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Posts Tagged "Spiritual Life"

The Most Beautiful Things You Will Never See

October 30, 2023
By Bruce Stempien

These are the most beautiful things you will never see! 

These are pictures of just a portion of the new HVAC systems installed over the past couple years.  At over $1 million, what an awesome display of God’s people investing in a better future for the ministry and mission of Christian Heritage School. 

There is this great image painted for us in Deuteronomy 6 just before the nation of Israel is to cross the Jordan River into Canaan.  God gives this word. 

"It shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to give your fathers  . . . to give you a land with great and splendid cities which you did not build and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn wells which you did not dig and vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant” 

When we stop and look around us, literally everything here at CHS is here because someone gave, built or donated. Given, sometimes at great sacrifice, always with a yearning to see what we witness every day.  Children, families, and teachers working and learning together were on their minds and hearts when they gave their prayerful support and generous donations.  They earnestly anticipated the impact for Christ through the mission of Christian Heritage School and did it all with gratitude. 

The core values on which this place was built change lives and matter for eternity.  Values like an unshakeable faith in God built on a foundation of prayer, a firm adherence to His Word and a deep love for kids.  There is a passion for this biblically based education secured by a sacred partnership with the home and church.  And, there is a pursuit of excellence, all of it delivered by gifted and godly teachers in a culture that sadly does not often value these things.  

As CHS begins its 47th year, it has been and continues to be my greatest joy to serve in various roles alongside incredibly talented teachers and other professionals as we take on this important purpose. 

In my role in development, I speak with parents, former parents and grandparents of CHS graduates, alumni and friends of CHS.  I will sometimes ask, “Why continue to be interested in us?  Why support the CHS mission?  Your generosity is an obvious sign of support meant to encourage and strengthen what is done here.  Why do you continue giving money to CHS, year after year?" 

Their responses reference a few common themes: 

  • It’s our children, and our children’s children.  It’s our responsibility, our greatest joy and treasure to support a Godly heritage moving on through our legacy.  
  • It is our call and duty to our world.  It does not get any more important than this; together we raise up Christian scholars in a world that desperately needs people sharing the love of Jesus Christ in action and in truth. 
  • Because we are grateful.  We experience the unique and personal touch of Godly teachers who model daily an intimate relationship with, and love for, Jesus Christ.  Our children certainly learn to read and write and compete academically.  That is not unimportant, but it isn’t the full answer.  These teachers walk daily with the Lord and then teach children that the Bible is the Living Word of God.  We are grateful for that blessing.  

It is a privilege to take every opportunity to support the mission and ministry of this special place.  Please take a moment to reflect and share a gift that will literally touch lives for eternity. 

God bless you.

 

Bruce Stempien is the Director of Advancement. Bruce has been active at CHS in a variety of roles through their 45+ year history.  In the ‘80s, he set up the framework for the new high school and worked part time with college admissions for CHS graduating classes through the ‘90s.  In 2007, he assumed the role of Upper School Principal for 6 years and, in 2013, became the Director of Advancement.  As a team, Bruce and and his wife, Dianne, were involved in school musicals and a student singing group named Greater Love.  They enjoyed the experience as parents of a son and a daughter who attended CHS from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  They currently attend New Life Church. 

Lessons From Taking High School Students Out of the Country

September 18, 2023
By Mark Persson

Sixteen high school students, two faculty members, and I went to the Dominican Republic for a week in June to serve with Kids Alive International (please checkout this awesome organization!). Trips like this are always a mixed bag. They come with all the normal challenges that you’d expect trying to get so many people on buses and planes, through airports, and settled into a cross cultural context. But they also provide unique opportunities for personal and communal spiritual development. This trip began with the former.

The next week was marked by surprising elation and expected frustration. There were moments when students were phenomenal - sharing testimonies, working together, enjoying God, His people, and creation. There were other moments that were not. But here is what I’m learning from taking high school students out of the country.

I am just like them. I crave love, significance, and comfort more than God.

“But, but!” I say to myself, “my cravings are justified.”  How can it be wrong to miss the love of my wife and kids, long to make an impact, and to give myself permission to take it easy?

But their cravings are vices! Phones, momentary impact, and flirting. Oh they are bad. I’m good.

Here is the reality, I missed my phone too, I’m just a little more experienced in behavior management. I wanted the feels of momentary success and significance of this trip too. If I am really honest, I want people to think I’m attractive, impressive, and desirable too. Idolatry is not pursuing bad things but craving anything more than the presence and favor of God. And I’m still fashioning idols at 32.

And I need the same thing as them. The highlight of the trip was team worship each night. Something profound and mysterious happens when you sing with others. Singing changes the way you look at others and yourself. When you see others singing, it humanizes them. You realize they aren’t the caricature you’ve made them out to be. They are living and breathing; made in the image of God and sustained by His grace. And when you sing, you realize you aren’t so great. Singing about God’s glory reminds you that you have been living very much for your own, and it humbles you. Singing to the LORD confronts us with the message of Jesus. But, the good news that Jesus came to share (and be!) starts with bad news. We are more sinful and selfish than we thought, but we are more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope.

‘23-24 School Theme

Our school theme this year is Sing to the LORD from 2 Chronicles 20 and Psalm 100. Singing is risky and makes us vulnerable. Not surprisingly, it can be hard for everyone (and especially students and young adults) to belt it out. But we all listen to music, we are shaped by melodies and lyrics, and there is a strange power in music that moves us, removes us from worries, soothes our spirit. So, God commands us to sing and praise Him so that we can tangibly and communally experience the benefits of being loved and saved by God. We are going to explore and experience the power of singing together this year through corporate worship and special concerts!

Spiritual Life at CHS - Partnership, Participation, and Process

Spiritual life at Christian Heritage is a partnership with parents and churches to help students understand that “In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Learning to be captivated by Jesus Christ and His Kingdom means participation. It happens everywhere from student clubs to the science lab and from the sports field to chapel. Learning to love Jesus is a process. At CHS we want our students to live in the hopeful tension expressed in the Gospel of Mark, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Pursuing Jesus and His Kingdom is not an easy road, but it is the path to life (Psalm 16:11).

The flight home…
Our trip home looked like it might be just as nightmarish as the start. We were on the runway and ready to take off when the pilot announced, “The main engine didn’t start right. A heat sensor is not working.  We are going to get the engineers to take a look.” Then he added, “It might be a different story if we were in the air.” The ambiguity of that last sentence was not what the passengers were looking for. What followed was no small amount of hysteria and grumbling. Some passengers immediately went to the door and demanded to be let off. They wanted no part in this flight. Finally everyone was asked to deboard. The mood in the terminal was the same on the flight. It was packed. Nowhere to sit. Long lines for food. Spotty WIFI. And no clarity on if we’d have a flight out. Meanwhile, I had no idea what I would do with 19 people in Santiago if our flight was canceled and rescheduled for another day. We waited for three hours with no clear message from the airline (I won’t tell you the airline - this isn’t about them). Then, the gate agent said that the flight was on and we needed to board immediately. I ran back to the students and delivered the message - and their jaws dropped. It was more shock and awe than the joy and relief I was expecting from them. “Chappy,” they said, “we literally just finished praying that God would sort this out.”

 

Mark Persson, aka “Chappy P,” is the Chaplain at CHS. He is married to Michelle, and they have three children: Karis (starting Kindergarten at CHS!), Micah, and Asher. Mark likes baking (read “eating”) bread, running, reading, and building forts with his kids. He is an elder at his church. And, he is blessed beyond belief to work alongside the incredible staff and faculty at CHS as they serve students and families!
 

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