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Archive for March, 2010

Success by Corey Willms

On Tuesday night, my wife and I went out on a date.  My mother graciously watched our son while we went out for supper without the little guy to take care of.  We had a great time visiting and just enjoying being together.  On our way home, she asked me a very thought-provoking question:  “Do you see yourself as being successful?”  Report cards are coming next week, and many students may ask themselves this very question.  I think that it’s a good one for all of us to think about because it makes us evaluate our definition of what success even is in the first place.  Maybe some of us have missed the mark a bit, or a lot, about what success truly is.  Then, it is good to consider how we have measured up, and if there is anything that we could reprioritize in our lives to better achieve the success that we are after.

I guess that I have made comments in the past about how many of my high school and Bible college classmates have been “successful.”  I was referring to how well they have done financially.  One of my friends is a dentist, another is an optometrist, another just started a snow removal business that has absolutely taken off in Calgary, and the list goes on.  Sometimes, I find it difficult to avoid comparing myself to them, and feeling like I have come up a bit short.  In the past, if I was honest, I think the first thing that my mind would have gone to were academic and sports awards that I had won, using that as evidence that I have been successful at some points in my life.

When my wife asked me the question, I started thinking about what success truly is.  When I am lying on my deathbed (assuming that I am not suddenly killed somehow), what benchmarks will I use to measure whether or not I have lived my life well?  I don’t think I will be concerned about the size of my house or my bank account.  As I whittled away the things that don’t matter much eternally, I finally arrived at something substantial.  I think that for me to be successful, I need to know God and obey Him.  That’s it.  If I am making progress in this way, everything else will flow from it.  If God is my source of strength, security, and significance, then my needs will be met in Him.  Out of that fullness, I can give to others.  It was nice to arrive at such a simple definition of success.  With God’s help, and the help of significant people in my life, I think that I can see some good progress in my life in the past while.  My main goal is to continue the progress:  to get to know God more closely, and to obey Him more immediately.  Of course, I have other New Year’s resolution type goals like being able to ski faster, travel to more places, lift heavier weights, read more, and so on.  However, I want my main goal to actually be the biggest priority in my life… the one that I work on hardest in order to succeed.

What’s your definition of success?  What steps are you making in order to achieve that goal?

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Learning Not to Judge

Response to Luke 6:37-49, By Tim Lehman

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.”

This is a tough one, as a teacher. Dallas Willard clarifies that there are two separate meanings of the word “judge,” and the one translated here does not refer to legitimate evaluation of a person’s work or actions. That part I need to do as a teacher all the time – it is an essential part of my job to determine (judge) what a student has learned and understands.

The tough part is that often the legitimate judging turns into judging their character. This leads to condemnation: “You’re a bad person and you do bad things.” Sounds awful when you say it like that, but this past winter as I was reading Luke and reading “Divine Conspiracy” (Dallas Willard), I was convicted that, too often, this was exactly how I was treating my students. I would work my way through a pile of marking, and would find myself developing contempt for my students. “How could you get THAT wrong?” “I can’t believe you made that same mistake AGAIN!” “I solved one just like that in class – can’t you follow 3 steps?!” Even though these thoughts were only in my head, I realized they would spill out once I was back in the classroom. Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (v 45)

It is pretty hard to help someone learn if you harbor contempt for them in your heart. Once I realized this was happening, I asked God to show me where this attitude was coming from. What he showed me was that I was basically expecting the students to be perfect students – to learn every little detail of what I was teaching and apply it correctly every time. And I think the root behind this is my own pride and self-worth. It is hard to accept that I might be doing everything I can as a teacher and still have students who don’t understand. So if they really don’t get it, it must be because I’m not a good enough teacher. The contempt was a protection mechanism – they’re not learning because they just aren’t trying hard enough, or they don’t care enough, or something – anything to avoid having to admit that once again I need to smarten up and try harder (remember Nathan’s sermon a few weeks ago?).

The reality is that, even if I do everything I can, not everyone is going to learn everything I’m trying to teach them. I even have this reminder posted for myself in my classroom – “There is more to life than Science class.” This doesn’t mean they’re bad people.

As I go through tests and assignments now, I intentionally look for all the things they’ve done well. I deliberately write comments about the positive parts of their reports. The things that are incorrect? I point out the opportunity to improve and indicate what needs to be fixed, rather than just give an “X”. I’m trying to treat the students as Jesus would if he was in my place, seeing them with his eyes and heart. If they learn about science, great! If they don’t, but they experience love and acceptance and a teacher who cares about them beyond the grades they get, that is much more significant in God’s Kingdom. In the end, I want to be like the one Jesus talks about at the end of this passage:

“I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.” (v 47-48)

Annual Meeting and Events

Annual General Meeting: Sunday, March 28th at 7 pm the Chapel.

Election of Elders

Current Board of Elders: Noel Smith, Pat Harnett, Marlene Schwartz, Margaret Warner, Al Braun

Nominees for Position of Elder: Marlene Schwartz, Margaret Warner, Al Braun (all of which are re-nominated for second term) Ferdi van Dongen, and James Kuhl

Elders shall be elected for a two year term with half of the members elected on alternate years. Elders shall be eligible to serve two consecutive terms.

Single Mom’s Night:  Sunday, March 28 from 6-8

Blood Donor Clinic: Tuesday, March 30 – call 1-888-236-6283 for an appointment

Junior High Glow Golfing: Wednesday, March 31 7-9 pm… For students in grades 7 and 8

Good Friday Service: Friday, April 2 at 10:30 am

Donations Needed

Women Blessing Women: has started again to gather donations for the 70 Easter gift bags for the women in jail. Presently we have: socks, cards/envelopes and paper, Easter candy, underwear, sticker sheets, shampoo and conditioner, lotion and deodorant. Please drop off these items at the Down booth, at Daybreak, or at the front office before March 30. Thanks!

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Learning to Accept My Personality

March 25, 2010 3 comments

By Alison Lehman

Tim and I have been attending Financial Peace University and the last class we attended this past Tuesday night was about working in our strengths. Dave Ramsey talked about the importance of having a job where you enjoy and are good at what you do. If the job you have is focused on your weaknesses, you’re going to have a miserable existence.  In this lesson, Dave talked about the four different personality types: Beaver, Otter, Lion and Golden Retriever.

I don’t have to take a personality test to know where I am dominant. However, I did take a test a couple of nights ago just for the sake of curiosity.  Although I am a mixture of all four temperaments, I am a dominant Golden Retriever/ Beaver. For those of you who have never done personality testing, these terms mean  amiable and analytical. To be honest,  there are days when I am not thrilled with my personality type. There are times I wish I were either an Otter instead, so I can mingle more easily at parties, or a Choleric so I can be stronger when I need to stand up for myself. I did some Googling and came across someone’s version of a “Golden Retriever” personality. As I read it I wondered how in the world they knew so much about me! I am a combination of temperaments, depending on the week of the month (no kidding),but what I read kind of made me realize that I need to stop fighting against who I am.

I think the number one thing I struggle with is dwelling on negative things, concerning myself or others. I have to fight really hard to turn my thoughts around and sometimes I just don’t have the energy. Long gray winters really don’t help.  So, in knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are, I can work with my temperament more effectively. Because of my tendency towards depression, I need to remain active, I need to get out in the sun as much as possible, keep grounded in who I am in Christ, and keep my blood sugar up with good nutrition. I do have some control. There are many positive traits of golden retrievers and beavers but I don’t focus on those like I should.

When I get to thinking that I don’t quite cut it, or that my personality type is the wrong kind, I go to Romans 12:4 “Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of his one body, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others.” (NLT)

Each of us needs all the others. We need each other! God made each of us unique and He made us the way we are to accomplish what He has set us out to do. If I can figure out my strengths and weaknesses and work within them, I’m all set. One main thing for a golden retriever is to try not to meditate on negative things. A goal for me is to turn my thoughts to prayer when I’m thinking this way. Then I benefit from turning my thoughts to positive things and others benefit from prayer on their behalf. A win-win situation.

Here is a simple personality test to get you started in the right direction. Once you find out where you fit, you can figure out how to best work in your strengths. http://ortegatv.com/Documents/Personality%20check%20list.pdf

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Delighting in God’s Beauty

By Corey Willms

I confess that I was probably one of the only Canadians who did not watch the Olympic men’s gold medal game when it was broadcast (don’t worry – I taped it and watched it later).  The reason is because that Sunday was a particularly beautiful day, and I went cross-country skiing instead.  Of all the physical activities that I enjoy, I think that skiing is my favourite.  I was also probably one of the only Manitobans who was not all that excited about the warm temperatures over Spring Break.  The ski season is pretty much done for sure now, but I am coping with it, as mountain biking is something to look forward to.  I admit, the warm sun does feel pretty good.

My wife’s side of the family got together in Riding  Mountain National Park for a good chunk of Spring Break.  One night there was a little bit of a snowfall, so I got up early and went for what will likely end up being my last ski of the year.  The snow was sticky, but it was great to get out.  I saw some wolf tracks in the snow as I skied along.  It was totally peaceful as the fog rolled in on that windless morning.  I hope that I never forget the beauty that I was able to take in as I looked out over Lake Katherine.  All of the evergreens and poplars that surrounded the lake were dusted in snow.  Fog was descending, and had just started to obscure some of the taller trees on the far side of the snow covered lake.  Just then, I looked over to see three white-tail deer bound across the trail about 50 yards away.  It took my breath away and I thanked God for sharing His creation with me.

Every once in a while something happens that reminds you about God’s goodness.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an awesome baptism service at Portage Alliance Church.  Five Westpark students, along with a Westpark staff person obeyed Christ by proclaiming their faith publicly.  I was very proud of Taylor Pryor, Steph Chapados, Josh Stanley, Evan van Dongen, Randi Curry, and Chris Bell.  It was great to hear their testimonies of how God is working in their lives.  I enjoyed listening to the kind words of their encouragers as well.  Some of the baptism candidates reflected on how Westpark School had a positive influence in shaping their lives.  That was very encouraging for me.  I know that what we do here makes a difference, but every once in a while I get a really great reminder of how that is actually taking place.  Thank you for choosing to be a part of this school and for being a part of the great things that are happening here.

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Response to Luke 5:15,16

March 20, 2010 1 comment

By Tim Lehman

“Crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses.  But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

I think this is another good example of how Jesus’ focus is not primarily on healing people.  As he became popular, crowds would come to him for healing.  Sometimes he would heal them and other times he would not.  I’m trying to understand how he would get away from a crowd.

So do you suppose he just explained to the crowd why he wouldn’t be healing anyone else today?  I wonder if that would have satisfied them?  It would have forced them to see his main purpose as well. While their focus was on getting healed, Jesus was telling them that there was something even more significant for them than that. Spiritual health and healing, in light of eternity, is much more important than getting our physical body well.

I have a hard time accepting that for myself and my family.  I want to be physically healthy.  We often pray at mealtimes for physical health from the physical food we are about to eat.  I don’t think I’ve done such a good job as a father in promoting spiritual health in my family.  I try to take care of myself, working on reading the Bible and spending time with God, seeking spiritual sustenance.  I’m not sure how to do this for my kids.  How do I make sure they’re “eating well”?  From my own childhood, I’m not sure if the forced “Bible reading and devotional time” before breakfast was a positive thing. It didn’t feel very positive at the time.

So is it one of these things we are to do as parents because it is good for the kids, even if they don’t like it?  Or is there a way to get them interested in their own spiritual growth in a positive way? I’d be interested to hear from others about how to help our Christian children grow.

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Studying Luke

Are you reading the book of Luke this year as Nathan preaches on it? If you are interested, you can join the One Book discussion on Luke. Read the comments of others and add your own, or start a new topic within the scope of the study of Luke.  Here’s your chance to share what you’re thinking! You will need a Google account to join. Simply sign in with an email and password to get one. Follow the link below.

-moderated by Tim Lehman

http://groups.google.com/group/one-book_PAC?hl=en

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