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.


  • Epilogue

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    And now we’ve come to the end of the school year. This year, we have looked at Proverbs 30:5 from many angles. 

    “Every word of God is Flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” 

    We’ve talked about the centrality of the Bible in our pursuit of knowing God and his will for our lives. We double-clicked on God Himself and looked at a few of His attributes, things like jealousy, love, goodness, and power. We’ve discussed how God is not far away, but close; close enough to whisper. We talked through the difference between presenting an image of faith and seeking to be made in the flawless image of Christ.  

    Then we got into the fall and winter where we looked at God as our shield. He both serves as a defense for us against the work of the enemy and a protection to us when we need a place to hide. He is our refuge, He is our rest, He deals with our craziness by becoming an asylum. 

    It's been a good year and as we come to the close, I have one final thought about Proverbs 30:5; an epilogue of sorts. Let me pose the thought in the form of a question: 

    Our verse says, “every word of God is Flawless…” the question is, what is the word of God? We use the phrase ‘word of God’ to describe the Bible and certainly the Bible is the word of God, that is not in question. But the Bible doesn't give us specific instructions on most day-to-day decisions. Does that mean God doesn't care to speak to those things in our lives? I don't think so. 
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  • The Last Word

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
    The Bible is a fascinating book! But what is it exactly? Many of us struggle to rely on it because we don’t quite see how it fits into your crazy lives. Maybe this short article will help. 

    First, the Bible isn’t even a book, it’s 66 different books. It’s also not just one genre but it’s made up of different types of literature: historical narrative, the law, wisdom literature, psalms, prophecy, apocalyptic literature, gospel, acts of the apostles, epistles (letters). There are also different styles of writing: poetry, prose, instruction, parables, maxims, and more. 

    As the Bible has been handed down through the years to successive generations of people it has been translated into most languages, been evaluated, analyzed, critiqued, protected by some peoples, and ruthlessly removed by others. It has been quoted to provide some of the most valuable and important progressive movements of humanity and it has been used as a weapon in the hands of people who have caused great harm. Different traditions have slightly different arrangements of the Scriptures, but the essence of what it has to say has been essentially the same. Don’t move too quickly past this reality – through it all, the Bible has remained essentially the same.
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  • All-Inclusive Resort

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation
    Heather and I have taken a lot of different trips together. We were married for eight years before we had kids and we used to love to travel around and stay in bed-and-breakfasts and visit new places. Since having kids we’ve been restricted to more typical kinds of trips, but as they’ve gotten older, we’ve started to get back out there again. My wife especially loves the process of thinking through and planning trips. She travels around the entire world every three weeks...emotionally! 
    A few years ago, we made a life-altering decision: we stayed at an all-inclusive resort.  
    Can you remember when you couldn’t drive and were tethered to people who could? Do you remember that feeling of sheer exhilaration when you finally got a license and car and were able to go wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted? Well, I had that kind of revelatory experience after staying at an all-inclusive resort -  93.6% of the stress of vacationing was eliminated! Within 30 minutes of being at the resort and asking three different people if something was covered by the wristband, I'd been given I'd discovered the true meaning of “all-inclusive!” 
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  • Retreat

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    God is not a taskmaster; He is a place of rest for a weary soul. 
    There’s a story in Scripture in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 25, verses 14 through 30 about three servants who invested bags of gold on behalf of a master who left them in charge of some of his wealth. The first servant was given five bags of gold and returned ten to the master. The second was given two bags and returned four to the master. The last servant was given one bag of gold and went and buried it in the ground and upon the master’s return simply gave the bag back. Here was what the servant said:  
    “Master, I knew that you were a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So, I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” 
    The master was not happy. The story did not end well for this servant. 
    There is much that can be said about this parable and much that has been said about it. Go and read it for yourself and see what insights you might glean from this interesting and challenging story. Here is one insight to get you started. 
    A well-known theologian named, A. W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” When Jesus was sharing this parable with His disciples, He was using it to help them understand God and our relationship with Him more clearly. We know that the master in this story is representative of God, and we are the servants.  
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  • Take Courage

    By John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    Luke 23:42-43 

    We often think of courage when we think of brave people doing noble things; like a soldier in battle. Certainly, a soldier must have courage for battle, but the soldier needs courage for much more than the fight. To begin with, he/she also needs courage to sign up for the military, to get up every morning for bootcamp, and to train in the face of weakness, fatigue, and doubt. He/she needs courage when saying goodbye to family and friends during deployment. He/she would need courage to step onto a platform and deliver a speech. Courage is required of this soldier when standing up to tyranny or facing the family of a fellow soldier who died in combat. 
    Courage is an interesting character trait. I think we know it when we see it.  

    In Luke 23, Jesus is being crucified. Jesus had courage. While being falsely accused, he remained silent. Again, while being whipped and beaten, silent. While hanging on the cross, struggling to breathe, however, he finally speaks, and says courageously, “Father forgive them….” 

    Jesus’ courage was so profound even the soldiers who were responsible for overseeing His execution saw it. One of them even said earnestly, “Surely this man was the king of the Jews!”  

    Can we live our lives with the kind of courage demonstrated by Christ? Could we face persecution and death like Jesus? Could we remain silent in the face of false accusations? Could we speak life while suffering? 
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  • Take Cover

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation

    When I was 18, a freshman in college, and heading back to school after Christmas break, I wasn’t a Christian yet. I was riding in my girlfriend’s grandparents’ minivan.

    I was crammed between yard sale knick-knacks, canned vegetables and fruit, a dehumidifier, and my own travel bags, I was uncomfortable and a little claustrophobic. I needed something to pass the time. For the first hour I listened to papa describe all the fantastic qualities of the dehumidifier humming beside me; he did so thoroughly, and with proud enthusiasm.

    Eventually, we all settled into the 12-hour trip and turned to our own strategies for passing the time. Nana and papa discussed boring adult details, Heather fell asleep, and I was left with absolutely nothing else to do, so I pulled out the Bible Heather had given me. I had been casually reading it to impress her, but I really didn’t know what it was about. I’d heard someone say I should read the Gospels, so I turned to the table of contents and then flipped to the page. 
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  • Casting Stones

    By John Bishop

    Check out this Bible story! 

    Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:1-11) 

    This passage is about a woman who was caught in a compromising situation. Hopefully, none of us would ever find ourselves in this kind of scenario. The reality, however, is all of us are guilty of behaviors that, if brought out in public like this, would create tremendous shame for us and others. So, even though this passage is about a specific woman, isn’t it also about all of us? Each of us is guilty, only some of us are caught facing the consequences. The main point of this story seems to be Jesus’ insistence that we are all on equal footing in the face of our sin. 

    I’m not sure we like this very much. 
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  • Don't Bother

    By John Bishop

    “So, let us get this right…” the chief priest might have said to Judas. “You're prepared to betray Jesus to us in exchange for 30 pieces of silver?” “Yes, that’s right.” Judas agreed. 
    “Aren’t you one of His followers?” The Jewish leaders must have wondered. “What has driven you to this point of turning Him over to us?” 
    Amid the angry, halting, complex, and likely confused reasons provided by Judas there would likely have been a reference to the scene that had unfolded a few hours earlier. 
    Jesus and his disciples were gathered in the home of Simon the Leper, as is described in Matthew 26:6-13. During this situation, Mary poured an expensive bottle of perfume (let’s say it was Louis XIII at $4,100 a bottle) on Jesus’ head. All the disciples, the Bible explains, were indignant. Everyone was asking, “Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
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  • In His Right Mind

    by Sebastian De Varona '24

    Lunatic in the Oxford dictionary is defined as “a mentally ill person (not in technical use).” Common social slang, the word is used in a plethora of ways to describe people who are “out there” by modern standards of society. Conveniently, the Oxford dictionary keeps track of the origins of all words and claims the word lunatic is derived from the Latin word, luna, meaning ‘moon.’ This is rooted in the belief that changes of the moon caused intermittent insanity.   
    When broken down, this unveils an entire side of society’s “lunatic” that is very often overlooked. This idea that gazing at the moon for too long induces lunacy, and warrants ostracization from society. Pink Floyd, a British prog-rock band, explores society’s perception of a Lunatic in their record-breaking album, Dark Side of The Moon. Derived from Roger Waters’ (the sole songwriter of the album) experience with friends and family being labeled as lunatics, the band dives headfirst into the black hole that is “mental illness.” The closing song of the 1973 album, Eclipse, perfectly summarizes the life of the lunatic - the life of someone who has seen the dark side of the moon. A bone chilling moment, the listener is given no option but to sit in fear-induced chills as the words “the sun is eclipsed by the moon” clear the room.  
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  • Setting the Perimeter

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual Formation 

    Growing up in New York, snowball fights were an all-day event. We would scope out the best place in the yard, the deepest snow drifts, the best cover, and then we would set our perimeters.

    “You’re not allowed to go past the big rock,” I would shout to my brother who was busy piling snow into a bunker-like wall.

    “You have to stay on that side of the driveway,” he would shout back as I packed extra snowballs and placed them in the crook of a tree. “If you don’t,” he would add, “I get a free throw,” upping the ante.  

    These were not mere snowball fights; they were complex military campaigns wherein you were at risk from all sides. In that volatile and tenuous situation, it was imperative that you set the perimeter. Physical boundaries. Rules of engagement. Clear alliances (though these were often abandoned without preamble). 
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  • Joining the Ranks

    by Scott Jones, Head of School
    I am fascinated by the concept that boundaries and restraint provide opportunity for freedom and even increase freedom. This idea is different from the common perception in our individualistic American culture that freedom is the pursuit of doing whatever we wish without any boundaries or restraints. 
    There are plenty of examples in life that illustrate how boundaries protect us and enable us to experience freedom. For example, consider the rules of the road. Though we sometimes wonder whether drivers follow any rules at all on the Palmetto Expressway, we can understand that the rules are in place to promote safety. Can you imagine highways and roadways where there were no rules about the side of the road on which we must drive, no lines on the roads, no signs, no speed limits, and no stop lights? The rules of the road do not take away our freedom as drivers; rather, they provide freedom – freedom to drive with little stress or fear, freedom to get to our destination safely, freedom to drive a small car without worrying that an oversized truck will use its size to dominate the roadway. Guardrails along a bridge do not limit our freedom; guardrails keep us on the road so that we can safely experience freedom without careening off the bridge into disaster.   
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  • About Face

    by John Bishop, Director of Spiritual of Formation

    A paradox emerges when those who have placed their faith in Jesus, consider how sin effects their relationship with God. Here’s one way we might put it: We do not possess the ability to not sin, AND in Christ we are made new and clean.  

    Our inability to become sinless is seen in verses like “…There is no one who does good,” (Psalm 14:1); “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23); and, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us...” (1 John 1:8). In Romans 7:15-20, Paul describes our situation in personal terms we can all relate to, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…” 
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  • Give the Word

    By Angela Castano, Director of Admission 

    Why is it that we prefer to celebrate with a community of family and friends as opposed to celebrating by ourselves? As I am writing this article, the high school students and faculty are wrapping up Homecoming Week. In the midst of the hall decorating, team competitions, W-hunting and triplets wearing Ghostbusters costumes, I have not once heard someone say, “I really wish I could just be the only one decorating my hall.” In fact, in my eleven years of working at Westminster, I have never heard a student say during HOCO, “I wish I could hunt the ‘W’ by myself” or ask, “Why can’t I be the only person dressing up today?” Why is that? Because God has created in us a desire to celebrate together. In the same way, God has decided that we are to invite others to share in the joy of knowing Jesus personally as our Savior.
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  • He Has a Way with Words

    by Alex Gonzalez, High School Principal
    As educators, we often feel we need to know the “right” answer to every question a student asks. Otherwise, we can be seen as incompetent. However, there is wisdom in being self-aware that not all answers have to come from our own knowledge and abilities.    
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  • In a Word

    By Teresa Torralbas, Assistant High School Principal

    Has God ever spoken to you through a song? It's happened to me a couple of times, but most recently, He reassured me that the difficult situation I was dealing with was temporary. God later confirmed that He was, in fact, working things out in my life. It was the Saturday evening before Thanksgiving 2021. I was enjoying a movie at home with my son when my phone rang. I received a call that would forever change our family. My brother had died tragically and unexpectedly. The shock of his passing was surreal, and the pain indescribable. Getting through the holidays as you're grieving is awful. The empty chair, a favorite recipe, a tradition he started, all constant reminders that your loved one is gone.  
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< 2023
Westminster Christian School, located in Palmetto Bay, Florida, is a private, college-preparatory school for children from preschool through twelfth grade.