taught by the verse are broken down into monthly themes, and then taught weekly in chapel. Chapel blogs are written by Spiritual Formation Director John Bishop, Westminster administrators and teachers, and even students, and complement the teachings in weekly chapel.

2024

  • Finish Lines

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    There is nothing quite like crossing the finish line at the end of a grueling race. Especially, if you’re able to look up and see your PR on the clock. Races are a funny thing though, because they’re such a small part of the overall experience. 
     
    This summer the Olympics will be hosted in Paris, France on July 26 – August 11. And while you’re watching the sprinters fly down the track at record speeds, crushing the barriers of human potential, keep in mind that for every second the gold metal sprinters take to get from the start line to the finish line, they have spent countless thousands of hours training. And as soon as the Olympics are over, they’re back on the track getting ready for the next race. Finish lines aren’t really where you finish. They are only where you measure your progress and count the cost. 
     
    This year we have been talking about being wholehearted. Psalm 86:11 says, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” Now we’re at the end of the year and the temptation is to think that this is the end, and, in a way, it is. Next year we will have a new verse and a new theme. We’ll have different shirts, different messages, different challenges and encouragements. 
     
    But Psalm 86:11, and the theme of being wholehearted, shouldn’t ever end. Just because we’ve come to the end of the year doesn’t mean that this is the finish line for Wholehearted. So don’t stop. Continue to open up your divided heart to God. Believe that, in faith, He will heal the areas you need Him most. 
     
    Matthew 24:13 says, “But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” “Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves [wholeheartedly] to the work of the Lord.” And trust that His promise will be true in and through your life. 
     
    “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 
     
    I hope as you cross the finish line of this school year, you’re able to see how much progress you’ve made as you’ve sought the LORD. I hope you’re also able to take inventory and count the cost of the life you’re busy living. And mostly, I hope you get back on the track and keep running hard after God. 
     
    Enjoy your summer. Cheer loudly for the U.S.A. this July, and we’ll see you soon! 
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    What a year we have had! We have asked God to teach us to be wholehearted, and each one of us has grown so much in the process – even us adults! We never stop growing and learning to be more like Jesus. We asked the students to spend some time thinking about how they have become closer to God this year. Some of the Biblical character traits we learned about were obedience, bravery, love, and mission-mindedness. 

    We have supported four different organizations/ministries through our Noisy Offering this year - CARE Elementary School, Mobility Worldwide/PET carts, One More Child along with our HS missionaries on their mission trip to Costa Rica, and Youth For Christ KIX Summer Daze program. Our PS/ES students and families have generously donated over $18,700 and have impacted countless lives in the process. Thank you for your prayers, donations, and continued support of our Noisy Offering!

    We encourage the students and their families to continue seeking God this summer with the help of our Family Summer Devotional - How Great is Our God by Louie Giglio.

    Have a blessed summer and stay close to God!
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  • Left it on the Field

    John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    There is a phrase you hear a lot in sports, “They left it on the field.” 
     
    I like that phrase! It means you gave it your all, maybe you didn’t win, but you can still feel good because you left it on the field. It’s a good sign if you get to the place in life where hard work and effort is a reward unto itself. 
     
    You can’t win every game. You can’t be good at every subject. You wouldn’t do well in any career. You’re not going to get along with every person you have to interact with, but this isn’t an excuse to lay back and let things crumble to pieces. There’s more that can and should be done to review the film, the study, to develop your skills, and to extend grace and forgiveness. This is true in life. This is also true in our faith. 
     
    We are not saved by works, but we are saved for them. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the kingdom of God! And our hands will be the ones to do it. The goal of that Christian life is not to be comfortable on earth and get rescued into paradise. The life of a Christian should be marked with the sweat and scars of hard work. 
     
    And there’s no better place to start training for a life well lived than right now. That’s why your coaches and teachers, your parents, your church leaders, and everyone is encouraging you to leave it on the field. Everyone knows that the very best results in life come on the heels of hard work and in no category is our work more justified and rewarded than in our faith. 
     
    Jesus looked at his disciples from where He sat by the woman at the well in John 4, as they came back from lunch and said, “Look, the fields are ripe for harvest.” Get started now fighting the good fight of the faith so that one day you’ll be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 
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  • Wandering Through WorldWonder: Chapter 10 & Epilogue

    As we come to the end of this year’s story, Wandering Through WorldWonder: Mac & Mica’s Adventure, we are presented with both the consequences of sin and the provision of God. 

    Back in chapter 3, Mac was trapped next to Doc, a snake that really wanted to eat Cane, a toad. Doc was very deceptive about his intentions and led Mac astray. It took seven more chapters before we found out the damage that Doc’s lie had had on Mac. This is the way it is with sin; it starts as a seed. A simple fib, that leads to a need for cover-up. Sin has a way of snowballing and becoming very unmanageable, often much quicker than we would like. The Scripture teaches us in Romans 6:23 that the wage of sin is death! 

    “WOW! Calm down, Bible, a little white lie never hurt anyone, don’t be so extreme about it…” we think. 

    But if we check back at the beginning of the story, in Genesis 1-3, we find that sin does produce death.  
    God provided EVERYTHING Adam and Eve could ever need in paradise. There was just one thing that He held back from them, the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By NOT taking that one thing, Adam and Eve were able to express through their action things like, “Thank you God for all that you HAVE provided, I trust you God, that your ways are right, and I don’t need anything else, you are worthy of my sacrifice, and we love you.” 

    But that is not how the story went. Adam and Eve took the fruit and in that, rejected God’s offer of love and relationship. The snowball started rolling. Their son, Cain, committed murder. The wages of Adam and Eve’s sin was death. 

    But thank God, the story doesn’t stop there, for there is a second half of Romans 6:23 which says, “BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When we trust that Jesus’ death became the death we earn in taking the fruit, it’s like He puts the fruit back up on the tree. Because of His death, we get to enter back into a right relationship with God. And the original arrangement is reestablished.  

    In Christ we can say freely once again, “Thank you, Jesus, for all you have provided, we trust you, you are worthy of our sacrifice of praise, and we love you Jesus.” 

    “Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name” – Psalm 86:11.  

    May we enter into our summer holidays with a whole heart, filled with EVERYTHING we need from Him. See you next year! 
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  • Theme and Verse for the 2024-25 School Year

    THRIVE

    Psalm 1:3 – “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not whither – whatever they do prospers.”
     
    This brief article by Director of Spiritual Formation John Bishop sheds light on the 2024-25 theme and verse. In the article he shares examples of the kinds of tensions our theme and verse will help us unpack throughout the year. Below is the design that will represent the message of the theme and verse. 

    What Does it Mean to Thrive?

    Next school year, we want to thrive, as individuals, in our families, at school, and as a community. We want our work to matter and to produce great results. We want the effort of our minds to give us insight and wisdom. We want our relationships to bloom with love, joy, contentment, and peace. We want our systems to run smoothly, our governments to strike the right balance, our neighborhoods to protect our sense of security. Our money to swell, our possessions to remain pristine, and our moods and emotions to remain under our control.

    By contrast, we don’t want to waste time and effort or to have our hard-earned recognition be taken by someone else. We don’t want our investments to diminish or our decisions to result in suffering for us or those we love. We don’t want our deeply held convictions to be dismissed, and we don’t want to find that we’re addicted, or angry, or depressed, or sick.

    So, what do we really want? In short, we want the paradise God created back in Eden. How do we get what we want? 

    But how did we lose it? Scripture teaches us in Genesis 1-3 that we lost it when Adam and Eve reached out and took the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. Perhaps you’re tempted to feel cheated by this, thinking, “That’s not my fault. If I had been there, I wouldn’t have doomed humanity to permanent suffering and death.”

    Wouldn’t we though? Adam and Eve did it in Eden, but so did the disciples in Gethsemane. The church did it during the crusades, and again in the colonial conquest of the Americas, and when African people were being imported as slaves. Would we have stood opposed to the wicked and destructive actions of those in power? Did the Germans during WWII or the Russians, or Chinese or warring tribes in Rwanda? We can look back and understand with compassion that none of these people, Adam and Eve included, knew what the future would hold. Most of them, at the time, could NOT possibly have understood the ramifications of their complicit silence, and seemingly innocent turning-the-other-way in the moment. But their ignorance does not make them innocent, and it certainly does not reverse the effects of their actions or inactions on the rest of us.

    And we are guilty as well, though we don’t like to think about it like that. But sin doesn’t begin with wanton destruction, it begins with avoiding the hard work demanded of us today. It does not begin in bitterness, divorce, betrayal, and scandal, it begins in our choice not to hold back our biting words to those we love when we feel angry, hungry, and/or tired. Cain, in Genesis 4:7, discovered this about sin. It does not come at us in the obvious way that we might resist it; instead, it “crouches at the door…”, and we must resist it or we will find ourselves giving in to our pressing desires for relief, pleasure, and power over others, and in that way sacrificing our futures too, to the devastating effects of sin.

    We want paradise back, but our sins have made that impossible, and we’ve got no one to blame but ourselves. So, how do we close the gap?

    We don’t! But Jesus did. Jesus never left paradise! He never gave in to His fleshly desires or said something he later regretted. Jesus stayed with God in the garden of Eden and when we found him in the garden of Gethsemane our envy led us to kill him for it. But praise God, He is not resentful, spiteful, vengeful, and malicious like we are, because instead of retribution, which is what we deserve, He extends an invitation to come home.

    That person, [who places their faith in Jesus and abides in Him], will be like a prospering tree. We can have what we want this year, by giving up everything we are and everything we have and trusting in and abiding in Jesus, who promises to give us back the desires of our heart. We can reenter paradise with Him, bit-by-bit in this life and completely in eternity. Then, like the psalmist says, we can, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4)

    Let us, therefore, move toward next year with hope that we can get what we want, and let us discover that what we really want is to be found in Jesus. I invite you to join us in the often difficult and frustrating journey of dying to yourself, that we might thrive together in Christ.
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  • Finishing Strong

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    To the seniors, 
     
    I think most of the teachers at Westminster feel about you the way that Paul must have felt about the Ephesian church. He loved them! 
     
    There is a touching scene in Acts 20 when Paul is saying goodbye to the people of Ephesus and in verse 37 it says, “They all wept as they embraced him…”. Paul had let them know that he was not going to see them again because he needed to obey God and go on to what, at that point, he understood was going to be imprisonment and death, for the sake of the gospel. 
     
    Saying goodbye is hard. Some people deal with it by separating and pulling away. I guess the logic is, “If I make it uncomfortable and messy enough, it won’t hurt so bad.” But I don’t think that really lessens the blow, and it may actually rob some of the joy of those last moments. No, saying goodbye is a normal and necessary part of life. And here you are on the cusp, watching as this season of your life slips away, never to be seen again. It’s very sad. 
     
    But just because it’s sad doesn’t mean it’s bad (sorry for the cheesy rhyme). You cannot go anywhere or do anything meaningful in life without allowing what’s known to be sacrificed for what’s unknown. That’s how we grow. That’s how we learn. That’s how we discover our limits and uncover our purpose. We have to let go of the very thing that carried us through. 
     
    In an effort to leave you with some final words and help you finish strong or encourage you in how you have been finishing strong, here’s what Paul later wrote to the people of Ephesus, “16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” 
     
    And now it’s time to let go. We release you to your future, into the unknown adventures that await. We pray over you what Paul prayed over them. We love you! Now get out of here and go do great things for Jesus! 
     
    To the rest of the students, even if this isn’t your senior year, each year is filled with valuable moments. Take inventory of all that God is/has been doing in your life and cherish it. Time moves by quicker than we realize, and each day is an end in itself. Don’t miss it! 
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  • Train For It

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    I’ve been a runner my whole life, and I think part of the motivation comes from a man I never met. 
     
    When I was a kid, I would look out the window by my bed as I struggled to get up for school. From that position I could see the road that passed by my house. I remember one morning seeing a man walking by. The next morning there he was again. And the next. And the next. It went on for days. You might wonder why I noticed him. Well, he was a big guy! Definitely over six feet tall and overweight, not the kind of person you would typically see walking by, especially that early in the morning. But there he was, walking. 
     
    I didn’t think much about him at first, but day after day, week after week, year after year, he passed by my house. He was committed! I was only a kid, but I found myself rooting for him. After a few months he was walking faster, and I silently cheered him on from my room. There was something inspiring watching this guy follow through with his commitment. Eventually, after a few years, he started jogging a little, slowly at first and only sporadically, and then, as his steps got lighter his pace got more consistent. 
     
    This is how it goes. The things we do every day eventually become habits. We have the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual ability to adapt and grow to fit the decisions we make for ourselves and our ever-changing lives. It takes a while when you change schools, for example, to build new routines, establish new relationships, understand the cultural dynamics and eventually fit in. The same is true later in life. You move cities, get a new job, get married, have kids, and each time have to rediscover how these changes require a lot of growth and adaptation. But you make it work, because you often don’t have a choice. But does it have to be this way?  
     
    Much of life seems to just happen to us and we find ourselves running uphill into a headwind. We’re out of shape and unprepared and often angry about it! “Why does it have to be so hard?” we think. I’m sure it was like this for this guy walking by my house. He didn’t get into whatever situation he was in all at once; he made little decisions every day that resulted in a life he was not happy with. Because the things we do every day eventually become habits. 
     
    My sister texted me last July and mentioned she was running the Miami Marathon on January 28. I couldn’t resist the challenge. In August last year I began training. For my first run, I barely made it three miles at a pace I was happy with. It had been a while since I’d had a regular workout routine, and I was out of shape. For a few weeks I just had to grind it out using a motto “5K every day!” for motivation. It wasn’t awesome. 
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    Fear can be good for us! Most of us don't like being afraid, but fear keeps us safe and from doing harmful things. It gives us a healthy respect for the things that are bigger, stronger, and mightier than we are.
    Fear is spoken about over 500 times throughout the Bible. And mostly it says “FEAR NOT” or “DO NOT BE AFRAID”! 


    Joshua 1:9 tells us: "Here is what I am commanding you to do. Be strong and brave. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope. I am the Lord your God. I will be with you everywhere you go.” 

    Bible verses about fear and bravery such as this one remind us that it is essential to turn to the Lord with any and all issues. Fear is good because it helps us to rely on God – one of the most important things you can learn in your life – to know that God is always with you. 

    Another reason fear is good for us is that it gives us the opportunity or chance to be brave. This week we learned about the Old Testament story of Queen Esther. She was put in a situation where she felt very scared but was very brave. God used Esther’s beauty, her intelligence, and perhaps even her respectful attitude toward her husband, as well as her remarkable, fearless faith to accomplish God's will. Esther prepared in every way she could and then chose to have faith in God, trusting that even if she was unsuccessful, she was doing the right thing.  

    She is a faithful and fearless example for us! 

    We recognized students who have shown this biblical trait of bravery by doing something hard, standing up for what is right even when it is difficult, or have been experiencing a challenging situation with courage. We can all strive to have a fearless faith! Let's encourage one another in doing so!
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  • Take a Knee

    by John Bishop
    Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    Mario Cristobal found himself in a firestorm of media attention last fall after neglecting to tell his team to take a knee in a game against Georgia Tech. UM ended up losing the game and consequently their undefeated streak. No one was happy about this decision! We want to win! 
     
    We were winning the game. There were only 26 seconds left on the clock! The headline on USA TODAY Sports read, “Cristobal Coaching Blunder, Bad Call, Doom Miami against Georgia Tech.” 
     
    At the risk of being a little unpopular, I’m going to come to Cristobal’s defense a little. First of all, you don’t get to that level of success by making consistently bad calls; the whole system makes sure we never know the names of people who do that. Secondly, you can’t win in that role, not really. If you have a killer season, you’re a hero and everyone loves you. If you make a bad call, you’re being blasted on the cover of USA TODAY Sports. That’s a lot of pressure! 
     
    So, what do we really want from our leaders? We want to win, right? But apparently not enough to run another play with 26 seconds left on the clock. 
     
    This is not a new issue. In Exodus chapter 5, Moses goes before Pharaoh and tells him to let the Israelites go. That makes him mad, and his response is to treat them with contempt by taking away their supplies and demanding the same production. When the crowds hear about the call Moses made, they’re not happy and they say in verse 21, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” i.e., there were only 26 seconds left on the clock!! Why would you even give them a shot at it? 
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  • Batting 1,000

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    When we say, “he’s batting 1,000” we never mean it literally. It’s an expression! No one bats 1,000. In fact, the all-time greatest batting average in MLB history was held by Ty Cobb at .366. There have been over 20,500 players in the MLB since 1876 and not one of them has even gotten to 500. In other words, the expression, “he’s batting 1,000” literally means, he’s achieving the impossible. 
     
    Here’s the important lesson to take from this week’s message – if you like winning, you’ll need to make friends with failure! When the GOAT misses nearly 7 out of 10 at-bats, we shouldn’t be surprised when we swing and miss. 
     
    On the other hand, here’s a casual observation, YOU WILL NEVER HIT A BALL YOU DON’T SWING AT! The batting average is for every person who chooses not to expose themselves to the possibility of a strikeout is ALWAYS, exactly 0! 
     
    We can’t afford to fear failure! 
     
    In Psalm 86:11 we have been talking all year about being wholehearted, giving it your all. But what about when you do give it your all and fall flat on your face? What if you finally quit drinking or smoking and make it a few weeks only to relapse and strike out again? 
     
    Winning isn’t only about the dub, it’s also about how you handle the losses. 
     
    Proverbs 24:16 says, “The righteous may fall seven times but still get up, but the wicked will stumble into trouble.” Will you still get up? Will you allow God to meet you in your lowest moments and rely on his faithfulness even when you know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that he could NEVER rely on yours? 
     
    Paul makes an interesting analogy in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 when he says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 
     
    Here’s a thought to chew on: the light of God’s glory dwells inside us. When we receive Jesus for our salvation, the Spirit of God enters our soul and begins guiding us, shaping us, changing us, and shining through us. But if we were a well-formed clay pot how would God’s glory shine forth? Consider this, the cracks are how the glory of God gets out. It is in our weakness He is made strong. It is our foolishness that reveals God’s wisdom. It is in our getting back up and continuing to walk with God that we demonstrate a faith that shines like a light. Everyone will stumble and fall, everyone will strike out, but the one who endures to the end will be saved! (Matthew 24:13). 
     
    Keep swinging! 
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  • Wandering Through WorldWonder: Chapters 8 & 9

    The Right Thing in the Wrong Way 
    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    Read: Chapter 8 and Chapter 9

    I’m sure we can all easily come up with examples of someone trying to do the right thing but doing it in completely the wrong way. Perhaps we’d also admit we’re guilty of it sometimes. 

    I think of the difference between the polite Miami tap on the horn to let someone know the light has turned verses laying on the horn while tailgating the person halfway to the next light. Or, maybe, leveraging Chat GPT to seed some ideas for an essay that you then write vs. simply cutting and pasting the essay that Chat GPT spits out for you. 

    These, of course, are relatively lighthearted scenarios, but it can get dicey pretty quickly. Emerson Egrich, for example, wrote a book about marriage titled, Love and Respect. In it he says, “while in an argument in your marriage you can be right at the top of your lungs and still be wrong.” His point is that if you win the argument, but in your anger, damage the relationship you haven’t really won anything. In other words, in marriage, essay writing, traffic, and life in general, there’s not just a right thing to do, there’s a right way to do it. 

    Chapters 8 and 9 in Wander Through WorldWonder: Mac & Mica’s Adventure help us think about this tension. These chapters are suggesting that Mac, Mica, and King are doing the right thing (trying to defend Tommy) but perhaps they’re going about it the wrong way. 

    In his sermon on the mount, Jesus provides an extreme example for us on how to handle these kinds of tensions. He suggests, “the next time someone smacks you in the face, turn your other cheek and let him smack the other one too.” (paraphrased Matthew 5:39) 

    Can you imagine…in Miami! 

    We think, “What is Jesus getting at? Why in the world would He EVER suggest we allow someone who has just hit us in the face to hit us again? What possible wisdom could be hidden in this bizarre suggestion?” Then you imagine what you would feel in this scenario. Anger! Resentment! Bitterness! Self-righteous indignation! And it becomes clear that our natural response to the other’s sin is to sin back.  

    We want justice (the right thing) but in sin we take it for ourselves (the wrong way)! This is not the way of Jesus who had just said, “Anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgement” (Matthew 5:22). Paul goes on to warn us in Ephesians four to “be careful that in your anger you do not sin.” 

    Mac, Mica, King, and Tommy are justified in fighting for justice. But by taking matters into their own hands, they are doing the right thing in the wrong way. Tommy is the one who figures this out at the end of the chapter. After they’ve failed and made a bigger mess, Tommy understands the truth. And both the problem and tensions are resolved. 

    “Teach me YOUR way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.”    
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  • Dubs

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    I think most of us want to win! At everything. All the time. 
     
    Isn’t that why we cut each other off in traffic, and scan the grocery store aisles for the shortest line? Isn’t that why we pay attention to the latest fashion trends and keep up with all the details of our friends’ lives? Isn’t that why we apply for the best college we think we can get into maximizing the impressiveness of the name, while not overshooting and facing rejection? 
     
    Being part of a team that is enduring a losing season is brutal! If we don’t start winning quick, the coaching staff starts packing up their offices. 
     
    We want dubs! And if we don’t have dubs, we want answers! 
     
    At Westminster Christian School we’re winning at a lot of levels! I walked into the gym and took a quick video of all the national, state, regional, and district championships hanging on the walls. If you haven’t looked recently, it’s a lot. We have national and state championships in baseball for 13 years and counting; state championships in softball – six years; boys track – two years; volleyball – two years; beach volleyball – one year. And we have district and regional championships in football, boys’ & girls’ basketball, baseball, softball, boys’ & girls’ track and field, boys’ & girls’ soccer, wrestling, volleyball, cross country, tennis, and boys’ lacrosse. This doesn’t account for the tremendous performance of individual students and teams that won critical games along the way. In athletics, we’re winning! 
     
    On the website under “Recent College Acceptances” there’s a list of over 140 different schools to which our students have been accepted. Prestigious academic institutions like Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T., Brown, Berkley, Dartmouth, and many others. Our students have also been accepted at universities that are nationally known for their athletics, design, music, arts, research, engineering, law, medicine and a host of other things. Last year our school placed 100% of its graduates in schools to further their education. Beyond that we offer 27 different AP courses across all core subjects and the arts. In academics, we’re winning! 
     
    There’s a bumper sticker that many of us have on our car that simply says, “The Dub” with a sword running through it. Obviously, this stands for “Westminster” and directly, but more subtly boasts of how we feel about our school, #WINNING! 
     
    There is another area we’re winning, but it’s a little harder to measure, and so a little less obviously a part of what we love so much about our school. We hear about it on admission open house days when people from around town show up and comment, “Wow! Everyone is so nice!” I saw it last year when one of our athletic teams went out of their way to make some kids feel special in a restaurant. The father was so moved by how kind our students were to his kids that he went out of his way to tell us about it in an email. I don’t remember which team it was or whether we won the game, but we certainly won the game being played in that restaurant with those kids! We get to see it when our community faces tragedy. In those terrible moments we rally together and love each other and grieve well. And, finally, we get to see it at Warrior Week and Gr8 Escape, and increasingly every Tuesday as we open our hearts to God worshipping together in chapels. We’re winning! 
     
    “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” - 1 Corinthians 15:55-57 
     
    I’m proud of our dubs! 
     
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  • Overflow

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    I got caught up the other day on YouTube watching a man build a mini hydroelectric power plant in a ditch. I know, embarrassing. I’m such a nerd but so are 25 million other people! Here’s the link if you want to watch it 😊. 
     
    It’s about overflow! The water that backs up behind a dam is loaded with potential, but there’s not much you can do with the potential that is trapped behind the wall of the dam. Potential has to be released in order to be realized. But if you’re not careful in how it is released it can be very dangerous. So, engineers figured out how to harness a strategic, measured amount of that potential in ways that can produce sustainable power. One way they do it is by creating a low spot in the wall and harnessing the overflow. 
     
    God has designed us (humanity) with tremendous potential. The human spirit is profoundly powerful! We marvel at stories of people who thrive in prison camps, sacrifice themselves to save someone else, accomplish unbelievable physical feats, or harness nature to build and create fascinatingly complex tools that bend reality and hold suffering at bay. Our potential, individually and collectively, is seemingly unlimited but the issue is that potential is available to those who would use it for good and evil. That means it can also cause tremendous destruction, pain, and suffering.  
     
    While I’m writing this, the videos of war in Israel are flooding to people’s phones revealing the real-time devastation of human potential busting through the walls in rage, resentment, and hatred. How do we hold back the flood of human depravity and use our potential for good? 
     
    Luke 6:45 gives us a clue, “The good man brings things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” 
     
    There are streams of influence flowing into our souls behind the wall. And what backs up behind the dam of our soul eventually breaks through. Have you evaluated the streams filling up your life lately? 
     
    When Jesus walked with the disciples he put them in all kinds of crazy situations as they watched him turn water to wine, multiply fish and loaves, heal blind people, lame people, sick people, then walk across the water, speak to the wind, rebuke powerful men, cast out demons, pray, weep, laugh, die, walk through walls, transform into an angel of light, ascend into heaven, and all this in three years of public ministry. For three years, he filled these disciples with torrents of evidence and examples of God’s power at work with us. By the time He left them to continue the ministry without them they were bursting with potential. 
     
    Then in Acts 2, the dam broke and the overflow of the Spirit of God through those men and millions since has not stopped flowing like a stream into the lives of countless others through the generations. And that was His plan all along. He said in John 14:12, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the father.” 
     
    How do we hold back the flood of human depravity and use our potential for good? We tend to the streams that fill our lives. We allow Jesus to fill us with the Spirit of God and let the overflow of His love do the rest.  
     
    Jesus promises that he will give us living water (John 4), that when we give our lives to Him, we will never thirst again. What we may need to be reminded of is that the abundance of his living water will never stop flowing. 
     
    So let it flow! We are blessed to be a blessing. So, let’s get busy doing the greater things He said we would.
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    Thank you for supporting our third quarter Noisy Offering. We were able to send $6,951.50 with our high school student missionaries to support One More Child, a ministry in Costa Rica. Please continue to pray for the families and that our student missionaries made an eternal impact on their lives.

    Enjoy this video!

    Our last Noisy Offering of this school year will be going to support the ministry of Youth for Christ KIX summer programs in Homestead. Be on the lookout soon for how students can support this ministry!
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  • PS/ES: What We Learned During Spiritual Emphasis Week

    This week, the preschool and elementary enjoyed Spiritual Emphasis Week. 
     
    Upstairs, students in grades 3-5 gathered to enjoy a wonderful time of worship and engaged with a creative presentation of the Gospel. Each day, they heard a new installment of an allegory written and presented by Mr. Bishop. In it, they uncovered and discussed the cost of our sin and the incredible blessing of freedom in Christ. 
     
    Downstairs in HUB1, students in preschool through second grade worshipped and read God’s Word together. They went on a "Journey to Jerusalem" to the very first Easter to learn about Jesus' last week on earth. What an emotional journey it has been as students learned about Palm Sunday, Maudy Thursday, Jesus' Crucifixion, and celebrated his Resurrection! Your children listened intently, asked thought-provoking Bible questions, and worshiped with whole hearts.
     
    As your child/ren wrestle with the spiritual concepts brought up by this week, we encourage you to keep this life-changing conversation going as you celebrate Easter with your family and your church. Enjoy a safe and joyful Spring Break!
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  • Fulfilled

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    In Genesis 3:22 it says, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever. Therefore, the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” At first glance, this is a strange result. 
     
    Adam and Eve are at their lowest and God banishes them from paradise in a final act of what?! What is God doing here? 
     
    For the longest time I didn’t understand this outcome. I didn’t think much about it either; It just kind of felt like the end of a story, “…and they lived miserably ever after…” or something like that. It was later in my walk with the Lord that I realized what a profound act of mercy this banishment actually was.   
     
    The consequence of eating the fruit was knowing good AND evil, whereas before the fruit we only knew good. If God allowed us to then reach out and take eternal life, we would exist for eternity knowing evil – that is not what He wanted for us. Death is introduced so that our suffering from evil (sin) could be limited to our lives on earth. And after that act, a drama unfolds through all human history depicting all of the ways that God has attempted to reach us and bring us back into a right relationship with him. 
     
    • Noah builds an ark to rescue his family from the flood. 
    • Abraham is promised a home in Canaan for his family who will outnumber the stars in heaven. 
    • Joseph is sent to Egypt to protect his people from a famine. 
    • Moses is empowered to rescue his people from slavery in Egypt and is then given the law to bind them as a people under God. 
    • Esther is hand-picked in a special moment in history to ensure that the people of God endure. 
    • David is sent as a king to unite and rule over the people and defend them against their enemies. 
    • Judges and prophets are sent to guide the people according to the will of God. 
     
    And despite all of that we failed! 
     
    No matter what God did to lead us, rescue us, guide us, protect us, we all like sheep, went astray, each to his own way and turned our backs on God. All, that is, until Jesus, the lamb of God, went willingly to death, even death on a cross to fulfill the plan of God from the beginning, to reopen paradise and invite us into eternity with Him. 
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    Thank you for supporting our thirrd quarter Noisy Offering! Our preschool and elementary students have raised over $5,000 for food baskets for families in need in Costa Rica through the ministry, One More Child. Several Westminster high school students are going on a mission trip to Costa Rica over Spring Break to support this ministry. Our students raised an additional $1,500 with donations from our Share the Love Spirit Week to supply children in Costa Rica with books and supplies they need.  In just a few weeks, our students raised over $6,500 in support of this ministry. Praise God! We are so proud of their mission-mindedness and willingness to love and support others in need. Thank you for encouraging your child to pray and participate. Please pray for the offering to bless the families and for the safety and experience of our high school missionary students!
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  • The Thorns

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    Next week we will be celebrating the story of Easter - the central story of all human history. In the article next week, we will focus on how Jesus is the fulfillment of a story God has been telling from the beginning of time. As a setup to this climactic story, we have been outlining different symbols and images used in Scripture. We’ve already discussed the tree and the garden. Today we’ll look at the thorns. 
     
    Without the saving work of Jesus, sin rules our lives. And there are consequences to sin that cannot be avoided or erased. The Bible describes these consequences by using the imagery of the thorns. In Genesis 3:17-19 we read, “God said to Adam, Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’” “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” 
     
    How many times have you poured your heart into something only to see some of your effort wasted? You practiced all summer but didn’t make the team. You spent six months saving, but by the time you had enough, it was out of style. You invested time and effort into the relationship only to be betrayed. Thorns! 
     
    We are so accustomed to the effect of sin that we even anticipate failure in our planning process. Airlines over-sell their seats because people don’t show (and maybe because of greed, too). If you’re smart, you have a contingency plan anytime you’re counting on someone following through. When you’re saving for retirement, you must account for inflation. You must carry insurance on everything. Thorns!! 
     
    This is not the way God intended it. He put us in paradise without need or lack. It was sin that introduced brokenness and wasted effort. It’s not work that we hate; it’s wasted effort. Work isn’t even the curse, it’s the thorns. 
     
     
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  • The Garden

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    Last week we discussed our hearts (our will, motivations, thoughts, and decision-making center). We do the things we don’t want to do and don’t do the things we should do. The Bible calls this sin, and we all must deal with its effects in our lives. Instead of being Wholehearted, we are Hole-hearted. Then we looked at the problem and the solution using the image of “the tree.” This week we want to look at our hole-heartedness through a different lens, that of “the garden.” 
     
    There are certain places we find ourselves (or put ourselves) that make doing the right thing much more difficult. There are also certain places where the possibility of something bad happening is much more likely, like South Beach after dark, for example. But we need to be careful giving too much credit to the place (context/circumstances) for how it affects our life. 
     
    For example, we all know people who’ve come through bad places but made something very good of those experiences. We have also known people who have been given every advantage and have, nevertheless, ended up in a rough spot. How our heart chooses to direct us, regardless of where we are, is the central issue in navigating our lives. 
     
    Consider the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:1-5 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”” 
     
    There could not have been a better place to be. It was literally paradise. Everything was provided in abundance, even meaningful work. There was no brokenness, sin, shame, addiction, natural disasters, just God’s perfect creation. And in that context, Adam and Eve were hole-hearted. Even though they lacked nothing, they felt something was missing. The hole in their heart caused them to exert their will and take what was not theirs, even in a place where they had no need. This one act introduced sin to all of humanity. 
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  • Wandering Through WorldWonder: Chapter 7

    Discovering Others’ Stories 

    Read Chapter 7

    King, the goat, is different from Mac and Mica. They all discover this in Chapter 7 and have a good laugh about it. That’s not usually the way it goes, though. For many of us, meeting someone new can be intimidating, especially if they’re different. This tension plays itself out all the time in school as kids work through the process of developing friendships and affinity groups.  

    We can’t navigate through life successfully only spending time with people we feel comfortable around. We must learn how to connect with a wider range of people. 

    Mac’s tactless approach (asking about King’s big belly) is not the ideal method for identifying others’ differences, but at least he wasn’t judgmental or critical. Kids are funny like that. They haven’t mastered the subtle socially acceptable behaviors so they just say what they’re thinking. 

    Even though we can’t follow the same strategy, we can still learn from this kind of honesty and authenticity. Kids are explorers by design. They are curious about the world around them, including the people in it, and they wonder about things that are different. This child-like faith-filled approach to others, this willingness to look past the things that make us different, is a necessary foundation of making disciples for Christ. 

    As Christians we have been commanded by God to seek and to save the lost, to go into all the world making disciples, and to spread the message of the good news of Jesus. We cannot fulfill this command AND only spend time with people we already know and feel comfortable with.  

    After all, when you take away all the complexity of our day-to-day lives most people, no matter how different they may appear, are looking for the same things: something to eat, people to know and love, and a safe place to sleep. Providing this for the people we already know and love is our duty; being willing to extend this to strangers is our divine privilege as Christians. 

    This week in chapel I illustrated how our differences are often our advantage and when we recognize and honor each other’s strengths we make better teams.

    One meaningful way you might support this teaching at home is to share your story with your child(ren). Tell them, for example, what your parents had to sacrifice to get to the United States, or how you always loved baseball as a kid. Talk about the things you struggle with and things you love. Perhaps they know the stories already, but, trust me, they want to hear them again. We all have unique histories, heritages, and experiences and as you share your story with your child(ren), their uniqueness begins to shine as well. 
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  • The Tree

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    There seems to be something wrong with our hearts (that is, our will, motivations, thoughts, and decision-making centers). This shows up in our life all the time. For example, we struggle to follow through, even when it’s something we want to do. Then when we give it our best effort, we often fall short. We love things we shouldn’t and resist things that are good. We get angry, tired, distracted, bored and then instead of taking ownership and doing better, we blame, get bitter and resentful and multiply hurt to ourselves and others. The Bible calls this sin, and we all must deal with its effects! 
     
    Instead of being wholehearted we are hole-hearted. 
     
    The Bible gives us a helpful image to understand both the problem and the solution to our hole-heartedness: “the tree.” 
     
    Consider how the image of a tree works its way through Scripture. There are no wasted words in the Bible. 
     
    There was a tree planted in the garden of Eden. In Genesis 2:17 it says, “But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” The obvious question you might want to ask is, “Why did God put it there?” It’s a good question! But be careful, asking it can quickly become a way to blame God for our behavior. Here’s another question to ask, after God made the consequences so clear, why did Adam and Eve do exactly what He told them not to? Why do we? 
     
    There are many times in our lives that we know full well the consequences of the decisions we’re about to make. We’ve made the same decision before and suffered the same way every time. Yet, when faced with the decision again, we ignore the consequences and do it anyway. Then we get mad at God and others for putting the “tree” there. 
     
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update: Love Like Jesus

    We have been learning about different character traits that are important to God – traits that the Bible tells us should also be important to us. So far, we know that God wants us to be obedient. God wants us to be mission-minded. This week we learned another biblical character trait--loving! God so loved the world that he sent his son, Jesus, to die for each one of us so that we could have eternal life.

    He loves all of us. He loves us before we believe in Him. He loves us even if we don’t believe in Him. While Jesus was here on earth, he taught us how to love God and love others. We are all called to love God, and we show that love by loving others. How well do you do that? We all do it in different ways, but this week let’s be intentional with loving others and a good example to our children. Join us in showing God’s love by loving like Jesus! 
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  • The One

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    The formula for building a satisfying and life-long marriage does not primarily hinge on picking the right person. 
     
    If that sentence causes you to bristle a little, I get it. It directly contradicts a popular idea about relationships that suggests there is someone out there who perfectly “fits” you, and all you need to do is find them and you will know, “They’re the one.” We all long for a, ‘happily ever after,’ and it would be awesome if it could simply be found. This romantic idea makes for a touching movie plot, and maybe a sentimental anniversary card, but it is not biblical; it is not even realistic. 
     
    Here are some statistics about marriages in the U.S.: 41% of first marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. For second marriages it’s 60%, and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. And yet, no one shows up at the altar to get married because they’re hoping to suffer a lot of pain! What’s going on here? Most of us have been deeply affected by broken marriages. It is painful, disruptive, and costly on every level. 
     
    Here’s the sobering reality: you cannot enter the most important human relationship you will ever have with a short-term, shallow, romantic, fleeting, ideological sentiment. And you cannot experiment with sex and sexuality, the glue that is intended to hold this most central relationship together, without consequences. It’s going to take everything you and your future spouse have to make it work, and it will still be hard. The Bible does not pull any punches on describing the level of commitment required in marriage. 
     
    Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” 
     
    You cannot get anymore committed than, “one flesh.” 
     
    Jesus was asked about marriage and divorce, in Matthew 19:2-9, here’s what He said,  
     
    “Some Pharisees came to test Him. “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” they inquired. “What did Moses command you?” He replied. They answered, “Moses permitted a man to write his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away.” 
     
    But Jesus told them, “Moses wrote this commandment for you because of your hardness of heart. However, from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” 
     
    So, what can we take from Jesus’ teaching about the answer to our issues in marriage and intimacy, i.e., what is the thing that a satisfying, life-long marriage primarily hinges on? Well, it is NOT some squishy idea about finding the one. All human relationships and interactions have the potential to be enriching, fulfilling, enlightening, fun, challenging, satisfying etc. The thing that moves any relationship in this direction is commitment! This is most essentially true in marriage where we take it all the way to the level of a spiritual covenant with vows and everything. 
     
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  • Soulmates

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    Have you ever met someone and after a brief interaction felt like you’d known them for years? Maybe they love the same sports or have read the same books. Maybe you found out some little things you have in common like playing dungeons and dragons or playing pranks on others. Maybe you share a birthday, or your families come from the same country or hometown or neighborhood. When you meet someone like this, there is an instant connection, like you’ve found a long-lost sibling. You might call a person like this your soulmate. 
     
    There is something profound and powerful about being with someone you can relate to and connect with at this level. Being known and understood is a deep, deep desire of our heart and a person like this often leaves us feeling known and loved. Do you have a soulmate? 
     
    I think there is a romanticized idea floating around saying there is a soulmate out there for all of us. But is that a realistic idea? We’ve all stood in grocery store checkout lines to see the tabloid covers advertising the latest breakups and dramas playing out between famous people who just a year ago had been labeled as soulmates. 
     
    What’s going on here? Who’s lying to us and what’s their aim? For the tabloid editors the motive seems clear, to sell magazines and make money. Maybe it’s easy to dismiss their use of soulmate to make a buck. But what do we do about our own genuine experience of betrayal, our wounds, and the times we’ve been abandoned by those we at one time thought of as soulmates? 
     
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  • Wandering Through WorldWonder: Chapter 6

    What’s in the Box

    Read Chapter 6
     
    In Chapter 6 Mica begins to feel comfortable in her newly discovered independence. She meets a new friend and is willing to go exploring with him a little. She also discovers a doorway that leads into the unknown. These are representative of the important milestones we look for in our own kids’ development. 

    If your child is the kind of kid who would hide behind your leg and cling to you with desperate fear whenever someone said hello, then perhaps you can appreciate at a deeper level the victory being illustrated in Mica’s progress.  

    It is not our job as parents to turn our kids into our expectation for them, but instead through prayer and a personal devotion to God we hope to understand who He has made them to be and steward their experiences the best we can to lead them toward His expectations for them. I hope this chapter serves you as a parent as you lead your child(ren) toward independence, adventure, and reliance on God. 

    We all need to have the courage to step into the unknown, and just like Mica, we are often blocked from pursuing growth and progress by some steps we need to learn how to climb. As a fun way of illustrating this principle, consider recreating the game we played in chapel this week with your kids, WHAT’S IN THE BOX? 

    Here’s what the kids experienced in Chapel this week: a few kids were invited to play a game called, “What’s in the Box?” There were three boxes covered with clothes with holes in them. Without peaking they had to reach their hand into the box and feel what was in the bowl.  

    If they did not guess correctly, they were awarded a prize for their courage. If they were able to guess what was in the box, they were given a reward for their courage, and a second reward for their accurate guess.  

    It was a simple illustration used to demonstrate the need for courage. Like Mica, our kids need to trust God. This idea is found in our verse for the year, Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.” Written into this verse is the need for faith in God. Faith, as defined in Hebrews 11, is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we cannot see. We cannot have faith without being willing to reach out and trust him. 

    It’s difficult to let go of the comfort of what’s known and reach out into the unknown, but the growth we need and the growth we need for our kids will be found in faith. 
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    Are you raising a mission-minded child? Someone who has a heart and mind for spreading God’s love to others through their words and actions? This week in chapel we learned about Paul and how he had a huge change of heart and became dedicated to being a missionary for Jesus.  

    We had some high school students share with us about their upcoming mission trip to Costa Rica. They will be working with the ministry One More Child. This is the ministry we are supporting through our Noisy Offering this quarter. We are supporting their food basket program which costs $35 a week per family. So far we have raised $2,765 – enough for 79 food baskets!  

    Please pray for our high school students as they prepare for this mission trip over Spring Break and while they are there. And pray for all of our children, that they would have a heart for serving God. Thank you for your support for this ministry and for inspiring your child to be mission-minded!
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  • Besties

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    What makes someone your bestie? Common interests? Similar outlooks on life? Your families have been friends your whole lives? Trust? Or maybe it’s something less innocent like peer pressure, proximity, or guilt. There are a lot of complicated reasons why we choose to spend time with people; why we might throw around a term like Bestie. 
     
    Relationships are central to most everything we do and think about. From the moment we’re born and look up to our parents, and every day after, our lives are filled with relationships. We are bound to each other, for better or worse. Because of this it is important to formulate our beliefs about relationships. So how do we think about what we want from others and what do we think about our responsibility to others? And where do we turn to formulate these beliefs? 
     
    I think most of us would say that what we want from our bestie is to be acknowledged. To be seen, known, understood, loved, accepted, treated justly and kindly etc. But, often, even with our best friends, this is not always the case. You get (or at least feel) rejected. You must navigate complicated situations where being associated with one person gets you in trouble with another. Loyalties shift, interests wane, tensions arise, people change. This catches us off guard because it’s not what’s presented on social media feeds, movies, and music. Even though the closing scene of Grease shows Sandy and Danny riding into the sunset like everything is going to work out, we all know that the drama will continue tomorrow. It always does. 
     
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    Do you like to listen and obey?  It is easier for some of us than others!  In chapel we will be learning biblical character traits (through stories and people in the Bible) that God wants to develop in each of us. This week we learned about OBEDIENCE through the story of Noah. Noah gave his whole heart to God and did everything just as God commanded him. . . even when no one else did. Ask your child if it is easy for him/her to obey.  How can you help them develop this important biblical trait?

    Read this article to learn more about teaching your children to WANT to obey.
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  • The Best Cardio

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    I think if you ask 10 people what the best cardio exercise is you will get 10 different answers, and you might get a lot more information than you bargained for. In fact, I typed, “The best cardio” into Google to see what might come up and there was an endless list of options. Of course, that’s because there are endless ways to get your body moving and your heart pumping. It also depends on your goals. If you want to lose weight, that’s very different from if you’re trying to build muscle while decreasing your BMI. 
     
    There is, after all, a wide gap between HIIT and dance classes, but both activities will get your heart pumping, both are great cardio options. You can swim, run, do burpees, row, jump rope, get a membership in a climbing gym, walk around your block briskly, or go to bootcamp to join the Marines. Every one of these activities will get your heart pumping and will benefit you physically.  
     
    But with all our focus on health, fitness, and physique, have we forgotten that our hearts are more than a muscle? 
     
    Have you ever been startled by something and discovered that your heart was racing? Have you ever held your breath and found after a little while that your heart was pounding in your ears? Have you ever had a near miss in traffic and experienced that flood of adrenaline and struggled to “calm your nerves.” 
     
    Your physical heart is connected to your emotions, thoughts, relationships, successes and failures, fears, and hormones. Your heart beats like you’d just done ten burpees even while you’re sitting on a roller coaster or laid back in a soft chair in a movie theater. 
     
    Considering all of this, I think we need to aim a little deeper when considering the question, “What’s the best cardio?” If you strengthen the muscle of your heart so you can run a marathon, but you never deal with the strife at home, you won’t have peace. Maybe you can sprint to the top of the stadium steps ten times in a row without slacking your pace, but how does your heart do when it’s rejected by your best friend? Perhaps you’ve had success trimming the inches on your waistline, but do you trust God with your finances, safety, and future? 
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  • Heart Rate Monitor

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation 
     
    I got frustrated the other day after realizing that I’d forgotten to turn on Strava before the three-mile walk I’d just finished. I said out loud in frustration, “I don’t get credit if it’s not tracked!” The people I was with laughed at me, rightfully so. 
     
    On the other hand, I find that tracking metrics like distance, speed, or reps is an essential part of building and maintaining an effective fitness plan. And when I look back on my week, it helps me to stay more consistent if I’ve tracked what I’ve done. For me, I don’t know if I’m pushing myself to an appropriate stress level if I don’t know how far, how fast, or how many I did last time. 
     
    A few years ago, I was training for a big race and picked up a book I thought might be helpful called The Triathletes Training Bible, By Joe Friel. You’ll need to read the book to get accurate technical details, but here’s one of the things I took away from it: to build endurance you need to maintain peak exertion over a set distance largely independent of time. And central to all his biometrics is an accurate heart rate. 
     
    If you walk three miles and your heart rate never picks up, then you can say you had a nice stroll. You can celebrate that you were active, and perhaps the casual walk is significantly better than sitting in a desk chair with respect to overall health choices, so it is an unequivocal success! On the other hand, if you walk three miles today and your heart rate skyrockets – your Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, Vital or whatever reads 125 bpm, that is an entirely different story! You are working hard, and your body is telling you through your heart rate that it is responding to accommodate the effort.  
     
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  • PS/ES Chapel Update

    The Bible tells us to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul; and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We learned this week that we can do that by being generous - with our money, time, talents, hugs, smiles, kindness, and prayers. The PS and ES students have been incredibly generous in supporting our Second Quarter Noisy Offering.  We raised $4,658.50 for PET carts and are changing the lives of those without mobility! 

    Our Third Quarter Noisy Offering will be supporting One More Child, a ministry in Costa Rica. Mr. Lopez will be leading a group of high school students on mission trip to support this ministry over Spring Break. For $35, we can provide a food basket to feed a family in need. Let's see how many families we can feed! Our fourth graders are already off to an amazing start by collecting $215 in the first two days - enough to feed six families!

    Learn more HERE.
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  • Change of Heart

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
     
    One of the great challenges we face in achieving our goals is inconsistency. Here’s the pattern: you lay out a good goal. “I’m going to work out!” “I’m going to do better in math.” “I’m going to spend less time on social media.” 
     
    Then you start with great momentum. Somewhere along the way, however, you miss a workout. Maybe you got injured and had to take a break, maybe you stayed out too late and couldn’t get up, or maybe something more enticing distracted you. Whatever the reason, now your perfect streak is an inconsistent one, the beginning of the end - it’s so much easier to stop altogether once you’ve practiced stopping once. 
     
    You start by getting all your homework done for math and a couple weeks later you’ve reverted to your old habits.  
     
    You deleted Snapchat and Instagram, but then a friend told you a story and you just had to see, so you reinstalled them…the beginning of the end! 
     
    This is true in our spiritual pursuits as well. You might come back from a beautiful Christmas service with a strong desire to be closer to God. You start praying every day and commit to being in church more. You make it a week, two weeks, a month, but inevitably something happens. 
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< 2024
Westminster Christian School, located in Palmetto Bay, Florida, is a private, college-preparatory school for children from preschool through twelfth grade.