God Stories and 10 Years of Foundation
Wednesday, June, 15th, 2016 at 5:29 pmon
One of great things about my job is the wonderful stories people tell me about what God is up to around the school. This past Friday we celebrated 10 years of God stories, as we gathered as wider school community past and present. They are God stories, because He is the one that makes all of this possible, not us.
I wanted to script a summary of that event for you, but instead I think it’s appropriate to simply share a letter I received after the event from a member of our wider school family. Here it is in it’s entirety:
That was one AWESOME party!! Perfect weather, good food, great fun and super amazing fellowship…and as always, unbelievably well organized!!
The most challenging game for me was playing “name that face” made especially difficult by the beautiful artwork of the face painters, but it was truly a wonderful experience to reconnect with my own former students (and quite a number of their parents, too! ) as well as with the many that I have taught as supply teacher (even got a couple of very wet hugs from Casey and Layla!).
I think I pretty much managed to meet with and talk to all the students I’ve ever taught over the years (particularly the earlier ones). Besides all the kids in varying grades still in high school, I also heard about college and university courses being taken to pursue careers in actuarial sciences at Western, history at Guelph to become a teacher, health sciences at Laurier to become a vet, legal and global studies at Carleton (off to India with Free the Children later this summer), computer sciences at Waterloo, applied technologies and health and fitness at Conestoga College, etc. (this is evidence enough to dispel any fears that a small private school could hinder a student’s potential to pursue their dreams). Though most of our past students are still pursuing further studies, one of our first year grads is finished and currently working with a theatrical production on a cruise ship till October.
I also met one ‘new to me’ Mom who raved on and on about FCS. As I understood it from her, her daughter started last year, apparently a with minimal reading skills, having totally caught up to her grade level skills; AND, the Mom averred, that her current teacher was surprised to learn that her daughter ever had trouble. Over the years of talking to parents, she is just another in a long list (including Terry and me) who’ve said similar things about the transformation (educationally or otherwise) they’ve seen in their kids once they came to FCS, whether they come for all their elementary schooling years or just a few, the influences and changes are long-lasting/life-lasting (and so are the friendships and relationships made here).
When I reflect back on the truly humble beginnings of FCS with 37 students enrolled that first year and all the challenges we had: buckets in halls and classrooms to catch the ever changing presence of roof leaks each time it rained (it was a cold, rainy fall – how could I forget! I did almost all the outdoor supervision that first year!!), students and teachers alike wearing winter coats for weeks till the faulty furnace could be replaced, flooding in the basement and the continual issues around drinking the water out of taps and fountains till the plumbing was changed (those were the bigger ones, there were myriads of smaller problems!!)…it’s amazing we even continued beyond the first year!! It speaks to the tenacity of staff, students and supporting families. But mostly it speaks to God’s will, blessing and provision.
It’s wonderful to see how FCS continues to blossom under your leadership, Matt, and the great work you and all the staff and new families are doing.
I know this event took a LOT of planning and extra hours in an already busy schedule for all those involved, but it surely was an amazing time and too short to get in all the visiting!! (Next big anniversary may just have to be a full weekend! ).
Many, many MANY thanks to you and all the rest of FCS …. Best Wishes for a wonderful and relaxing summer!!
God created creativity, and it was good.
Wednesday, April, 20th, 2016 at 5:42 pmon
It is widely accepted that producing art contributes positively to cognitive function – that somehow painting or making music, could in some way make you ‘smarter’. While this has been widely believed, the scientific literature on the topic has at times been vague at best in attributing better brain power to making art. A few years ago a study comparing brain activity between adults who created works of art and those who simply studied works of art took us a step closer to closing this attribution gap.
It’s something we all sense innately to be true: creating is good for us. This study specifically outlined a few of the many ways this truth manifests. According to the research creating art can lead to improvements in cognitive function and problem solving abilities, stress relief and emotional well-being, personal expression, and psychological resilience and the capacity to recall information and memory processing. It seems doing art – being actively creative – makes us cognitively better-off. Actively creating can help us in our study of math, science, and language. Go figure.
Of course this shouldn’t, and probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. After all, God created us in His image. He is creative, and creating is good. It isn’t a stretch to think that when we create as God intended us to, the results are good. It’s why I am so supportive of our strong visual arts and music programs at Foundation Christian School. Seeing students engage their creative side, and develop stronger toolkits of creative skills to employ in their creative works, gets me excited! Their creative works have the fingerprints of God on them, and cognitive benefits to boot!
Foundation: A School of Prayer
Wednesday, March, 23rd, 2016 at 2:29 pmon
Recently at my church we had a series entitled “The School of Prayer.” Having been asked to give one of the messages in the series, I felt a real burden to examine my own prayer life. If I am to speak to God’s people on the topic, I should first seek God on it in my own life.
As I embraced the difficult process of asking God what He thinks of my prayer life (ironically, through prayer), I realized two things. One, that I really believed prayer to be CENTRAL to the Christian walk. Two, I felt my prayer life wasn’t as robust as it should be. It turned out I wasn’t alone. Having surveyed my own congregation, I found out that 100% people believed prayer to be central to the Christian walk, and about 85% of people felt their prayer life was lacking.
Staggering statistics really. Most of us feel a deficit in a spiritual discipline we also feel is of highest importance to our faith. My thoughts are now on the children of Foundation. How can we implant in them an earnestness for prayer? How can we support them now in their most formative years, so that they become lifelong ‘pray-ers’ as much as lifelong learners?
I realized quickly how important the prayer-education we already offer, is. That students pray for one another and their community. That they track those prayers and give thanks when they are answered. That they ask God to give them words of encouragement for one another, and then actively share them. That they pray in times of worship. They pray in the morning, and when they go home. That they see the staff pray. That prayer is modeled for them all day. That we pray, that they would pray, without ceasing.
My encouragement to parents: Take the time to pray with your kids. Take the time to pray for your kids. Take the time to pray in solitude, but make sure your kids catch you praying every so often. The impact on their lives will be immeasurable.
Cookies and the Kingdom of God
Wednesday, November, 18th, 2015 at 6:13 pmon
Cookies and the Kingdom of God
I would like to suggest that nothing is a more obvious display of the Kingdom of God in today’s world than the bake room full of cookies. Having made such an audacious statement, I should now explain.
You see, a bake room full of cookies in and of itself is nothing. But the bake room full of cookies, specifically the one that sold a few thousand dollars’ worth this past Saturday at our Winterbourne Wonderland fundraiser, put His kingdom on full display. It was more than baked goods, it was His children building His kingdom in Christian community. His Kingdom was in the prep work and the cleanup. It was His people reaching ‘in’ and supporting one another. It was His people reaching ‘out’ with the love of God to the community. His kingdom was in the joy and the struggle of the event. It was in the youngest and oldest of His children. The bake room was His courtyard, attended by his faithful, and everyone was welcome.
Praise God for the simplicity and complexity of His Kingdom here on earth, here at Foundation, here in the bake room full of cookies.
Wednesday, October, 28th, 2015 at 4:40 pmon
Patience is hard to muster. I mean really, who has time for those cars driving the speed limit? Who, really, can stand idly by (patiently?) while someone takes forever counting out change to the penny to pay their grocery bill? Usually they drop a coin or two as well. Ugh. Haven’t they heard of the tap feature built into credit cards nowadays?
It is apparent, even after writing the above paragraph and feeling my blood begin to boil, that this is an area in my life that needs improvement. Thankfully, I have the Spirit to help! Patience, we are learning as a school, is a fruit of the Spirit. The more we allow ourselves to grow in God – be cultivated by the master gardener – the more of His fruit we will bear. In my case, patience certainly needs to be part of the next harvest in my life.
Pray for me, and the children at Foundation, that we can bear this fruit now and moving forward, to the glory of God.
Wednesday, October, 7th, 2015 at 5:35 pmon
Thanksgiving. The holiday of turkey, cranberry, and getting stuffed – I mean stuffing. It is also the holiday that faithfully reminds us of our need to be thankful. I say ‘our need’ because that is the truth. It is our need to remain thankful, not God’s need.
We have so much to be thankful for, and God has given it all. Certainly we need to be thankful for it simply because it is our duty. I think about our thanksgiving table each year. Aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, all of us take a turn to say something we are thankful for – family, food, what God is doing in our lives, the Blue Jays making the playoffs (Ok, that one is on tap for this thanksgiving!). It is good to take the time to recognize God for who he is – the giver of everything good, everything worth being thankful for. God will remain holy, faithful, and eternally joyful without our thanks and gratitude towards Him, though he certainly desires our gratitude.
What’s more, though, is that we ‘need’ to be thankful not simply to give credit where it is due (God), but also because God knows that the more we recognize the giver behind the goods, the more thoroughly satisfied we are and the more we can fully enjoy the good things in our lives. When we are thankful for what God has given, those gifts have achieved their chief aim – to point us towards our lavish and beautiful saviour, the greatest gift of all.
Ps. Check out what some Foundation Children have been thankful for:
Foundation is Turning 10!
Thursday, September, 24th, 2015 at 3:16 pmon
Is God not incredible? Is He not the king of kings and lord of lords? Is He not worthy of constant praise and adoration? No matter our present situation, the answer is most certainly a resounding ‘YES!’ There is no thing that gives Him worth, not one aspect of creation that makes Him great – it is simply by virtue of His very nature. It is His holiness, it is who He is. He is worthy. He is great. He is king.
While nothing in creation infuses worth into God, it certainly testifies to his awesomeness. While no act of God makes Him holy, His actions reflect his holy nature. This year, we are turning 10 as a school. God is great with or without 10 amazing years at Foundation Christian School. However, 10 years of this school, His school, certainly are a testimony to how powerful, and faithful, our God is. We really do have 10 000 reasons (more really) to praise Him!
Peace Be With You
Wednesday, April, 8th, 2015 at 5:55 pmon
That is exactly what the disciples needed in that moment. Their Jesus had just been strung up on a cross. He was their messiah King, but now, His body lay lifeless in a tomb. They went all in on Jesus, and now He was gone. Turmoil is probably a good word to describe what they were going through.
In the midst of the turmoil, some began to report seeing Jesus. Now, alongside turmoil, the Jesus followers likely experienced hesitant excitement, maybe confusion. Is He really alive? Did some really see Him? What the future held was still hazy.
With so much at stake, and whatever the particular mix of emotions, one thing is all but certain: the followers of Jesus were not peaceful.
Enter the risen Jesus into the debating crowd, and with words that ministered to the exact needs of His friends, He interrupts – “Peace be with you.” Perhaps you are feeling the turmoil as well. Wondering what your life is all about? This past weekend is a reminder that Christ both died, and then rose again for you. This week is a reminder of the peace we can have in Him.
The words He spoke are for you as well – “Peace be with you.” Because He is risen, you can let the worry drip away, you can leave sin behind, and you can live a life full of peace. Your future is secure in Him. Peace be with you.
Foundation Families Donate Time and Talent!
Wednesday, April, 1st, 2015 at 2:46 pmon
“Three-hundred fifty going once…going twice…SOLD! The gentleman in the back has just bought himself 10 free lunches, pre-made, for his two children to finish the school year!” This is exactly what we are already getting excited about for the Foundation Christian School spring auction on Saturday, May 9th. Every family in the school is getting creative, and donating their time and talent to the auction block so the rest of us can take advantage. Free lawn mowing, a weekend at a family owned cottage, car detailing, toilet scrubbing! Anything is possible at this auction!
We are excited to have a live auctioneer help to get the bids flying as we pull out our chequebooks in support of the school (and because we want our lawns mowed and our cars cleaned!) This will be an exciting event, especially because of how all our families are coming together to donate their time and/or talent to the cause! Have you thought of what your family can contribute? Stuck for ideas? Contact the office for suggestions!
Let’s not forget another exciting aspect of the day – our spring musical! Our students are in full swing practising song, and line, to deliver an incredible performance with a message. Come out at 3:00pm to take in the musical and dramatic talents of our students, stay at 4:00pm to get into a bidding war, and purchase bbq and refreshment at 5:00pm for the family. It promises to be an wonderful afternoon, celebrating what God has done, listening to his message, and supporting our school ministry as it moves towards it’s tenth year!
Want more info? Click through!
See everyone there!
March Madness Foundation Style
Monday, March, 30th, 2015 at 3:30 pmon
While the basketball world is feeling the rush of college competition heating up, March seems to bring an intense feeling to Foundation Christian School as well. As staff and students arrive back from March break, and pour through the school doors, a sense of immediacy seems to hit. The end is near – at least of the school year that is!
While in reality we still have almost a full third of our academic calendar left, the March Madness rush still hits. School meetings, spring play, auction, science fair, school picnic, big trips, golf tournament, sports, graduation! Can you feel it? Not to mention school clubs, academics, and just the general awesomeness of the children’s energy as spring hits!
And while the rush is on, we are trying to take pause as a staff and remember not to get lost in it. No, we will not get lost. We stop, and pray, that God will use us to take every opportunity, every event and happening, to impact the lives of the children. We’ll embrace the excitement of the rush, but not the distractions. Pray with us as we make use of term three for God!